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.
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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.
No one viewed him as credible as the other stars in TNA. The downfall of Gunner saw him move from his position on the upward swing into lower tier feuds. Gunner worked one of the worst feuds in the promotion’s history against Samuel Shaw. The writing was on the wall and Gunner chose to leave TNA in hopes of turning his career around. Unlike the other more talented stars to thrive outside of TNA, Gunner’s career has gone even further downhill with nothing going his way.
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.
Devine wallowed in obscurity for a few more months losing television time by the week. There was nothing particularly bad about Devine as a wrestler, but he just lacked the skills to be considered a special performer. The X-Division needed the wrestlers to perform at a very high level and Devine wasn’t right for the job. TNA eventually cut bait with him, which saw Devine hit the free agent market. Devine struggled to get booking elsewhere and hasn't been seen much since.
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.
During the Fox Sports era of TNA, Watts made his appearance in a feud involving Diamond Dallas Page and Raven. Naturally, TNA would put a bust no one cares about in an angle with two of the more popular performers in the company. Watts still stunk and had a terrible run in TNA before the company finally and mercifully realized he didn’t belong. TNA let Watts go and it was his final chance to wrestle on national television.
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.
TNA wanted to go for a serious and terrifying heel with Rellik, but it turned into a complete joke. Character issues aside, the wrestling skills of Stamboli left a lot to be desired as well, as his glaring weaknesses stood out against some of the better wrestlers in the company. Rellik flopped in every aspect possible and TNA let him go. Many wonder if he would have done better without the mask, but he just wasn’t even good enough for TNA at the end of the day.
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.
Godderz is still in TNA and will hold the reputation of being someone not good enough for the secondary promotion.
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.
The cold reality of not being good enough for TNA saw him go back to the independent wrestling scene and he's since gone under the radar, working for smaller promotions.
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.
TNA eventually let her go and she chose to leave the wrestling business, a decision that was best for everyone.
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.
TNA went with the lazy route of Daivari having another anti-American gimmick as Sheik Abdul Bashir. In the X-Division, Bashir failed to make waves and just slowed down the exciting matches. Despite being of a smaller stature, Bashir didn’t work a faster style and actually wrestled through a more traditional method. The terrible fit in the X Division saw him move into other feuds with the likes of Rhyno. Nothing ever clicked for him and he couldn’t thrive in TNA, leading to his release.
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.
Shaw faded away and decided to leave the company in pursuit of other goals.
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.
Brisco was the definition of an average wrestler and that no longer was enough to get by in a wrestling promotion. TNA realized he couldn’t cut the mustard and sent him packing to continue his career in smaller local promotions.
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.
TNA used him in various smaller roles before letting him go.
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.
TNA decided to use his real life story of being a bisexual male in his character. Keep in mind, most bisexual folks are just normal human beings like anyone else that happen to be romantically attracted to both genders. TNA thought bisexuality meant Jordan should be a huge pervert, harassing the other male wrestlers on the roster. Fans rejected it until Jordan toned down the gimmick. It still didn’t work and his below average skills as a worker failed him during his final chance to succeed in wrestling.
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.
Despite pairing him with the likes of Rob Van Dam, Austin Aries and A.J. Styles during his feud with Eric, Garett was booed out of the building most weeks. Anyone could see he wasn’t ready for the wrestling career and nepotism was giving him a spot other wrestlers deserved more. Garett turned heel and still failed to find the tools needed to succeed in pro wrestling. TNA decided to send him home and let his contract run out.
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.
Crimson failed to improve and managed to drop the ball despite getting the push of a lifetime. TNA was forced to end his ascension and moved him lower down the card. Crimson could never rebound and became one of the more irrelevant performers in the company. The most memorable moment of Crimson’s TNA career saw him get booed out of the building in the United Kingdom when Samoa Joe and Magnus defeated him and Matt Morgan. Crimson was given the boot by TNA and no noteworthy promotions have booked him since.
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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