When the WWE bought up their competition in WCW and ECW after winning the Monday Night Wars, it seemed like they asserted themselves as the top dog among the wrestling promotions around the world. The Independent promotions couldn’t compete with WWE’s power, but that’s when a certain Jeff Jarrett and his father decided to create their own promotion in Total Non-Stop Action (TNA). The promotion hired many ex-WCW and ECW stars who really didn’t want to go the company as well as recruiting many former WWE stars who were rejected by the company.
Before going through all the name changes, TNA hired some really top talent which helped them become a major competition to the WWE. Despite being in its early stages, but there were also some busts along the way and not every ex-WWE wrestler shined for them. There were many wrestlers who were absolute failures in WWE who were recruited by TNA, who hoped great things from them but the wrestlers couldn’t really do much for the development of the company and ended up being busts for them as well.
The recruitment of ex-WWE wrestlers has been something which TNA has been doing for years now and while some clicked for them, some wrestlers were complete failures in both WWE and TNA.
15. Buff Bagwell (then)
Buff Bagwell was a guy who was showcased quite heavily by WCW because of his physique and popularity between the female fans and that aspect of him made the WWE sign him quickly after they took-over their rivals. Bagwell even wrestled the first “WCW” match in WWE against Booker T in what turned out to be an absolute bust and after a backstage altercation, he was fired from the company months after signing for them. Bagwell went onto sign for TNA later, but only made a few appearances in 2003 and 2004. He was mostly a lower-mid carder who put the other guys over, as his popularity had long gone in WCW and he couldn’t really impress somewhere else either.
15. Buff Bagwell (now)
Bagwell actually returned to TNA in 2006, but he was mostly given small roles in a few appearances thereafter. Bagwell was mostly fighting it out on the Independent circuit where he still had some popularity and reputation, but he decided to take an intriguing change in profession. Buff decided to make good use of his “buffed up” figure and became a male escort for an organization named “Cowboys 4 Angels”. His journey was even filmed in a video as he continues to give pleasure to different kind of women to make his living but is still active in the Indy scene where he appears once in a while.
14. Orlando Jordan (then)
Orlando Jordan was quite the intriguing character back when he debuted as part of JBL’s “Cabinet” as he was the “Chief of Staff” for the then-WWE Champion and helped him using some dirty tactics. Jordan was also a stellar wrestler who won the United States Championship from John Cena with JBL’s help and went onto have a lengthy feud with Chris Benoit. But Jordan’s WWE career started to go downhill once he disbanded with JBL, as he was left to become a lower-mid carder once his initial push ended. He failed to impress as a singles guy and was released in 2006, having to wrestle in the Independent scene for some years. Jordan was later signed by TNA in 2010, where he competed as a mid-carder. Jordan eyed many championships but failed to win a single one after failing to stay up to the mark, TNA released him in 2011.
14. Orlando Jordan (now)
Jordan went back to the Independent wrestling circuit after he was released by TNA, going onto make a few appearances for NWA as well as some other low-key promotions. He is currently a prominent wrester for Australia Wrestling Entertainment(AWE) and has been going back and forth for the AWE Heavyweight Title throughout this year. Jordan is also the co-owner of WildKat Sports & Entertainment, which is a professional wrestling training center located outside of New Orleans. It also spawned its own wrestling promotion in WildKat Pro which was affiliated to the NWA, but didn’t manage to survive very long. Jordan also has another wrestling school in Melbourne, Australia where he is currently residing and is training the budding wrestlers to reach their full potential and hopefully have better careers than he did.
13. Sylvester Lefort (then)
Sylvester Lefort looked like an intriguing wrestler when he was in NXT where he teamed up with Marcus Louis, with the two forming an intimidating tag team. The two even faced the up and coming tag teams along the way but everything broke down between them after Louis had his hair cut instead of Lefort after losing a hair vs hair match against Enzo Amore. Lefort couldn’t refind himself beyond that, wrestling a few matches and even managing Billie Kay before being released by WWE. Lefort was quickly signed by TNA who reunited him with Louis as part of “The Tribunal” who climbed the tag team division in TNA and competed for the TNA Tag Team titles but failed to win it. Lefort failed to impress in TNA as well, with the company letting him go after the Tribunal failed to stay relevant.
