The legacy of Impact Wrestling is not one that fans will remember fondly. Despite having some of the best wrestling talent in the world, Impact always squandered their potential by making poor decisions. The desire to compete with WWE would see them fail to ever develop their own identity. Their shows would often come off like a low rate version of WCW rather than associating something unique or special with the TNA name. Young talent like A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode were made secondary to former WWE and WCW stars until it was too late and the company didn’t have a foundation after all their efforts failed.
Many of the wrestlers to spend time in Impact Wrestling are now achieving the biggest success of their career. Some are top stars in WWE, a few have legend roles for WWE and others are wrestling in other promotions. They have done a great job putting Impact in the past and are thriving on their own. However, the history still exists of them being forced to take part in embarrassing moments in TNA. We’ll take a look at fifteen specific examples of photos of former Impact Wrestling stars that they want us to forget about.
15. Jeff Hardy’s All-Time Low Moment
Jeff Hardy is responsible for one of the worst moments in the history of the wrestling business. It is well documented that Hardy has had his issues with drug addiction throughout his career. Jeff became a top star in WWE for a short time period but it could have lasted longer like the runs of John Cena and Randy Orton if he stayed out of trouble.
Hardy’s addiction came to the forefront when he was high out of his mind before a PPV main event against Sting. Despite being in no position to compete, Jeff walked to the ring visibly under the influence. Sting had to forcefully put down Hardy with his finisher to end the match in a few minutes. Hardy was the embarrassment of the wrestling industry. This low point made him realize he needed to get clean and he is sober today.
14. Mini Nature Boy
A.J. Styles is without a doubt the greatest star in TNA history due to all the work he put in. The fans to give TNA a chance fell in love with Styles as a new star to build around. Most of the greatest matches in TNA history will feature Styles in some form. However, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff didn’t believe Styles had what was needed to become a true star for a thriving company.
The new regime of Hogan and Bischoff started 2010 by having Ric Flair become the new mentor and manager of Styles. This could have been a good idea in theory, but they wanted A.J. to start dressing like Flair in the most ridiculous of ways. Styles wore the flashy robes, added blonde highlights to hair and started walking with models to the ring. This picture sums it up best as A.J. has gone on record that it was one of the worst times of his career despite loving working with Flair.
13. Samoa Joe Gets Face Paint and a Knife
Samoa Joe is another incredible wrestler to see most of his prime years wasted in Impact Wrestling. The talent of Joe was obvious from day one as he was the most popular act for the promotion during his early years. TNA continued to wait and made him the champion a bit later than most would have pulled the trigger on his momentum. Joe still did a good job representing the company until they pulled the rug from under him.
We would see Joe involved in secondary angles and pointless storylines for many years. The low point came when he was abducted by ninjas and placed into the back of a car. Joe returned with the confusing look of random face paint on the side of his face. It seemed like TNA tried to make him look more like WWE’s Umaga. They also gave him a giant knife, because why not?
12. Hulk Hogan’s Last Match
Hulk Hogan joining Impact Wrestling was a huge move that Dixie Carter hoped would allow them to compete with WWE on the national stage. The move was a disaster that caused TNA to start bleeding money. Hogan’s backstage decisions made life difficult for a lot of the young talent being held down similar to how things went in WCW.
One of Hogan’s biggest decisions saw him wrestle a big singles match at Bound for Glory 2011 in a singles match against Sting. Hogan could barely walk at full speed after many back surgeries, but he managed to wrestle the match. This ended up being the final singles match and the final televised match of Hogan’s career. Hogan has to regret having the last match of his legendary career ending in such an embarrassing manner.
11. Scott Hall’s Worst Days
Another poor decision by Hulk Hogan saw him convince Impact Wrestling to try to compete head-to-head against WWE on Monday Nights. Hogan and Eric Bischoff strongly believed starting the Monday Night Wars again would be what made TNA a legitimate contender to WWE. Many 90s stars joined the company due to Hogan believing it would lead to ratings success.
Scott Hall and Sean Waltman both returned in their older ages to form a faction with Kevin Nash again. Instead of bringing in viewers, it made those watching embarrassed to see their former favorites in such poor shape. Hall wrestling in his gear was a tough sight to see every week. This was back when he was still battling his drug and alcohol addictions. Hall definitely regrets this chapter of his career existing in picture form.
10. Matt Hardy Wishes He Was Broken
Matt Hardy reinvented his career in Impact Wrestling a few years ago with the genius “Broken” character. However, he had a prior stint with TNA during the regime of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. This time period with Impact was arguably the lowest point of his career. Matt was struggling to find a happy place in life by continuing to use various substances.
The picture shown here features his most embarrassing look of dreadlocks and a stomach that shows him out of shape. Hardy was losing it outside of the ring at this point teasing suicide as a part of his marketing plan along with other cryptic videos that made fans wonder what was going on. Matt cleaned his life up shortly after this and became a success story with the “Broken” character success giving him enough momentum to return to WWE.
9. Ric Flair Tarnishes His Legacy
WWE gave Ric Flair the best possible sendoff you’ll find in the history of wrestling. Flair was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the night before his final WWE match at WrestleMania XXIV. This match ended up being a classic against his close friend Shawn Michaels in a beautiful story. All of Flair’s best friends showed up the following night to celebrate him in the ring for an emotional moment.
Flair was talked into returning to the ring by Hulk Hogan as both legends needed the money after many poor decisions. Impact Wrestling brought Flair in as a manager, but he started wrestling again at the age of 61. The matches were quite embarrassing as Flair showed his age in the standard match. To make up for it, Flair often bladed to have blood in all of his big matches in TNA. Flair can’t be proud of his final matches featuring him bleeding buckets at his old age in an Impact Wrestling ring.
