The professional wrestling company Total Nonstop Action has had some ups and many downs during their existence. From their Wednesday night Pay-Per-Views, to their time on Spike, TNA has somehow managed to stay afloat. TNA’s most known trait may be the awesome matches they were able to put on since their inception. Wrestlers including Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and the founder of TNA Jeff Jarrett were just some of the wrestlers to help put TNA on the map.
However a few years after its inception, TNA seemingly began to put much of the focus on older stars whose hey-day was behind them. These names include the former Goldust as Black Reign and Rikishi. These performers at the time were clearly having the finest moments of their career and were taking time away from the much more younger and mobile wrestlers TNA became known for offering. Fans began to question when were the much more talented and younger guys were gonna leave and move on to bigger and better things. Here are the top 15 wrestlers were too good for TNA.
15. T.J. Perkins
T.J. Perkins wrestled for TNA under a masked persona known as Manik, the former Suicide. Perkins is truly an underrated talent in the wrestling business and TNA used him very little. Perkins held the X-Divison Championship once with TNA. T.J. Perkins was TNA’s chance to rejuvenate life in to the dying X-Divison, but like most TNA talent he floundered until his release. Perkins is currently signed to WWE and is set to be a member of the up-and-coming Cruiserweight Division.
Perkins is also apart of WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. Thus far he has defeated Da Mack and Johnny Gargano to advance to the quarter-finals. Perkins has an array of moves that he uses including a very unique 520° corkscrew springboard tornado DDT. This is Perkins main finisher and should stun the crowd when he breaks it out on the main roster. TNA unfortunately never allowed him to use this phenomenal maneuver. Perkins should be a major player for the Cruiserweight Division.
14. Xavier Woods
One-third of The New Day used to wrestle in TNA as Consequences Creed. Originally, Creed was brought into TNA as a member of Team Pacman; a team consisting of Creed, Ron Killings, and NFL cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Creed wouldn’t accomplish much in TNA considering his incredible promo skills which we can now see on Monday Night Raw. Woods is now a member of one of WWE’s most popular acts, The New Day.
The New Day receive pops like no other on Monday Nights. Not only that, they have held the Tag Team Championship for a year. This supersedes the little that Woods accomplished in TNA. His TNA accomplishments include a short Tag Team Championship with Jay Lethal and throwing up during a match. Woods also currently has YouTube gaming channel known as UpUpDownDown which features many WWE Superstars. Woods has a very entertaining persona which many did not see in TNA.
13. The Motor City Machine Guns
The Motor City Machine Guns are one the most wasted tag-teams in TNA’s history. A team consisting of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, TNA mishandled them completely. Management made them heels when they were clearly loved by all of the fans. Both sadly never have made it to the WWE and team-up on-and-off in Japan and for various independent promotions.
The Machine Guns had a plethora of tag team moves that I as a fan enjoyed very much. Before leaving the company Sabin would win the TNA World Championship from Bully Ray. Then, he would trade the X-Divison Championship wins with Austin Aires. Shelley would leave much earlier than Sabin where unfortunately he was used sparsely. Injuries to Sabin unfortunately also played a part to the success of the Machine Guns but that still doesn’t put the blame on TNA for misusing Shelley and Sabin. Shelley and Sabin are most definitely doing better in their current wrestling endeavours.
MVP made his name in WWE then in Japan before joining TNA. After TNA Lockdown 2014, where Team MVP defeated Team Dixie for control of the company, MVP turned heel for whatever reason leading to the creation of The Beat Down Clan. He was next in line for a World Championship match before tearing his meniscus and his probable world title run went to Bobby Lashley. MVP, like most others on the list would flounder.
After the injury, the BDC would feud with Lashley, Bobby Roode, and Kurt Angle. The BDC would eventually disband because of the opposing group Rising led by Drew Galloway. MVP would leave TNA too and was preparing to go to Lucha Underground but MVP was released because of a contract breach. Many thought MVP would return to WWE with the new Brand Split. However, this rumour has been shot down by MVP. For some one as talented as MVP it’s a shame he accomplished so little in TNA.
11. Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette’s one goal with TNA was to help them be competitive with WWE. His plan fell to pieces after Jeff Jarrett decided to bring back Vince Russo. Jim Cornette absolutely despised Russo but continued to work with him until his release in 2009. Cornette is considered one of the best wrestling minds the business has to offer and his talents were completely wasted in TNA.
According to Cornette, he tried to work with Russo and his at times silly ideas, but after a small dispute with Russo over a booking decision, he believes Russo had him fired. Cornette has since never forgiven Russo with their personal issues dating back to before TNA existed. I consider Cornette to be on of the most underrated icons in the business of professional wrestling. Cornette himself hated being there. Cornette’s wrestling mind was wasted in TNA and dealt with bad decisions made by upper management.
10. Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal epitomizes the concept of moving on to better things. In TNA, he was turned in to a comedy act. TNA made Lethal “Black Machismo,” a Randy Savage impersonator. He won the X-Divison Championship six times with no reign really doing anything for him. Lethal feuded Ric Flair, who was at his worst at this point and time. Lethal fell out of the shuffle and left in 2011. He left for ROH in 2011 and in 2015 began his ROH World Championship reign.
Lethal held the belt for more than a year before he lost the title to Adam Cole. Lethal is one of wrestling’s best talents. Like many wrestlers, TNA wasted Lethal’s talents. While WWE doesn’t seem in the cards for Lethal at the moment, that may not be a bad thing as Lethal has gone on to establish himself as one of the best Indy wrestlers in the world. All this coming after Lethal’s departure from TNA.
9. Nigel McGuinness
Nigel McGuinness has the second longest ROH reign and many people anticipated great things when he arrived to TNA. McGuinness was given the name Desmond Wolfe and had a different more blander hair style. Things started out wonderfully where he feuded with Kurt Angle. However McGuinness lost both Pay-Per-View matches. Then, McGuinness was left out of Ric Flair’s stable Fortune.
Lastly McGuinness formed a tag team with Magnus known as London Brawling but the team was short-lived after McGuinness tested positive with Hepatitis B. TNA missed out on the opportunity to turn someone as great as Nigel Mcguinness, who was a star in ROH, into a mega star in TNA. McGuinness returned to ROH not in a wrestling role but in a commentating role where he and Kevin Kelly became arguably the best wrestling commentating duo. McGuinness had the opportunity to be be special but TNA mismanaged him badly.
8. The Young Bucks
One of the most popular tag teams in wrestling today, once worked for TNA under the team name Generation Me. Completely opposite to the way they are today, The Young Bucks were made to be bland in TNA. They never talked and had no personality. One of the more interesting decisions made by management was to have them face off against each other.
In Japan and in many other promotions where the work, they’re a cocky and arrogant tag team that spams the Superkicks against their opponents. It is unlikely for whatever reason that they will ever work for the WWE. They are the best tag team not in WWE and would fit in perfectly. However they are still having success without the WWE. TNA had the opportunity to make these guys very special but seemingly made them the new Hardy Boyz.
7. The Dudley Boyz
Arguably the greatest tag team in wrestling history, The Dudley Boyz didn’t exactly get off on the right foot. One of the most scrutinized matches in TNA’s history is the Electrified Six Sides of Steel match between the Dudley’s and LAX. The Dudley’s are the most storied tag team is wrestling’s history and were put through one of the worst matches in wrestling history. However, they somewhat made up for it with Bully Ray’s amazing singles run.
Bully Ray’s run as a singles wrestler was incredible and he proved to have an art for performing a promo. He had two reigns as the TNA World Champion. Unfortunately Bully’s run as a singles competitor was hampered with his relationship with Brooke Hogan and his time in the Aces & Eights. Meanwhile, D-Von would accomplish close to nothing a singles competitor.
TNA can possibly be given credit for making Magnus but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t misused. From his time as a gladiator, to the British Invasion, to London Brawling, to his makeshift tag team with Samoa Joe, to the Main Event Mafia, and lastly to his time as Dixie Carter’s lackey, Magnus never became the main focus of anything he was involved in.