13. Sylvester Lefort (now)
Lefort was released by TNA two days after losing a Double Strap Match against Al Snow and Mahabali Shera, but he wasn’t deterred by it as he renamed himself as “Tom LaRuffa” and headed straight into the Independent circuit. Lefort has been traveling all around the world and mostly wrestling in the European region, competing in promotions like ICW (Insane Championship Wrestling), EWP (European Wrestling Promotion) where he has refound his character. Lefort is set to compete in WCPW’s “World Cup 2017” tournament where he is in the “Rest of the World” bracket and set to compete for France as he looks to make a name for himself on the Indy scene and prove doubters wrong.
12. Sabu (then)
Sabu will always be remembered as the legendary wrestler who took ECW to new heights in the 90s, as this “extreme” wrestler was a key reason for their success. Sabu opted to join TNA after ECW folded up in 2002, where he brought back his high-flying, violent wrestling style and feuded against many of his ECW Alumni’s. While Sabu was a big name for TNA, he failed to climb to the very top of TNA and was mostly kept as a guy who put over the younger guys in TNA. He was released in 2006 and was immediately signed by the WWE, who finally got their hands on him. Sabu was made the “star” of their watered down version of ECW and despite creating some good memories, he failed to impress in WWE and was released in 2007.
12. Sabu (now)
Sabu returned to the Independent circuit after being released by WWE, as he traveled to Mexico and all over the country and was still a hot prospect in the Independent scene. He was actually called back by TNA in 2010 and became part of EV 2.0 (Extreme Version 2.0) in TNA with many of his ECW buddies to feud with some of the TNA guys. But he was released again some months later and continues to enthrall fans in the Independent scene where he kept on wrestling violent matches despite being quite old. Sabu has recently started a GoFundMe page, asking fans to donate money for some of his surgeries as this extreme maestro was quite badly used and almost ruined by both WWE and TNA.
11. Mike Knox (then)
Mike Knox may be remembered as the intimidating wrestler who appeared in WWE’s ECW back in 2006, as he debuted as the on-screen boyfriend of Kelly Kelly. Knox would be very protective of her and fought against whoever tried to eye her and he actually had an impressive physique and was a prominent mid-carder for ECW at first. But then he started to job to wrestlers and his reputation went down, as he ended up being a jobber to the stars despite being quite a powerful wrestler. Knox was released in 2010 from WWE, wrestling in the Independent scene for sometime before being signed by TNA. Knox was an enforcer for the “Aces & Eights” in TNA and later part of another stable in the Menagerie, but he couldn’t really impress enough to go over with the fans and that resulted in his release in 2015.
11. Mike Knox (now)
Knox headed to wrestle for the infamous Inoki Gerome Federation after he was released by TNA, signing on for them immediately after leaving the promotion as he lost his first match in IGF. He then went onto create his own “Anti-IGF” stable with Hideki Suzuki, Erik Hammer and Kevin Kross and wrestled as part of the stable for quite a while. Knox has been wrestling all over the country in the past few years as he has performed for low-key Independent promotions like Alpha Omega Wrestling, Western States Wrestling and others as the once promising looking big-man is now being forced to make a living by wrestling in the lower-leagues where he’s trying to build back his reputation.
10. Mr. Kennedy (then)
Mr. Kennedy looked like a star when he debuted for the WWE as this arrogant, self-centered heel who got quite a push upon arrival. He perfectly portrayed his cocky heel persona and even won the United States Championship a few months after debuting. He also won the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 23, but things started going very wrong once he lost it to Edge. WWE stopped pushing him once he was suspended for a Wellness Violation and he later became a jobber to the stars and was released in 2009. Kennedy refound himself as “Mr. Anderson” in TNA a year later, and he was kept as a main-eventer for them and even won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. But Kennedy’s lack of discipline cost him, as his stock continued to fall in the next few years and he was fired in 2016 for failing a drug test.
