There was once a time when the WWE would have nothing to do with TNA or Impact Wrestling. Even today, you won’t hear the WWE refer to the “other promotion” by name. But, with the popularity of NXT and the undeniable talent and popularity of some of the Impact roster, things are changing. The WWE will continually need new, fresh and experienced talent and Impact Wrestling has to be viewed as a resource.
The financially troubled competition for the WWE isn’t really the competition at all and if and when the WWE decides to raid talent from the promotion, they should have their pick, with few wrestlers not wanting the opportunity to show their stuff on wrestling’s largest stage and make the big money that comes with heading north. In the past year or two alone, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, The Hardy Boyz, Eric Young, Mickie James, Drew Macintyre, and Austin Aries have shown they have what it takes to be major WWE players. Some were once WWE Superstars making their triumphant return and others are newcomers looking to make it to the big time. Undeniably, the biggest and brightest acquisition has to be AJ Styles who is currently viewed as the WWE’s most talented in-ring performer and at one time the main attraction and poster boy of TNA and Impact Wrestling.
Of course, not everyone feels this way. For every Impact talent that should head to the WWE to test their skills or further their careers, there are talents who have no choice but to call Impact Wrestling their home. Keep reading to see who the eight wrestlers we believe should make the WWE jump and seven who will have to stay right where they are.
15. Look To Leave: Ethan Carter III
Ethan Carter III is not unfamiliar to the WWE. At one time, he’d tried his hand as an FCW and NXT talent. Known then as Derek Bateman, his tenure there was largely irrelevant. He was a good worker and had skills on the mic, but the WWE and NXT simply had nothing for him.
He made his way to Impact Wrestling as the nephew of Dixie Carter, grabbed a microphone and the rest was history. His act recently has grown stale and a jump back to the WWE could be great for both sides. He has the look, the mic skills and NXT is lacking talent in a big way with all the recent WWE callups to the main roster. He could instantly be a major player and take over for Bobby Roode as champion when the “Glorious” one gets his call-up.
14. No Choice But To Stay: Gail Kim
Gail Kim has been a back-and-forth talent in WWE and Impact Wrestling for years. Originally she left the WWE in 2004. At the time she was told that there would come a time that the WWE would love to reinvent women’s wrestling and Kim would have a spot being one of the WWE’s best female wrestlers. She went to TNA, had a successful run and returned to the WWE to take them up on their promise.
Unfortunately for Kim, the WWE hadn’t gotten themselves ready for the revolution of women’s wrestling and she was still scheduled to be a part of the eye-candy division. She hated every minute of it. She left the WWE, vowing never to return and still feels ill will towards the WWE today, often taking shots at the company publicly. It was not an amicable separation and a return does not look to be in the cards anytime soon. That’s too bad considering Kim is still one of wrestling’s most talent female performers.
13. Look To Leave: Abyss
The most iconic wrestlers of Impact Wrestling and TNA were probably AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Currently, they are two of the WWE’s biggest and future stars. If there is a third Impact star who has the potential to have the same ‘impact’ in the WWE, it’s Abyss.
Abyss is getting up there is terms of age and he’s as loyal to Impact Wrestling as anyone, but the WWE could use a performer of his varied skillsets. In fact, he turned down an offer to work opposite The Undertaker in 2006 — a potentially huge opportunity for him.
Undoubtedly, the Abyss character is probably owned and trademarked by Impact, but a hardcore performer with his size and a new monster personality in the WWE could go a long way. The WWE Universe would instantly recognize him and that formula has proven to work for the WWE over the last couple years. There’s no reason it couldn’t work again.
12. No Choice But To Stay: Josh Matthews
Josh Matthews isn’t a wrestler so to speak, but he did try out as one when he originally became part of the WWE landscape. Too small to be a performer, he found a niche in the WWE as an announcer and interviewer. He wound up carving out a successful career in that respect and was a big part of WWE programming.
