TNA continues to bleed talent. This festering wound of a promotion cannot seem to sustain momentum. Not too long ago, TNA was actually the talk of the wrestling world thanks to the "Final Deletion" storyline between Matt and Jeff Hardy. The pair's partnership then produced a series of excellent video packages, including "Delete or Decay" and "The Expedition of Gold." Without question, "Broken" Matt Hardy and "Brother Nero" Jeff Hardy are the most unique and creative men in pro wrestling right now.
Somehow, during their recent contract negotiations, TNA sought to curtail The Hardys' creative freedom, despite the fact that the brothers were the only reason why people were watching the program. With the departure of The Hardys, TNA has gone back to its original position as the laughingstock of North American wrestling.
Hot on the heels of The Hardys, other TNA wrestlers have decided to not re-sign with the company. Many of these wrestlers are likely to find fertile ground elsewhere. Others may simply retire. That's the point of this article--predicting where some of these wrestlers could end up.
15 The Hardys: Ring of Honor To Stay
This one is cheating. The Hardys have not only declared that they have signed with Ring of Honor, but are now the ROH Tag Team Champions. At Manhattan Mayhem VI, The Hardy Boyz showed up and defeated The Young Bucks for the titles. At that same show, Bubba Ray Dudley also made his debut for the company, thus helping to make Ring of Honor the WWE's biggest competitor in the U.S.
For months, many speculated that Matt and Jeff would sign with the WWE. This was a little foolish. After all, "Broken" Matt Hardy actually made his intentions clear at ROH's Final Battle PPV in 2016. On top of that, Vince McMahon and the WWE were never going to give The Hardys the creative freedom that they need and deserve.
14 Kurt Angle: Wrestling In WWE
Again, this one seems patently obvious. After his TNA contract expired in 2016, Kurt Angle made the rounds of the independents. He had stellar matches for Great Britain's Revolution Pro Wrestling, What Culture Pro Wrestling, and Insane Championship Wrestling, thus proving that the 48-year-old still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
When it was announced that Angle would be the first man inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame for the Class of 2017, the rumor mill started percolating. It seems likely that Angle will wrestle a few more matches for the WWE, which could really help the company's ratings. An appearance at WrestleMania seems possible, but whatever the company decides to do, most fans would love to see "The American Hero" back in a WWE ring.
13 Drew Galloway: WWE
One could argue that Drew Galloway's brief run in TNA was superior to his heavily pushed time in the WWE. In TNA, Galloway captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and had a series of great matches against Kurt Angle. Since being canned by the WWE back in 2014, Galloway has cut a successful path through the independent scene. He not only returned to glory for Scotland's Insane Championship Wrestling, but he also held the Evolve Championship for an impressive 336 days.
If WWE decides to re-sign Galloway (and they should), they will likely put him back in NXT for a while. If they don't, then Galloway could wind up on RAW as a major heel. The fact that Galloway has wrestled for Evolve and ICW, both of whom have working relationships with the WWE, means that McMahon is aware of Galloway's indie success. A WWE title reign could be in Galloway's future.
12 Jade: NXT
Jade, a former Knockouts Champion, is the latest TNA wrestler to leave the company. A former stalwart of CZW, Shimmer, and other upper echelon indies, Jade (formerly known as Mia Yim) is a well-seasoned veteran despite only being 27-years-old. At this point, most wrestlers of her caliber start thinking about long-term contracts.
NXT has recently shown that it is interested in acquiring former TNA talent. With the relatively quick turnover of talent in developmental, the WWE is likely interested in expanding its female roster. After all, Asuka's time in Florida is certainly almost up, which means that Triple H should have his eye on replacing her. Jade could fit that role given her in-ring style and her pedigree on the independents.
11 Mark Andrews: NXT
Here's a little bit of cheating again. Mark Andrews, aka "Mandrews," has already debuted in NXT. The high-flying Welshmen wowed the crowd during the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament. He is also likely to wow the crowd in Florida. While Andrews will probably never capture the NXT Championship, we will almost certainly become a fan favorite and have a series of worthwhile feuds.
