Samoa Joe made his first post-TNA appearance at ROH’s 13th Anniversary show this past Sunday Night. Naturally the crowd was very enthusiastic, giving Joe a rousing welcome. On top of that, there was the usual “F— TNA” chant that seems to be so prevalent on independent shows featuring former TNA Talent. I’ve read all sorts of claims that Joe should be “paid what he’s worth” and that it’s a slap in the face to a man who had been part of the backbone of the company for ten years.
I don’t think this is really a fair mindset to have.
Now I know some of you longtime A1 readers are probably saying “Whelp, Zandrax is off his meds again and is just sucking up to TNA”. Sure, I consider myself a TNA fan, but I also try to be a realist. And the reality is, business is business.
Jim Ross said recently there are two C’s that talent go by: Cash and Creative. Let’s take a look at how that might pertain to Joe.
First off, Cash. I don’t claim to know company contracts, but when Joe re-signed with the company a few years back, it was reportedly for a yearly salary. Given the company was running regular house shows, as well as bi-weekly TV taping, this would be considered normal. The problem is that TNA is just flat out not running the same schedule they were a few years ago. House shows are off the grid completely, and there are only a handful of tapings every month. This means that Joe would essentially be paid a full-time salary to work 4-5 days a month.
You don’t have to be a Business Major to see how that could be a problem.
Reportedly, all new contracts for talent are on a Per Appearance Basis. Given the number of dates TNA is running, this means a substantial pay cut. It just comes down to business in the end. Somebody in Joe’s position can name his price on the independent scene and do international tours. Given former TNA staple AJ Styles is doing quite well for himself, Joe may just be following suit.
That brings us to the other “C”, Creative. Another reality is, Joe had been on television nearly every week for ten years. He has held every male title the company ever had. There’s nothing “fresh” or “new” for him to do, since he’s feuded with just about everybody on the roster. Feuding him with Lashley over the World title is nothing new, we saw that feud a few years back. Joe and Angle have already feuded on and off for years. Aries, Roode, Eric Young… all these guys have had matches with Joe, so there’s nothing new to see there either.
Changing companies is just the nature of business sometimes. It happens in “real life” all the time. Mike Johnson reported that when Joe officially parted ways, it was clear that there was no heat and the door was very much open for a return in the future. Not only does this open up more freedom, it leaves the possibility of a return to Impact Wrestling in the future where his opponents will all seem fresh again. In the meantime we can enjoy fresh matches with potential opponents like Yoshihiro Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada in New Japan, Jay Briscoe and Michael Elgin in ROH, or AJ Styles and Alberto El Patron just about anywhere in the country. Heck a match with Rey Mysterio Jr. isn’t outside the realm of possibility now.
2015 continues to be a very interesting year for pro wrestling, as the landscape continues to change. Let’s enjoy the ride rather than dwell on the negatives of one talent leaving a company.