Since its inception in 2002, TNA has been the primary alternative to WWE, out of all the American-based wrestling promotions. While that isn't saying much, and it certainly can't compare to WCW in its heyday, it has at least been able to survive multiples waves in the business, and is under operation to this day under the name of Impact Wrestling.
Throughout the years, TNA/GFW/Impact Wrestling has come under fire for some terrible booking decisions, falling largely on the shoulders of owner Jeff Jarrett, who recently departed the company once again. While the creative side of the company may have been sub-par in many instances, a lot of the talent has actually been pretty impressive. TNA's roster of champions for most of their run can rival any promotion in the country in terms of sheer talent, and that has to be taken into account. If only they had the booking and general decision-making to go along with it.
So let's take a look at some of the most notable, and not-so-notable title-holders in the promotion's history. Some are still active in the business, and others have concentrated their efforts elsewhere in recent years.
Ranked below are 15 forgotten TNA champions, and what they're up to now.
Actually one of the more qualified wrestlers on the TNA roster back in 2011, Winter was a former Knockouts Champion, and raised the bar for the division with the company. Though her stint only last two years or so, it was a successful one, and she was able to add it to her long list of promotions that she's wrestled for throughout her career.
Now, Winter is back on the indie scene, wrestling for a variety of different promotions, in various regions of the country. The competition there suits her better than in TNA, and ultimately there wasn't much for her left to do once ascending to the top of the Knockouts Division. She should continue to have a solid career with her current schedule and booking situation.
14 Amazing Red
A former X-Divsion Champion, Red was actually one of the more underrated high-flyers during he early days of TNA. A prototype for many of that style that would come later, his run in TNA was a little bit sporadic, but he definitely made an impact while he was there and allowed for the emergence of the X-Divison as whole. All in all, Red made three different stints with the company, the last one ending in 2011.
Currently, Red operates a promotion and training school of his own called House Of Glory, and still actively participates in it as a wrestler. It's not a major company, but is definitely a good starting ground for young talent trying to make a name for themselves. It's a good use of Red's skills at this point in his career, and should continue to be in operation for years to come.
13 B.G. James (Road Dogg)
Other than his DX run in WWE, Road Dogg's most notable run in the business came in TNA, as a member of 3Live Kru and Voodoo Kin Mafia. Maybe it wasn't as innovative as his shenanigans and promos while in DX, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Road Dogg was a tag team champion in TNA, with Ron Killings and Konnan, during the mid-2000s.
Now, he's back in WWE, but his wrestling days are finally behind him. Though he's done some one-off appearances in the ring, he mainly works backstage for SmackDown now, and also produces the show, while working in creative. It's a nice reward for so many quality years in the business, and Road Dogg is undoubtedly qualified to hold such a position within the company that he wrestled for, for so many years.
12 Petey Williams
Williams promptly took the wrestling world by storm in the early-2000s, when he debuted the Canadian Destroyer to the world. Nobody had ever seen anything like it at the time, and though it's become a bit of a punchline in Indy wrestling circuits over the years, it's still a thing of beauty to watch when done correctly. Williams was able to capture the X-Division Title on two separate occasions in TNA.
After initially leaving, he spent some time in the American Indys, including a bit of time in ROH. He announced his retirement in 2014, only to return to the ring this August, where once again found himself in a TNA ring. There's no telling how long this comeback will last, and if it will be exclusively with TNA, but he is back for the time being after a few years away from the ring.
11 Low Ki
One of the premier high-flyers of the early-2000s, Low Ki was featured on many TNA and ROH cards in the infancy of both promotions. He won the X-Division Title a whopping five times on his way to becoming one of the most recognizable names in TNA history, over the course of multiple stints. Of course, he wrestled the world over and was successful in numerous promotions, but many fans first saw him on TNA programming.
He had made a comeback to TNA in April of this year, but as of late August he announced that he had officially left once again. Hovering now around the age of 40, there's no telling how long Low Ki may still be in consistent wrestling action. It's a safe bet that he won't be back in TNA, but a move to ROH or Japan remains a possibility, even at this stage in his career.
Sean Waltman was a staple of the company during its initial period, and he was able to capture the X-Division Title fresh off a run with WWE in 2002. The roster on the company at the time was a bit scattershot, but Waltman was able to make his impact felt for a short time. He'd stick around in some capacity for the next four years, but was never able to capture another title with TNA.
Of course, his TNA character was just a play on X-Pac from WWE, and afforded him the ability to be name-recognized immediately upon entering TNA. It may not have been a hugely prolific run, but it had its successes all the same. Waltman is now signed by WWE under their Legends program, and still makes the occasional appearance, although he's mainly retired from full-time in-ring duty.
9 Ken Shamrock
Many will forget that Shamrock was the first champion in TNA history when he captured the NWA Heavyweight Title, which was under control of the promotion when it opened in 2002. Though his run didn't last long, Shamrock still has the designation of being the first title-holder in the history of the company, which has lasted longer than many thought it would at the onset.
