The unpredictable nature of TNA often played a role in the company’s future for better or worse. Unlike WWE, TNA never had a strong management system in place, as Dixie Carter hired many different people to have control at different points. The combination of this and wrestling itself leading to improv moments would see quite a few unscripted moments take place on screen.
We will look at just what led to these unscripted moments happening on live television or PPV. Some of them created fun memories that fans still enjoy to this day. Others showed why TNA never could pose a viable threat to WWE in the pecking order of the wrestling world. Find out just how fast things can change in wrestling as we look at the five best and five worst unscripted moments in TNA history.
10 Best: Samoa Joe's shoot promo on Scott Hall no-showing
Turning Point 2007 featured one of the wildest moments in TNA history. Samoa Joe was scheduled to team with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to oppose the faction of AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, and Tyson Tomko in the main event match to end the night.
Hall no-showed the event due to his personal issues which infuriated Joe. TNA gave him a live mic to introduce the replacement partner Eric Young and he laid into Hall. Joe spoke up for the locker room calling out the veterans that show up for the easy paycheck and don’t care about the company’s growth.
9 Worst: Hulk Hogan insulting TNA's history
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joining TNA hurt the overall fan relationship with the company. Both personalities felt like TNA needed to change everything about their presentation including getting rid of the six-sided ring.
TNA fans reacted with chants of wanting the ring back. Hogan responded by insulting the company’s growth saying it didn’t get them very far and the changes were needed. This essentially represented the vision of Hogan as he lost the fans' interest shortly into the start of the run.
8 Best: Kevin Nash comedic segments with X-Division
Kevin Nash developed a great relationship with the X-Division wrestlers in TNA despite his reputation. The history of Nash in WCW featured him mocking the cruiserweights for their smaller size. Nash, however, developed a good relationship with talents like Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, and Jay Lethal.
TNA created the PCS system meant to mimic college football’s BCS where Nash ranked the X-Division wrestlers after having them compete in comedic backstage segments. There was little script involved as Nash delivered comedic one-liners every week. It helped the X-Division stars each find small ways to stand out, character-wise.
7 Worst: Fire starts during live PPV
Hardcore Justice 2006 created a unique atmosphere in the opening match between Eric Young and Johnny Devine. A small fire broke out in the rafters due to an issue involving the pyrotechnics. Young and Devine finished their match in smoke as fans started singing “the roof is on fire” in comedic fashion.
Despite the fans having fun with the fire, the Impact Zone was evacuated following the match with all wrestlers, employees, and fans going outside until it was safe to go back in. TNA finished the rest of the show, but a fire breaking out during your event is a horrible look for any public company.
6 Best: Mick Foley standing up for locker room against Bubba
Wrestlers hitting each other with stiff shots should rarely be praised, but Mick Foley stood up for the locker room with this one. Bubba the Love Sponge was a radio host hired joining TNA as a backstage announcer due to his close friendship with Hulk Hogan.
Awesome Kong got into a fight with Bubba and the rest of the locker room hated working with him due to his offensive comments. Foley was scheduled to hit Bubba on the way out of the door after getting fired. The hit from Mick was harder than expected, busting Bubba’s nose open for some justice.
5 Worst: Homicide struggling to climb Steel Asylum
The first show in the TNA era of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff featured the opening match of X-Division stars inside of the Steel Asylum. This structure was a horrible idea that featured fans struggling to see through the cage and wrestlers had tough times climbing it.
Homicide specifically had a poor moment trying to climb out as the planned finish of the match. It took extremely in unscripted fashion as everyone awkwardly watched it unfold slowly. Jeff Hardy made a surprise return attacking Homicide with a chair, but Homicide’s battle with the cage is what fans most remembered.
4 Best: Letting fans in ring to celebrate AJ Styles title win
No Surrender 2009 featured one of the better feel-good moments for TNA. AJ Styles won the TNA Championship in a five-way match against Sting, Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, and Hernandez. It was a huge win for Styles finally getting back to the top of the mountain.
In an unplanned moment, TNA security allowed fans in the ring to celebrate with AJ as he held the title in the air. This added more to the memory of Styles winning the TNA Championship and the fans celebrating him as the face of the company.
3 Worst: Austin Aries cornering Christy Hemme
Austin Aries has a controversial reputation in the world of wrestling. The talent of Aries created many hit matches, but the attitude led to issues with co-workers. Christy Hemme made a mistake when introducing Aries and Bobby Roode to the ring for their tag match.
Aries was upset and cornered Hemme before climbing the turnbuckle to stick his crotch towards her face. Hemme complained about the incident and TNA apparently fined him. Aries’ unscripted moment would likely have led to him getting blacklisted today, but he continued appearing every week following it.
2 Best: Scott Steiner's promos
The promo work of Scott Steiner made him a beloved figure in TNA. Fans were used to his intimidating heel character in WCW, but Steiner became an unintentional viral sensation during the TNA chapter of his career in the late 2000s.
Steiner’s math promo trying to showcase the odds being in his favor for a triple threat match. Another memorable promo for Steiner came when calling Samoa Joe every name in the book. Steiner’s career is still going today partially thanks to his hilarious unscripted promos.
1 Worst: Jeff Hardy performing under the influence
The worst moment in TNA history may very well be an unscripted one featuring Jeff Hardy. Fans have been aware of Hardy’s personal demons for many years as sad stories still come out regarding him today. Hardy, however, reached rock bottom in TNA.
A dream match against Sting would see Jeff walking to the ring clearly under the influence for the main event. Eric Bischoff came out to try to stall time, but Sting still had to beat Hardy within a couple of minutes. The cameras showed Sting livid as the show ended with Hardy breaking the script in the most unprofessional way possible.