A few months back, our own Keith Harris brought you several rumors floating around that TNA tag champ Davey Richards was actively trying to recruit his old Team Ambition partner Kyle O'Reilly to join him on Thursday nights.
O'Reilly is one half of the current Ring of Honor (ROH) tag champs reDRagon with Bobby Fish, and Fish was going to come with his partner to Impact in order to rebuild the tag division and feud with The Wolves - or so the story went. This was to be part of a massive talent raid by TNA in retaliation for ROH heading to pay-per-view (PPV) and taking their Brooklyn outdoor venue.
If there was any truth to the rumors, they're dead now. Last week, ROH issued a press release saying they've re-signed their tag champs - who they'll soon be sending for a prestigious stint across the Pacific to represent the company in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) - to new contracts.
Similarly, ROH World Champ Michael Elgin revealed on the Between the Ropes podcast that TNA had sent some feelers his way - and he respectfully declined.
I was kind of reached out to, but ultimately I really have no interest.
I felt that I still had things I wanted to accomplish with Ring of Honor and that's where my heart was. If I had thought about going anywhere else, went anywhere else, I still think I would have felt like I have some unfinished business there, so I definitely didn't want to even think about it.
As I said, I was kind of reached out to, but it was brought up that there was some interest, but I wanted to keep moving forward with ROH.
Other than Elgin going on record, there isn't much concrete to go on here to officially say that TNA had a plan to raid ROH's roster. But we can look at these examples, and some other statements and transactions and logically conclude that TNA doesn't have much cachet as a destination spot for wrestlers.
- ROH is openly acknowledged by WWE on their website and in their documentary features on men like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Enough Developmental Program signees are Ring of Honor veterans that the promotion could almost be called a feeder system for the Performance Center.
- Veterans who have left the company (such as Jay Lethal, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniel) head to ROH upon cutting ties with TNA, and then talk about making more money on the indies.
- Former WWE employees like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy speak openly about their desire to return to WWE while under contract to TNA.
- While ROH can be seen as a step toward WWE, TNA is a last resort. WWE doesn't make a habit of signing anyone without Hall of Fame potential from the Carters, and younger workers like Austin Aries, The Wolves and Kenny King only land there after WWE turns them down or they've burnt bridges elsewhere.
Is TNA losing out on top talent to WWE, ROH and smaller promotions? Will they be able to restock and survive (with or without a renewal from Spike TV) without being able to attract and keep established names or up-and-comers?