Total Nonstop Action or TNA as it is referred to by many has some how maintained existence. They have maintained this existence despite some tumultuous, wild, and disturbing times. TNA once looked like a promising promotion with an opportunity to compete and create an alternative to WWE. However, bad decisions, poor treatment of long-time performers, and reliance of former WWE talent has led to the company almost being dead in the water on multiple occasions. With the stories of WWE making a bid on the company, it is only a matter of time until we see the company completely fold.
As I previously mentioned, TNA has produced some of professional wrestling’s hottest garbage. But with all the bad, there was some good. These good moments include the Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe Cage match at Lockdown 2008. Something else good that TNA is currently doing is their use of Bobby Lashley. Lashley has been treated like gold in TNA and at one point held all of the titles this year. Unfortunately, all the good does not cancel out the bad, especially since there has been way more bad.
Here are TNA’s 15 Worst Storylines of All-Time.
15. Eric Young TNA World Champion
Eric Young began his TNA career as a member of Team Canada, a heel stable led and managed by Scott D’Amore. After the stable dissolved Young would become a fan favorite. He was as goofy as can be. He would be frightened by his entrance pyrotechnics to the point where Young would fall and stumble down the ramp. Despite all of his antics, Young was given a run with TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Not only that, he defeated Magnus. Magnus was a much more relevant and serious character than Young, but Young still ended his title reign. During this time, Daniel Bryan had finally finished his journey to World Championship for the WWE. Many fans believe that Young receiving a title reign was TNA’s attempt to copy what the WWE was doing at the time.
14. Abyss and the Hall of Fame Ring
Abyss was one of wrestling’s absolute monsters. During the mid-2000s, Abyss was booked to perfection and had a reign with the World Heavyweight Championship at one point. For other reasons displayed on this list, Abyss’ character lost the mystic. He was made to be an absolute joke. He was put in to an angle with Hulk Hogan once he arrived to TNA. Hogan was Abyss’ “friend” and was given his Hall of Fame ring. Hogan told Abyss who was once again one of wrestling’s most feared men that he would be made in to a “god of wrestling.” Although it may not sound as bad, it’s a shame that the “Monster” Abyss would turn into that. WWE managed to do the same with Kane years prior. Turning a monster in to a much more weaker character.
13. Jay Lethal and Ric Flair
Jay Lethal is currently killing it in Ring of Honor and other various independent promotions. Hopefully, Lethal is on the WWE’s radar. He spent the better part of five years with TNA. During that time, Lethal was made in to a “Macho Man” Randy Savage impersonator. As bad as that sounds, the worst was yet to come. Lethal dropped the Macho Man impersonator gimmick after being with it for over three years. Lethal would then impersonate another legend, Ric Flair. Leading to a match which Lethal would win. The issue here is Ric Flair had retired from in-ring action two years prior at WrestleMania XXIV. Another issue here is that Flair took issue with Lethal impersonating him, but had no issue with AJ Styles doing it.
12. The TNA Front Line vs. The Main Event Mafia
In 2009, TNA had fallen in love with stars who made their names elsewhere and had forgotten to recognize those who had actually made their name for the promotion. This was clearly evident in late 2008 when TNA decided to create The Main Event Mafia. A stable made up of Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner, Sting, Booker T, and Kevin Nash. They ran roughshod throughout TNA’s young guns. They were known as The TNA Front Line and were made up with guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Team 3D, and Rhino. As I previously mentioned, The Front Line would always lose. Joe lost to Nash, Styles lost to Sting, and The Front Line would lose in an Eight-Man Tag against The Mafia. TNA jobbed their own guys to already established talent, which hurt them in the long run.
