As Mike reported earlier today on the site, AJ Styles' contract with TNA will be ending very soon. Unlike in the past with TNA however this is not a case of a contract expiring abruptly. Styles and TNA management have been in talks for a new deal for a while now. They have yet to agree on a new deal but discussions are ongoing. But there is a very real possibility that Styles will leave TNA and there is only one reason for that: Money.
John "Big" Gaburick has replaced Bruce Prichard as the man in charge of Talent Relations for TNA. People in TNA have described the company as going through a period of transition right now. Having worked in the past for WWE, Gaburick brings in knowledge as to how things work in a successful wrestling promotion and he is implementing them now. At the same time, TNA is working under a budget more now than they ever have in the past and when that is the case, hard choices have to be made. While everyone I spoke to in TNA told me that they want AJ to stay, it will come down to whether the deal makes sense to them financially. From AJ's perspective, he has over a decade of service and goodwill with the company. Like anyone in that position, he doesn't want to stay even or go backward financially. TNA management understands that but they also realize that they don't have unlimited finances and thus have to spend their money as judiciously as possible. They want AJ to stay but they also understand that if he can get a better deal for his family, he should take it and move on.
The company has set an objective recently to try and uncover young talent. Going foward, they will be looking for young workers to add to their roster. The sad reality of the situation is that after a decade in TNA, their audience has plateaued. It could be that AJ's experience and tenure have priced him out of TNA. If they can bring in four or five guys for the price of his contract, it is something that they have to consider.
There are at least two other wrestlers being affected by the new reality of TNA right now as well. They are Ken Anderson and the person that loses the fall of tonight's match on Impact. Anderson is in a similar situation to AJ in that the sides are still talking and it could go either way but will probably go down to the wire. The person that loses tonight's fall is said to be leaving in the next month or two.
It should also be noted that every single talent in TNA's contract is, or has been, evaluated by management. For those of you who know NFL football and the salary cap, think about it in those terms. There have been countless beloved superstar athletes that have been let go due to cold, hard finances. That is the exact position TNA is in right now.
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