From there, Andrews seems destined for the WWE's Cruiserweight division. This means that Andrews will wrestle poorly-booked matches on RAW and exciting contests on 205 Live. Considering the increasingly British character of the Cruiserweight division, Andrews could actually be the right man to bring the WWE's United Kingdom Championship to the main roster.
10 Tigre Uno: New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan has consistently shown an appreciation for Mexican wrestlers. As such, Tigre Uno, the former TNA X Division Champion, would be a perfect fit for the company. During his time in TNA, Tigre Uno was sort of an unsung hero. Although his matches tended to have several botches (a disease particular to lucha libre, apparently), they were always entertaining. Uno's 199-day reign kept the division alive during a rough spot for the perennially broke organization.
Since leaving TNA, Uno has wrestled all across the world for several different indies. Most recently, Uno made several appearances for the UK's Southside Wrestling Entertainment organization. Uno could stay in the UK, where pro wrestling is experiencing a major boom, but bigger money and fame awaits him in Japan.
9 Mr. Anderson: Revolution Pro Wrestling
It is safe to say that Mr. Anderson/Mr. Kennedy is never returning to the WWE. Due to his violations of the company's Wellness Policy, plus his many infractions with TNA over steroid use, Vince McMahon and company want nothing to do with their former United States Champion.
Similarly, Mr. Anderson would not be welcomed with open arms by Ring of Honor. This is because he would be soundly rejected by the fans, who are often vocal in their dislike of Ruthless Aggression-era wrestlers. Basically, Mr. Anderson's options are limited.
That being said, he has enjoyed some success in ICW and other organizations in the UK. Revolution Pro would love to have him, even despite the fact that his in-ring work rate has not significantly improved since the mid-2000s. These days, Mr. Anderson is mostly focused on teaching, so his retirement could be around the corner.
8 Tom LaRuffa: Ring of Honor
Pity poor Tom LaRuffa (Pictured Left). The French grappler has wrestled for both NXT and TNA, but failed to make much of a mark in either company. Despite being a ten-year veteran who trained under Lance Storm, LaRuffa has yet to get off the ground with either a likable gimmick or a sustained push.
However, if there is one company that could do a lot with him it is Ring of Honor. ROH would most likely play up LaRuffa's legitimate martial arts background and his ties to technical wizard Storm. Although it has already been done by other indie companies, LaRuffa could also play the disgruntled heel in ROH given his poor treatment in two major companies. Either way, ROH fans, who are often NXT fans too, would likely embrace LaRuffa.
7 Raquel: Some Mid-Level Indie
There's really no nice way to say this, but Raquel is damaged goods. Despite her good looks, Brazilian accent, and her background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Raquel has been forgettable since breaking in the business in 2015. Frankly, as far as her career goes, Raquel made the worst decision possible by joining the WWE's Tough Enough as a cast member on its sixth season.
For over a decade now, Tough Enough veterans have amounted to very little, with many never making the WWE developmental territory. Such was the fate of Raquel, who joined TNA briefly between 2016 and 2017. For the most part, Raquel was a manager, not an in-ring performer.
Raquel's biggest accomplishment to date was appearing on TMZ, which is plague on humanity. According to Raquel, she was legitimately assaulted during an match on the indies. While her assault was completely horrible and uncalled for, going public with this news is likely to make Raquel toxic to many bookers.
6 Marti Belle: NXT
The beautiful and talented Marti Belle would be a fine edition to the NXT roster. At just 28, Belle has a lot of years in the business in front of her, the WWE would be stupid to not snatch her up, especially given the stagnating quality of the women's division on RAW.
Prior to signing with TNA in 2014, Belle had worked with top-tier indies like Shimmer Women Athletes, Evolve, and Japan's Shine Wrestling. Basically, Belle, who never won the Knockouts title, was underutilized in TNA. This mistake could be corrected by NXT. Here's a possible idea: sign both Belle and Thea Trinidad and form either a stable or a tag team. This pair of Latino New Yorkers could be pitted against the Aussies of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce in a battle of heel duos.
