It would seem that Impact Wrestling’s roster gets smaller with each passing day. It doesn’t matter if you call them Impact, refer to them as GFW (as they were known as during Jeff Jarrett’s brief 2017 regime), or still know them best as TNA. The company is still a hot mess no matter how you look at it, and wrestlers have been leaving in droves since the start of the year, or even farther back, if you also consider the big names who have since gone on to enjoy success in the WWE.
Taking the above fact into account, we decided to limit the wrestlers on this list to men and women who were part of the Impact Wrestling roster as of November 1, 2017, and not reported to be signing with another company. That means you won’t see departures such as Scott Steiner and Low Ki, nor would you see Rockstar Spud, who was recently reported to be signing a contract to join WWE’s cruiserweight division. You may, however, see a few wrestlers who retired or were released in the month of November, and maybe even some who left Impact after this article was written but before it was published. (Who knows? People are leaving the Impact Zone left and right, as we previously mentioned.)
With that all said, let’s take a look at 10 wrestlers from TNA/GFW/Impact whom you may never see debut or re-debut on WWE television, and 5 of their wrestlers whom we’re confident you will see on the main WWE roster or NXT at some point in the foreseeable future.
15. Gail Kim (Never)
With her retirement following her record-setting seventh Knockouts Championship win at Bound For Glory 2017, Gail Kim effectively pulled a Trish Stratus, going out on top by winning a championship for her company’s women’s division. She was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame as its first female member last year, and at 40-years-old, she’s had a long and decorated career as one of the most skilled women in professional wrestling. So why would Kim want to return to WWE?
Sure, she won the WWE Women’s Championship on her first night with the company, but WWE failed to build on that initial success, especially during her second run, leaving her frustrated enough to go off script and eliminate herself in a Divas Championship number one contender battle royal in 2011. WWE has since begun focusing on actual in-ring talent when it comes to its women, but it wouldn’t do Kim any favors to return to a company that had misused her in not only one, but two stints.
14. Josh Mathews (Never)
To say that Josh Mathews is doing better in Impact than he was in WWE isn’t saying much. When you take away his heel gimmick, which isn’t much more than a rehash of Michael Cole’s divisive heel run from 2010 to 2012, it’s still the same old mediocre Mathews behind the announce table. Furthermore, not a few people have observed that Mathews’ heelish on-air character isn’t too removed from what he’s like away from the camera. (Or from social media, where he lives to annoy followers and co-workers alike.)
Although recent reports have suggested that Mathews’ wife, former Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne, is trying her luck with the WWE, you shouldn’t expect her hubby to follow suit. There simply isn’t any room at the announce desk, may it be on the main roster or on NXT, and it seems like Josh Mathews is enjoying himself too much as he pisses people off as Impact’s heel announcer. Why would he want to return to a company he’s dissed so often, even if it isn’t like they’d want him back anyway?
13. Rosemary (Will See)
This was a bit of a tough call – would it be Rosemary, Allie, or Sienna as the most likely Impact Wrestling Knockout to join WWE’s roster? All three women clearly deserve better than what they’re currently getting on Impact, but if we had a choice, we’re going with the dark and ornery Rosemary as our best bet to end up in the WWE someday. For one, she has name recall, thanks to a long reign as Impact Knockouts Champion, as well as that infamous AAA match where Sexy Star went into business into herself. It also helps that she had once teamed with NXT trainer Sara Del Rey during their Shimmer days.
Rosemary’s main drawback at this point may be her age, as she turns 34 later this month, making her a bit older than most WWE and NXT women. And while some may feel that her gimmick may be a bit redundant with the presence of Nikki Cross on NXT, this writer believes that no one could make a better Sister Abigail, should WWE come to its senses and make her into a separate character, instead of Bray Wyatt’s apparent alter-ego.
12. Mayweather (Never)
Previously known in TNA as Crimson, Anthony Mayweather didn’t have the charisma or skill to justify the Goldberg-style push he was originally given. That’s why it’s a bit of a surprise to see that Impact gave him another chance under the Jeff Jarrett regime, bringing him back under his real surname, and having him team up with Wilcox (former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jax Dane) as the Veterans of War, a tag team of patriotic soldiers.
All things considered, Mayweather has done better than expected in his 2017 Impact return, and his muscular build guarantees that Vince McMahon will at least want to give him a look. But there are two things that secure his place in the “Never” side of this list. One, he’s still too charisma-challenged to come about as anything more than a generic musclehead. Two, WWE may be wary of the domestic abuse charges he faced just last year, for allegedly head butting his wife during a drunken argument.
