News: Another round of shock TNA releases
Over the course of the past several days, TNA Wrestling have continued their company restructuring and released several notable talents.
Tara, a five-time Knockouts Champion and one-time Knockouts Tag Team Champion, was released from her contract yesterday on 16th July 2013. After a brief hiatus from TNA programming for the past several months, Tara reappeared two weeks ago managing Jessie Godderz and Robbie E. Her final singles match was a losing effort against ODB on a recent episode of Xplosion.
Drew Hankinson aka D.O.C., a long-time member of the Aces & Eights faction, revealed yesterday that TNA had allowed his contract to expire on 12th July 2013, with no intention of renewal. Hankinson was one of the first members of the heel faction to be revealed and had anchored the group for over a year. On a recent episode of Impact Wrestling, there appeared to be dissension among the group, as Hankinson refused to eliminate himself from a Battle Royal to determine which member of Aces & Eights took a spot in the Bound for Glory Series.
Bruce Prichard, the Head of Programming and Talent Relations, was among those asked to restructure their deal in the wake of company changes, however, rather than accept the new deal, Prichard declined and is believed to be on his way out. Prichard had also long been a member of the Gut Check Challenge judging panel, often offering the most unpopular decision of the three.
Clem's Take - These roster cuts are beginning to look like a massacre. TNA have basically eliminated their entire undercard with these wholesale changes and compromised several angles/divisions in the process.
Tara, while I'm sure Jessie can manage coming down to the ring on his own from now on, was a vital piece of the Knockout puzzle for the longest time. The recent 'State of the Knockouts' segment on Impact revealed the severely depleted roster, made up entirely of Mickie, Velvet, Taryn and Gail. Only four women wrestling and they choose to release a touchstone of the division? However, I do expect to see her back sooner or later. It wasn't that long ago that Tara was released the last time, only to reappear as Madison Rayne's mysterious biker bodyguard.
Hankinson is another cut that genuinely takes me by surprise. Not because he's that big a part of TNA programming, but simply because of his affiliation with Aces & Eights. The faction are in a heated feud with the resurrected Main Event Mafia and this is the worst possible time to be seen losing a member. At the very least, they should've played up his arguments with Mr Anderson for several weeks, before finally ejecting him from the group. Frankly, if TNA are looking at members of Aces & Eights to release, Wes Brisco, Garret Bischoff and Mike Knox would've appeared on my radar well before Hankinson.
Prichard is probably the biggest surprise in the bunch, even if he is the least well-known as an on-air personality. Being such an important member of TNA upper management, losing that cog in the machine could cost the company in the short term while they scramble to replace him. However, this wasn't so much a case of him being pushed, as him jumping. The new deal wasn't to his liking and he's going elsewhere as a result. Being his choice, that puts him ahead of every other talent released in the past few weeks!