In 2014, Matthews fell victim to the dreaded WWE roster cuts and was quietly released. He immediately went to Impact as one of their lead announcers. The problem for Matthews is that he has a tendency to shoot his mouth publicly. He’s gotten in hot water on a couple of occasions and this isn’t something the WWE takes lightly as a publicly traded company. The WWE already has a stable group of announcers as well and his skill set is likely no longer needed.
11. Look To Leave: Eddie Edwards
One-half of the famed Impact tag team The American Wolves, Eddie Edwards is an amazing in-ring talent. He has the eye of a lot of people and there are many who wonder what’s taking so long for Edwards to get to the WWE. Talents like Kevin Owens have called him amazing and that Owens thinks he should be in the WWE. Edwards had a tryout in the WWE once, and it’s uncertain why it didn’t work out, but today it could be very a different story.
Today Edwards is also one of Impact’s top singles performers. He has been loyal to Impact and feels that with Anthem taking over Impact Wrestling the company has a new direction. If that fails to come to pass and Impact continues to suffer, that could be the last straw for Edwards and a WWE run might be in the cards.
10. No Choice But To Stay: Aaron Rex
The former Damien Sandow had a lot of supporters when he left the WWE. In fact, many of the WWE Universe felt he didn’t get a fair shake after getting himself over in a number of ludicrous roles the WWE had placed him in. He was released and went to Impact Wrestling in a prominent role.
While he kicked started his time there with a major splash, he’s since become quite irrelevant and while he’s still listed on their active roster, just recently confirmed he thinks his time with Impact is over. He’s proved that perhaps the WWE made the right call and he’s contemplating retiring. With the way he’s gone so downhill so quickly, it would be a shock if the WWE even considered letting him return. The WWE needs talent, but not talent who can’t get themselves over in Impact Wrestling.
9. Look To Leave: Crazzy Steve
Also part of the famous faction Decay in Impact Wrestling, Crazzy Steve has a lot of supporters and seems well respected in the wrestling community. Abyss sites a lot of the success of the group to Crazzy Steve. He’s the type of performer who has proven he can reinvent himself. His act had gotten somewhat stale in Impact and in the past he’s been able to get fans back on his side. That’s a skill not a lot of workers have and something the WWE could use.
As a professional wrestler, he’s seasoned enough to be an experienced worker for the WWE. He’s also respected enough that he might get a shot when others would be overlooked. His connection to current stars and being trained by NXT star Eric Young might be just the thing that opens the door a bit. Perhaps he could be added to SAnitY?
8. No Choice But To Stay: Karen Jarrett
Karen Jarret has been a female mainstay in the wrestling business for years. Now the wife of former WWE Superstar and wrestling entrepreneur Jeff Jarrett, she’s likely influential in some of the turns in wrestling over the past few years. She along with Jeff were the founders of Global Force Wrestling and is part of the Jarrett’s return to Impact Wrestling.
For Karen Jarrett however, she isn’t much without her marriage connections. Jeff Jarrett returning to the WWE is about an unlikely as ever and she’d be part of that package. And, with Kurt Angle back in the WWE, Karen’s return seems even less likely. Karen’s attractive enough, but the WWE’s move toward the women’s revolution of wrestling leaves Karen on an island all by herself. She’s not known as a wrestler so to speak.
7. Look To Leave: Rosemary
Rosemary has created a name for herself in Impact Wrestling as part of the dominant faction Decay. She is truly the charismatic creepy queen of that promotion. Few have truly embraced their character the way that Rosemary has hers and she quickly became the star of the group. She cites Matt Hardy as an influence for being as “out there” as she has, becoming her on-screen personality. She’s also extremely loyal to Impact, which is both good and bad.
Her loyalty shows that if she were to work for the WWE, she’d likely be just as loyal. However, in the process of being loyal to Impact, she’s come down hard on the WWE. If she ever did head up north, the options for her are unlimited, including and potentially as the infamous “Sister Abigail” the WWE Universe is anxiously waiting to meet for the first time.
6. No Choice But To Stay: James Storm
At one point, James Storm would have been on our list of people who should jump to the WWE. He was a huge star for Impact Wrestling as one-half of the famous tag team Beer Money with Bobby Roode. Unfortunately for Storm, he already tried making the jump with an appearance on NXT.
