The downfall of TNA is an extremely sad chapter in the history of pro wrestling. TNA showed great potential in the early days with an array of young talent hungry to make an impact in the industry. A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and many others had all the tools in the world to lead the promotion into the next stage as a relevant television product. Sadly, TNA went with a different philosophy of investing in former stars of the WWE, a failed path we're all too familiar with (WCW). Everyone views the era of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff as the biggest blow in the company, as they fell to lows they’d never recover from.
Today, TNA is in a terrible position with no momentum and fans giving up on any hopes of them turning it around. Rumors indicate that they will go out of business in the near future. Their lasting legacy will be one of various disappointments. One big problem is the company always took chances on the wrong wrestlers. They invested time and money into talents that couldn’t deliver anything noteworthy to create compelling television. These performers weren’t impressive enough to work for a company consistently failing. We’ll break down those names with the top fifteen wrestlers that weren’t good enough for TNA.
TNA had high hopes for Gunner as a future star to build the company around of. Gunner never delivered much in the ring and lacked an exciting personality. Basically, he had nothing special going for him but the powers that be loved his old school in-ring style. Gunner’s biggest push came in a feud with TNA veteran James Storm. It was meant to elevate him higher up the card as a talent to pay attention to.
14 Johnny Devine
The X-Division provided a faster pace and exciting style of wrestling for the smaller performers in the company. A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Chris Sabin and most of the other early day X-Division Champions became popular performers that provided optimism for the future of the company. One former X-Division Champion that didn’t deliver the same excitement was Johnny Devine. The thoroughly mediocre wrestler failed in the heel role as a protégé of Team 3D.
13 Erik Watts
Erik Watts had one of the most embarrassing careers in wrestling history and it is only fitting that his final moment saw him flopping in TNA. As the son of former WCW booker Bill Watts, Erik received a huge push early in his wrestling career solely due to nepotism. Fans rejected him and other wrestlers viewed him as an absolute joke. Watts failed to make an impact in the business. Most people forgot he even existed until he resurfaced in TNA many years later.
The gimmick of Rellik is widely ridiculed by many for good reason. No one bought the gimmick of a horror movie monster wrestling in 2007. The tag team of Rellik and Black Reign went on to have a shockingly embarrassing run together. Rellik wrestled in the WWE and WCW in the past with his prior gimick known as Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli. His time in the bigger companies didn’t deliver many results, but it was magical compared to his run as Rellik.
11 Jesse Godderz
TNA is often criticized for going after older talent rather than young names to build the company around. An equally important factor in their downfall was going after the wrong younger stars. TNA passed on future stars like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins on the free agent market. Instead, they invested in "performers" like Jesse Godderz. The former reality television star had a good look and some charisma, but he just didn’t have what was needed to succeed in the wrestling business.
They originally pushed him as a singles star hoping he would mature into an effective heel to move up the card. The lack of momentum saw him forced to team with Robbie E spending most of his career as half of The Bro Mans. As a comedic jobber, he was fine but delivered nothing of what TNA expected when originally signing him.
10 Jethro Holliday
Jethro Holliday is someone most don’t even remember worked for TNA because his stint there was so lackluster. Known as Trevor Murdoch during his WWE career, where he teamed with Lance Cade, he showed potential at one point with a bit of an old school wrestling style. His flaws held him back from ever improving enough to make it in the top wrestling promotion. Naturally, the next step after failing in the WWE was to head over to TNA.
The subpar wrestling career of Murdoch continued in TNA as Jethro Holliday. Fans remembered him as the glorified jobber from WWE television and he did nothing differently to change that perception. Holliday had forgettable hardcore matches against the likes of Raven and Abyss before being let go by TNA within a couple of months.
9 Lacey Von Erich
The Von Erichs are associated with wrestling excellence due to the family achieving plenty of success in Texas during the territory days. Lacey Von Erich carried on the family name as the daughter of Kerry Von Erich. Following a lackluster run in WWE developmental, TNA signed her to be a member of The Beautiful People. Lacey looked amazing and had the prototypical look wanted from female performers at the time.
The problem is that she had zero wrestling ability. Lacey looked like a fish out of water every time she had to wrestle a match. Her botches, poor timing and overall inability to grasp the wrestling business turned her into a punch line. It was especially sad because TNA’s female roster was one of the strengths for the company. Lacey set that back with her poor wrestling, managing to make everyone look bad by association.
