Over its existence, TNA has learned the hard truth of the wrestling business in that you never truly know who’s going to be a star or not. They’ve given minor attention to some stars only to have them break out huge like Gail Kim, Bobby Roode and others. They’ve also made the huge mistake of pushing long-past their prime WWE guys to main event programs which has made the company suffer a lot. Even as they’re trying to survive amid the WWE-AEW battle, TNA has been trying to figure out the way to make the right person work as a star like Brian Cage has.
Notable is how over the years, TNA has been absolutely blatant giving pushes to people who they thought for sure would be A-list stars. A few were former WWE folks while others were actually home grown. In each case, despite the work, these people never clicked as A-listers. Some just weren’t suited for the role, others suffered bad turns and just the plain fact fans didn’t take to them as TNA wanted. Here are 10 disappointing cases of wrestlers TNA thought would be A-listers but just hurt the company more.
10 Matt Morgan
Both WWE and TNA tried and failed to make this guy something big. His WWE stint was short-lived and not given much serious time as he had a great look but raw in the ring. TNA thought he would be better after a couple of years and so brought him on first as Jim Cornette’s bodyguard then a singles star. He was put in constant feuds and partnerships with Abyss, Fortune and a wild bit where he won the tag titles totally on his own. Despite all that, fans just never got behind the guy as TNA wanted them to. He eventually left the company to show that all the company push in the world can’t make up for the fans not liking the guy.
9 Ken Anderson
It takes a lot to be called “major disappointment” when you have two world titles but somehow, Ken Anderson managed to do it. His time in WWE as Mr. Kenney had him pushed several times with plans for main event stardom but almost every time it was to happen, Kennedy was hit by an injury or suspension to ruin it. In TNA, he was pushed right out the gate as Mr. Anderson and did have reigns as World champion. But he seemed to expose his weaknesses and how he really wasn’t set for that level. His career faded more with bad stuff like time with Aces & Eights and he transformed into a worse worker. It’s sad to see a guy with so much potential for stardom fail to live up to it.
8 Lacey Von Erich
While the Von Erich name is sadly more famous for the litany of tragedies they’ve suffered, they still have power in the wrestling world. Thus, TNA expected Lacey to live up to the legacy of father Kevin and others. She was brought into TNA and given a push right off the bat by joining with the Beautiful People. She was a Knockouts Tag champ with the ironic sight of a Von Erich using the “Freebird Rule” hold the belts with her two partners.
However, Lacey was soon mocked for her litany of mistakes in the ring and often botching simple moves. A laughable bit is how TNA tried to have her be the trainer for Brooke Tessmacher only for Brooke to turn into a better worker than Lacey ever was. Without any warning, Lacey left TNA after a year to show being given a job on one’s name doesn’t always work out.
7 Aron Rex
For several years, Damien Sandow had been rising up in WWE. His great skills were marked with fun character turns like his “Intellectual savior” gimmick and his genius work as the “stunt double” for the Miz.
Many thought he deserved more of a main event run and agreed when he left the company over not being handled right. TNA figured Sandow would be terrific and were ready for him to take off as Aron Rex. Sadly, Sandow was a massive disappointment as his character never worked in TNA and got worse when he tried to be a Liberace-inspired character. In less than a year he was out of both TNA and wrestling itself to show not every ex-WWE guy works out in TNA.
Leave it to TNA to think a name like that was perfect for a mega-star fans could love. In 2008, TNA got their own video game which included a brand-new character to play as called Suicide. Ignoring how the game was a bug-filled flop that helped put Midway out of business, TNA tried to introduce Suicide as a real character. Over the years, he would be played by Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Kiyoshi and Austin Aries. Despite all those talented guys, Suicide never clicked as it was hard for fans to get behind a masked character like this. He had two reigns as X division champion under Daniels and Aries, neither of which went anywhere. This attempt at cross-promotion with the game just led to a bad turn by TNA.
In the annals of “instant flop characters,” Trytan is one of the biggest. For months in 2005, videos were shown of a guy in Terminator like glasses and jacket and a weird symbol and talk of him being a huge star.
He was pushed more in these weird appearances trying to psych out Monty Brown and they were set to face off at Destination X. It took about a minute for it to become clear that Trytan had no actual in-ring talent beyond his look and the match ruined by the lights going out and a masked guy attacking Brown. Trytan vanished almost immediately afterward to make all that build for one appearance weird even by TNA standards.
4 Taylor Wilde
For a time, the Knockouts Division was far better than WWE’s own women’s division. Awesome Kong was dominating as champion and offering challenges for not just her title but $25,000 to boot. Taylor Wilde was given a shot, seemingly over her head but ending up upsetting Kong for the belt and the cash. TNA intended to push Wilde as a loveable underdog champion but, while talented, she just didn’t connect to fans long-term. Her title reign was over in months and she slumped down the card with just a couple of flashes here and there. She became famous for the story of quitting her part-time job at the Sunglasses Hut when a customer recognized her from TNA and retired in 2011 to make a let-down after her big win.
3 Consequences Creed
Consequences Creed came into TNA to take the place of Pacman Jones when TNA finally realized signing on a NFL player contractually prohibited from actually wrestling was a bad idea. It was obvious his entire character was based on Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed from Rocky and he did look fun in the outfits. He was given pushes in the X Division and winning the tag titles with Jay Lethal.
But Creed was soon lost in the mess of TNA at the time and his attempts to break out in the X Division were ignored. Jumping to WWE, Creed became Xavier Woods and not much expected when he was thrown together with Kofi Kingston and Big E. Today, of course, the New Day are one of the biggest acts in WWE to prove how TNA missed the boat with Creed.
TNA really tried to sell this guy as something huge. Debuting in 2010, Crimson was given a 470-day winning streak and TNA seemed to think fans could love him as this unstoppable monster. The problem was, Crimson was just bad in the ring and didn’t win fans over at all. It was obvious he didn’t deserve getting this huge streak as TNA had a lot of talented guys being ignored just so they could push Crimson. He and Matt Morgan won the tag titles but Crimson was never the main event presence TNA expected him to be. Even further training in OVW couldn’t help him out. He left in 2017 and was a waste of a huge push by the company.
1 Monty Brown
The shame of Monty Brown is that TNA really had something in the guy. A former NFL player, Brown took to wrestling well and was rising up in TNA. His great presence, mic work and “Pounce” finisher clicked with fans and he got a few shots at the NWA title. It looked for all the world like Brown was going to be the home-grown star TNA wanted. Then, for reasons no one could understand, TNA suddenly turned Brown heel without warning. It completely ruined his drive and he slumped down the rankings of the company. Brown never recovered from this horrible turn and was out of TNA by 2007 to make this a horrible case of TNA cutting the legs off a guy who could have been a star.