While his appearance got a great reaction from the NXT crowd, his stay was short-lived as he couldn’t talk himself into making less money and went back to the Impact Zone. When wrestlers think short-term like that, it often doesn’t bode well for them in the future when it comes to trying the WWE again. Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and others had to essentially start all over in the WWE despite their experience. That tenacity paid off for them. Storm didn’t have the patience and that could be a problem.
5. Look To Leave: Trevor Lee
Trevor Lee is one of the fastest rising stars in all of professional wrestling. The 22-year-old has only been a performer for six years but in that time, he’s proven to be a quick study, won championships and defeated stars like Kevin Owens, Tommaso Ciampa and Drew Galloway. He signed with Impact Wrestling in August of 2015 and quickly became their X-Division Champion.
With the return of The Hardys to the WWE, Lee might have an inside track to life as a WWE Superstar as he was trained by Matt and Jeff. Still young, he would be an excellent get for NXT where he could develop and be groomed into a major player. With the right character, he could be a future star in the company. He could start as part of the Cruiserweight Division which could use an influx of talent, then branch out if his matches are as good as they’ve been in his short career.
4. No Choice But To Stay: Jeremy Borash
Jeremy Borash has been a mainstay in Impact Wrestling. It’s for that reason that he’s unlikely to ever be a part of the WWE. As a ring announcer and on-screen personality, he offers some unique skills to Impact who would likely miss him if he left. That said, he offers literally nothing to the WWE who has a ton of talent who could do his job.
He’s also lacking supporters behind the scenes in WWE as he’s publicly talked down about some of the items the WWE Universe has seen on television over the past year. Specifically, he made comments regarding the Final Deletion segment that involved Jeff and Matt Hardy, which also looked an awful lot like the Wyatt segment with the New Day. The WWE doesn’t take kindly to people openly bashing their product.
3. Look To Leave: Davey Richards
Davey Richards background is one that stems from MMA. He started his wrestling career in Ring of Honor (ROH) before moving to Impact Wrestling where he would team with Eddie Edwards and become one of the company’s most successful tag teams known as the American Wolves in 2008. He’s not unfamiliar with WWE Superstars as he had a great feud with Seth Rollins, then known as Tyler Black. To this day, they still keep in contact.
While Richards could be a big get by the WWE, he’s gone on record in the past stating he has no interest in being a wrestler there due to the insane WWE travel schedule. He’s not a fan of the travel which is why he left wrestling in Japan. He’s a wrestler that would look good and should make the jump, but potentially never will.
2. No Choice But To Stay: Brandi Rhodes
As long as Cody Rhodes is not in the WWE picture, Brandi Rhodes will not be in the WWE picture. She could offer her skills as an on-air personality, she could be an announcer or interviewer, even Cody’s manager as she’s wildly attractive and can talk on the mic, but they are attached at the hip. She left when he did and she’ll support his decision to stay away if he chooses to.
On her own, she also likely isn’t a talent the WWE would be interested in. Her buzz now comes from her attachment to Cody. Sometimes in the WWE, it’s not what you can offer in terms of talent, but it’s the attention you bring with you when you arrive. Brandi would be somewhere in the middle even with Cody’s return. On her own, she offers little value.
1. Look To Leave: Bobby Lashley
At one time Bobby Lashley was groomed to be the next big thing in the WWE. He had all the tools that Vince McMahon loved in his Superstars. He had the look, the athleticism, the charisma and he was legit tough. The problem was, he wasn’t strong on the mic and as such deemed expendable.
Since his departure, he’s gone on to be one of Impact Wrestlings biggest stars. He’s also carved out a name for himself on the MMA circuit. It is this legit fighting that the WWE could market. He’s still not the greatest promo worker, but like Brock Lesnar, the WWE could work around that. He’s still in great shape and that’s sometimes all the WWE needs to put some steam behind their performers.
He’s said he’s open to a return but understands why the WWE schedule makes things difficult as a family man.
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