11. Black Reign
Dustin Runnels better known as Goldust bounced back and fourth between the WWE and TNA throughout the 2000s. He was released from WWE for a third time and joined TNA for the second time. This reign was much different than his prior reign in WWE. He was given the name Black Reign. He was schizophrenic dual-personality wrestler. He would have the same gear and face paint except it was completely black. Reign would form a tag team with Rellik (which is killer spelled backwards). The team would have little to no success. Reign would slowly be phased out of TNA television. Vince Russo who was the head writer at the time, must have had an incredible fascination with Runnels. He made him Seven in WCW, and made him do this nonsense in TNA.
10. August 1 Warning
The stable Aces & Eights led by Bully Ray had plateaued in the middle of 2014. They were embroiled in a stale feud with the new Main Event Mafia who had added MMA icon Rampage Jackson to their stable. And what I am about to say did not make it any better. Vignettes began to show about someone appearing on August 1st of 2014. Once that day came, the crowd was stunned by who appeared. Stunned silent that is as MMA legend Tito Ortiz interrupted the segment. Mike Tenay then proceeded with the greatest call in professional wrestling history. Tenay shouted in fake excitement “August 1 Warning, identity revealed as the MMA legend Tito Ortiz.” Ortiz’ time in TNA did not last very long as he was forced to leave after Bellator no longer allowed him to make appearances for TNA.
9. Samoa Joe Gets Kidnapped
The former NXT Champion has a well documented history in TNA. Samoa Joe was undefeated in one-on-one competition for his first year in the company. His undefeated streak was then ended by the debuting Kurt Angle. Joe would get his major win back when he defeated Angle at Lockdown 2008 to win the TNA Championship. In early 2010 Joe was seen walking backstage where he was abducted by ninjas. Although that may sound interesting, Joe’s kidnapping was never explained. He returned as if nothing had ever happened. According to Vince Russo, this kidnapping was planned to have Samoa Joe become a psycho character. Sadly this would never come to be as they did not have any top babyface guys to replace him, so the storyline was dropped as if nothing had happened.
8. Angelina Love Gets Brainwashed
Angelina Love was the leader of the The Beautiful People. A stable which clearly promoted bullying. Love and The Beautiful People would feud with the new Knockout, Winter, who is the former Katie Lea Burchill. Very clever TNA. Love would turn on her Beautiful People partner Velvet Sky. Love would then find herself entranced by Winter almost as though she was having a spell put on her. Love was given drinks to remain under the control of Winter. The duo would hold the TNA Knockouts Championship on one occasion. Like most of the the other stories on the list, the storyline would reach an abrupt and odd ending. It was never explained as to why Love was under the control Winter and in Love’s next tenure with TNA she would rejoin Velvet Sky as a member of The Beautiful People.
7. Kurt Angle’s and Karen Jarrett’s Divorce is Showcase on Television
Kurt Angle is one of professional wrestling’s all-time greatest performers. All-around, no one got it and understood it more than Kurt Angle. However, with Kurt Angle unfortunately came a load of personal problems. He was arrested for DUI on multiple occasions, had several career-threatening neck injuries, and had been divorced from his wife. Karen Jarrett, the former Karen Angle, was Kurt Angle’s wife and was showcased in various storylines prior to their divorce. After the divorce, she returned to television and managed her husband Jeff Jarrett. The two feuded for several months in a very uncomfortable an awkward storyline. Their feud would include a match with Angle and his “mistress” Chyna defeating the Jarrett’s in a mixed tag team match. Angle would get the better of this feud and would defeat Jarrett in the final encounter between the two.
6. Samuel Shaw and Christy Hemme
Wrestler Samuel Shaw performed on the indies for over five years before making his permanent TNA main roster debut. His character became a creepy, perverted, Dexter Morgan-esque wrestler. He would wrestle in gloves and in street clothes. His finisher would be standing arm-triangle. He would be put in to a storyline where he stalked ring announcer Christy Hemme. To defend Hemme came Mr. Anderson, who by this point was beyond stale but would attempt to play the hero. Shaw would have a shrine dedicated to Hemme. Anderson would win the feud in a match where the loser was sent to the psychiatric ward. This story went absolutely nowhere. It was just constantly recycled every week and never progressed. Shaw was released from TNA after losing to Crimson of all people.
