Much is made of the WWE Hall of Fame, as many discuss who is in that doesn’t belong, and who is not in, but should be for one reason or another. However, there is another active wrestling company that has their own Hall of Fame. TNA Wrestling created their own Hall of Fame in 2012 and, since its creation, names like Kurt Angle, Sting, Gail Kim and Earl Hebner have been inducted. Because the Hall of Fame is so young, there have not been many inductees, but over time, provided the company continues to exist, there will be many more who will be honored to become TNA Hall of Fame inductees.
As TNA searches for viable candidates for induction, there are many past, present and future employees for whom a case for induction can be made. People like Raven, Abyss and Eddie Edwards will all have solid cases for induction into the TNA HOF, but there are many others who probably should be in, except for the fact that they currently work for other companies. There are several potential inductees who are currently employed by WWE in some capacity and each of these talents has a solid case for induction into the TNA Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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The simple truth (pun intended) about Ron Killings is that he was one of the top stars in the early days of TNA. During the time that the National Wrestling Alliance was primarily affiliated with TNA, Ron Killings became the first African-American to win the NWA World Heavyweight Title. He won his first title from Ken Shamrock and he won his second in a four-way match that also featured AJ Styles, Raven and Chris Harris.
After his singles run, Truth formed a team with Konnan and BG James (Road Dogg) known as 3 Live Kru, and the team won the NWA World Tag Titles twice. The team was one of the most popular acts in the company until their split. After the split, Truth teamed with pro football player Adam “PacMan” Jones to win what was now the TNA World Tag Titles from the team of Kurt Angle and Sting.
Ron Killings left TNA after losing the tag titles, but his stay in TNA more than qualifies him for induction into the TNA Hall of Fame.
14 Roderick Strong
The X-Division has been one of the staples of TNA Wrestling and Roderick Strong was one of the staples of the X-Division during his time in TNA. Whenever the company held one of its Gauntlet matches, Strong was always one of the top attractions in the match. Strong earned the nickname "The Messiah of the Backbreaker" due to his ability to incorporate a variety of backbreakers into his matches, which set him apart from the other X-Division stars who used primarily the high-flying styles.
Strong was chosen to wrestle TNA star A.J. Styles in the first match of the first episode of Impact Wrestling on Spike TV. Though Strong did not win any titles during his time in TNA, he was always one of the top performers in the company. Strong’s TNA career in memorable, not because of his accomplishments, but because of his performances, which were always excellent and memorable.
13 Terry Taylor
By the time that Terry Taylor arrived in TNA, he had already retired from professional wrestling and was well into his post-performer career. He originally signed on with TNA in the role of an agent and on-screen interviewer. Over time, Taylor was promoted to the role of Head of Talent Relations, a role that he held during much of TNA’s growth and one that he relinquished shortly after Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were hired by the company.
Taylor was in charge during the time when talents like A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode and James Storm became stars. It was also under his governance that talents like Kurt Angle, Sting, Mick Foley and Team 3D came to TNA and broadened their legends by having more success against a new set of challengers. Not as a wrestler, but Taylor belongs in as a contributor due to his contributions to the growth of the company. He's currently working in NXT as a trainer.
12 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash isn’t exactly a WWE employee, as Nash is signed to a Legends Deal with the company. Regardless of that, Nash is affiliated with WWE and has credentials enough to be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. There are many who believe that Nash came to TNA with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in 2010, but by the time that the two gentlemen arrived and assumed power, Nash had already won a Feast or Fired briefcase guaranteeing him a Tag Title shot (which he won with Eric Young and Scott Hall) and had already had two reigns as TNA Legends Champion.
Prior to this period, Nash had main-evented several TNA events and was instrumental in the creation of the Paparazzi Productions story line, which saw the X-Division stars begin to display separate personalities, as they were considered non-distinct, interchangeable parts prior to this. Nash was also a member of The Main Event Mafia, which helped to elevate Samoa Joe and other young TNA stars. Nash will be remembered for many underrated elements within the company’s history.
Captain Charisma went to TNA and immediately established himself as a contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Christian Cage, as he was known in TNA, held the NWA Title on two occasions and appeared in many main events during his time in TNA, including going unpinned for 23 months. Christian would be the last man to hold the NWA World Title under the TNA banner, as the NWA would discontinue doing business with them the morning of the event where Christian lost the belt to Angle. While in TNA, the Instant Classic was, at times, either the most popular or the most hated man in the company, which show his versatility as a performer.
