How TNA is still around today is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless the Nashville, Tennessee based promotion is somehow someway still in business hanging on by the skin of its teeth. TNA has lost a lot of its top level talent with its heart and soul AJ Styles departing to the WWE as well its backbone Samoa Joe who is currently in WWE’s NXT.
It doesn’t stop there as TNA has also lost other mainstays such as Bobby Roode and Eric Young to the WWE as well. In addition, the promotion was dangerously close to losing James Storm as he tested the waters by wrestling in NXT for two months in 2015. The promotion no longer has the services of respected in ring generals Kurt Angle or Sting either. In short, TNA is a sinking ship. However, this does not mean that TNA is absent of talent.
Here, we take a look at the fifteen best talents WWE can poach from TNA.
At forty-three years old, Abyss is not likely to have many more years left in the wrestling business. In addition, Abyss’ monster persona no longer carries the same weight it once did as Abyss took up a ridiculous and underwhelming gimmick under the name Joseph Park. Under the Park gimmick, Park claimed he was looking for his brother Abyss, despite being Abyss himself. The frightening masked monster had been replaced by a man who sported spectacles and a tracksuit. Moreover, Park now looked like an out of shape gym teacher who had no business being in the wrestling business. However, the Abyss character was one of TNA’s top heels in years prior. Abyss’ best days are behind him but that doesn’t mean that he still can’t provide value to the WWE.
14. Angelina Love and Madison Rayne – The Beautiful People
WWE has never had a women’s faction that stabilized itself as a prominent presence. Sure, the “Four Horsewomen” are accredited for how they’re changing the course of women’s wrestling, but the four aren’t aligned on television. Moreover, they’re foes as opposed to friends. On the contrary, TNA had quite the impressive women’s faction when Angelina Love, Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky aligned to form the “Beautiful People”. The three would tease their opponents for not holding appealing physical characteristics as they did. While Sky is no longer with the promotion Love and Rayne still are. The Beautiful People were fantastic heels in TNA and are to this day the women’s stable that made the biggest impact (no pun intended) in TNA; the gimmick could do wonders in WWE as well.
13. Matt and Jeff Hardy
With Matt playing the role of “Broken Matt Hardy” and Jeff playing the role of “Brother Nero”, the Hardy brothers executed one of the most polarizing feuds in recent memory mainly due to their “Final Deletion” program. Moreover, Matt looked to have finally cemented himself as an upper tier talent like his brother. The two are currently the TNA World Tag Team Champions and holding tag gold is something that the brothers from Cameron, North Carolina are all too used to. The Hardy’s are not only one of WWE’s most decorated tag teams of the Attitude Era, but period. Matt and Jeff could play the role of the veteran tag team that may not have youth on their side but is far from finished. Not to forget, WWE would probably feel safer with Jeff as a tag competitor as opposed to a singles competitor considering his episode at TNA Victory Road 2011 where he showed up beyond intoxicated.
12. James Storm
While James Storm is unfamiliar with stepping inside WWE’s squared circle, he is not unfamiliar with stepping inside WWE developmental’s squared circle, NXT. Storm had a short run down in Full Sail from October of 2015 to December of 2015 before ultimately deciding to return to TNA as opposed to sticking it out with WWE. Storm was well liked by the NXT audience and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that his popularity would’ve translated to the main roster, it was a good sign that fans were invested in his character. To further strengthen reasoning for signing Storm is the fact that his former Beer Money compadre, Bobby Roode is now a part of NXT. While Roode is thriving with his “Glorious” gimmick, the WWE could always tease the two joining forces to recreate the Beer Money tag team.
11. Aron Rex
Currently putting his “Rexcellence” on full display as Aron Rex, the former “Intellectual Savior of the Masses”, Damien Sandow has been with the Dixie Carter run company since August of 2016. When Sandow was released in May of 2016 by WWE many were shocked and outraged. The shock stemmed from the fact that Sandow was one of the most over superstars on the roster despite his last two gimmicks as a stunt double for the Miz and as one half of the Meta Powers with Curtis Axel being comedic rather than serious. The outrage stemmed from the fact that no matter where Sandow was placed on the card or gimmick he was given, he succeeded somehow, someway. TNA may enjoy Rex for now; but, WWE fans would welcome Sandow back with open arms in a heartbeat as a stunt double, an intellectual savior or any gimmick for that matter.
10. Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards
With the likes of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder of The Revival and Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano of DIY stealing the show down in NXT, the New Day’s record setting 482 day tag title reign, American Alpha holding gold on Smackdown and Enzo and Cass holding their own on the main roster, the tag division in WWE is as hot as it’s ever been. This doesn’t mean it can’t get hotter. In 2013, WWE had a strong interest in the American Wolves, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards. The interest was so strong that the two attended a tryout camp from the WWE where they impressed officials enough to wrestle on NXT. While both the Wolves and WWE showed interest in each other, the Wolves eventually decided on inking with TNA. The tag division in WWE in 2013 wasn’t as strong as it is today and the addition of the Wolves would only strengthen the division further.
9. Ethan Carter III
Previously known as Derrick Bateman during his stint with WWE, TNA’s Ethan Carter III received opportunities in TNA that he could only dream about when he was with WWE. In WWE, not only was Carter overlooked for opportunities, but he wasn’t given any. Moreover, he was showcased as a jobber almost from the minute he started with the company. Carter has not only reached the mountaintop once in TNA, but he has reached it twice as he is a two-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Carter’s abilities as a wrestler weren’t just recognized by TNA’s brass, but by Pro Wrestling Illustrated as well. PWI ranked ECIII twentieth overall, which placed him ahead of WWE talent such as Baron Corbin, The Miz and Rusev. WWE owes Carter a second chance considering they never gave him a legit first chance.
