The state of TNA Wrestling is still in absolute disarray. Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins was a part of the creative team and tried to gain control of the company. Dixie Carter refused to give him control, so Corgan is now out of the company. Anthem Sports & Entertainment has 85% of ownership over TNA with Aroluxe Marketing and Carter owning the rest of the company. Wrestlers have no certainty surrounding their futures and 2017 is not being met with optimism. Many are looking for plans outside of the company with the hopes of greener pastures and more stability out there.
A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode finding success in the WWE makes that an option with the company in need of finding enough talent for the brand split and NXT. Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal are huge parts of the ROH roster, as the international independent scene is booming. There are plenty of places to work and make a living these days. Wrestlers leaving TNA can bet on themselves to make a better future without the stress of worrying about their company no longer existing any given day. We’ll look at some of the wrestlers that have either been rumored to or will be looking to abandon TNA’s sinking ship.
15 Drew Galloway
Drew Galloway has been on fire since he left the WWE. Galloway is a huge star on the independent scene with work in PWG, Evolve and ICW. His TNA run has been his crowning moment with the wrestler winning the TNA World Championship. Galloway’s stock is higher than ever with an amazing track record as a top star outside of the WWE landscape.
14 Brandi Rhodes
Brandi Rhodes joined TNA towards the end of 2016, following her WWE departure. The beautiful talent never had the opportunity to wrestle or develop a personality on WWE television aside from playing a standard ring announcer. Brandi showed optimism leaving the WWE in hopes of becoming a wrestler, similar to her husband Cody Rhodes.
13 Davey Richards
We have not seen Davey Richards on TNA television in quite some time following various injuries ruling him out for almost a year. Richards has been cleared and recently wrestled on a couple of independent shows. Richards has been flirting with retirement since 2010. Richards works as a paramedic outside of the squared circle and it won’t be too long until he officially retires from wrestling and pursues his other occupation regularly.
One of the brightest stars for TNA in 2016 has been Jade. The latest addition to the Knockouts Division completely freshened up the class with impressive performances against Sienna, Gail Kim and Rosemary. Jade has been a noteworthy performer on the independent wrestling scene for many years. TNA doesn’t deliver many great things for wrestling these days, but Jade getting to shine on national television is a positive sign.
11 Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes has not appeared on TNA television in many weeks, but is still listed on the official TNA roster. TNA has hopes of bringing him back into the fold as one of the biggest names on the free agent market today. The recent news of Rhodes making his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut as a member of the Bullet Club at Wrestle Kingdom is a game changer.
Moose leaving Ring of Honor as a free agent to sign with TNA looked like a good idea at the time. Moose became a top player in TNA quickly and was involved in matches with main event stars Ethan Carter III, Lashley and Mike Bennett. However, things getting progressively worse for TNA financially has added less certainty for his future with the company.
Despite a lack of television time, Tyrus is still a member of the TNA roster. The former Brodus Clay achieved success in TNA as the bodyguard of Ethan Carter III. However, Carter becoming a face left Tyrus with less purpose. TNA has not been able to find a suitable role for him, following the end of his relationship with EC3.
8 Maria Kanellis
Maria Kanellis has been one of the most heavily focused characters of the year on TNA television. Following her departure from ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Maria signed a big contract to be one of the biggest characters on the show. Kanellis has cut promos on every show with frequently two-to-three noteworthy storylines going on with her role in the Knockouts Division and managing her husband Mike Bennett.
7 Mike Bennett
Along with wife Maria Kanellis, Mike Bennett joined TNA at the beginning of the year with huge expectations. Bennett has been a main event heel for most of the year, but has started to tread water in a lower tier feud with Braxton Sutter. An interesting tweet from Bennett saw him unhappy when news broke that Billy Corgan was out of the company and Dixie Carter was still holding power.
6 DJ Z
One of the longer tenured wrestlers in TNA to break out in 2016 was DJ Z. Formerly known as Zema Ion, DJ Z finally received an opportunity to showcase his in-ring skills as a singles star. His years of work in The BroMans stable made him look like a joke, but DJ Z reminded us that he is an incredible wrestler as arguably the top star in the X-Division.
5 Dixie Carter
The only person currently in TNA that you can critically blame for the current state of the company is Dixie Carter. She is still a minority owner and the CSO of TNA right now. Sadly, Dixie positions herself as the face of the company behind the scenes, similar to Stephanie McMahon. Unlike Stephanie, Dixie’s company has been associated with failure due to her poor decisions.
4 Eddie Edwards
The shocking title change of Eddie Edwards defeating Lashley to become the TNA World Champion should have been a huge moment. Edwards is one of the most talented and hardest working wrestlers in the company. We witnessed him slay the unbeatable monster Lashley to capture the biggest prize in TNA. The sad truth about his title win is the fact that most people don't even know it happened.
3 Gail Kim
Gail Kim has remained insistent on staying loyal to TNA and never going back to the WWE. Things change in wrestling and Gail's body of work could lead her to a great opportunity elsewhere. The women’s revolution in the WWE along with the brand split has made the need for credible female wrestlers more important than ever.
2 Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy's star power is still there as one of the most popular names outside of the WWE. Fans still support Hardy based off his superb work in the WWE over the years. Jeff left the big company at the height of his popularity as a main eventer. The current landscape of the WWE with the brand split in play can only benefit him into getting a great contract offer.
1 Matt Hardy
Along with his brother Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy is hitting the free agent scene with his value higher than ever. 2016 saw him reinvent his career with the inception of the Broken Matt character. Fans have never viewed Matt as a bigger singles star than he is currently is today. Triple H has been rumored to have strong interest in bringing Hardy back to the WWE when his TNA contract ends.
Matt has been vocal about his desire to test the market. TNA is his main priority, but he wants more control and a huge contract. Neither of those appears to be a likely scenario. WWE aggressively pursuing the free agent market in 2017 means Matt has to be one of the top names on their list. The table is set for Broken Matt to make his way back to the WWE for what promises to become must-see television.
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