We recently put together a list of 15 wrestlers who will be released on bad terms and only included WWE workers before realizing TNA needed its time in the spotlight. A much smaller company that employs a fraction of the workers Vince McMahon’s company has working for it, you’d think this list would be harder to put together. You’d be wrong. Although we appreciate the skills of several of the men and women who work for TNA (or is it called Impact Wrestling?) it has become clear that management in TNA is messed up. Known for letting many of their most talented and bankable workers slip through their fingertips, giving negative interviews about management seems to be a rite of passage for former employees.
In order to be considered for this list, all you need to be is a current employee of TNA. As a result, wrestlers, announcers, interviewers, agents, managers and even authority figures are up for grabs. On the other hand, people who’ve already stopped working for the company at the time of writing were excluded. Keep in mind; we’re not saying that we hope that these people leave the company on a bad note. Instead, we expect that eventuality it will be a strong possibility. Also, keep in mind that we didn’t take their announcements about wrestlers resigning with them into account. They have a history of announcing a wrestler has signed a multi-year deal and then making another similar announcement a few months later.
With the exception of The Hardy brothers, there is nobody in TNA today that has come close to the level of acclaim Lashley once enjoyed. A massively muscled man who looks like he was born out of Vince McMahon’s dreams, when he made his debut on WWE television everyone instantly knew that he would be given every chance to succeed. Included in one of the highest profile matches the WWE has ever put together, serving as the muscle of Donald Trump in his battle against Vinnie Mac, Lashley seemed poised for a legendary run. Surprisingly released by the company while nursing an injury, Lashley has since become a more complete worker, including improved mic skills and he has put together a pretty impressive MMA career.
A massive man who once served as a bodyguard for stars like WWE Hall of Famer Snoop Dogg, the man known as Tyrus today has had one hell of an interesting life. Signed by the WWE in 2006, he toiled in developmental presumably training hard for his eventual debut on the main roster, something that wouldn’t come for a staggering four years. Initially working with Alberto Del Rio and competing on NXT when it was a competition show, he stepped away for three months and his return was announced to be imminent on RAW. Reportedly planned to be pushed as an unbeatable monster, he instead was a “Funkasaurus” which apparently is a dancing dinosaur of some sort and was released after two years in the mid-card.
13 Gail Kim
We know what you’re thinking, future TNA Hall of Famer Gail Kim is on the list? Stick with us on this one. After an extremely lackluster run in WWE where she won the Women’s Championship on her fist night and went on a steep decline every day after, Gail Kim debuted in TNA. A company that showed no interest in treating women’s wrestling seriously at the time, Gail, with the help of some talented peers, managed to change their mind and become the inaugural Knockout Champ. Unquestionably the most decorated woman in company history, she has carried the belt for more days than anyone else and has won a bevy of other awards as well.
12 The Wolves
One of the most acclaimed tag teams in the world today, known as The Wolves, The American Wolves, or even The American Pitbulls they were the talk of the town in 2013. Two men who were former holders of the ROH World Championship in their time, they seemed capable of adding a great deal of star power and in-ring prowess to whatever company they served. Racking up five separate reigns with the tag team gold in TNA, on top of Eddie Edwards winning the X Division Championship twice, you’d think these two would be on top of the world.
11 Matt Hardy
One-half of the most talked about feud TNA has had in years if not ever, Final Deletion, with his brother Jeff, Matt has got to love the attention their utterly unique segments have received. Working in the industry for more than two decades, much of which he spent working for the biggest company in the world, Matt has one of the biggest names of anyone in TNA. A tag team specialist who has also achieved a lot of success by himself, one thing is certain about Mr. Hardy, he always gets a response of some sort.
A student of former TNA powerbroker Scott D’Amore, this talented young woman became a standout wrestler wherever she went, including Shimer, NCW, and Maximum Pro Wrestling. A former tag champ who teamed with current NXT trainer and indie legend Sara Del Rey, she signed with TNA in 2016. Introduced as the manager of the new tag team of Abyss and Crazzy Steve, she took a couple of wrestlers who were going underutilized and helped to turn them into the hottest team in the company. Also wrestling in a few matches with her fellow Decay members, she has proven that she is adept at every onscreen aspect of the business.
9 Mike Bennett
One of the most talked about wrestlers on the indie circuit at one time, Mike Bennett had managed to create a relatively large and passionate following for himself. A former performer in ROH, where he won tag gold with Matt Taven and stood victorious at the end of a Top Prospect Tournament and Honor Rumble, Mike could have continued to be a star there. Additionally known for his time in NJPW alongside his aforementioned partner and his wife Maria, he also took home tag team gold there and could have been a big star. Instead, he signed with TNA.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the content of these entries so far and have assumed that we actually want these people to lose their jobs, we don’t. We would never hope someone who is a talented worker and sacrifices their bodies for our entertainment finds themselves worrying about how they are going to pay their bills. We’re just saying that the people we’ve mentioned here, on the day they no longer work at TNA, may have their fair share of gripes. That said, we have no idea what possessed TNA to sign Raquel. A former contender in the last season of Tough Enough, she carried herself pretty poorly, seemed incapable of getting along with anyone and brought a creepy old dude to all the live events. Also mired in controversy, when she complained to TMZ about “being assaulted” in the ring, she seems like a great person to have on your roster.