10. Mr. Kennedy (now)
Mr. Kennedy has fallen from grace ever since being disgraced by the way he was fired by TNA, as his reputation took a major hit after that kind of an incident. But because of his “big name”, he continues to wrestle in the Independent circuit as he has wrestled for the likes of House of Hardcore, Insane Championship Wrestling and he also debuted for Ring of Honor earlier this year when he unsuccessfully challenges Marty Scrull for his ROH World Television Championship. Kennedy is now more focused on looking after his own wrestling school called “The Academy: Professional Wrestling School” which he founded with fellow WWE alumni Daivari last year, but he wrestles regularly and Kennedy could’ve been a bigger deal had he kept his drug addiction in check.
9. Chavo Guerrero (then)
Chavo Guerrero was another promising talent who was picked by the WWE from WCW, as the nephew of the infamous Eddie Guerrero was instantly teamed up with his uncle as they formed “Los Guerreros”. The two also won the Tag Team titles together but Chavo couldn’t attain the popularity Eddie did as the two were disbanded for Eddie to be pushed as a singles star. Chavo spent the rest of his WWE career as a Cruiserweight as he mostly portrayed a conniving heel and won the Cruiserweight Title many times as well. He was released by WWE in 2011 and went onto join TNA a year later. Chavo was actually pushed during his initial TNA run, but he couldn’t stand out from the rest of the guys. He did win the TNA tag team titles with Hernandez, but failed as a singles star and was released a year later.
9. Chavo Guerrero (now)
Chavo decided to go back to his Luchador roots as he signed on with Lucha Underground in 2014 as one of their star attractions. He portrayed a heel in the promotion and put over many superstars in the process, but was initially pushed high up and was the inaugural Lucha Underground Champion as well. He left Lucha Underground for sometime after losing his title but later returned to feud with the younger stars. Guerrero later also won the Gift of the God’s Championship before having a final feud with Rey Mysterio, which saw him leave the temple for good. Guerrero still works as a producer for Lucha Underground, helping to set up shows and recruit talent and is still wrestling occasionally and despite not being that “big” in WWE or TNA, he’s still a highly respected individual.
8. Damien Sandow (then)
Damien Sandow was quite the brilliant character when he debuted in the WWE, as his “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” gimmick was quite clever. Sandow went onto win the WWE Tag Team Championship with Cody Rhodes and later also won the Money in the Bank Briefcase. But things started to go downhill for him once he failed to successfully cash in the contract and lost the match to John Cena. He went onto job to various superstars afterward before he started to portray other people. He went onto become Damien Mizdow and even won the WWE Tag Team Titles with the Miz, portraying him hilariously. But once that was over, Sandow fell off the ladder and was released in 2016. He later debuted as “Aaron Rex” for TNA and won the TNA Grand Championship, but an awful gimmick afterward ruined his reputation and he left TNA earlier this year.
8. Damien Sandow (now)
After failing to secure a successful at both TNA and WWE, Sandow has decided to take some-time off wrestling and he hasn’t wrestled ever since leaving TNA. He has stated that he has not retired from professional wrestling and will take some time-off it to work on some other things and it seems like he may be pondering on a different career. Sandow has apparently been taking acting classes, including Shakespearean acting for some-time now and has been considering a move into the film industry while not having ruled out television or acting on stage. Sandow may return to wrestling some-time later on, but he can definitely make for an entertaining actor and if anything his failed stints in WWE and TNA proves is that he’s a great entertainer, but not a proper wrestler to succeed in the big leagues of wrestling.
7. Val Venis (then)
Val Venis was the perfect character for the raunchy Attitude Era as he was the guy who wooed all the ladies when he debuted during the Attitude era with his physique and charm. Venis won the Intercontinental Championship and European Championship quickly after debuting for the WWE, later going onto change roles into being a part of “Right to Censor” and also World Tag Team Champion with Lance Storm. He later continued being part of some random teams and put over many other younger guys, as he became more of a jobber to the stars in his final years before being released by WWE in 2009. Venis later joined TNA a year later, where he wrestled the likes of Christopher Daniels and Eric Bischoff before he decided to leave TNA a few months after joining.
7. Val Venis (now)
Val stated that he wanted to wrestle for CMLL as he continued to wrestle for that promotion as well as some other wrestling promotions around the world. He became more and more sporadic in terms of appearances on the Independent scene, as he was more interested in setting up a different business for himself. Venis is actually an advocate for the legalization of marijuana as he now runs his own marijuana business “Purple Haze Lounge” which is now the “Health for Life” marijuana dispensary in Mesa, Arizona. Venis is now more interested in the “High Life” rather than working on his failed wrestling career and has embraced his love for marijuana and is trying to make sure it gets legalized all over the country.
