Former TNA Employees Discuss Christian Cage Leaving The Company
– Four new chapters from former Barbaric Wrestling Radio host Brett Buchanan’s The Genesis of TNA free e-book have been released via barbaricwrestling.com. In the new chapters, Christian Cage’s TNA run, Samoa Joe, Scott D’Amore booking committee (which includes a story about a TNA employee leaking news), and TNA’s scramble to find a TV deal in the summer of 2005 are all covered. Below are excerpts from The Genesis of TNA ‘Chapter 18: Christian Cage’ about Christian’s TNA run and the reason he left:
LARRY ZBYSZKO: I liked Christian, but again here’s the deal with guys like Christian. Christian I think is a great talent in terms of working and watching him on TV but he’s not a big money draw. What TNA was doing is they would get guys that every wrestling fan knows is a mid card guy and they try to put him off like a superstar. So all they’re basically doing is saying hey we’re TNA and we’ve got all of Vince’s left over guys that you don’t care about anymore. They really should have made their own stars and forget bringing in Christian, bringing in other guys maybe outside of a couple. Or if you do it do it right bring Christian in and have the TNA guys beat him and then get Christian out of there, so it looks like the TNA guys are great.
In November 2008 Christian decided to leave TNA and return to WWE when his contract expired. Many rumors spread that he was frustrated with Jeff Jarrett’s creative vision of TNA and that he was upset with the way he was being used, stories spread regarding this as far back as 2007. Despite this, the main reason Christian left TNA was because WWE were simply offering him more money.
RUDY CHARLES: I was really disappointed when he left, I think I’m not sure what the whole situation was, probably came down to money is my opinion. He probably wanted X amount, and there was a bidding war between TNA and WWE and WWE won. He was a professional, even when he knew he was going out the last thing you saw of Christian Cage on TNA was getting beat down by the Main Event Mafia but he was a pro to the end. He went out and did his job and helped get those guys over, I think he’s a true professional.
PETEY WILLIAMS: I remember when he left [in 2008], at that point it was a whole different locker room morale than when we first got down to Orlando, what was that 2004 or something. It was just totally different, I don’t know if you could just see the change because I’m one of the few guys who had been there from 2004 to that point. It was like a whole different company, it didn’t seem like everybody was on the same page. It almost felt like everybody was out for themselves. I think they were, I think Christian did the right thing he was looking out for himself. He’s probably like this isn’t for me I’m going to go back. Honestly I know he took a big pay cut to come to TNA, he was making way more in WWE. I think he just wanted to have a change really, see if he could elevate this company. He had a lot of great matches and stuff like that did a lot of great things for TNA, that’s what I’m thinking now that he decided that he did as much as he could with TNA and I’m going back. I’m going where the money is.
SONJAY DUTT: I heard it was over pay, but if you put yourself in this guys shoes if he’s got an opportunity to go back to Vince [McMahon] and make the money that he was making compared to what he’s doing in TNA. Also man a lot of the time for guys it’s not just about the money but it’s about being presented in a bigger light, and he wanted to do other stuff I think he wants to do acting and stuff and maybe WWE is the ticket to jumpstart himself into other ventures and stuff. Guys that have been there and done that and then come to TNA they sometimes at a point, I think you kind of realize the ventures I want to do, maybe this isn’t the catapult that I need to get into those other things and he went back. I think it’s pretty much cut and dry.
BILL BEHRENS: Christian honestly was pretty happy. One of the primary reasons Christian didn’t renew with TNA had very little to do with him being unhappy with how well he was being used and all that kind of stuff, it had a lot to do with the financial crisis and the fact that Christian has a really nice expensive house and even though he had been wise and invested his money, he invested his money. All of the sudden the nest egg didn’t become as big a nest, and another run with WWE where you can make real money became a better idea. TNA wasn’t going to belly up to the bar and give Christian the same kind of money that he has as an upside in a WWE deal. The reality of the WWE deal is not your downside, but what you can make on the upside. I was talking, for example, to a recently released talent who just got his commission check from a video game and the commission check was for $20,000. There is no one at TNA right now on an entire commission check from all merchandise that makes that much, on a quarterly basis it just doesn’t happen. That’s the dramatic difference between the two. Jeff Hardy had as little as $150,000 downside at WWE, when he left had made well over 1 million dollars in the previous year, which is one of the reasons Jeff Hardy can sign with TNA and make considerably less money, dramatically less.