8. Xavier Woods’ Old Days
Xavier Woods is one WWE star that crossed over from Impact Wrestling with a clean slate. The use of Woods in TNA was forgettable as he never rose above the X-Division and Tag Team Divisions. Woods went by the name of Consequences Creed. TNA brought him in to replace NFL player Pacman Jones for a match at a big PPV when the NFL contract of Jones prevented him from wrestling.
Creed teamed with R-Truth as Jones served as their manager. The look of Creed saw him play a version of Apollo Creed’s character from Rocky. This was definitely not the best of gimmick choice for a wrestler wanting to move up the card. A disappointing Impact tenure ended and he received a developmental contract for WWE shortly after. It all worked out for the best as Woods is now a huge star for WWE in New Day.
7. Disrespecting A Future Legend
Kazuchika Okada is currently the top guy in New Japan as their growth reaches new highs internationally. The matches and star power of Okada is leading NJPW to things that weren’t attainable years ago. New Japan saw the potential of Okada and sent him to the United States for a learning excursion as they do with many young talents.
Impact Wrestling had a working relationship with NJPW that landed them Okada. They did absolutely nothing of note with Okada often placing him in dark matches most weeks. Vince Russo came up with the awful idea to change his name to Okato and have him play the Green Hornet sidekick Kato shortly after the movie was released. New Japan broke all ties with Impact Wrestling due to this and we now see who is in better shape today.
6. Kurt Angle Wrestles The Man That Ruined His Marriage
The signing of Kurt Angle was one of the biggest moves in Impact Wrestling history. It helped them get more opportunities from Spike TV and branch out into other media platforms. Angle actually spent more years with TNA than he did with WWE and had a slate of classic matches added to his legendary career. However, the one major negative to come from it was a messy divorce.
Kurt brought his wife Karen into the company as an on-screen character. Karen actually did rather well as a heel character, but things turned into a mess behind the scenes. Jeff Jarrett and Karen began having an affair behind Kurt’s back leading to the divorce. TNA decided to make this an angle for television with Kurt wrestling Jeff a few years after the drama. Kurt reportedly hated this idea but went with it for business.
5. Jay Lethal’s Past Life
Jay Lethal is currently one of the biggest Ring of Honor stars helping the company grow. The nickname of Lethal is “The Franchise” for the promotion as arguably the most successful established main eventer known for his in-ring excellence. Lethal however spent many years in Impact Wrestling before the current stint with ROH.
Despite showing great potential at a young age, Lethal rarely received any noteworthy pushes outside of the X-Division. Even in the X-Division, Lethal wouldn’t get treated with respect by management unless playing the comedic Black Machismo character. Jay used his perfect impression of Randy Savage as his full-time character. It was highly entertaining but clearly would never get him elevated. Now that Lethal is a top star for a credible promotion, he is hoping fans forget all about the Black Machismo era.
4. A.J. Styles Meets Claire Lynch
Impact Wrestling took A.J. Styles for granted consistently throughout his career with the inception of various storylines that made him look like a fool. Styles revealed his least favorite storyline in shoot interviews after leaving TNA and it was the Claire Lynch drama. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian took their rivalry with Styles to the next level by accusing him of having an affair with Lynch.
The bookers in Impact somehow believed that Styles being accused of cheating on his wife with a random woman that fans had no knowledge of would be a fascinating storyline. Instead, it created some of the worst segments in wrestling history and hurt A.J.’s name value. This was the time period where fans started wondering if Styles would be better off without TNA.
3. Young Bucks Backup Dancers?
The Young Bucks are arguably the top tag team in the wrestling industry today. Matt and Nick Jackson have become massive stars for Ring of Honor and New Japan as they represent the Bullet Club. The tag team is beloved enough to have the hottest selling shirts on Hot Topic’s website that also sells Marvel, DC, WWE and countless other top brands.
Matt and Nick saw their careers change for the better when making the decision to walk away from Impact Wrestling many years ago. Both guys were being wasted struggling to get any television time. One of the final storylines for the Bucks as their Generation Me team saw them playing the backup dancers to Tara as she parodied Mickie James singing career. The writing was on the wall and the Young Bucks are now major stars as TNA is a dying promotion.
2. Joker Sting
The career of Sting is over now, but he finally got the recognition he deserved from WWE. Sting wrestled a few matches for WWE and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his WCW work. However, fans wish he joined WWE many years earlier to have dream matches with The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and countless others.
Sting spent the majority of his career in Impact Wrestling after WCW died. The fear of WWE using him poorly saw him serve as one of the faces of TNA for quite some time. Sting’s time with TNA was standard as he used his name value to help. The one embarrassing time period was when he played a version of Batman villain The Joker. While entertaining for humorous purposes, Sting definitely doesn’t want fans thinking of that when it comes to his legacy.
1. More Embarrassment For A.J.
Impact Wrestling seemed to love putting A.J. Styles in humiliating moments since this is the third time he is on the list. Styles was removed from being a fixture in the main event picture when former WWE stars like Christian Cage and Kurt Angle joined the promotion. In fact, Styles often played a comedic sidekick to both men at different times showing just how TNA viewed their top homegrown wrestlers.
This comedic stint saw him have a noteworthy embarrassing moment on Thanksgiving one year. Styles lost the first ever Turkey Bowl and was forced to endure the punishment of wearing a turkey suit. Everyone laughed at him as if he were a lower tier comedic act. If you needed any more reasons as to why Impact in such a bad state today, just realize that they had the best wrestler in the world dressing as a turkey for comedic holiday themes.
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