6. Tyson Tomko (then)
Tyson Tomko had the look which could terrify a lot of wrestlers back in the day as he started off his career as the “Problem Solver” for Christian and Trish Stratus. He helped them pick up dirty wins but was later forced to go his own way as a singles wrestler as he was given a monster’s push at first, going through many wrestlers. His winning streak was broken when he lost to John Cena and he was quickly released after that. Tomko wrestled in New Japan for a few years before being recruited by TNA, where he reunited with Christian and helped him become a top star for the company. Tomko also aligned with Kurt Angle and teamed with AJ Styles, but he failed to make it as a proper singles star and was released after failing to impress the fans.
6. Tyson Tomko (now)
Tomko actually returned to WWE and TNA for second stints after being released by both of them, but he completely failed to make his mark and his return stints were rather short-lived. Tomko was then convicted of a terrible crime in 2011 when he had allegedly robbed 210 tablets of Oxycodone from a pharmacy. He threatened to hurt the pharmacist before he went to a nearby Chilli’s restaurant and allegedly consumed 178 of those pills into his system. He was arrested later on but got out on bail and was sent to a WWE sponsored rehab. Tomko has since reshaped his life and has continued his wrestling in the Independent circuit as he’s been forced to wrestle for low-key promotions as the reputed ones won’t take him but he’s now seemingly sober and trying to make a living through wrestling.
5. Marc Mero (then)
Marc Mero was actually quite the wanted wrestler back in the 90s when he wrestled for WCW before moving to WWE. He was given a decent push as a singles wrestler at first in WWE, where he won the Intercontinental Championship but failed to go over unlike his valet, Sable. While Sable would become a sensation, Mero fell down the peck and jobbed to many wrestlers and couldn’t even defeat Duane Gill for the Light Heavyweight Championship. Mero left WWE along with Sable, never returning to the company. He spent some years in the Independent scene before appearing in TNA in 2004, where he competed mostly as a tag team wrestler. He couldn’t really impress in the Tag Team scene and his inability to go over with the fans made for the end of his TNA career a year after he joined.
5. Marc Mero (now)
Mero wrestled in the Independent scene for some-time after being released by TNA, but he decided to retire from wrestling in 2006 and decide to open and operate the “Marc Mero Body Slam Training Institute” in Florida. Along with his training, he also worked on his motivational skills and decided to become a professional motivational speaker. Mero now mostly travels to different schools to motivate the children on how to enjoy life, as well as having his own Anti-Bullying campaign as he speaks on how children can stop bullying. Mero probably realized that wrestling isn’t the thing for him after failing to become big due to suffering so many injuries, as he’s taken an interesting change in the profession and is doing really well with it.
4. Johnny Stamboli (then)
Johnny Stamboli was another wrestler who chose to sign for WWE after WCW was bought by them, as he appeared during the Invasion angle but didn’t play that big of a role during it. Stamboli was later sent to developmental before returning on RAW, where he won the Hardcore Championship as well. Stamboli was later sent to Smackdown where he formed the “FBI” aka Full Blooded Italians with Nunzio and Chuck Palumbo as the three were pretty good together for a few months before Palumbo was sent to Raw. Nunzio and Stamboli continued to wrestle before the latter was released in 2004 and a few years of wrestling around the world, he joined TNA. Stamboli had an intriguing gimmick of a terrifying masked character “Relik” who impressed at first but failed to get over and Stamboli was released a year after joining TNA.
4. Johnny Stamboli (now)
After failing to impress in both WWE and TNA, Stamboli returned to the Independent scene when he signed on for Lucha Libre USA a few years after being released by TNA. He continued to portray his “Relik” gimmick in the promotion and was actually pretty impressive, even going onto win the LLUSA Heavyweight Championship some-time after debuting for the company. Stamboli hasn’t wrestled for a few years now though, as he last wrestled The Hurricane back in 2014 and has taken time off wrestling. He was part of the class-action lawsuit against WWE for incurring traumatic brain injuries last year, as he wants something off from WWE after failing to impress at the big stage over a decade back.