If this was a couple month priors, the likelihood of Maria ever being seen in a WWE ring would be slim to none. The reason for this stems from the real life animosity Maria has with the Bella Twins, primarily Nikki. The fiery redhead and the beautiful brunettes do not see eye to eye due to Nikki perceiving Maria as getting a little too friendly during an outing with her then boyfriend, Dolph Ziggler. However, WWE just recently brought back La Luchadora, better known as Mickie James. James has prior history with Nikki’s current flame, John Cena. James also reportedly broke down when Cena put an end to the two’s relationship. It got so ugly that James had to be transferred to Raw from Smackdown. But, James is now back and is on the same show as Cena and Nikki. As a result, a return from Maria isn’t exactly unfathomable anymore. Maria could also serve as a manager and/or wrestler.
7. Drew Galloway
At one point Drew Galloway was referred to as “The Chosen One” by Vince McMahon when he appeared for the company as Drew McIntyre. Just four months after he debuted he became WWE Intercontinental Champion. But, the last memory of Galloway in the WWE was of him in a jobber stable along with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater in 3MB. Galloway has done for himself since being cut by the WWE not just in TNA but on the independent scene. In TNA, Galloway has held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and Impact Grand Championship once each. On the independent scene Galloway has competed for the likes of Evolve, IWF and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. At just thirty-one years old, McIntyre has plenty left in the tank.
6. Al Snow
At fifty-three years old no one is raving to see Al Snow return to the WWE squared circle anytime soon. However, this isn’t to say that Snow couldn’t be a valuable asset to the WWE. Snow has a wrestling mind that can be used in a multitude of ways. For one, Snow currently serves as a Senior Producer for TNA. Based upon his current role, Snow could be one who could assist WWE Creative; let’s not forget WWE Creative needs all the help it can get. Along with serving as a Senior Producer, Snow has his own wrestling academy which is named after him (The Al Snow Wrestling Academy). Snow could be given a role in NXT to train the developmental talent down in Full Sail.
5. Gail Kim
The inaugural TNA Knockouts Champion and 6x holder of the belt has had two prior stints in WWE from 2002-2004 and 2008-2011. Yet, Kim’s talent in WWE was never utilized to its full potential as it was in TNA. For instance, Kim only held WWE’s Women’s Championship on one occasion despite being one of the company’s best in ring talents during her tenure. Kim’s second stint ended on such a sour note that she actually ended up eliminating herself in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the WWE Women’s Championship. With a new focus on the women’s division, Kim can be properly utilized as a seasoned veteran who is here to show youngsters such as Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch that they aren’t the only ones who are here to take part in WWE’s women’s revolution.
On May 22nd, 2016 the WWE and Stardust parted ways. The reason for the departure was simply WWE’s unwillingness to let Stardust revert back to his original persona of Cody Rhodes. Cody has been on fire ever since he left WWE as he not only wrestles for TNA but is one of the hottest names on the independent scene, if not the hottest name. Cody’s also playing both the face and heel role as an intriguing character depending on the promotion he’s wrestling for. For instance, in TNA, Cody plays a babyface. On the contrary, in NJPW he plays a heel as “the American Nightmare” in the popular Bullet Club faction. Cody is as versatile as they come and WWE would be lucky to have him back within their ranks.
3. Dutch Mantel
Dutch Mantel, or Zeb Colter as he is better known to younger audiences, is a Creative Consultant and Producer for TNA at the moment. In addition to Mantel’s new role, he has extensive experience as a manager in three separate decades in WCW, WWE and the independent scene. Mantel can bring the WWE value in both a backstage role or in an on screen role. In a backstage role Colter could provide guidance and a first person viewpoint to WWE Creative as he has decades of experience as an on screen character. An on screen role would benefit both parties exceptionally (unless WWE were to put Mantel in an odd pairing a la his MexAmerica gimmick with Alberto Del Rio) as the WWE is currently lacking in the department of credible managers.
The former two-time ECW Champion and one-time United States Champion has done mighty well for himself ever since he departed WWE in 2008. Since Lashley departed he’s endured massive success in TNA as he is a four-time and current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a one-time TNA X-Division Champion and a one-time TNA King of the Mountain Champion. Lashley’s enjoyed success in the world of MMA as well as he currently sports a record of fifteen victories and just two defeats. The WWE has its own superstar that’s enjoyed success in the MMA world as well. You may have heard of him; he goes by the name of “BRRRRRROOOOOCCCKKKKK LEEESSSNNNAAAARRR”, in my best Paul Heyman voice. By bringing Lashley over to WWE they can play the angle of which MMA talent will prevail by pitting Lashley against Lesnar.
Currently in her first reign as TNA Knockouts Champion, Rosemary is no stranger to holding gold. She has held gold in a number of promotions on the independent scene in promotions such as Acclaim Pro Wrestling, Great Canadian Wrestling, Shimmer Women Athletes and Tri-City Wrestling. In the Shimmer promotion, Rosemary actually held Tag Team gold with one of NXT’s most prominent coaches, Sara Del Ray. Rosemary, who went by Courtney Rush in Shimmer had a tag reign with Del Ray that lasted 118 days. In 2014, Rosemary was recognized as the eighth best women’s wrestler by PWI ahead of WWE’s Natalya and WWE’s resident Queen and Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. All in all Rosemary can go. She would also bring a unique look to the WWE Women’s Division as their simply isn’t anyone like her on the roster at the moment.
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