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10 Wrestlers That Found Success After Leaving TNA (And 10 That Didn't)

TNA has been home to many talented wrestlers over the years, but the better stars find their greatest success in other promotions. The struggles of TNA’s vision to become a viable threat to WWE have led to them falling apart. It appears they find themselves in worst shape every single year. The level of talent in the company has never the problem that caused them to go downhill. In fact, TNA management frequently wasted their best talents in favor of pushing over the hill veterans. Quite a few noteworthy wrestlers have selected to leave TNA and it paid off with massive success.

Other stars have not achieved the same breaks. The negative stories of life after TNA have seen wrestlers retire, wallow away in obscurity or crawl back to the failing company. We'll take a look at both sides of the history of wrestlers to depart TNA. Ten of the greatest stories of wrestlers to succeed immensely after leaving TNA and showing their full potential will be examined. Another ten tales of the wrestlers to fail trying to continue their career after leaving TNA will also be a part of the list. All twenty examples show how risky life can be after leaving TNA.

20 Success: Samoa Joe

via wwe.com

Samoa Joe recently won his first WWE PPV main event and is schedule to battle Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Great Balls of Fire. The current position of Joe shows just how big of a deal he has become in WWE as a viable competitor to Lesnar. Joe made the decision to leave TNA after a long run of disappointment.

19 Fail: Hernandez

via wikimedia.org

LAX was the hottest tag team act in TNA during their early days on Spike TV. The feud between LAX and the team of A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels created huge success in establishing them as the top heels in the company. Both Homicide and Hernandez had great talent but never could fulfill it. TNA hurt LAX by taking away their manager Konnan away due to an ugly split.

18 Success: Kazuchika Okada

via cagesideseats.com

TNA did not respect their younger talents enough to give them viable careers. The foreign talents also received minimal confidence to showcase their skills. Kazuchika Okada is the perfect example of both situations. New Japan sent Okada to TNA as a learning excursion in hopes of improving as a performer by wrestling top talent in the company. TNA instead turned him into a complete joke.

17 Fail: Nasty Boys

via youtube.com

Many veterans used TNA as their one last chance to get on television. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff gaining power to control the company led to the highest number of washed up wrestlers returning. The Nasty Boys tag team of Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags made their way into TNA for a feud with Team 3D (aka the Dudleyz.)

16 Success: Awesome Kong

via cagesideseats.com

The success of Awesome Kong is one of the rare stories that feature a former wrestler finding a gig in the entertainment world. Kong is one of the stars of the upcoming G.L.O.W. series on Netflix that is already getting rave reviews. We all know she is credible enough for the wrestling part of the show. Kong dominated TNA as one of the best female performers in the company.

15 Fail: Shelly Martinez

One former TNA Knockout hoping to branch out into the acting world is Shelly Martinez. The post-TNA career of Martinez has been a tough task trying to get booked consistently by relevant promotions. Shelly’s WWE career ended following the public controversy of getting into an argument with Batista. It likely blocked her from ever returning there.

14 Success: Jay Lethal

via youtube.com

Jay Lethal showed incredible potential in TNA after being signed at the young age of 20. A few big matches against the likes Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle and Ric Flair throughout his TNA career showed just how good he could be. The best wrestlers step up to the occasion when in a big match situation. Lethal also provided consistency as one of the better wrestlers in the X-Division always finding a way to stand out.

13 Fail: Elix Skipper

via cagesideseats.com

One talented X-Division star that never received the opportunities deserved of him in any promotion was Elix Skipper. The athleticism of Skipper made him one of the standout young performers in the final years of WCW as part of Team Canada. TNA showcased his talent in the Triple X stable with fellow talented performers Christopher Daniels and Low Ki.

12 Success: Taz

via youtube.com

A non-wrestler that got fed up with TNA and made a great decision to leave TNA would be Taz. The late payments annoyed Taz enough to request his release from TNA as the lead color commentator. Taz already had a radio show deal with CBS Radio that became a daily show once he left TNA. Unlike other wrestling audio shows and podcast, Taz does his show every morning similar to a normal sports radio show.

