Back in early October, it looked as if TNA was finally about to go under. Of course, Impact Wrestling has been on the verge of collapse and financial ruin many a time over the past decade, and Dixie Carter appears to have more lives than a cat. As such, TNA has somehow just about managed to keep their head above water once more… for now, at least.
After Billy Corgan’s recent court case against TNA, the Smashing Pumpkins front man saw his restraining order against Impact lifted. Basically, that means that Dixie is now free to negotiate a deal with any outside investors, such as selling the TNA tape library to the WWE, for instance. Similarly, if Corgan isn’t paid back the money he’s sunk into TNA, he then gets a stake in the company.
Either way, away from the legal talk, despite surviving another storm, it seems that it really is just a matter of time before TNA goes under. The next set of Impact TV tapings have been cancelled, their UK TV deal with Challenge has been scrapped, and TNA’s final days look like they’re edging ominously ever closer.
Of course, if and when TNA closes, that opens the door for the WWE to come in and snuffle up any talents that they see as a good fit for their Raw, SmackDown, or NXT brands. Now whilst some names, such as Matt and Jeff Hardy, seem like shoe-ins to join the WWE after the TNA fiasco comes to an end, there are also some TNA superstars who, for one reason or another, we’ve got no chance of seeing in a WWE ring in the future.
Here, we take a look at 15 names whose chances of a WWE contract are zero-to-slim at best.
In the case of Abyss, it seems that the ship has sailed on him ever appearing on WWE TV.
A hulking, brutal, violent performer, this masked maniac has been with TNA since their first ever weekly PPV show way back in 2002. That’s not to say that he hasn’t had the chance to go to the WWE over that time, though.
Back in 2006, Abyss was actually offered a WWE contract. And not just a contract, but the plan was to bring him in at the 2007 Royal Rumble and have him challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXIII. Due to his loyalty to TNA, Abyss opted to turn down the deal and stay in Nashville.
Given how Vince McMahon and the WWE have been known to hold a grudge over the years, you rarely get offered another shot once you’ve already turned them down. In Vince’s eyes, you just don’t say no to the WWE.
Somebody call his momma…
He may know be known in TNA as Tyrus, but don’t be expecting the former Brodus Clay to be dancing his way back to the WWE any time soon. At the age of 43, it seems as if the real-life George Murdoch is someone who the WWE would be hesitant to bring back.
What else would also go against Tyrus is that he’s actually had several stints with the WWE. Initially signed to a contract back in 2006, he’d spend time in development territories Deep South Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling, be let go in 2008, return in 2010 to be sent back to FCW, take part in NXT, join the main roster, vanish and return as The Funkasaurus, and then be briefly sent down to NXT on his way out of the company.
So with all of that in mind, the WWE had plenty of chances to see what Tyrus could do, and they ultimately couldn’t find anything to fully utilize the talents of Snoop Dogg’s former bodyguard. Unfortunately for this hulking superstar, the WWE would similarly have no role for him nowadays.
13. Robbie E
Where Robbie E is concerned, most will agree that he’s one hell of a talented performer. As an obnoxious Jersey Shore-esque heel, he’s been one of TNA’s most hated and entertaining characters over the last several years. Charismatic, good in the ring, and with fantastic comedy timing and facials, this former TNA Television Champion could be a great get for the WWE if they were prepared to give him a fair shot.
Unfortunately for Robbie, one of the problems that he has with any potential switch to the WWE is the Long Island Iced Z, Zack Ryder.
Now the gimmicks of Robbie E and Zack Ryder are actually not as similar as casual fans may think, but the problem for WWE is that the gimmicks appear totally similar to some. At one point in time a few years ago, when Ryder was talking about spiking his hair and regularly talking about working out and chicks, yeah, Robbie E was doing something a little similar. These days, the two are different enough for both to be a success in the WWE; just, it seems that signing Robbie E may be something that WWE is hesitant to do.
12. Al Snow
For those of us around during the famed Attitude Era, Al Snow is a superstar who will always be fondly thought of as one of the most memorable performers of that time. Complete with Head, Snow and his crazy antics were a highlight of many a WWF show back then.
In 2016, though? Sadly for Snow, his WWE days will almost certainly remain in the past.
To the credit of this former Hardcore, European, and Tag Team Champion, at 53 years of age he’s still in phenomenal shape. Still active as an occasional in-ring performer for TNA, it would be a Rocky story of the highest order were Al Snow to return to the WWE. And unfortunately, real-life Rocky stories are at a premium.
A return to the WWE in an agent role or as a trainer may be a possibility for Al down the line, but the fact that the WWE previously had the chance to keep him on in such a role but didn’t suggests that that may also be unlikely.