Christian also formed the Christian Coalition with A.J. Styles and Tyson Tomko and feuded with Kurt Angle over the ability to team with Styles and Tomko, as well as the newly converted TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Christian left TNA after refusing to join The Main Event Mafia, but he left the company with more than enough on his résumé to qualify for induction into the TNA Hall of Fame.
10 T.J. Perkins
As T.J. Perkins or under the mask as Puma, Perkins did very little in TNA. However, under the Suicide mask, Perkins established himself as a top performer in TNA. After Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian relinquished the character, which was based on a character from the TNA Wrestling video game, Perkins adopted the mask and returned the character to prominence within the X-Division. Perkins, however, would not win the title until the character’s name was changed to Manik.
As Manik, in addition to the X-Division title run, Perkins was included in James Storm’s Revolution stable that feuded with Samoa Joe and Homicide. Perkins will also be remembered in TNA for being revealed as Suicide when Austin Aries stole the costume in order to win the X-Division title from Chris Sabin. Though Aries won the title, Perkins was able to establish himself as a character within TNA and was able to elevate himself.
9 Road Dogg
Road Dogg, using the name B.G. James (which is a take on his real name), was very successful while he was in TNA. James started his run as one of the founding members of Vince Russo’s Sports Entertainment Xtreme stable, before creating 3 Live Kru with Ron Killings and Konnan. Killings and James would sing/rap the entrance theme for the group and the group, under the Freebird Rule, twice won the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
James would split from and feud with the Kru upon the arrival of Kip James (formerly Billy Gunn). BG and Kip became The Voodoo Kin Mafia as they attempted to launch an inter-promotional feud with DX members Triple H and Shawn Michaels. James’ run in TNA ended with a cage match against his VKM partner Kip and James left TNA as one of the top performers in the company during his time with TNA.
When Rhino (he spelled it with an "I" in TNA) arrived in TNA, he immediately established himself as a top guy by challenging Raven, the NWA World Champion at the time. Though Rhino was not able to defeat Raven for the title, he did pick up his only NWA title by defeating Jeff Jarrett. Rhino was fortunate when Kevin Nash was forced to pull out of a scheduled title match with an injury. Rhino won a #1 contender’s gauntlet match and then took the title.
After losing the title, Rhino stayed near the top of the card throughout his time with the company. He was able to show some performance range during a feud with Daivari that was based on Daivari’s character’s political beliefs. Rhino also feuded with Jesse Neal when, as Neal’s trainer, Rhino became frustrated with Neal’s lack of progress. Rhino’s TNA career saw him also involved in story lines with The Main Event Mafia, Christian, Danny Bonaduce, and the ECW Reunion group. He has done it all in TNA and would be deserving of a Hall of Fame induction.
7 Mick Foley
In TNA, Mick Foley went from guest enforcer to part owner of the company to feuding with The Main Event Mafia within his first 90 days with the company. After a few months, Foley would cause a rift in the leadership of The Main Event Mafia by defeating Sting for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, causing Kurt Angle to question his leadership. Angle defeated Foley for the title and Foley continued to cause problems for The Mafia by defeating Kevin Nash for the TNA Legends Title.
In 2010, Mick Foley took his real-life disapproval of Hogan and Bischoff assuming power in TNA and turned it into a storyline where Foley eventually lost his job but got to shave Bischoff's hair off. Foley returned to TNA with the ECW reunion and led them into battle against Ric Flair’s Fortune stable that featured many of TNA’s young stars. Over time, Foley’s disapproval of the Hogan/Bischoff regime convinced Foley to leave the company, but not before leaving his mark as he did everywhere else he worked.
6 Booker T
Booker T arrived in TNA with a career’s worth of titles and accolades, so there wasn’t much for him to accomplish, except for the fact that he had never worked for the company. Booker will be remembered in TNA for several things that he created. Because they were paired in a storyline, Booker was able to elevate the career of Frankie Kazarian beyond his just being an X-Division star. Booker also, while using a modified version of his King Booker character from WWE, created the TNA Legends Title and was the first champion in the title’s history.