Of course, Shamrock has extensively been involved in the MMA world, and probably to an overall larger degree than he was as a wrestler. He was one of the first true crossover stars between the two sports, and set the tone for many fighters after him. He continues to be involved in the world of MMA, but has had numerous cancelled fights within the last few years.
8 Chris Sabin
One of TNA's most tenured stars, and a wrestler that was equally good in the singles and tag ranks, Sabin is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the company's history. He's won all three major belts in the company, and wrestled under the TNA banner for over a decade, before finally splitting in 2014. There just wasn't much left for him to do.
Now, he's making a run in ROH, and it's a good fit for his style in the ring. As one-half of The Motor City Machine Guns, they won the ROH Tag Titles this September, and it looks as if Sabin is embarking upon the next notable chapter in his career. Still well under 40, he should have time to establish an impressive resume in ROH over the next few years.
7 Kid Kash
Kash was an up-and-coming star during the early-2000s, so he was an exciting signing for TNA at the time during its inception. He started out with the company as it opened, and went on to achieve moderate success, including a run with the X-Divison and Tag Titles each. Like many others during that time, he soon moved on to other promotions, and even found his way back to TNA in 2010.
Recently, Kash has retired from the wrestling ring, and has tried to make a go of it in MMA. It hasn't really gone as planned, as he suffered an embarrassing 38-second loss in 2016 to a no-name fighter in Nashville. It's safe to say he was a better wrestling talent.
6 Ron "The Truth" Killings
One of the true marquee stars that TNA produced during their early days, Killings may have gotten his start in WWE, but he rose to prominence in TNA, winning the NWA Heavyweight Title. With a blend of charisma and athleticism that's rare in the business, Killings took TNA by storm, and became one of it's most popular wrestlers for a few years in the mid-2000s.
Now he's under contract with WWE, and has been for some time. While his career is inevitably winding down, he is still technically on the main roster at this point, even if it is in a reduced role. Killings will go down as one of the more entertaining wrestlers in the century so far, and one of the greats in TNA's early history.
5 Taylor Wilde
Sometimes, wrestlers choose to walk away entirely from the business, and never entertain the idea of coming back. After coming up short in WWE's developmental system in the late-2000s, Wilde went to TNA where she was able to climb the ranks of the Knockouts Division relatively quickly. She ended up becoming champion, and sent numerous years putting in equality matches and feuds for TNA, until she ultimately left in 2010.
And it wasn't long before Wilde left the wrestling business all together. She called it quits entirely in 2011, with the desire to pursue other things. She currently studies psychology at York University, is married, and hopes to continue her education at an even higher level. She also has a son, and has been a firefighter for the past four years. Needless to say, Wilde has taken her leave from the wrestling business in stride, and seems to be excelling on several fronts.
4 Frankie Kazarian
Kazarian was another TNA original that really made a name for himself in the early days of the company. He held the X-Division title on five separate occasions, and spent a combined decade-plus with the company over several different stints. Overall, he was one of the best cruiserweights in the world during this time, and ended up having a storybook career because of it.
Kazarian made the switch to ROH in 2014, where he remains at the moment. He's mainly excelled in the tag division, tagging with Christopher Daniels, another early-TNA superstar who made his career working for the company. Kazarian has a few years left in the business at 40-years-old, but is definitely out of his prime at this point.
Immediately becoming a fan favorite upon his debut in TNA, Homicide has remained one of the most exciting wrestlers in the world since his debut with the company early in its inception. As one-half of the LAX and as a single competitor, Homicide wrestled with a distinctive style that has led to many a classic match in his heyday.
After years of wrestling in the Indys, ROH and Dragon Gate, he returned to TNA this year with a reformed version of the LAX. Homicide isn't in his prime anymore, but he's still one of the only dependable aspects of GFW, and the entirety of modern day-TNA. The promotion may be a shell of its former self (and that's saying something) but Homicide is always a worthwhile talent.
2 Eric Young
Young started his career out as a peripheral character in Team Canada, and eventually worked his way up to being TNA Heavyweight Champion nearly a decade later. In what amounts to an underdog story in the business, Young actually became one of the more recognizable long-term wrestlers in the company over the years, despite having numerous gimmicks to go along with it.
In 2015 however, Young made the jump to the WWE ranks, and is currently in NXT trying to work his way on the main roster as the leader of the Sanity faction. The odds are against him at age 37 (turning 38 in December), and having no notable resume outside of TNA, but there could be room for him to contribute in some way. The next year or so will determine whether he's able to get a shot.
The days when Travis Tomko was still considered a viable young talent seem so long ago. And that's because they were. He did multiple stints in both WWE (with the first name Tyson) and TNA, winning the latter's tag team title with A.J. Styles. It was hardly the most momentous occasion in Styles' career, but for Tomko, his success in the business never eclipsed it. Truthfully, Tomko was an average talent at best, and wasn't deserving of much more than his lone title run in TNA.
Tomko's resurfaced on the Indie scene over the past several years, but it's really low-level stuff. He's content with getting by on his past-personas from WWE and TNA, which is all well and good, but his contributions to the business are basically nil at this point. Combined that with some legal troubles from a few years ago, and it's been quite the fall from grace for his career as a whole.
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