What it actually comes down to is the company’s ability to create and tell engaging stories, but TNA came up roses last Tuesday when former ROH star and top free agent Moose (real name Quinn Ojinnaka) made his debut as a heel, aligning himself with “The Miracle” Mike Bennett.
Forget about all of that for a minute. How TNA debuted him, while questionable in that most “big” free agents tend to debut as faces, isn’t all that important. What is relatively important is that the company was able to sign a highly regarded talent in the middle of a reported financial crisis.
It wasn’t as simple as Moose wanting to go to TNA, though. All appeared as though the former NFL player would be heading to NXT. However, when the WWE caught wind of an arrest from his NFL days, in which he was arrested for domestic abuse, the company shied away.
So, yes, TNA became a somewhat default option for the wrestler. Still, with Ring of Honor looming in the shadows, it is not as if Moose didn’t have any other options. Plus, a man his size and athleticism could have also easily made the mark wrestling in Japan.
His decision to stay domestic, but leave ROH, is a bit confusing. If the WWE didn’t sign him now due to a previous arrest, the company is unlikely to ever sign him. It is not as if that arrest magically disappears after a certain period of time. So it begs for a question to be asked: Why TNA?
The answer is likely a combination of money and the idea of what TNA can be. At least part of that. As importantly, he will also be allowed to book himself for independent shows.
TNA will be allowed to book Moose up to 110 dates – which, in wrestling, isn’t all that much – and the wrestler can trot about the squared-circle elsewhere in his free time.
It is a strange freedom for a wrestler to have.
While not perfect for TNA itself, it is an outside-the-box type of contract that not only brought Moose in, but can be used as the template for other potential top indie signings. All of that is, obviously, if the reports on his contract are true.
How TNA handles the wrestler moving forward will be equally as important. Will Moose be yet another top indie-wrestling star to be mishandled by Dixie Carter and company? Or will TNA learn from its previous mistakes and attempt to build Moose into its face of the franchise?
If it is the former, then TNA will end up TNA-ing all over itself yet again. People – most importantly, other wrestlers – will notice the continued incompetence of the federation. If it is the latter, a new perception of the company might begin to be conjured, as some of the country’s top wrestling talent will have a much tougher decision to make moving forward.
You see, the WWE’s NXT-money is notoriously ho-hum. While the reward is the idea of being on the main roster, it is not a guarantee. On the flip-side, being the very literal face of a promotion that will pay near six-figures and feature your talents, well, that is as alluring, if not more.
Nevertheless, Moose signing with TNA is a pretty big deal. Most of the Internet Wrestling Community loves the athletic marvel. In theory, though the IWC often fails to practice what it preaches, it should lead to more eyeballs on TNA programming. After all, he is likely to be treated as one of the biggest players TNA has.
That is pretty good for business, in my humble opinion.