5. The Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. WWE
What happens when former WWE stars Road Dogg and Billy Gunn join another wrestling promotion and can’t use their own name? This. The Voodoo Kin Mafia or VKM, a play on the initials of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. They declared war on the WWE and D-Generation X members Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Every week the two would tear in to the revived D-Generation X. They would use their actual names in worked shoot promos against the two. WWE just ignored the two after constant weeks of attacks including an appearance at a House Show. Eventually the Voodoo Kin Mafia declared themselves victorious in war where they received no response from the “enemy.” Both Billy Gunn and Road Dogg would return to WWE and would work backstage as a trainer and agent respectively.
4. Judas Mesias: Abyss’ Long-Lost Brother
This storyline began the complete career destruction of the “Monster” Abyss. Abyss was on an absolute tear at the time. Then they turned him face and teamed him with the man he feuded with for months, Sting. In a World Title match against Kurt Angle, Abyss lost… by submission nonetheless and was dragged under the ring by Judas Mesias now known as Mil Muertes in Lucha Underground. His former manager James Mitchell threatened to reveal his deepest, darkest secret. Sound familiar? He revealed that he was Abyss’ father and that Mesias and Abyss were half-brothers. Sound even more familiar? Abyss would defeat his “half-brother” in a Barbed-Wire Massacre match and that was the last we saw of Mesias and Mitchell. After this Abyss began becoming a friendlier character and would befriend Matt Morgan. Abyss would even have a girlfriend in Lauren. Abyss went from a monster who destroyed everyone to an a joke.
3. Aces & Eights
Aces & Eights at first started out as a pretty sweet idea, then it slowly faltered. They had many great names like Bully Ray and Taz and Wes Brisco and Garrett Bischoff. How could this group have failed with Wes Brisco and Garrett Bischoff?! The stable began in 2012 as a group of bikers that would enter in the Impact Zone. Slowly after that they would reveal themselves one-by-one. The first to be unmasked was Brother Devon in a match against Bully Ray and Sting. Other members include Doc Gallows and Knux. Mr. Anderson was the first non-original member to join. At Lockdown 2013 Bully Ray won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and was revealed to be the leader of Aces & Eights which completely contradicts the fact they had been feuding since the group first started. As I previously mentioned Tito Ortiz would also become a member of the faction. With names like these it’s hard to believe Aces & Eights didn’t succeed. This group’s failure was also cause by the fact that it lasted forever.
“They’re coming” was the phrase often reiterated throughout much of 2010 for TNA. And when they “came” it was one of the most abysmal , dragging, and never-ending storylines in the company’s history. Abyss leading up to Bound for Glory would shout the phrase “they’re coming” at every Impact show. At Bound for Glory 2010, they were revealed to be Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett, and Abyss. Then, they spent one hour in the ring explaining an overly complex plan where the group Fortune would also become a member of the group. They would feud with Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson who would also become a member of the group. Although it was not the group’s fault the Jeff Hardy, Victory Road 2011 incident occurred. This group would last for two years. Two years of the same Hogan and Bischoff nonsense.
1. Claire Lynch
Why would TNA do this to their franchise? Their poster boy. The one name you associate with the company! AJ Styles had been feuding with the tag duo The Bad Influence. At first, they revealed that Styles and Dixie Carter were having an affair which obviously wasn’t true. Afterwards, The Bad Influence had claimed that Styles was the father of a baby who was being carried by a drug-addicted woman. Her name was Claire Lynch. A big issue with this was it went against everything AJ Styles genuinely believes. Styles is one of Wrestling’s most known nice guys. He doesn’t drink, and he is a heavy believer in Christianity. The story climaxed when they had a paternity test. The test said that Lynch was not pregnant at all. I’m almost positive that this horrible angle had to be one of the heavier proponents in AJ leaving TNA and not wanting to return to the company.
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