11. Eli Drake
Like most superstars on this list, Eli Drake is somebody who has had some experience with the WWE. Where this former King of the Mountain Champion is concerned though, the WWE never seemed all that impressed with him during his spells involved with them.
In 2006 and 2008, Drake, real name Shaun Ricker, had some tryout bouts, but each time he was unsuccessful in getting a WWE contract. Fast forward to mid-2013 and Ricker was handed a deal, sent to the WWE Performance Center and given the name Slate Randall. Unfortunately, that run would only last just over a year and he was released in August 2014.
Given how the WWE has had several looks at this current TNA talent over the past decade, you’d have to think that if they saw something in him then they’d have done something with him by now. Instead, he got a year or so at the Performance Center before then ending up in TNA.
10. Gregory Helms
In his prime, Gregory/Sugar Shane/Hurricane Helms was regarded as one of the very best light heavyweights in North America, if not the world. Having made his debut at just 16, Helms went on to become a WCW Cruiserweight and Hardcore Champion, and a WWF/E Cruiserweight and Tag Team Champion.
Unfortunately for Helms, there’s several roadblocks to any sort of WWE return right now. Firstly, when he was released by the company in 2010, it wasn’t long after he’d got into hot water with the law for a drunken fight that involved Chris Jericho. After that, Helms had a major setback in 2011 when he and his girlfriend were involved in a motorbike accident. Helms was charged with driving under the influence, and the accident itself left him with a broken leg, ankle, nose, jaw, plenty of fractures and a couple hundred stitches. This also resulted in Helms having to have his foot reconstructed, which in turn has restricted his ability in the ring.
9. Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett may no longer be a minority owner of TNA, but his role in starting the company and his status as one of the few select members of Impact’s Hall of Fame means that he’s still synonymous with the Nashville wrestling organisation.
In wrestling, there’s the old saying of “never say never” when it comes to returns, building bridges or doing business together. Where Jeff Jarrett is concerned though, you can firmly say never. The Chosen One seems to be one of an elite few who Vince McMahon will never, ever work with again.
The likes of Bret Hart, Bruno Sammartino, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Jake Roberts have all come back from the cold to shake hands with Vince, but a Jarrett return of any form just isn’t going to happen. Once the six-time Intercontinental Champion held up the then-WWF for $300,000 to lose his final WWE match to Chyna, Jeff firmly slammed shut the door on any possible return to the company.
8. The Pope
When it comes to wrestling announce teams, does it get any worse than The Pope and Josh Matthews? Granted, JBL and David Otunga are horrendous on SmackDown Live, but at least they have the excellent Mauro Ranallo to pull them through. For Pope and Matthews, they only have eachother to rely on… and they both absolutely suck.
For a moment there, back during the WWE’s launching of their ECW brand, The Pope, then known as Elijah Burke, looked like a performer full of promise. Charismatic and good in the ring, Burke was one of the few bright lights of the ill-fated ECW relaunch. Then seemingly overnight, he just became an afterthought and somebody well and truly lost in the shuffle. A move to TNA followed, becoming D’Angelo Dinero, but he soon floundered once more once the initial buzz of his debut began to wane.
On the topic of a WWE return, seeing The Pope head to the WWE seems highly unlikely right now. As a commentator, he isn’t needed and simply isn’t good enough for the WWE. As an in-ring performer, it seems as if the 38-year-old is only sparingly interested in pulling on the tights and boots.
7. Josh Matthews
Even if he said nothing but good things about the company, a Josh Matthews return to the WWE would seem like a non-starter. For this wrestler-turned-announcer though, he seems to have spent the majority of his TNA time bashing the WWE on social media and in interviews…. Well, when he’s not busy getting into Twitter wars with wrestling fans.
Amazingly, Matthews actually spent a huge twelve years with the WWE following his stint on Tough Enough. After being suddenly booted out by Vince McMahon and Co., Josh wasted little time in turning up as the lead announcer of Impact Wrestling.
At the time of his WWE release, Matthews was the spare wheel in an already-crowded group of announcers and commentators. Since then, he’s done nothing to suggest that the WWE would have any reason whatsoever to rehire him. Added to this, his penchant for social media tirades against fans, wrestlers, and legends of the business means that he’s somebody who the WWE will be sure to steer well clear of.
6. Mr. Anderson
Mr. Anderson may no longer actually be with TNA, but he’s still largely associated as being a part of Impact Wrestling by many casual fans of Dixie Carter’s company. Regardless of his TNA status, the former Ken Kennedy won’t be turning up on WWE TV any time soon, if in fact ever again.
It’s a strange one with Ken Anderson, for at one point in time he looked set to become one of the WWE’s main event stars for years to come. A feud with The Undertaker and a Money in the Bank briefcase win, not to mention the planned reveal of Mr. Kennedy as the son of Vince McMahon, had this charismatic superstar marked down for a bright future.
