TNA Wrestling--or Impact Wrestling, depending on what name you associate them with--has one major strength above all else: the ability to survive. A company that many have done a post-mortem on several times in the past because all signs pointed to it ceasing to be, it seems to have nine lives, considering it forever beats the odds. While that is admirable, the fact remains that in order for them to prove their ability to pull out of a nose dive, again and again, mistakes have to be made that are so egregious that it appears they will dissolve. Currently embroiled in a series of lawsuits that combine to make the future of the company look murky, to say the least, we really hope they continue on, as all wrestling fans probably should, but it’s time to reflect. Who exactly has done such a bad job in their role within the company that they have had a hand in ruining the reputation of TNA and its product?
In order for someone to be considered as a possible entry in this list, they need to have had a clear impact on the company from the inside. As such, people like Vince McMahon, John Cena, or Triple H, all of whom were major cogs in the company that competes against TNA, were not looked at in the slightest. Aside, from that, anyone involved in any facet of the business could find their name here.
15 Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy has accomplished a lot during his wrestling career which makes a lot of sense considering that he has been a star ever since he made his name during his WWE tenure which began in the nineties. Arguably the most popular and famous current member of the TNA roster, the company would suffer quite the blow if he chose to walk away from either the business or it. In fact, he and his brother are involved in one of the most interesting angles in all of wrestling, the broken Hardy brothers, so how could we lay blame at his feet for ruining the company?
Easy, it all stems from the Victory Road 2011 event where he was set to wrestle Sting for the heavyweight title but instead came to the ring heavily intoxicated. While we applaud him for seemingly cleaning up since, this incident did a lot of damage to the TNA name as not only did they allow him in front of the fans but technically he wrestled a match, even if it was short.
14 D'Angelo Dinero
D'Angelo Dinero, the man once known as Elijah Burke, is one of those guys that seemed to have a lot of potential but has been incapable of meeting those lofty expectations. A good in-ring worker, it was his boundless charisma that made him seem like a can’t miss prospect. Released from his WWE contract after an uneventful run, he found his way to TNA where he was involved in several awful storylines, including his feud with D-Von that was especially bad. Still, anyone who paid attention to the man was likely hoping that he’d get another chance as it wasn’t his fault that the stories he brought to life were so bad, right? Maybe that isn’t true if his tenure as a color commentator is any indication. Working alongside Josh Matthews, his color work has been awful and has made their programming worse because of it.
13 Bubba the Love Sponge
Bubba the Love Sponge’s TNA tenure was thankfully short but he is emblematic of everything that ruined one of the company’s most important eras. Incredibly annoying and greatly disliked by a large portion of the audience after he debuted as a backstage interviewer, he initially was shoved down the fan’s throats, making four appearances on his debut show. While it may not be rare for an interviewer to make numerous appearances, the problem is this took place on a three-hour special edition of the show that also featured the debuts of Hulk Hogan and many of his other lackeys. A show many fans were excited to check out, as it was advertised as a watershed moment in wrestling, the fact that Bubba and his ilk made many think it was all about Hogan and his buddies. Is it any wonder the ratings dropped quickly?
12 Mr. Anderson
A wrestler previously known as Ken Kennedy in the WWE, there was one point in which this man was seen as someone that would eventually be part of the main event picture. Unceremoniously released, he ended up making his way to TNA where it seemed as though he could take his competent work and distinctive voice and turn himself into a star. While he was able to win the TNA Heavyweight Championship, something many former WWE wrestlers are able to do in the company, he was the focus of some of the worst segments in company history. When his character was obsessed with getting a title rematch he began to bring out awful guests, like his supposed math professor and they’d take part in “comedy” segments with him. Utterly unfunny and difficult to sit through, his career never fully recovered from these performances and the shows his a**hole character appeared on were worse because of it.
11 Brooke Hogan
There is a long history of wrestler’s family members getting involved in the business. Whether it was Jake the Snake Robert’s wife, The Sandman’s son, or Vickie Guerrero, there were definitely several instances in which they were able to make the shows better. Then there was Brooke Hogan’s far too long tenure on TNA TV.
