The state of TNA Wrestling is still in absolute disarray. Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins was a part of the creative team and tried to gain control of the company. Dixie Carter refused to give him control, so Corgan is now out of the company. Anthem Sports & Entertainment has 85% of ownership over TNA with Aroluxe Marketing and Carter owning the rest of the company. Wrestlers have no certainty surrounding their futures and 2017 is not being met with optimism. Many are looking for plans outside of the company with the hopes of greener pastures and more stability out there.
A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode finding success in the WWE makes that an option with the company in need of finding enough talent for the brand split and NXT. Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal are huge parts of the ROH roster, as the international independent scene is booming. There are plenty of places to work and make a living these days. Wrestlers leaving TNA can bet on themselves to make a better future without the stress of worrying about their company no longer existing any given day. We’ll look at some of the wrestlers that have either been rumored to or will be looking to abandon TNA’s sinking ship.
15. Drew Galloway
Drew Galloway has been on fire since he left the WWE. Galloway is a huge star on the independent scene with work in PWG, Evolve and ICW. His TNA run has been his crowning moment with the wrestler winning the TNA World Championship. Galloway’s stock is higher than ever with an amazing track record as a top star outside of the WWE landscape.
2017 should see him start to distance himself from TNA with their struggles. Galloway is in high demand with bookings all over the world. The combination of New Japan and Ring of Honor provides an outstanding option for him. ROH is rumored to have lots of talent leaving the company with contracts expiring soon. Galloway would be a force and set up a brighter future without wasting time in TNA.
14. Brandi Rhodes
Brandi Rhodes joined TNA towards the end of 2016, following her WWE departure. The beautiful talent never had the opportunity to wrestle or develop a personality on WWE television aside from playing a standard ring announcer. Brandi showed optimism leaving the WWE in hopes of becoming a wrestler, similar to her husband Cody Rhodes.
TNA has rarely featured the former ring announcer in relevant segments. Brandi’s feud with Maria Kanellis was very short-lived and TNA appeared to transition her out of it with Maria now focusing primarily on Allie. Basically, the writing is on the wall. Brandi was training at the Ring of Honor dojo with various ROH teachers, making it possible she joins the Women of Honor division in the future. TNA isn’t the right place for Brandi and she will be better off leaving to grow as a performer in other promotions.
13. Davey Richards
We have not seen Davey Richards on TNA television in quite some time following various injuries ruling him out for almost a year. Richards has been cleared and recently wrestled on a couple of independent shows. Richards has been flirting with retirement since 2010. Richards works as a paramedic outside of the squared circle and it won’t be too long until he officially retires from wrestling and pursues his other occupation regularly.
A recent announcement saw Richards claim 2017 would be his final year and no one wants to wrestle their final year in TNA. Richards’ partner Eddie Edwards is currently the TNA World Champion and has transitioned into a singles star, so The American Wolves can no longer exist as an active tag team. Richards working on the indies with no hints at returning to TNA may have already ended his time there, but we won’t know for sure until next year.
One of the brightest stars for TNA in 2016 has been Jade. The latest addition to the Knockouts Division completely freshened up the class with impressive performances against Sienna, Gail Kim and Rosemary. Jade has been a noteworthy performer on the independent wrestling scene for many years. TNA doesn’t deliver many great things for wrestling these days, but Jade getting to shine on national television is a positive sign.
WWE is rumored to be interested in investing a lot of time, effort and money into finding new female talent next year. A huge tournament is expected to take place consisting of the top free agents on the market. Jade is someone that could opt out of her TNA deal and go on to become the breakout star. WWE is in need of new women’s wrestlers to build in NXT for the future. Jade fits that perfectly.
11. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes has not appeared on TNA television in many weeks, but is still listed on the official TNA roster. TNA has hopes of bringing him back into the fold as one of the biggest names on the free agent market today. The recent news of Rhodes making his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut as a member of the Bullet Club at Wrestle Kingdom is a game changer.
NJPW is the second biggest promotion in the world after the WWE. Rhodes’ opportunity in the Bullet Club is massive and takes priority over TNA. NJPW also happens to hate TNA for their poor treatment of some of the Japanese wrestlers to come over years ago. Cody can potentially return to TNA to end his storyline with Lashley that was teased, but there’s no way he’d return in a full-time capacity. Rhodes will snub TNA in favor of the NJPW/ROH combination, along with various independent promotions.