11. Konnan (Never)
In a pro wrestling career that has spanned almost three decades, Konnan spent only about a year or so in the WWE, apparently helping create the infamous Max Moon character but leaving the company in a huff in 1992 due to a variety of reasons, including his perceived bad attitude and lack of commitment. Now 53-years-old and back in Impact Wrestling as the manager of LAX, he’s one of those grizzled vets who returned to the company during the Jeff Jarrett/GFW regime, and as we see it, he’d rather be anywhere else, even in the Impact Zone amid all the chaos, rather than give the WWE another shot.
Through the years, we’ve heard Konnan shoot hard on the WWE, making many an unsavory comment, including allegations that the company is racist and doesn’t know how to treat its employees right. Those remarks will hardly endear him to WWE’s upper brass, and since he still keeps on shooting on WWE some 25 years after he last worked for them, the feeling appears to be mutual.
10. Eddie Edwards (Will See)
Anything is possible…even Eddie Edwards getting another shot at wrestling in the WWE. The company missed out on a good thing when they passed on Edwards and Davey Richards, aka The American Wolves, after a brief NXT tryout. Both men established themselves well in the independent scene wth their time in ROH, and it would be a crying shame if WWE doesn’t extend Mr. AIP an invite to sign with the company once his Impact deal is up.
Although it would be great to see Edwards in WWE (likely on NXT first) alongside Richards, American Wolves fans might have to wait, as Richards, who is recovering from knee surgery, recently announced plans to take all of 2018 off to focus on his medical studies. Still, Edwards has been doing well for himself even without Richards (who would’ve likely ended up in the “Never” side in this list) to team with/feud with, and it won’t be surprising if he’s currently on WWE’s radar.
9. Matt Sydal (Never)
This is a bit of a tough call to make, but if you consider the plethora of younger, similarly high-flying cruiserweights WWE currently has under its employ, we won’t blame you if you agree that Matt Sydal, fka Evan Bourne, might never make it back to the WWE. There’s no doubting his talent as a veteran high-flyer, but if you take his injury history, as well as his multiple Wellness Policy violations into account, he doesn’t appear like someone WWE will be bending over to sign if he becomes a free agent.
While WWE’s Cruiserweight Division still has a lot of catching up to do, it has, at the very least, added some name recall from within, in the form of Enzo Amore and Kalisto. Sydal, who turns 35 next March, could add even more star power to the 205-and-under division, but there are countless other younger, more reliable talents to choose from.
8. Trevor Lee (Never)
The good news is that Trevor Lee is one of Impact Wrestling’s brightest young talents, together with longtime friend and teammate Andrew Everett. He’s a former protege of The Hardy Boyz who now holds Impact’s X-Division Championship, and one would think that this North Carolina native would have a chance at bolstering WWE’s cruiserweight division and having some great matches on 205 Live. (That is, if he drops a bit of weight from his listed 225 pounds.)
But then we’ve also got bad news – at a recent press conference, Lee blasted 205 Live, referring to WWE’s cruiserweight-centric show as “garbage” as he simultaneously put over Impact’s X-Division. The comments may have been made partly in character, but there’s a chance WWE saw those as fighting words, and might not be too hot on signing Lee to the company. Everett may be another story, but for the meantime, there doesn’t seem to be any place on WWE’s roster for someone who sees their cruiserweights in such a negative light.
7. Ethan Carter III (Will See)
One has to commend Ethan Carter III for not making as much noise as some of his current and former colleagues regarding the sorry state of Impact. And we can’t blame him – formerly an afterthought on the WWE roster as Derrick Bateman, he was revitalized upon signing with TNA and getting rebranded as Dixie Carter’s spoiled, arrogant nephew. Of course, Dixie is no longer in charge of Impact, but that hasn’t stopped EC3 from standing out as one of the company’s biggest stars.
But how much longer can he toil away for a company that’s perennially in a state of flux and financial trouble? WWE just might come calling when EC3’s contract is about to come up or already up, and when they do, it might be high time to give Derrick Bateman (or whatever Michael Hutter is asked to go by) another chance, even if it’s down at NXT like what we’re now seeing with Drew McIntyre.
6. Bram (Never)
As this list covers anyone who was on Impact’s roster as of November 1, 2017, Bram still qualifies in here despite his very recent release from the company. Known as Kenneth Cameron during his brief stint on NXT, English wrestler Thomas Latimer made a bigger name for himself as Bram in TNA/GFW/Impact, mostly a fixture of the company’s mid-card as a fearsome-looking heel. His release makes it possible in theory that he’d give WWE another try, but there are a couple reasons why he might not be welcomed back.