He constantly switched from face to heel and his only World Championship reign was ended by Eric Young of all people. Magnus is an underrated in-ring talent and very good on the mic which TNA never really capitalized on. Magnus deserved way better in TNA than what he was given. Magnus currently works with Global Force Wrestling, a promotion created by Jeff Jarrett, where he is there current World Champion. Magnus had the opportunity to be the face of TNA but like many others failed to do so.
TNA turned Abyss who was once an absolute monster in to an absolute joke. TNA did everything possible to ruin this unique character. One I was personally a fan of. He had a terrible match with Sting called the Last Rites match which he lost. The “monster” fell in love with the interviewer Lauren Brooke. He was also in angle with Dr. Stevie who was his therapist.
He became a fan of Hulk Hogan who gave him his Hall of Fame ring only to turn on him. Then was part of the group called Immortal with Hulk Hogan who he was feuding with. The period between 2008 to 2011 in TNA completely ruined Abyss. Sadly Abyss never was given a chance to potentially become a big star in WWE. Abyss still works with TNA and is a member of the Decay with Crazzy Steve and Rosemary. They are the current TNA Tag Team Champions.
4. Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is one of the absolute best wrestlers ever. Simply put without a doubt he is way better than TNA. Surprisingly Angle stayed in TNA for almost a decade. TNA did everything possible to make Angle in their company seem right, but in the end, it never seemed to fit. Angle held the TNA World Championship six times, far more than any other TNA performer.
However, Angle is as previously mentioned one of the best wrestlers to ever do it and wasted much of his career and his health in TNA. His career-long neck issues sprang up once again but continued to fight. As much as many want to see it, Kurt Angle should not come back to WWE in a wrestling role full time. He should retire soon to protect himself from anymore injuries.
Sting should have never went to TNA. After he turned down WWE, he should have just left wrestling all together. But Sting went to TNA where he had some horrible matches including a match with an intoxicated Jeff Hardy. His character made a 360 when he turned into Heath Ledger’s Joker with the so called Insane Icon. A moment that bothered many hardcore wrestling fans involving Sting included when he began wrestling in a t-shirt. Once he made it to WWE he was absolutely ripped.
Sting was also involved in one of the dumbest endings in professional wrestling history where he performed his signature move the Scorpion Death Drop but hit his head on the back of a chair leading his opponent Bobby Roode to take the victory. Sting was TNA’s first Hall of Fame inductee which was owed with all the nonsense that he was put through in TNA.
2. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe was one of wrestling’s greatest talents in the mid-2000s and had a year long winning streak in TNA. After his winning streak was ended by Kurt Angle, Joe was booked incredibly weak by TNA. He lost many matches he shouldn’t have and ended up losing the world title to an aging Sting. He would then flounder in the upper mid-card. The difference between Joe in ROH and TNA was that Joe was booked to be a complete monster.
He held the ROH World Championship for almost two years. Another issue with Joe that the aforementioned Sting had was that Joe wrestled in a t-shirt for his last few years in TNA. In NXT he looks in much better shape and is putting on much better matches in NXT than he did in his last few TNA years. Joe is getting up there in age and it’s a shame that his talents where wasted for a while in TNA.
1. AJ Styles
Without a doubt the face of TNA, AJ Styles deserved to be in WWE way earlier than when it actually happened earlier this year. Towards the end of his career TNA treated Styles as though he was not in their first match and like he was not the name most closely associated with the company. This includes the horrific, putrid, and disgusting Claire Lynch storyline. Without a doubt this man is loved by almost all wrestling fans and unfortunately continued to believe things would eventually get better.
Styles made his WWE debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble match and was greeted with a tremendous reaction after rejecting a chance to return to TNA. Styles is an one wrestling’s greatest talents and TNA completely made little to no use of it. Styles wasted many of his years in TNA and is getting up there in age. It is still phenomenal that he continues to perform the way he does while pushing the age of 40.
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