The history of TNA is full of embarrassing and disappointing moments. Fans will remember the promotion as the biggest waste of resources and most depressing flop in recent wrestling history. TNA had the chance to create a second major promotion as an alternative to WWE. Instead, they made horrible decisions consistently and are now the laughingstock of the wrestling business. The sad part is they had a plethora of top tier talent through the years. TNA abandoned their talent by pushing the wrong people and not setting up a present or future with the young performers that clearly had something special.
Wrestlers have jumped off the sinking ship of TNA through the years with the number growing in recent years. There have been a few success stories of wrestlers making TNA look even more foolish by becoming huge stars in other promotions. However, a few other talents lacked the ability to shine outside of the protected environment of TNA. We'll look at both sides of life after TNA with the names that tried to find a new home in wrestling. These are eight noteworthy wrestlers that thrived in a major way after leaving TNA and seven that absolutely flopped.
15 Thrived: Xavier Woods
TNA employed Xavier Woods under the name of Consequences Creed for a little over two years. Creed's role saw him replace NFL star Pacman Jones in the Team Pacman match and eventually move into the X Division. Creed showed a lot of potential but TNA refused to give him a fair chance. The biggest moment of his TNA career was winning the TNA Tag Team Championship with Jay Lethal for a short reign.
14 Failed: Matt Morgan
Matt Morgan is one of the bigger disappointments in wrestling history. The near seven foot tall monster had the athleticism that other wrestlers his size lacked. Morgan failed to put it all together to become a great wrestler. TNA tried pushing him on numerous occasions with the hopes he would eventually evolve into a main event star. It never worked out and Morgan found his way out of TNA in 2015.
13 Thrived: The Young Bucks
The Young Bucks initially signed with TNA after successful stints in ROH and PWG due to wanting to take the next step in their careers. TNA introduced them with a great feud against the Motor City Machine Guns, but that was the end of their relevance. The two teams delivered classic matches, but it still wasn’t enough to convince TNA that The Young Bucks were a tag team worth investing in.
12 Failed: Homicide
Homicide was once a peer of Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Samoa Joe and many other top names in the industry during his time in Ring of Honor. His talent made him a ROH main eventer and many respected names loved his work. Terry Funk even tried to get Homicide hired by WWE for the ECW brand launch in 2006. TNA would sign him and use the wrestler as a member of LAX with Hernandez and Konnan.
11 Thrived: Christopher Daniels
TNA always took Christopher Daniels for granted. Daniels delivered classic matches, putting the X-Division on the map with A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe as the company made its way to television. Daniels' role changed through the years from singles to tag teams, from comedic characters like Curry Man to serious character based acting, and he always did his job.
10 Failed: Sonjay Dutt
The X Division wrestlers were consistently underrated and never treated with proper respect by TNA. Sonjay Dutt was one of many that never got his due for the effort and work he put into his job. TNA fired him after refusing to give him a respectable character after his days as “The Guru.” Dutt tried to find success on the independent circuit, but it has been a struggle.
9 Thrived: Bobby Roode
One of the most shocking TNA departures was Bobby Roode hitting the free agent market in 2016. Roode was a fixture in TNA from nearly the beginning of the company’s existence. Roode's road from tag act to mid-carder to World Champion to face of the brand made it seem like he would be among the rare wrestlers to never leave.
8 Failed: Low Ki
Low Ki was ahead of his time. Low Ki helped change the business along with guys like Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles by introducing a hard hitting, athletic-based style. It basically influenced the launch of TNA’s X Division and the Ring of Honor brand as a whole. Low Ki has been in and out of TNA over the years working for many different regimes.
7 Thrived: Kazuchika Okada
New Japan likes to send their young prospects to the United States as an excursion to learn and grow as a wrestler. Kazuchika Okada was sent to TNA as a part of the working relationship they used to have. TNA treated Okada with no respect, rarely showcasing him on television at all. His only relevant role was playing the Okato comedy character as a parody of The Green Hornet's sidekick.
6 Failed: Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong was the top female heel on the TNA roster during her first few years on the roster. Her size and skill made her the perfect villain for a loveable face like Gail Kim to work against. Kong and Kim delivered some of the best ratings for TNA during their feud and put the Knockouts division on the map.
5 Thrived: Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal's youth and potential made him among the top prospects in the X Division for many years. TNA would allow him to work against top names like Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett and even Ric Flair at different points. Lethal always hit a home run when put in a position to succeed. Fans supported him through the years from his own persona to his Randy Savage imitation, Black Machismo.
4 Failed: Petey Williams
Petey Williams excited fans in TNA during his run as X Division Champion. The Canadian Destroyer finisher is what made people take note of him, but his overall wrestling skills also delivered the goods. Williams couldn’t get an opportunity in a credible role on TNA television following his time as a member of Team Canada.
3 Thrived: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe was the hottest act in TNA during the 2006-2007 time period. That happened to be when the company finally started to see growth with their Spike TV deal and the signings of big names like Christian Cage, Sting and Kurt Angle. Joe still remained hugely popular, but TNA sacrificed his momentum to put the World Title on the veterans.
2 Failed: Magnus
TNA signed Magnus with no experience in wrestling due to his look and potential. There was definitely something there as Magnus learned and improved enough to become a respectable member of the roster. The biggest break of his career came when he defeated A.J. Styles to win the TNA World Championship for a chance as the top heel on the show.
1 Thrived: AJ Styles
The worst talent decision in the history of TNA has to be allowing A..J Styles to leave. Styles was the face of the company from early on, as the one homegrown talent to truly become a main event star. TNA still made a fool of him through the years and often slighted him for a quick fix of a veteran signing. Styles remained loyal until they asked him to take a drastic pay cut in 2014.
It worked out perfectly for Styles and he rejuvenated his career with a tremendous run in New Japan. Styles became the top North American star in Japan and held the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship while earning back the reputation as the best wrestler in the world. WWE realized he was too good to pass on and signed him in 2016. Styles is now one of the biggest stars in the company and the entire industry after leaving the disaster known as TNA.
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