7 Gregory Helms
Starting his career on the main stage with a run as part of Three Count in WCW and then Sugar Shane Helms, he had his contract bought out by WWE. Wrestling there as The Hurricane, an over the top character who believed himself to be a real-life superhero, he managed to create some fantastic television. Whether it was his feud against The Rock, his time with Mighty Molly or his attempts to chokeslam men like The Big Show, Gregory as he is known today has an incredible highlight reel.
6 Madison Rayne
Let’s just get this out of the way, Madison’s theme as a solo star may be the catchiest one we’ve heard in the history of TNA. That said, she has also had one of the most respectable runs in the history of TNA’s knockout division. A former member of The Beautiful People, she was extremely good at getting the company’s fans to hate her and her comrades, through egotistical and hypocritical behaviour. Later, breaking out on her own, we’d argue that she had the most successful run of any of her stablemates, as best evidenced by her five Knockouts Title and two Knockout Tag title runs. Equally able to illicit cheers from the crowd, there is only one woman who has held TNA’s biggest belt for women longer than her.
The only member of The Beautiful People, one of the most watched factions in TNA history, remaining in the company, Madison has become an afterthought in a division she should be a legend in. Seemingly, someone that only needs the company she works for to give her something to really give her all to in order to entertain, it is a shame TNA seems to have little interest in her. Unfortunately, someone who hasn’t been relevant in TNA for years at this point, we’re certain she’ll have lots of tales of incompetence to share once her contract ends.
5 James Storm
One of the very few “TNA Originals” who remains employed, James Storm has played a major part in every era of company history. Quickly put into a tag team with Wildcat Chris Harris, America’s Most Wanted, it was arguably the best team in TNA’s early years. Also, one-half of the supremely popular Beer Money and a member of the, unfortunately, underutilized faction Fortune, James Storm in a TNA tag team is gold. Also once a World Champion for the company, his blood feud with former partner Bobby Roode over the title was the hottest thing in the company for a time.
4 Al Snow
A wrestler who has had a pretty great run in the business despite never reaching beyond the lower mid-card, Al serves as one of TNA’s agents and onscreen managers these days. A former member of WWE’s roster who had to reinvent himself multiple times, it wasn’t until he was lent to ECW that he hit upon the gimmick that would make him a star. Coming to the ring with a mannequin head that he spoke to as if it was his best friend, nobody would have likely predicted it would soon be his calling card. Also known as the head trainer on multiple Tough Enough seasons, that experience has turned him into a sought-after figure for people wanting to break in.
At one time seen as a journeyman wrestler and the well-mannered butt of Mick Foley’s jokes, something has changed in the way Al Snow sees the business in recent years. Spitting venom at many fans of the business and figures within it these days, it seems as though anyone who doesn’t subscribe to his views on how things should work will find themselves in his crosshairs.
3 Rockstar Spud
Introduced to the world of TNA by competing in their “reality show” British Boot Camp, Spud would portray an egotistical prick on the show that he would go on to win. Given a TNA contract, he would soon start to appear on Impact and initially played a silly rock star gimmick that few fans cared about. Eventually remaking himself into the Chief of Staff, a colourful suit wearing toadie who did the bidding of Dixie Carter and her nephew, Spud quickly became the most entertaining character on TNA television. Consistently gold on the microphone or in the ring, he has been able to make us want to see him get his comeuppance and root for him passionately, depending on his alignment, ever since.
Someone who at times seems bestial on the mic and on the ring, if reports of his conduct while he is out of character are to be believed, Bram may be the person you want to cross the least on this list. Bringing to mind the temper and unpredictability of Scott Steiner, he has had several run-ins with the law during his time in the wrestling business. A former member of the NXT roster and one-half of the original iteration of The Ascension, he was released from the company after he was charged with drunk and disorderly and attacking an officer. Also accused of strangling and falsely imprisoning a woman in Florida, those charges were eventually dropped but still pretty scary.
1 Billy Corgan
Someone who achieved worldwide fame as a lead singer, guitarist, and producer for several bands, most notably The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy got into the wrestling because he loves it. Billy is the founder of a wrestling company called Resistance Pro Wrestling, which he ultimately left in 2014. Before he stepped away from that company, the groundwork he laid helped ensure it continues to this day, a feat that a lot of would-be promoters have tried and failed at.
Now a member of the TNA management team, he has lent the name he has spent nearly thirty years building to one of the most outwardly dysfunctional appearing companies around. Going so far as to reportedly buying a minority stake in the company because it appears they needed the money to pay for a TV taping, if this experiment fails he’s put a lot of eggs into this basket. Someone who went so far as to compare outspoken progressives to members of the Ku Klux Klan, Billy doesn’t seem like someone who is tight-lipped, happy to lose money or lacking in opportunities to have his voice heard.
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