Introduced during an era in which the company’s knockout division was on fire and seen as one of their biggest strengths, Brooke was put in charge of the division from a storyline perspective. Someone who had zero business being a long-term member of any major wrestling company unless she spent a long time prior learning the ropes, she was instead the focus of a previously strong division. Eventually thrust into an onscreen relationship and marriage to Bully Ray, she was front in center in TNA’s most important storyline. She then cared so little about her role that she posted on social media immediately when her real-life beau proposed instead of even giving the story a chance to be ended first.
10 Claire Lynch
For years on end, TNA would bring in flavors of the month and push them to the top of the card before they would wash out and disappear from the company. During all those years there was one man, AJ Styles, who could always be depended upon to fill a hole when needed and was taken seriously when taking part in the title picture. Then, they made the brilliant decision to place him, and two of their other longstanding workers, Kaz and Christopher Daniels, into a storyline that has to be considered among the worst wrestling has ever seen.
Accused of having an affair with Dixie Carter, through a convoluted series of events a new character named Claire Lynch was revealed to be at the center of all the drama. Evidently addicted to drugs, she was in such a bad spot that Dixie and AJ came together in an attempt to clean her up before she turned on them and accused AJ of being the father of her baby. An awful tale on the face of it, things were made so much worse by the atrocious performance given by a theme park employee they found to be Claire. So hated that wrestling fans began to harass her online and while she was at work, the “actress” abruptly quit which meant the story was dropped in a nonsensical hurry.
9 WWE Cast-Offs
This entry is a grab all for the bevy of wrestlers that were fired by the WWE, only to be brought in by TNA and treated like bigger stars than the people who’d help build the company, to begin with. While there are certainly exceptions who proved that they were worthy of the push, EC3, Bully Ray, The Hardy Brothers, and Kurt Angle are a few examples of that, there are many more who failed in their roles. Booker T, Brian Kendrick, Orlando Jordan, Rikishi, Billy Gunn, Shannon Moore, and so many other men and women were pushed into prominent roles in TNA only to fizzle out and do damage to the company. While we can’t blame any of these men specifically, as they’d be dumb to turn down larger roles and bigger money, it proved to fans again and again that TNA Originals are lesser than.
Tazz is seen as legendary in some circles and during his career, he has been involved in some very noteworthy moments. Forever remembered for his time in ECW, he would move on to WWE where he did his best work as a color commentator and in our minds made the best broadcast partner Michael Cole ever had. Yet somehow, when TNA brought him in his skills degraded so fast that before too long he was the worst commentator in the business’ big leagues.
Disagree with us? Do a google search involving the words Tazz and commentator and you will find page after page decrying his work. Always rushing to make jokes, he was focused on making himself and his broadcast partner Mike Tenay laugh instead of doing what was right for the product. Additionally, you could almost always tell how little he cared about his job as occasionally he would be asked to give a promo and suddenly his work would improve ten-fold.
7 John Gaburick
We’re sure you’ve noticed lately that the WWE and NXT rosters are filled to the brim with former members of the TNA roster. Interestingly enough, many of TNA’s biggest homegrown stars left after a former WWE executive by the name of John Gaburick was put in charge of talent relations.
Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels, Kaz, Eric Young and so many other performers who were a part of the roster for years left after he took control. While we can’t blame him for everyone that has ditched TNA, as the company’s funds and situation have also quickly deteriorated, it is clear that some of those involved don’t appreciate him. For instance, AJ Styles, the current WWE World Champion, left TNA quickly after he joined and is obviously offended by comments his former boss made about him. The fact that John said that he’d bring AJ back “if he has a slot open” has come up in interviews the champ has given since.
6 Jeff Jarrett
One of the company’s co-founders, there is no doubt that there wouldn’t be a company to ruin if Jeff hadn’t had a hand in creating it but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a problem since. Someone involved in the running of the business for several years, he was pivotal when many of the people on this list were brought in which alone could earn him a place here. That aside, the fact that the company he was a major power broker in pushed him as the main character and villain for years on end is another example of why bookers shouldn’t be on television. A talented performer in his own right, Jeff could be an asset to a wrestling show but he has never been a big enough difference maker that he could change a company’s fortunes. The fact that he took up the top slot for so long also ensured that any of the people who walked in the TNA locker room, keep in mind even CM Punk worked there, had any chance to turn the company around.