Booker was also one of the founding members of The Main Event Mafia and held the tag titles with Scott Steiner, giving Booker 15 total world tag title reigns between WCW, WWE and TNA. Booker also helped to elevate Robert Roode to the main event level through a feud between the two. Overall, Booker’s willingness to work in tag teams in TNA instead of demanding to be the World Champion or at the top of the card makes him not just a Hall of Fame talent, but a Hall of Fame person as well.
5 Bobby Roode
TNA Original Bobby Roode went from being a member of Team Canada to one of the most decorated performers in the history of TNA Wrestling. Roode ended his TNA career as an eight-time NWA/TNA World Tag Team Champion with three different partners, a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, a King of the Mountain Champion, and he also won a Tournament of Champions against the likes of Storm, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, Angle, Mr. Anderson, Austin Aries, Sting and Bully Ray. In addition to winning titles, Roode is the longest reigning TNA World Champion in the company’s history and, with James Storm, is the longest reigning Tag Champion in the company’s history.
Roode’s TNA Hall of Fame career ended with the Beer Money, Inc team of Roode and Storm holding the record for the most TNA Tag Team Championship wins ever, a record which was since tied by The Wolves team of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards.
4 Eric Young
“Showtime” Eric Young also started his career as a member of Team Canada, but Young started out as the comedy relief member of the group who was startled when the pyros went off and he was so afraid that he would be fired that a “Don’t Fire Eric” chant accompanied him to the ring at one point. From there, Young was a superhero, led the World Elite stable of foreign wrestlers, was a member of ”The Band” with Hall and Nash, and had brain damage after a fall off of the top rope during a match.
Even without considering his championship wins, Young’s ability to switch between comic babyface to mouthy heel to super hero to demented heel would be more than enough to see him inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. However, Young is one of only four Grand Slam Champions in TNA History, having won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, the X-Division Championship, the Tag Team Championships on four occasions, and the TV/Legends/Global Championship on three occasions. In addition, Young is the only male in the history of the company to hold the TNA Knockouts Tag Titles, which he did with ODB.
3 Austin Aries
“The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” had a career in TNA that held up to the claims of greatness that Austin Aries made. During the Paparazzi Productions era of the X-Division, Aries was the first to show true personality by becoming Austin Starr, a flamboyant character in the mold of Jesse Ventura or “Superstar” Billy Graham, complete with boas and sunglasses. From there, Aries went on to become a six-time X-Division Champion, with his first reign being the longest in TNA history.
Aries also held the tag titles with Dirty Heels partner Bobby Roode, but his crowning achievement was the implementation of “Option C” within the X-Division. After being given a choice by Hulk Hogan of defending the X-Division title at the Destination X PPV (Option A) or surrendering the title for a shot at the World title (Option B), Aries countered with Option C, which stipulated that every man who was X-Division Champion at Destination X time would be given the option of surrendering the title in order to challenge for the world title. Aries won the World title by exercising Option C and changed the rules within TNA forever.
2 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe started his TNA career by going unpinned for 18 months. Joe, along with Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles, competed for the X-Division Title at Unbreakable 2005 and the match was the first match in TNA history to receive a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer. Joe was also the first man in company history to hold two different titles at the same time, when he and Kurt Angle won the tag titles while Joe was already the X-Division Champion.
Joe was a five-time X-Division Champion and his Tag Team Title reign and ultimate feud with Magnus helped to establish Magnus as a top talent, which Magnus would parlay into a World Title reign of his own. All in all, throughout his Hall of Fame-worthy TNA career, Joe was always near the top of the company and was always in the hunt for whatever title he desired to chase, and he won many of them.
1 A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles was the face of TNA Wrestling from the company’s inception until he left the company to join New Japan Pro Wrestling. A.J. Styles is on this list because he is not in the TNA Hall of Fame and he 's not because he rejected the invitiation to be inducted. A.J. was the first TNA Triple Crown Champion, which he accomplished five times and the company’s first ever Grand Slam Champion, which he accomplished twice. He is also the only wrestler to have ever accomplished each of those feats more than once.
With five World Heavyweight Championships, six Tag Team Championships, six X-Division Championships (including be the first ever), and two Legends/Global Championships, A.J. Styles is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the history of TNA Wrestling. There is nothing in TNA that A.J. Styles hasn’t done and the only thing that will ultimately keep him out of the TNA Hall of Fame will be if the company goes out of business while he is still working for WWE.
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