3. Lacey Von Erich (then)
Lacey Von Erich was the first female member of the infamous Von Erich family to step foot in wrestling, as the daughter of Fritz Von Erich was quickly signed by WWE. They put her in the FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) developmental territory where she managed Billy Kidman for a while as well as Maryse. She also wrestled the likes of Maryse, Natalya and the Bella Twins in the developmental but her lack of improvement made the WWE release her later on. She was signed by TNA a few years later when she debuted as part of The Beautiful People with Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. Lacey went onto win the TNA Knockout’s Tag Team Championship as part of the stable, but her failure to become a singles star and lack of development in her wrestling cost her TNA job as well as she was released in 2010.
3. Lacey Von Erich (now)
Lacey Von Erich decided to take a retirement from wrestling once she was released by TNA in 2010, as she was more focused on improving her personal life. Lacey decided to make a family and has had two children since her retirement from wrestling and is now mostly a stay-at home mom who looks after her children and is spending some good time with her husband. But Von Erich is pretty intent on opening her own all-female wrestling promotion along with the daughters of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper & Diamond Dallas Paige in Brooke Hogan, Ariel Piper, and Brittany Page. She has stated they intend on opening it as soon as possible and are looking into the TV options for it, as Von Erich is still trying to honor her family’s legacy by avidly trying to improve Women’s Wrestling.
2. Daivari (then)
Daivari was a wrestler who had a lot of heat on him because of his “Anti-American” gimmick back when he was managing Muhammed Hassan. Daivari would also wrestle at times as he wrestled a lot of top guys while at Hassan’s side, but his stock fell once the latter was released from WWE. Daivari later went onto manage the likes of Kurt Angle and The Great Khali but could never solidify himself as a proper singles wrestler in the WWE, being overshadowed by everyone else. He later tried to stake a claim in the Cruiserweight Division but failed and was released by WWE in 2007. A year later, he joined TNA and even won the X-Division title quickly enough but things went down from there. He lost out on many key feuds and he was “fired” from TNA after getting a pink slip in the “Feast or Fired” match.
2. Daivari (now)
Daivari returned to Ring of Honor for a few months after leaving TNA, even unsuccessfully challenging Eddie Edwards for the ROH Television Championship in a match. He continued to wrestle in the Independent circuit for years before he was recruited by Lucha Underground, where he debuted as another heel character. Daivari continued to feature in the first season of Lucha Underground as this wealthy man who hired many goons to do the dirty work for him, but he wasn’t given an opportunity in season 2. Daivari continues to wrestle in the Independent scene and has even opened a wrestling school “The Academy: School of Professional Wrestling” with Mr. Kennedy as this talented wrestler was quite unlucky to be never given an opportunity in the big leagues.
1. Matt Morgan (then)
Matt Morgan had the looks of a real star when he initially debuted in the WWE as part of their Smackdown roster. After spending years in Ohio Valley Wrestling(OVW), Morgan debuted on Smackdown and was selected to be part of Team Lesnar for the 2003 Survivor Series match against Team Angle. Morgan was later given a terrible gimmick of a stuttering-big man which completely ruined him and WWE released him later on. Morgan found back his reputation when he signed on with TNA in 2006 and was quite properly built for them. Morgan won the TNA Tag Team Belts and bulldozed through many talents at first but when it came to him in the main event, he failed to impress. Morgan was exciting but just not good enough as some of the others. He feuded with a lot of wrestlers and put over many as well before leaving TNA in 2013.
1. Matt Morgan (now)
Morgan spent some time on the Independent circuit before he was recalled by TNA in 2015 where he had a short feud with Bram before retiring from wrestling. He again returned back to TNA earlier this year where he had another short stint in the company before recently announcing his departure from the company. Even though he’s toned down on his wrestling in the past few years, Morgan has been running his own wrestling podcast since 2015 which can be found on Itunes and Youtube. In the podcast, Morgan and a panel review Monday Night Raw and all WWE pay-per-views. While he doesn’t review Smackdown Live!, he also discusses news on other wrestling promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling as Morgan seems to be done wrestling and is looking forward to a career outside the ring.
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