Feature: Steve Anderson On TNA Knowing How To Hold ‘Em


Christian Cage may be on his way out of TNA and back to WWE.

Stories are circulating that when Kurt Angleâ<80><99>s contract is up next year, he might entertain a return to his former home as well.

Will other former WWE/now TNA stars follow? TNA has shown the ability to commit the finances to recently departed WWE stars. They have put them under a bright spotlight on Spike TV and pay-per-views. They replicate them in action figures (soon to be from Jakks) and a video game.

Now, they just have to learn to hold on to their high-profile acquisitions.

Cage and Angle may be an anomaly. Mick Foley and Booker T may stick around for many years and multiple contracts. Or they may be a trend. While trailing in the ratings and PPV buy rates, TNA has shown that it can open the checkbook to secure WWE stars.

What they do when they get there is subject to debate. Some claim that they are misused with the new arrival and initial buzz quickly losing their luster. Frankly, thatâ<80><99>s normal. Seeing a WWE star under a TNA banner or vice versa is a novelty. It doesnâ<80><99>t take long for that novelty to wear off, which is understandable. TNA seeks to re-brand the WWE acquisitions into TNA stars. Acknowledge the past, but move on quickly.

How they are booked is subjective. One fanâ<80><99>s innovative angle is another fanâ<80><99>s/editorialistâ<80><99>s train wreck. TNA is an easy target. The underdog always is. The flaws show more and, yes, TNA has flaws.

However, they have also overcome the odds. Weekly $9.95 pay-per-views were mocked by many, including me. That became monthly pay-per-views without a show on a major cable network. Soon, Panda Energy owned them and Spike TV put them on the air. First, they were a late night show, but soon became a one-hour prime time show that evolved into a two-hour program.

Someone with money and power believes in TNA. Hemorrhaging money? Hell, yes. Welcome to the wonderful world of startup businesses.

However, if they canâ<80><99>t hold on to their major stars, it presents a larger problem. They want wrestling fans to commit to the promotion over the long haul. A stigma could develop if Cage and Angle bolt. A stigma that may force to make new TV plans on Monday and Thursday night.

They also have to take proactive steps in making their stars happy and keeping them happy. That comes with money, compelling storylines and pushes. That cushy schedule they offer only comes with so much.

Losing Christian Cage in the long run wonâ<80><99>t hurt all that much. He came out of that business relationship better than they did. Kurt Angle should be a little more treasured. I donâ<80><99>t like the idea of a wrestler airing dirty laundry in the media, but Angleâ<80><99>s unhappiness should be addressed. I donâ<80><99>t believe that wrestlersâ<80><99> should have the evil creative control clause. However, give them input. Listen to them. Shoot down bad ideas. Embrace good ones. The booking committee doesnâ<80><99>t have to be the final arbiter.

And show your heralded acquisitions that you are committed to n*pping at the WWEâ<80><99>s heels and continuing to chip away at their market share. Yes, TNA is more successful than anyone could have imagined a few years ago. Growing pains should continue.

But that growth or lack of should not push their big name stars back to the promotion they once called home.

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