At least they tried.
When it comes to failed gimmicks, matches, events, careers, and goals in the industry of pro wrestling, those four words to open up this list can often be muttered. But when it comes to TNA Wrestling, certain careers from legends (in WWE, ECW, and WCW), failed and left us wondering what they were thinking.
TNA thought their best strategy to compete with the WWE was to sign all of the past-their-prime veterans, hoping the old-timers would tune in. Although TNA had some success, the old guys have left, and some, including Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, have joined WWE under legends contracts.
Now, TNA is back to square one as they attempt to bring in other wrestlers from across the world while also trying to develop their own, but it’s honestly going to be impossible for them to be able to compete with WWE anytime soon.
But things could have been a lot different if they opted to use these veterans that they brought on board right. Instead, most of them (hello Hulk Hogan), were brought on just to make money, with very poor storylines that barely used him. The fans of TNA were let down big time by the poor usage from these stars, while a major mystery remains why Sting chose to spend ages in TNA and not join the WWE sooner.
Well, it’s going to be a difficult feat, but we all need to work together on this. We need to forget about some of the worst TNA Careers to happen. Even though it’s hard, we’ll take a look back on the 15 we wish we could erase from memory.
The former WWE SmackDown commentator had a colourful personality and was one of the best names to come over from ECW . Going to TNA, however, wasn’t exactly a smooth transition.
Tazz had set his legacy with ECW and WWE and was a fan-favourite in both promotions. It was clear all along he was going there for the money, but it was just painful to see one of our favourites go elsewhere and not accomplish much.
14. Mickie James
How many times have we seen WWE Divas leave way too early, like with Stacy Keibler, Eve Torres, or A.J. Lee. But losing Mickie James is still having its effect on the Divas Revolution, which has been a monumental failure for the company today. Losing James was just the start.
She was really popular with the crowd and performed like few others in the ring. But seeing her switch to TNA, where she was never really given the chance to be on the main-card like the WWE was depressing. She was a female legend in WWE and a forgotten commodity in TNA. It wasn’t fair to see her go out like that.
13. Kevin Nash
Well, if you bring together the nWo’s original three members, what could possibly go wrong? Surely, all of the wrestling fans of the ’90s would like to see them fight again on the same roster, right?
Wrong. TNA learned the hard way that trying to bring back something that was cool 10-15 years ago isn’t going to work such a long-time later. Kevin Nash wasn’t the same when his nWo sting in WWE ran up in 2002, but he turned to TNA to try to kickstart another successful reign.
We try not to blame Nash too much, it’s just he was used horribly in storylines. Thank God WWE brought him back so he could go out on top.
12. Kurt Angle
Hey Kurt Angle…
You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck! You suck!….
No, not because of your old theme song in WWE that the fans would always sing along too, but because you stayed away from the company that made you legend for far too long while wasting years with TNA. Even though it wasn’t fully his fault, since they got rid of him due to health concerns.
Angle became a star in TNA and headlined the Main Event Mafia, and even though he was a successful wrestler there, he was simply growing stale. Though the fans always booed him in WWE, he was the top-notch heel that they’re missing. He has said before he wants a return, and if he does, we can’t help but wonder why it didn’t happen sooner.
11. The Dudley Boyz
One of the most entertaining and dynamic tag-teams in the history of pro wrestling wasted a chunk of years with TNA and that’s a shame. The table-powering pair of Bubba Ray and D-Von have returned to WWE, but they’re clearly a shadow of their old selves.
The two are definitely not re-gaining their old form as a super tandem, because we had to see them go through boring mid-to-low card feuds with other wrestlers who were never that great to begin with.
Hopefully their recent heel turn will lead somewhere, otherwise, their time with TNA will be something we all wish had never happened, since WWE fans lost some great years with them.
10. Scott Hall
It’s very sad, but if Scott Hall did not have so many issues with drugs, alcohol, and personal matter moments, we would have more than likely seen a terrific send-off to what was a storied WWE career.
Instead, while he continued to struggle with his problems, he joined up with TNA, fighting there from 2002-2010. But he was clearly not capable of performing the way he did as Razor Ramon and with WCW. Hall was distracted with his issues and couldn’t seem to find his old magic that we saw a decade earlier.
Credit to TNA for trying, even though it did not work out by any means.
9. Randy Savage
The “Macho Man” had a magnificent run with WWE before he left for WCW. There, he had some glorious moments, but as WCW lost its touch and began to decline, Savage’s career was becoming less and less relevant.
Unlike the trio that made up the original nWo, Ric Flair and Bret Hart, Savage never re-joined WWE after WCW ended, so he took his talents to TNA from 2004-2005 and it was not pretty.
All that happened was Savage coming out to feud with Jeff Jarrett and he was supposed to win the NWA World title, but he had to leave due to health concerns in his 50s, with his best wrestling moments clearly behind him. It would have been great to see the Macho Man get one more rodeo with the WWE, but it wasn’t mean to be.
