Had an idea in the kitchen the other day. We all know there’s a time when a wrestler is on the decline, when they simply can’t go anymore or aren’t the same wrestler they once were. Yeah, injuries and other absences can make it fresh when they come back but we all know there’s a point when they’re past their ‘best before’ date and Vince is holding onto them just to ensure no-one else can profit off of their increased visibility/notoriety for still having that WWE rub - also known as "How Vince ensured the monopoly and slowed down the growth of TNA in the mid-late 2000s.
My first thought on this is Kane. When did Kane begin his decline? Is it the Shane McMahon feud after taking the mask off?
Did you mean TNA? WCW wasn’t around in the mid 2000’s.
And at that time from 2006-2010 hording talent definitely wasn’t WWE’s strategy. They cut a lot of people getting old or causing problems that immediately jumped to TNA and the indies at the time. Even big draws like Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, the Dudley’s, RVD, etc all got let go.
It was the “network era” from 2014-2020 when they signed every indie guy, overpaid to keep talent and wouldn’t let talent go to leave for the indies or NJPW. They felt they needed bodies to fill up NXT, NXT UK, and other specials they did on the network to create content.
I’ll disagree on several fronts, Kurt Angle was a drug-addled mess, Jeff Hardy’s contract expired I believe, same with RVD. If WWE could re-up on their upper mid-card, even when past their prime, they’d rather have a stale roster than prop up TNA. Yes, TNA got their share of WWE guys but it was a different caliber.
But that’s not what happened. WWE was bloated with performers after bringing in WCW talent from 2001-2003. In 2004-2005 they were focused on creating new stars like Cena, Orton, Batista, etc. So lots of main event talent and mid-card talent were let go or didn’t receive competitive offers and chose to leave. While WWE was obviously the biggest wrestling company in the world at the time they had to run at much slimer profit margins and didn’t have as much money to waste as today.
That is hardly WWE “hording” talent so they don’t go to TNA. I don’t think WWE cared enough about TNA for most of its existence honestly to be worried about anyone going there.