Contracts

Hey Scott,       Long time fan, read all the books, etc.  I have a question about contracts in wrestling.  It is understandable that the three biggest companies of the last 25 years or so, WWE, WCW and TNA would make sure their signed talent can’t just jump to another promotion if they are unhappy. However, the smaller promotions, specifically ECW and Ring of Honor do not do this.  WCW cherry picked Mysterio, Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, Raven, Sandman and Mike Awesome, who was the World Champion at the time!  WWE grabbed Austin, Taz and all three Dudleys.  For ROH, WWE grabbed Punk, Bryan, Claudio and Tyler Black, who like Awesome, was the champion of the entire promotion.  TNA grabbed Samoa Joe and Nigel McGuinness.  My only guess is that these smaller promotions cannot have the same protection because they cannot guarantee the pay on a contract, similar to Bret’s situation with Vince in 1997.  What are your thoughts?

Hey, WCW was the first company to really do guaranteed contracts in general.  WWF had to follow suit because otherwise they’d lose all their talent to the guaranteed money in WCW, but the smaller promotions have never really worked on much more than a handshake deal.  There’s really no reason for a company like ROH to sign guys to long-term deals because they can’t support someone full-time, and if they can’t pay the contract than it would cost them more in legal fees to go to court with it than it was worth to them.  I think ROH does limited deal type of contracts now, but I haven’t talked to anyone from the new regime in a while so I don’t know the details.  But really, if someone gets snapped up by WWE, it’s not going to hurt them too much because their entire business model is DVD and word-of-mouth anyway and everyone is replaceable.  TNA does contracts because they basically have to, otherwise WWE would raid them up and down just to fuck with them.