The first reason is the fact that his ex-wife is none other than former Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, and that in itself is a recipe for some awkward interactions if he, by some fluke, ends up on WWE’s main roster. The second, and far more important reason, is Bram’s previous arrest record, which includes domestic violence charges filed by the woman he dated after he split from Charlotte. WWE has strict domestic violence policies, and even if the above charges were dropped, they serve as a big red flag that’s almost sure to prevent a WWE return for the onetime Ascension member.
5. Abyss (Never)
There may have once been plans for Abyss to join the WWE and fight The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but the ship has long sailed on those plans. Now 15 years into his tenure with TNA/GFW/Impact, Chris Parks is still a key part of Impact Wrestling programming, having recently focused on his secondary persona as Joseph Park, Esq., and competed as Abyss at Bound For Glory 2017, where he beat Grado and got the English standout deported from the U.S. in storyline.
Although WWE has hired the likes of Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, and Eric Young from TNA despite the fact they were in their mid-to-late 30s at the time of hiring, we think WWE wouldn’t be too hot on signing someone who is already 44-years-old. Furthermore, why would WWE want someone who was, for a good duration of his TNA run, the company’s answer to the suddenly-resurgent Kane?
4. Eli Drake (Will See)
Had Bill DeMott still been in charge of NXT, you would have surely expected to see reigning Impact Global Champion Eli Drake in the “Never” section. He had two cups of coffee with the WWE, including one where he and a young indie standout named Jon Moxley (you probably know him better as Dean Ambrose) were fed to Big Show in a handicap match. But a logistics issue in 2008 caused Drake to fall out from WWE in a big way, jeopardizing his shot at a full-time contract and getting him blacklisted from the company.
It wasn’t too long ago when rumors swirled that WWE had interest in signing the Namer of Dummies to the company, and while those rumors have quieted down as of late, there’s a good chance Drake will still be considered when his Impact contract is up. He’s established himself as a main event talent on Impact, and who knows if third time will be the charm for Drake if he returns to WWE, presumably via NXT?
3. Bobby Lashley (Never)
Bobby Lashley had a solid run in WWE, as he enjoyed a good push and, as we’ve often mentioned, had the privilege of shaving a future U.S. President’s head at WrestleMania 23. Even at the age of 41, the returns haven’t exactly been diminishing for Lashley over at Impact, and while WWE could theoretically bring him back at that age range like they recently did with Shelton Benjamin, we don’t think it’s happening.
It doesn’t just boil down to Lashley’s great standing over at Impact as a multiple-time world champion and main event mainstay. His Impact deal also allows him the freedom to work on his mixed martial arts career, where he competes for Bellator. Sure, WWE let Brock Lesnar fight at UFC 200 and lets him show up only a handful of times a year, but Lashley simply doesn’t have that clout and drawing power. As such, he’s likely going to focus on MMA if he ever chooses to leave Impact.
2. Alberto El Patron (Never)
Don’t ever count on seeing the Pride of Mexico, Alberto Del Rio, ever return to WWE television. Now known on Impact as Alberto El Patron, and fresh off more than three months on the sidelines due to an indefinite suspension, the man is making far more headlines these days for his oftentimes scandalous relationship with Paige – it was, in fact, a loud and possibly violent altercation with Paige that got him indefinitely suspended in the first place. Far more importantly, he’s showed no hesitation in burning all possible bridges with WWE, oftentimes shooting on Triple H (or “the guy with the big nose”) while drunk out of his mind.
Furthermore, Alberto is now 40, and looking a bit past his prime. Even if he wasn’t getting into so much trouble away from Vince McMahon’s watchful eye, we don’t think WWE would show great interest in bringing him back for a third, presumably mid-card-bound run with the company.
1. James Storm (Will See)
This one should be pretty obvious, considering the rumors swirling about WWE taking interest once again in James Storm, and the fact that he just cut a farewell speech during the year’s final round of Impact Wrestling TV tapings. Fresh off a long run as a TNA Original, Storm made a cameo on NXT late in 2015, but he cited family reasons when he decided to re-sign with the company early in 2016. Still, Triple H left the doors open for Bobby Roode’s former Beer Money teammate, and it now stands to reason that Storm and the WWE would want to talk business again.
Granted, Storm is now 40-years-old, and if he joins WWE, he’ll likely debut via the NXT route. But it wouldn’t hurt to see him bolster the main roster’s mid-card scene for a year or two, allowing him to possibly wrap up his career with the world’s undisputed leader in sports entertainment, and not a perennially-troubled company like Impact.
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