Daivari is someone that seems like he should have accomplished more in his career but lacked the overall talent to make it happen. WWE paired him with Mohammad Hassan to play the Anti-American gimmick that actually got over with great heel heat. Hassan would get released from the company in the middle of the run, leaving Daivari to go on his own. He had a lackluster run from there, which saw him leave the WWE and quickly enter a new role in TNA.
7 Samuel Shaw
Samuel Shaw was one of the new talents signed to be a part of TNA’s youth movement. Introduced through the wacky Gut Check formula of a reality show segment, Shaw won a contract with TNA and previously worked in the OVW developmental.
TNA finally called him up with the idea of having him play a psychotic stalker character. Shaw stalked Christy Hemme for months before being exposed as the creepy heel that stood out for all the wrong reasons.
His mediocre wrestling skills didn’t help the failing character and he sunk to the point of no return. Fans mocked the poor writing of his segments and he turned into a joke rather than a legitimate heel. TNA even started writing him to be the butt of the jokes in various segments such as living at home with his mother and needing to be checked into a mental asylum.
6 Wes Brisco
TNA loved taking the chance on second generation wrestlers and one of the worst names turned out to be Wes Brisco. WWE employed the son of Gerald Brisco for many years in developmental but never made a push to bring him up to the main roster. Brisco was quite generic with nothing special standing out about him. Following his departure from WWE, TNA brought him in for a big push.
Brisco was revealed to be a member of the Aces & Eights heel faction and feuded with Kurt Angle. TNA put over Brisco in the big Lockdown 2013 cage match by having him defeat the legend in a singles bout. The win did nothing for him and fans still showed zero interest in him.
5 Rob Terry
The hiring of Rob Terry by TNA can be credited solely to his massive physique as a bodybuilder. Terry looked like a typical 80s wrestler who couldn’t move around the ring much, but would flex a lot to earn his keep. Times changed and Terry did not connect with the fans at all. His poor wrestling skills and lack of personality spelled doom from day one, but TNA truly believed they would find a way to get him over.
Terry’s best success came as a member of The British Invasion faction because he could be utilized as an enforcer while Doug Williams and Magnus did all of the wrestling. TNA gave him one big singles push following the faction ending by making Terry the Global Champion. It bombed and made management realize he’d never succeed in the company.
4 Orlando Jordan
Orlando Jordan had some slight name value from his time in the WWE. The best days of Jordan’s WWE career came as a lackey for JBL in the heel Cabinet stable. Jordan went on to win the United States Championship before dropping it and losing all relevance in the WWE. Following his release, Jordan impressed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff enough for them to have him come into TNA during the early stages of their regime.
3 Garett Bischoff
Eric Bischoff’s power in TNA led to many horrible things taking place under his regime. Many would select Bischoff as the top choice for being responsible for the most terrible decisions in TNA history. His most offensive choice featured Easy E hiring his son Garett Bischoff to be a wrestler for the company, skipping developmental or the indies unlike his peers. Garett turned on his father to side with Hulk Hogan and TNA pushed him to the moon as a future star.
TNA attempted to elevate a newcomer into the main event picture instantly by making him an undefeated monster. Of all the people in the wrestling world to take the chance on, TNA went with the inexperienced Crimson. The “Goldberg push” saw him decimate opponents in building up an undefeated streak that lasted several months. Fans turned on him due to seeing him get shoved down their throats over the better talents that were being wasted.
1 Matt Morgan
The biggest flop in TNA history given his potential and various pushes has to be Matt Morgan. TNA brought him over after a terrible WWE run. Jim Cornette was his biggest supporter and Morgan basically lost his standing in the WWE as a future star when Cornette was let go.
Now working with TNA, Cornette influenced them into signing Morgan. The athletic seven foot tall giant would receive quite a few opportunities over the course of six years.
Morgan’s biggest opportunity came when working against Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory 2009, the company’s most important PPV of the year. TNA then tried pushing him as a face on several occasions with it flopping every single time. Hulk Hogan coming to the company gave Morgan one more major chance to shine. In a feud seeing him run down Hogan backstage every week, Morgan was meant to progress into a top heel spot. Fans once again shut it down by remaining silent when he walked to the ring.
Morgan proved he wasn’t good enough for TNA and left the wrestling industry.
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