Unfortunately for Ken, an injury saw the MITB briefcase switched to Edge, a wellness policy violation saw his reveal as Vince’s son switched to Hornswoggle, and complaints from John Cena and Randy Orton about his dangerous ring work led to him being fired.
5. Maria Kanellis
Arriving in the WWE thanks to the 2004 Diva Search, Maria would stay with the company until early 2010. Upon being released, Kanellis hasn’t covered herself in glory where World Wrestling Entertainment is concerned.
Following her release, she would take digs at Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins during some interviews. Granted, Kelly Kelly is simply Kelly Kelly, so that’s a non-issue. The Bellas though? Considering Nikki Bella is Mrs John Cena, calling her and sister Brie “immature” in an interview isn’t the best way to build bridges over a potential WWE return. In fact, dirt sheet reports claim that the Bellas made some negative comments to WWE management when a Maria return was discussed back in 2013. Additionally, Kanellis’ post-WWE shots at Randy Orton also won’t help her cause.
4. Mike Bennett
Where “The Miracle” Mike Bennett is concerned, the main thing stopping him from turning up in the WWE any time soon is the fact that he’s married to Maria Kanellis.
With the problems Maria has had with the WWE and, in particular, the Bella Twins, since she left the company, the door is closed on a return for her and subsequently a WWE deal for her husband.
As for Bennett himself, he’s a talented enough performer that you could certainly see fitting in nicely to a midcard role in the WWE now that the roster split is in place. He’s a charismatic presence who is good on the mic, and his in-ring skills are solid enough. When it comes to heels, he’s one of the very best that TNA has right now, and he could definitely do a job in the WWE.
Depending on what you read, there was something with Mike Bennett and the WWE a year or so ago. Some reports claim that the WWE reached out to Bennett when he left ROH, with him instead opting to join TNA, whilst other reports claim the WWE had some interest but decided against making a move for The Miracle.
3. Reby Sky
Whether you know her as Reby Sky or Rebecca Hardy, it seems like the wife of Matt Hardy is somebody who ticks pretty much all of the boxes for WWE’s reasons not to sign a talent.
Despite how the WWE would welcome Matt and Jeff Hardy back with opens arms whether TNA collapses or not, Reby is a different proposition due to some of her actions over the past few years. If her expletive social media rants at fans, rivals and colleagues weren’t bad enough, there was the baffling moment where she got into a backstage fight with Awesome Kong. And then, famously, there was the incident where she and Matt were both left bloody after a hostile motel altercation between the pair.
The WWE look to steer clear of talents who they deem to be a risk or a volatile locker room presence, and Reby Sky’s resume basically reads like a laundry list of things that the WWE likes to avoid. As such, whilst The Hardy Boyz will likely end up back in the WWE at some point over the next year or two, don’t be expecting to see Reby in tow when Matt and Jeff make their return.
There’s no doubting that Bram is a massively talented performer, with him being great on the mic as well as being a vicious, intense presence between the ropes, but his chances of winding up back in the WWE are minimal at best.
For those unaware, Bram was previously signed to a WWE contract and was part of the initial incarnation of The Ascension in NXT. To his credit, then known as Kenneth Cameron, the Briton was absolutely fantastic in making The Ascension a hugely popular tandem. Unfortunately, trouble was around the corner.
The end of 2013 saw the future Bram fired from the WWE for assaulting a police officer after being intoxicated. That followed a 2011 arrest for driving under the influence.
During his time post-WWE, Bram has made a return to Vince McMahon’s company even more unlikely. August 2015 saw him arrested again, this time for imprisoning and strangling his girlfriend. Added to that, the fact that Bram is also the ex-husband of current WWE big hitter Charlotte Flair means that, regardless of how talented the Chesterfield Mauler is, seeing him on Raw or SmackDown Live looks like a huge no-go these days.
1. Gail Kim
Gail Kim may be one of the greatest female wrestlers in the history of the business, and she’d certainly be a huge plus for the WWE if she were ever to return to Titan Towers, but the chances of seeing this TNA Hall of Famer back in the WWE seem slim right now.
Despite winning the Women’s Championship in her very first WWE match, Kim spent two years being criminally underused by the company. She’d move to TNA, do wonders in the Knockouts Division against Awesome Kong, then re-sign with the WWE in 2008. Three more years of nothing followed before her frustrations saw her quit and head back to TNA to establish her reputation as one of the best female performers in the world.
Given her negative experiences with the WWE to date, plus the fact that having celebrity chef Robert Irvine as her husband means that she doesn’t need to sign with Vince McMahon’s company just for the money, don’t expect this former WWE Women’s Champion to become part of the “women’s revolution”.