Or, if you’ d prefer, we could title this one “how I am wondering if the brand split wasn’t as well orchestrated as they’d like us to believe”.
Think about this one, folks. In the weeks and months leading up to the announcement of the WWE brand split, draft and SmackDown Live, they released a number of Superstars for one reason or another. Some notable names on that list include Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and Wade Barrett, and would go on to include Ryback, who’s departure became official after the split, but who was effectively gone prior to it. And while I am not saying that any of these guys is the next legend in the making, each of these guys has talent and, in the right situation, could be big. Combine these releases with the more recent stories of WWE scrambling to bring back past stars like Shelton Benjamin and even Jinder Mahal, to name only two, and the decision to release folks gets a bit curious.
Now, I will say this: since WWE won’t typically tell us why someone got released, it’s only going to be a source of speculation. In the case of Rhodes, he asked for his release. Barrett had indicated he wasn’t re-signing, and Ryback had shown himself to be displeased with his own contract negotiations. That much we do know. What we don’t know, is how much-if at all-any of these men knew of an impending brand split, and if they didn’t, would it have altered their decision in any fashion. I have to think it might have, at least for a few of them. Why? Because two independent brands, two independent rosters, allows for more competition. No longer are we seeing the same guys pushed on both shows, Now, there’s been a chance for some new faces to rise. Yes, we still have familiar faces too, but we also see newer faces taking advantage. If any of the released wrestlers were still with the company, perhaps one of them might have finally gotten a shot at bigger things.
So, how does this save TNA, if it even can or will? Well, just like that, WWE put a number of well-trained and relatively well-known stars on the free agent market. The other day, when the man formerly known as Damien Sandow debuted for TNA, even the TNA announcer called out the free agent names made available by WWE’s purge. And while the man now known as Aron Rex might be the only one to head to TNA, he might just be the first of the group. And of the four of Barrett, Ryback, Rex and Rhodes? Any or all of them is capable of holding a major title. Three of them held the Intercontinental title. One was a former Money In The Bank winner. WWE clearly thought, at one time or another, that each of them had a bright future with the company. So, assuming TNA brings a few more on board, they benefit greatly by the easy acquisition of well-trained and likely motivated individuals. For a company in need of a spark, this could be what they needed.
Then again, if you look at the current roster in both WWE shows as well as NXT, the rosters are full of guys who started in WWE and couldn’t cut it, then went elsewhere (TNA, Japan, etc), developed, got huge and got themselves another ticket into WWE (Case in point: Luke Gallows). Which is a nice way of saying that, perhaps things were too crowded for these guys to develop properly, but in a place like TNA it is entirely possible they blossom and then get re-hired by WWE.
But for now, TNA need not worry about losing guys. For now, TNA can just concern itself with acquiring several men bound and determined to prove their worth, and their motivation might just be enough to help boost TNA to new heights.