One of the biggest criticisms for TNA Wrestling throughout most of the run was the belief that the promotion was trying too hard to be WCW. The wrestling industry badly needed another promotion to thrive on national television after WWE purchased both WCW and ECW in 2001. TNA had the best chance of the 2000s, with a tremendous opportunity on Spike TV. Unfortunately, they developed a reputation for copying WCW and doing it poorly.
Many of the big names from WCW spent time in TNA, as it became the best option if you didn’t have a WWE deal. Most of the performers to work for both companies would find that TNA used them far worse than WCW did. We will look at the careers of wrestlers that felt a decline from their WCW success to TNA. These are ten wrestlers that WCW clearly used better than TNA did.
10 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash was one of the first former WCW stars to land a big contract with TNA ahead of the Spike TV deal. The older Nash suffered from injuries that prevented him from wrestling a full-time schedule. TNA did try to use him in the main event picture on a few occasions, but he never felt like a big star.
WCW presented Nash as a top name between his stints as an original member of the New World Order and a leader of the Wolfpac face faction. TNA received few positives from having Nash on the roster.
The WCW run of Konnan gave him a solid run as a mid-carder for many years. Konnan would win the United States Championship and Television Championship to find credibility in WCW. Joining the New World Order led to his biggest success in North America.
TNA hired Konnan in the early years to form the 3 Live Kru faction with Road Dogg and R-Truth that did not last in the long run. Konnan’s TNA stint as a wrestler was a disappointment. His run as a manager for both versions of LAX was the best part of his TNA career, but he still did little compared to WCW.
8 Nasty Boys
Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags found tremendous success in the 90s as the Nasty Boys tag team. Both wrestlers had a style that made them unpredictable. WCW would make the Nasty Boys one of their top teams for a few years in the 90s for a good run.
Hulk Hogan tried to hook his friends up with another gig when they joined TNA on the first night of the Hogan and Eric Bischoff regime. The sole feud of the Nasty Boys against the Dudley Boyz was a huge disaster. TNA would let go of Knobbs and Sags shortly after due to the lackluster appearances.
7 Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff struggled as both an on-screen performer and creative mind backstage in TNA. Dixie Carter broke the bank to bring in Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, with the hopes of allowing them to run against WWE like the duo did in WCW.
Most of Bischoff’s moves turned out to be mistakes. TNA tried moving their television show to Monday nights to create a new Monday Night War running against Raw. The ratings flopped and TNA moved back to Thursdays after losing all momentum. Bischoff no longer had the magic and nothing he did helped TNA the way he did for WCW.
6 Jeff Jarrett
Fans of Jeff Jarrett would say that TNA used him best, since he was the face of the company for the first few years. The power of Jarrett as the original person in charge of the show would see him dominate the world title picture as a top star for TNA.
Other names like Kurt Angle, Sting and Christian Cage coming in would finally move Jarrett down a peg, but the criticism for the overbooking of him as champion hurt TNA in the early years. WCW found more success with Jarrett as a primary mid-card with the occasional main event angle.
5 Scott Hall
Scott Hall was one of the first major additions to the TNA roster and had quite a few stints in the company. The personal demons of Hall would see WWE refuse to book him. Hall was no longer in great shape and failed to perform at a high level like his WCW and WWE days in the 90s.
WCW adding Hall was one of the reasons they started to contend with WWE in the ratings wars, but TNA trying the same just made them look bad. Hall rarely had good matches and would even no-show events at times to further damage the company’s reputation.
4 Scott Steiner
The WCW run of Scott Steiner would see him have two superb chapters to his career. Scott tagged with his brother Rick in the Steiner Brothers team to become an all-time great duo in wrestling history. WCW would push Scott as a singles star towards the end of their run and he thrived as a world champion.
TNA hoped the name value of Steiner would boost their ratings, but he no longer had the same main event appeal. There were some great moments, with most coming in comedic fashion with Scott’s over-the-top promos. The overall goal of being a top star unfortunately could no longer be achieved by Steiner in TNA.
Raven was the first impressive signing by TNA, when he came over in the early weekly PPV years to challenge Jeff Jarrett. Many fans would view Jarrett vs Raven as the first important storyline for the world title in TNA’s short history to that point.
Despite having a few good moments and winning the NWA Championship, TNA never used Raven well in the long run. The biggest pushes of Raven in TNA would see his momentum squandered. WCW allowed him to at least have great matches against workers like Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Benoit to go along with his stellar character work.
TNA would have Kurt Angle and Sting become the top two faces of the company for most of their run, after landing the television deal on Spike TV. Sting was reluctant to join WWE due to how poorly they booked former WWE stars and chose to make TNA his home.
The five world title reigns in TNA did not add much to Sting’s legacy. WCW booked him in his prime, so it was easier to present him as a massive star. TNA could not find that level of success and Sting’s name value was wasted in the smaller promotion.
1 Booker T
Booker T was one of the most beloved wrestlers in WCW. The rise from a stellar tag team wrestler in Harlem Heat with his brother Stevie Ray, to his long road to the top as a five-time WCW Champion, proved that Booker was a WCW legend from start to finish.
TNA tried finding the same success when Booker left WWE. The lighter schedule for good pay inspired Booker to make the move. Unfortunately, he was one of the worst signings in TNA history. The company did try pushing him in main event angles against stars like Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles, but to no avail. Booker never came off like a big star and his presence hurt TNA.