Labor Day has come and gone and September is underway, meaning the dark cloud looming over TNA only grows more ominous. With the beginning of September comes the seemingly dire forecast that come 2015, the US wrestling scene will be bidding farewell to its second biggest promotion. Nothing is set in stone, of course. While Spike appears to have lost interest in continuing to promote wrestling on their station, at least one other network has shown interest in bringing TNA on board. The problem, if you're TNA, is when you start talking numbers. How many homes will you reach? What kind of money will you bring in? As of right now, no one is offering the kind of package Spike was able to. So are we witnessing the final days of TNA?
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that in 2015, TNA will be no more. First, let me make it clear this isn't something I wish upon TNA. Even though I don't have much interest in their product (having given it several chances) I have no problem acknowledging it does have its fan base. On top of that, I would never want to see that many wrestlers (and general employees) lose their jobs. But again, hypothetically, what would happen if TNA went out of business? What wrestlers would end up where? And, of all the wrestlers currently on the TNA roster, who would the WWE have interest in signing?
The unfortunate problem with the roster is there are a lot of people on there who would be considered TNA lifers. Ideally, that wouldn't be an issue. But if you look back through history, WWE has only taken a select few wrestlers from TNA that hadn't already had previous ties to WWE beforehand. For example, they brought back Jeff Hardy after his stint in TNA from 2004-2006. They've also brought back the likes of Gail Kim, RVD, and Christian. They've also been quick to bring back legends like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, and Kevin Nash for sporadic on-air appearances.
But how about wrestlers who had been known primarily for their work in TNA before making the jump? Well there's Xavier Woods….and Kharma... I guess CM Punk was in TNA from 2002-2004, but he was always associated more with ROH. Am I missing anyone? I look at the current TNA roster and I still see Abyss, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love (who was actually in WWE developmental from 2004-2007 but never made the main roster), Madison Rayne, James Storm, and Eric Young. Out of those 8 performers, the only one under the age of 32 is Madison Rayne (28) which will likely factor heavily into WWE's decision process should everyone suddenly become available. It's a shame, too, because who knows what a few of these guys (namely Abyss) could have done under the WWE spotlight?
So who would the WWE take? The likely first candidates would be those familiar with the WWE system. If you're looking at who you could expect back on the main roster in a full time capacity, maybe someone like EC3. Perhaps you'd see the Hardys or Dudleys come back as a short term special attraction in the vein of Jericho or RVD. I don't see MVP (40) or Lashley (38) making more then say a cameo in WWE as neither man has the amount of cachet with casual fans as the Hardys or Dudleys. As for Mr. Anderson…yeah, I don't see that one happening.
How about everyone else who have only been a part of the TNA roster for a relatively short stint. Would WWE take back Bram who was previously in their developmental program? How about Davey "I've burned nearly every bridge in pro wrestling" Richards and Eddie Edwards? Word has it their WWE try-out didn't go so well but would they get another look with WWE in dire need of new tag teams? Would they want an undersized guy like Austin Aries at his age (36)? Is there any interest in trying to turn the likes of Gunner, and Kenny King, and Magnus into stars? Out of everyone, I'd say the real dark horse is Rockstar Spud; he's got a ton of personality and real comedic potential.
Before I close this out, I should note that, of course, WWE isn't the be-all, end-all of wrestling. There was a lot of uncertainty regarding AJ Styles when he and TNA couldn't come to terms on a new contract and now he's the IWGP champion. Guys like Kazarian and Christopher Daniels faced the same issue and they seem to be holding up fine on the indies/ROH. So I don't want to make it seem like it's WWE or doom.
That's the rundown of just about everyone (of note). Let me know below who you think the WWE would realistically take...