5 Janice and Bob Carter
A rich couple that has made a fortune in the energy business, they took some of the fund their business, Panda Energy, was making and used it to purchase TNA from the Jarretts. A choice that seemed to be odd considering their previous profile, they made the decision at the request of their daughter, Dixie, who they appointed to be president of the company.
Bankrolling TNA for years on end, the cushion they provided allowed their daughter’s company to make mistake after mistake without fear as they would always be bailed out by deep pockets. After operating as a get out of jail free card for many years, The Carters and their company gave up their stake in TNA and since then TNA has been on the precipice of going out of business. Some may think that they deserve credit as a result, we think otherwise. They taught TNA that they could fail upwards which meant it never learned to survive on its own merit or improved enough to be self-sufficient.
4 Vince Russo
Someone who was a part of the TNA creative team for the majority of its history, Vince Russo can be blamed for many of the dumbest gimmicks in company history. While he makes a habit out of trying to lessen his responsibility of late, claiming that he never had any real control, we find his claims silly as the company ran a mile a minute a lot of the time which is one of his calling cards.
This is the person that most claim was directly responsible for the reverse battle royal. A match where the participants start outside the ring, they then have to beat their competitors into the ring. Those that do have to then throw each other back out of the ring until two remain and that pair have a regular match. There are so many levels of stupidity there that is hard to fathom that anyone thought it was a good idea but Vince has always seemed to think that different is always good.
The very fact that fire Russo chants were heard on TNA’s product chanted by fans in the past says everything about why he belongs on this list. However, there is actually more. According to some, Spike TV was not fans of Vince and told Dixie they didn’t want him working there. Still hired as a secret consultant despite that, his inability to send an email to the right person revealed the relationship and TNA were off Spike TV in months.
3 Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff has been quoted as saying he has no positive memories of his time in TNA and in the long run the company probably realized his involvement was bad for it too. Known to speak publicly about how he believed the show needed to be on the road every week and live, TNA eventually opted to do just that and many have since said the increased expenses devastated the company. In fact, some TNA talent have spoken publicly about how Eric led the company down a lane to self-destruction. Case in point, Matt Hardy said that he raped and pillaged the company during his run. If that wasn’t enough, he has also filed a lawsuit against the company that hangs over it to this day and could be quite costly.
2 Hulk Hogan
When you read the previous entry about Eric Bischoff you could take all of those complaints, aside from the lawsuit, and also assign them to the Hulkster. So why did Hogan beat out Eric in this ranking? Mostly because of the impact he had on the actual television product as a talent. On top of bringing in a bunch of his buddies and even his daughter, Hulk also made his character the focus of the show as a whole. His WWE Hall of Fame ring was the focus of a major story. His Immortal nickname was the name given to one of the biggest and worst received factions in company history. He feuded with people like Sting and Bully Ray and often got the upper hand despite his back problems meaning he couldn’t regularly wrestle and get his comeuppance. He even got Dixie Carter to beg him on her knees to stay with the company during his final ever appearance in a TNA ring. Wow, just wow.
1 Dixie Carter
First off, almost all of the misdeeds of the other people on this list can be also blamed on Dixie as she allowed them to happen under her watch. A company that is almost universally slammed as being horribly mismanaged, there is little question that Dixie is the root cause. Recently revealed to be millions of dollars in debt, she has depended on people to finance TNA’s continued existence and one of those people, Billy Corgan, ended up suing her and the company as a result. Claiming he wasn’t told of how dire things were, he attempted to wrest control from her by saying the company is insolvent and she is to blame.
Also, a company that has been dogged by complaints and rumors that it doesn’t pay people promptly as they agreed to, it seems pretty obvious why the roster is a shadow of its former self. We here at thesportster.com, other observers and a lot of those involved in the company think things would be better if Dixie was removed from TNA entirely.
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