8. The Hardy Boyz
Matt Hardy was at the top of his game when he and Jeff formed the dominant brother tandem, The Hardy Boyz. But after being released from WWE, Hardy’s career was already going downhill.
He returned shortly after to give fans a great feud with Edge over some real-life issues, but anything else he appeared in after was just uneventful, to say the least. Hardy joined his brother in TNA where he’s still signed.
Jeff, one of the most high-flying, incredible and danger-filled stuntmen WWE ever employed had a sad divorce with the company, after his problems outside of the ring got him his pink slip.
The younger Hardy brother became a phenom instantly in TNA, so what’s the problem there? Well, consider the fact that he showed up to a match clearly inebriated against Sting, showing that he could not escape his problems. Sting improvised the finish greatly, thank goodness.
But still, Hardy threw away another chance to be a star in WWE and instead became a full-time flop in TNA. He’s improved of late, but it’s still been disappointing.
7. Booker T
It was a bad time for Booker T fans: He switched over to a silly and unnecessary King Booker role in WWE, before joining TNA. Like others on our list, they tried promoting him by booking the Booker in big-named storylines. He was part of the infamous Main Event Mafia led by Kurt Angle, but that really didn’t make him much of a star.
What’s worse is that he didn’t have a great send-off either, replacing the injured A.J. Styles in a title match against RVD, which he lost. Thankfully, he would return to WWE as a commentator, where he excelled greatly, thus helping us forget about an awful TNA reign.
6. Scott Steiner
The more Scott Steiner stayed in TNA, the worse he became as a pro wrestler and as a person. The man has seriously had problems controlling himself outside of the ring, by doing things like threatening to kill Hulk Hogan. Good luck, brother!
Steiner had two stints with TNA, and he did have some moments here and there, but they could never overshadow what he was able to do in WWE and WCW. Steiner became well-forgotten. There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind he’s not returning to WWE anytime soon, nor should he get the chance.
5. Rob Van Dam
His old WWE theme song started with “One of a kind! Hey-Hey-Hey!” Well, those lyrics rang true when it came to his TNA career, it was one of a kind…in a terrible sense.
TNA tried putting Rob Van Dam in feuds with high-profile performers like Sting, Abyss, and Hulk Hogan, but the result was the same: WWE fans crying for him to come back. RVD had a unique wrestling style, but all of his entertaining moments came in WWE and ECW. TNA underused the talents of an all-time great. How predictable.
4. Mick Foley
It doesn’t matter if he joined as Mick Foley, Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love or anybody else, because the result was going to be the same. Once again, TNA hired a big name just to lure in viewers, but it wasn’t going to buy any success.
Foley worked with TNA from 2008-2011, but nothing really exciting turned out from this. The man that put his body through the ringer during The Attitude Era to help WWE win the Monday Night War wasn’t doing the same in TNA. Thankfully, he made a return to WWE in 2011, where he’s made sporadic appearances.
3. Hulk Hogan
TNA’s biggest moment ever was somehow (money) convincing Hulk Hogan to sign a contract with the company. Once again, it was just another big name to promote the company, but what did Hogan really do besides collect paychecks? Not a whole lot of anything.
He fought with TNA in 2003-04, but his 2009-13 stint is easily forgettable. Hogan mainly played an on-screen General Manager, which went nowhere. Even his match against Sting wasn’t all that thrilling while he worked for them.
Now, Hulkamaniacs are just praying he’ll get one more shot with WWE, though it’s hard to envision Vince McMahon bringing him back when you consider the ugly divorce they had.
2. Ric Flair
The limosine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing, retiring-but-coming-out-of-retirement son of a gun just couldn’t get enough of wrestling. He just never knew when enough was enough and it really ruined his legacy with WWE, in some forms.
Ric Flair’s WWE career ended when he lost to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV, with the stipulation that The Nature Boy had to hang up his boots if he lost. Flair received a great sendoff from the fans and fellow Superstars. But then he decided he just had to come back and continue his career.
Aside from his promo with Jay Lethal where he gets mocked over and over again, there was nothing to see about Flair’s time with TNA. It was a complete waste and he should have just remained retired. Of course, he just wasn’t able too, but at least his mentorship for Charlotte on-screen in WWE has helped repair some of the damage he did to his career by being underused and wasted in TNA.
By no means did The Icon have a horrible stint with TNA, but it absolutely was devastating for WWE fans to see him stay so loyal to the company for so long. However, it’s a long story that needs understanding.
Sting had negotiations to join WWE, but he was not happy with the direction they had planned for his character, so he did what was best for him at the time. But even The Vigilante himself admitted he should have joined WWE much sooner. There’s a good chance we’ll never see the dream match of Sting and The Undertaker as both men are in their 50s and visibly wearing down when it comes to athleticism, ability, and stamina.
Sting didn’t need to join WWE right when they bought out WCW, but sometime between 2005-2010 would have been ideal and he could have gone up against some of the biggest legends ever. But unfortunately for us, that never happened, and WWE has booked him poorly in his short tenure with the company. We can only hope, despite rumors, that his in-ring days are not over.
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