TNA missed their chance to ever truly compete with WWE as the top wrestling promotion, but that doesn’t mean they have not employed talented wrestlers. The roster of changing names in the different stages of TNA often featured impressive wrestlers that sadly failed to showcase their full potential. TNA’s management was always viewed as their biggest issue to hold them back. There are quite a few and distant names on the free-agent market that used to work for TNA.
AEW is looking to add as many talented names as possible to their roster heading into their television deal with TNT. There are a few interesting performers from TNA on the free-agent market today. However, not all of them are positive additions, as some do not compliment what AEW is trying to accomplish. We will look at both sides of the talents involved with five former TNA stars AEW should sign along with five they should avoid.
10 Sign: LAX
The tag teamwork of Ortiz and Santana in LAX makes them one of the best duos in wrestling today. Incredible matches against the Lucha Brothers, the OG LAX, the Rascalz, and many others. LAX recently left TNA after dropping the tag titles.
WWE and AEW are the two major promotions hoping to add a young talented team like LAX to the roster. AEW should make a huge effort to sign the wrestlers to add another top team to the tag division. The early shows of AEW show us a great tag division that could only get better with LAX.
9 Avoid: James Storm
James Storm is one of TNA's legends who has been unable to land a spot in WWE. Names like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Bobby Roode are now consistent fixtures on the main roster years after their great work in TNA. Storm had a chance to join NXT, but he re-signed with TNA and never received another WWE opportunity.
AEW is likely not the right place for Storm given his strengths and weaknesses. Storm was never the most athletic and he has lost a step in recent years. NWA has been employing Storm as a top name and he seems to be best suited to spend the rest of his career with the company.
8 Sign: Low Ki
There is a polarizing response to Low Ki in the wrestling business. The positive is that Low Ki is one of the most talented performers of his generation, alongside the likes of Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. However, the issue is that he is known for having an attitude problem.
Low Ki is worth adding to the AEW roster if he knows he can’t refuse to lose matches in such a big company. His work in MLW has been quite impressive and showcase that he is still a great in-ring performer. AEW could benefit from having him in the mid-card picture.
7 Avoid: Mr. Anderson
TNA made Mr. Anderson a huge part of their future after he was released from WWE. The potential of Anderson was always there, but he never put it together to become a top main eventer. Anderson was known most for his pre-game ring introduction, which was sadly his peak.
Anderson has been struggling to earn bookings in any credible promotions. Anderson is no longer a valuable performer and is starting a new chapter as a trainer of his own wrestling school. AEW should not even be tempted to add Anderson in the current landscape.
6 Sign: Gail Kim
Gail Kim has retired from the wrestling ring, but she has shown she is willing to break it for the right match. A return to the ring could see Kim still showcasing her greatness in a dream match against fellow top women’s wrestling star Tessa Blanchard.
Kim works behind the scenes for Impact. Despite her love of the company, one more run in a top promotion like AEW may be the best way to end her career. AEW is hoping to build a strong women’s division and a star like Kim joining would be a massive signing.
5 Avoid: Alberto El Patron
The recent rebranding of Impact Wrestling saw the company try to invest in Alberto El Patron as a top star. Alberto had credibility following his main event run in WWE and legendary run in Mexico. However, El Patron's personal issues may hurt the company.
Impact Wrestling was forced to suspend Alberto after allegations of domestic abuse during his relationship with Paige. A second chance was given to El Patron in 2018 that was another disaster. Alberto no-showed the Impact vs. Lucha Underground event, prompting the company to fire him. This is the story of a wrestler AEW should never do business with.
4 Sign: Motor City Machine Guns
The tag team of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin delivered incredible work together during their time in TNA. This body of work helped inspire tag teams like the Young Bucks to break out in the following years and take it to another level.
The Motor City Machine Guns still delivered solid work during their time in Ring of Honor. They are no longer the top duo, but they can add a lot to a new promotion like AEW. Sabin is recovering from an injury and Shelley recently returned from a break.
3 Avoid: Austin Aries
Austin Aries has been a part of TNA throughout different chapters of the company's history. The multiple World Championship reigns helped shape his legacy to prove he could do well in a top role. Aries’ most recent run ended up being rather disappointing.
Unprofessional comments were made targeting John Morrison, Taya Valkyrie, and Don Callis on the way out. Aries has had issues with Impact, WWE, and ROH. The in-ring work of Aries is no longer worth the headache caused by having him backstage.
2 Sign: John Morrison
One of the recent departures from Impact Wrestling, John Morrison is nowadays on the free-agent market. AEW is hoping to bring a huge audience to watch their TNT show starting in October, and Morrison was a beloved WWE star with a huge fan base.
A familiar face like Morrison goes a long way in creating an audience. The fact that Morrison can still perform at a high level just makes him the perfect fit to mix it up with talents like Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, and MJF in a new promotion.
1 Avoid: Eli Drake
Another wrestler to recently leave Impact Wrestling and become a free-agent is Eli Drake. Drake's mic skills and look made him a top prospect in WWE, but he never thrived until he was released and joined Impact.
Drake had a World Championship reign in Impact and was positioned as a top star. However, he never developed a strong fan base, nor did he help improve Impact’s business. His current fit in ROH and the NWA seems ideal, and AEW is not the place for a limited performer like Drake.