The state of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling remains in limbo to those of us who are on the outside looking in. Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online have, on multiple occasions, reported that cable television station Destination America will not be renewing the TNA TV deal come September 2015, a story that those running the wrestling company have somewhat refuted. Destination America added even more confusion to the reports during the final week of May 2015 when the network announced that it had come to terms with Ring of Honor regarding a new TV deal that is set to begin in June.
Wrestling fans around the world have been down this road in the past, one that is seemingly taking us toward the demise of TNA only to then have a fork near its conclusion. It would be easy to forget the amount of times that TNA has been just months or even days away from death only to then rise up and somehow find new life thanks to a different cable television deal or a contract extension that is signed in the final hour. Those who were once in charge of the former World Championship Wrestling have to, at times, sit back and wonder why they could not have had such good fortune over a decade ago.
Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that the true end for TNA will occur at some point before the end of 2015. That would sadly leave many people left searching for new gigs. Eyes of wrestling fans will understandably first look toward what was the final roster of TNA and wonder, who among those athletes, could put pen to paper on a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. Thanks to the emergence of NXT, TNA talent that otherwise may not have received even a look from those running WWE may now get a shot to eventually work for what is the top pro wrestling company in North America.
10. Kurt Angle
While he is nowhere near the prime of his pro wrestling days, you have not been paying attention to TNA if you believe that Kurt Angle cannot still go inside of the ring. There remain a handful of supposed “dream matches” that Angle could have while working for WWE: Contests against the likes of Finn Balor and, if he is healthy, Daniel Bryan just to name a couple. The issue regarding Angle ever again linking up with the WWE as an in-ring perform pertains to the performer’s overall health. Would Angle be able to pass a WWE medical examination at this stage of his career?
9. Gail Kim
The WWE is, by all accounts, looking to push the women’s division and legitimize it in a way that fans of the company have not seen in some time. What better way for the WWE to do that than to bring Gail Kim back if TNA does, in fact, go under? Kim would be one of the top workers in all of the company before the ink on her WWE contract dried, and she can still have top-tier matches with any woman on the main roster. She could, at the very least, be utilized on the NXT brand to help mold future performers while at the same time entertaining fans with her work inside of the ring.
8. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy can undeniably be a bit of a bonehead. His battles with personal demons while in both the WWE and TNA have been well-documented over the years. Add in that Hardy recently suffered a broken leg while operating a dirt bike, and it is easy to understand why the WWE may think twice about bringing Hardy back. Then again, Hardy does move merchandise, he still gets positive reactions from crowds inside of arenas, and he would undergo routine drug tests while working underneath the WWE umbrella. Do not completely brush this idea aside.
7. Mickie James
While her last run as part of the main WWE roster may not have ended as she would have hoped for, Mickie James has since had positive communication with the company. She spent time as a guest trainer at NXT back in 2013. How much James has left in the tank and how much longer she wants to work as an active in-ring performer is not known, perhaps even by her at this stage of her life, but she is still making appearances on the independent circuit. She would, just as is the case with Gail Kim, be a tremendous asset to have working on the NXT brand.
6. Drew Galloway
There are two things to consider when contemplating if Drew Galloway could make a return to WWE: He will be only 30 years old in June of 2015, and the company is constantly looking for bodies to push through developmental and NXT. Take a hard look at the current NXT roster. Is it really all that crazy to suggest that Galloway would not be a good hand for the brand as it exists heading into the upcoming summer? Ignore the past regarding Galloway and others on the TNA roster. The WWE has a long history of taking departed talent back and welcoming those wrestlers with open arms.
5. James Storm
It was only a few years ago when James Storm could have been a big-time player on the WWE roster. That may no longer be the case, as he will be 38 years old this summer, but Storm could nevertheless have some successful programs as both a tag-team worker and as a solo act. The truth of the matter is that Storm would likely best be used by the WWE if paired with a partner with whom he worked alongside in TNA. That man, like Storm, could feature for the WWE as either a solo worker or as part of what could be one of the best teams in the company.
4. Bobby Roode
The WWE had a chance at Bobby Roode over a decade ago, and yet the company passed for whatever reasons. That wrong could be made right if TNA is no longer in existence come October 2015. Neither Roode nor Storm would be long-term solutions for the WWE, as both are closer to 40-years of age than they are to 35. With that said, a tag-team comprised of Storm and Roode could be beneficial to both the NXT brand and to editions of Raw and SmackDown, and the two would also be able to have solid one-on-one encounters with members of the main WWE roster.
3. Tigre Uno
The Lucha Dragons are the latest act in WWE that was put together, in part, to sell merchandise such as masks and t-shirts. Tigre Uno could do the same if he was given an opportunity to shine for the company. Trained by Rey Misterio Sr., Tigre Uno/Extreme Tiger would likely have to spend at least some time in NXT before he was called up to the main roster. That may not necessarily be a bad thing considering that the company would likely market him with a new name, and thus going through NXT would allow him to get that character over and also sell merch in the process.
2. Awesome Kong
Whatever it is that happened in the past between the WWE and Kong is in the past, and may it forever stay in the past. Kong, who worked as Kharma with the WWE, made a successful albeit short return to the company at the 2012 Royal Rumble, and she showed then that she has the goods and the look to draw desired reactions from audiences whenever she steps out onto the stage. There is no other women’s wrestler in either TNA or WWE who is able to bring to the table what Kong does every time she works inside of the ring. She could be yet another key player in a revamped WWE women’s division.
1. Austin Aries
Austin Aries would, in an ideal wrestling world, be able to make the jump to NXT before you are done reading this sentence. Just think of the possibilities as of June 2015: Aries versus Finn Balor. Aries versus Kevin Owens. Aries versus Hideo Itami. Heck, even Aries versus Tyler Breeze could be a lot of fun. Aries never should have even been asked to try out for the Tough Enough cast years ago. He seemingly has, on paper, everything that the company could want for its NXT brand. Aries would be a great get for the WWE for several years to come.