5 Awesome Kong: Out of the Business
Awesome Kong, who wrestled as Kharma in the WWE, has teased her retirement before. Since quitting TNA in 2016, Kong has been sporadic in her indie appearances, thus pointing to the fact that she is weaning herself off of the industry.
If this is true (and we hope it's not), then Awesome Kong would be best remembered for her time in TNA. Especially between the years of 2007 and 2009, Kong dominated TNA as the monstrous champion who was accompanied to the ring by the niqab-wearing Raisha Saeed (Cheerleader Melissa). During this period, Kong had an excellent feud with Gail Kim, arguably the greatest female wrestler of all time.
Kong's time in the WWE was a different story altogether. There she is best known as the surprise entrant at the 2012 Royal Rumble who eliminated Michael Cole. That same year, Kong left the company for good.
4 Velvet Sky: Ring of Honor
Given her relationship with Bubba Ray Dudley, it only makes sense that Velvet Sky would follow him to Ring of Honor. While that company's Women of Honor division is not particularly well-known, there are many great wrestlers associated with it. Kelly Klein, Mandy Leon, Sumie Sakai, and others have turned WOH into an excellent offshoot of an excellent federation.
If Velvet Sky were to join WOH, then she would be the biggest name on the entire roster. Of course, the only drawback to this is that ROH currently does not provide its female wrestlers with a title to fight over. Therefore, besides competing in the ring, Velvet Sky would likely be involved in storylines centered around Bubba Ray Dudley. All in all, ROH could provide the former two-time Knockouts Champion with a comfy set-up.
3 Taryn Terrell: Out of the Business
Not many people remember Taryn Terrell's run in the WWE. Between 2008 and 2010, Terrell played on an authority figure on-screen for both the WWE's ECW brand during its dying days and for SmackDown. The most that can be said about this run is that Terrell and had great on-screen chemistry with Teddy Long.
Like many people on this list, Terrell did her best work in TNA. After joining the company in 2012, Terrell was involved in several entertaining storylines. Despite not being the best in-ring worker, Terrell not only managed to capture the TNA Knockouts title from the imposing Havok, but she held the belt for an impressive 279 days. Terrell still holds the record for the longest single reign in the history of the TNA Knockouts Championship.
These days, Terrell is a mother of two children. Since leaving the company in January 2016, Terrell has not wrestled a great deal on the indies. It is likely that Terrell is done with pro wrestling at this point.
2 Mike Bennett: NXT
This month, Mike Bennett and his wife Maria Kanellis admitted that they had agreed to not re-sign with TNA. Along with the other departures that have already taken place this year, it seems likely that TNA may be in its last days.
"The Miracle" Mike Bennett is a well-traveled grappler with stints in Ring of Honor and New Japan under his belt. At just 31, Bennett could still make a long WWE run if the company gave him a chance. This former TNA X Division Champion, ROH Tag Team Champion, and IWGP Tag Team Champion would be an appreciated edition to the NXT roster. Frankly, given that the top guys in NXT will more than likely be on the main roster by either late 2017 or early 2018, the WWE needs to start thinking about replacements now. Bennett could be a viable candidate for the NXT Championship.
1 Maria Kanellis: Out of the Business
This move would not be a surprise at all. For a while now, Kanellis has been mentioning her interest in leaving pro wrestling. Back in 2013, Kanellis earned a degree in Art, while over the years she has acted and performed music. Basically, Kanellis has other options besides pro wrestling.
If she decides to stay in the business, Kanellis would be welcomed back into the fold by the WWE. A former champion and one of the company's more popular women during the Ruthless Aggression era, Kanellis could follow the path of Mickie James and renew her status on either RAW or SmackDown. However, according to Kanellis herself, all signs point to 2017 being the year that she leaves the business.
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