11 Fail: Petey Williams

via wikimedia.org

Petey Williams was always a very talented part of the X-Divison. The best days of Williams’ career came when he was a member of Team Canada as the dominant heel X-Division Champion feuding with A.J. Styles. Williams would get a massive pop every single week when executing the Canadian Destroyer finisher. It became the most popular move in wrestling and that helped Petey stand out.

10 Success: Xavier Woods

via prowrestling.com

Xavier Woods is someone that never really was treated with any credibility in TNA. They clearly viewed him as nothing than a secondary X-Division talent as seen by the lack of stories in his tenure. Woods wrestled under the name of Consequences Creed and achieved the most success in TNA with a tag team alongside Jay Lethal.

9 Fail: Matt Morgan

The wrestling career of Matt Morgan may have been a different story if he broke into the business during the 80s or 90s. Morgan is nearly seven feet tall and a great athlete that made him a huge prospect. Jim Cornette was Morgan’s biggest supporter bringing him to TNA after his WWE tenure ended. TNA kept Morgan around even after Cornette was gone with the hopes of pushing him into a main event role.

8 Success: Bobby Roode

via ewrestlingnews.com

Bobby Roode remained loyal to TNA for many years before realizing he had to save his career. The talent and potential of Roode was obvious from day one. TNA took quite some time before giving him the main event run as the TNA World Champion. Roode matured into the role as the top heel in the company and represented the title greatly.

7 Fail: Samuel Shaw

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Samuel Shaw was one of the young talents the company looked to build around following the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff debacle ended. The character of Shaw featured him playing a creepy stalker that would not leave Christy Hemme. It all culminated in a wacky segment showing Shaw still lived at home with his mother that also happened to be named Christy.

6 Success: Christopher Daniels

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The 47 year old Christopher Daniels has delivered a tremendous career with most of his greatest moments coming in TNA. However, TNA never gave Daniels the respect he earned with his performances helping put TNA on the map. Unlike his peers A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe, Daniels never had a TNA World Championship reign and rarely ever touched the main event scene.

5 Fail: Tomko

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Another former WWE talent to land a contract with TNA was Tomko. TNA found good use for him during his first stint by reuniting him with Christian Cage. All of Tomko’s best career moments came from being paired with Christian. The opposites of Christian’s humor and Tomko’s straight laced personality made them a perfect unit.

4 Success: Young Bucks

via espn.com

The Young Bucks provide one of the most inspirational stories of wrestlers choosing to leave a bad situation. TNA paid Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson on a per appearance rate that ended up hurting them badly. The talented tag team had a few months of impressive work on television before the company kept them home for a long time.

3 Fail: Magnus

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An extremely disappointing wrestling career would be the aftermath of Magnus leaving TNA. The talent and potential of Magnus made him stand out enough to evolve into a top player. Magnus was given the big win of being the person to defeat A.J. Styles in his final TNA match to win the TNA World Championship. Following the end of his reign and the issues of TNA starting to grow, Magnus left after his contract expired.

2 Success: A.J. Styles

via ibtimes.co.uk

The greatest success story of a wrestler leaving TNA is clearly A.J. Styles. Any educated fan would name Styles as the biggest name in TNA history due to the accomplishments and work put in by him. Styles was the first breakout star that wasn’t already established in a prior major company. TNA should have been loyal to A.J. after all the terrible storylines they booked him but instead tried to underpay him.

1 Fail: Mr. Anderson

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TNA invested way too much time and money into pushing Mr. Anderson after he was released from WWE. Anderson definitely had charisma and name value following the end of his WWE tenure, but it all went downhill during the TNA time. Unlike Kurt Angle, Christian Cage and Jeff Hardy, Anderson was a forgettable lower tier name by one or two years into his TNA time.

Anderson remained employed for many years before his release in 2016 after failing a drug test. The first post-TNA appearance of Anderson saw him curse them out at an independent show for firing him. Anderson has failed to make an impact elsewhere with his only noteworthy booking being a one-off in ROH. WWE has looked at all former talents in the same tier as Anderson for the brand split, but he has never been rumored showing just how far he's fallen.

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10 Wrestlers That Found Success After Leaving TNA (And 10 That Didn't)