The current state of TNA tells you everything you need to know about the history of the promotion. You can only disappoint and underwhelm for so many years before fans get fed up and stop watching. That also applies to television executives, as the Impact show getting canceled by Spike TV was the biggest blow they could not recover from. You can’t help but feel a little pity for the company being in complete disarray with morale getting worse by the week but they truly did it to themselves. The talent list of performers to work for TNA is staggering.
Kurt Angle, Sting and Christian Cage added more great moments to their legendary careers. The next generation of talent such as Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles and Bobby Roode made their names there, despite dealing with politics and foolish decisions regarding their livelihoods. TNA had a good roster but they just kept getting in their own way rather than letting the positives shine through building their own identity. Many of the names to work for the company were hoped to become part of the solution in bringing notoriety to TNA. The name value was supposed to attract new viewers but instead the talent just saw their careers reach the end.
An array of names has seen the tombstones of their wrestling careers in TNA. The mix of being past their prime along with the incompetent minds running the company led to a depressing ending to many stars' time in the spotlight. Rumors have been circulating for years that WWE actively avoided anyone that worked for TNA due to the company having a “stink” associated with the name that followed the performers. Luckily, A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe have changed that by showcasing their talent. Not everyone has been as fortunate. We’ll look at the depressing tales associated with fifteen wrestling careers that went to TNA to die.
15 Booker T
The signing of Booker T was met with great expectations due to his reputation in pro wrestling. Booker was known as a hard worker and one of the best talents of the decade. TNA, unfortunately, could not showcase Booker effectively and fans were disappointed in his results. Fans have questioned Booker’s work ethic during his TNA days and it is understandable given how poorly it went. Booker T would see the final days of his active in-ring career during the TNA time. WWE signed him following the debacle but has placed him in a broadcasting role. Sadly, Booker’s legendary wrestling career all but ended in the most lackluster fashion in TNA.
14 The Basham Brothers
Danny and Doug Basham were expected to be a pivotal tag team of WWE’s future during their time in developmental. The duo would get saddled with the terrible gimmick of being aligned with dominatrix Shaniqua as representation of the BDSM world. As expected, the push would flop and WWE couldn’t get them over despite multiple gimmick changes. The Bashams went to TNA as Basham and Damaja. Their stint in the company went as poorly as their name change. They played Christy Hemme’s muscle for a short time period before TNA gave them the boot. Doug and Danny would become irrelevant in the wrestling world following the TNA experiment went wrong.
Every ECW fan knows just how exciting of a performer Rhino can be, but he was limited in both his WWE and TNA runs. Rhino should have been a huge star for TNA during their early years as they were desperate for star power during their move to national television on Spike TV. They did make him a player in the main event tier but he was always held back from hitting his potential. Rhino winning the NWA-TNA World Championship at Bound For Glory 2005 was a tremendous moment that was erased with Jeff Jarrett winning it back weeks later. This was the last few years of Rhino’s prime and it was wasted away in the purgatory of TNA.
The late Andrew “Test” Martin had a promising career with high potential during his time in WWE. The main event scene was loaded at the time and he never rose above the midcard picture. Following years of underachieving and a few poor decisions, Test was let go by WWE. TNA signed him under his real name Andrew Martin and used him in one of the most ridiculous gimmick matches of all time. Martin teamed with Sting and Abyss to compete against Christian Cage, A.J. Styles and Tomko in a “Doomsday Chamber of Blood Match.” The match was a disaster and Martin was never used again.
11 Mr. Anderson
Mr. Anderson ended up being one of the few established wrestlers to achieve success in TNA but it still felt painfully lackluster. The Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff regime brought Anderson into the promotion and he would go on to have two World Championship reigns. Anderson was unfortunately not good enough to excel as a world champion and was quickly relegated to lower card action. The latter years of Anderson in TNA were among the worst things in pro wrestling. Their relationship ended poorly with Anderson spewing expletives about TNA in a promo after his release. Anderson is still trying to continue his wrestling days but his career is all but over following a poor run in TNA.
10 Shane Douglas
Many of the stories featuring wrestling stars seeing their careers die in TNA are quite depressing, and that’s the way it went for Shane Douglas. “The Franchise” had one of the edgiest personalities in wrestling with great promos in ECW making him a top heel in all of pro wrestling. TNA failed to find a way to effectively use Douglas. The early years saw him in some terrible storylines as an active performer. Douglas moved into broadcasting and managing but it didn’t connect with fans at all. TNA brought an out of shape Douglas back years later and he embarrassed himself in a match against Christopher Daniels. This was the end of the line for Douglas and his career has taken nothing but hits since then.
9 Mike Knox
The in-ring work and overall potential of Mike Knox was very good for a man his size. Most known for his time in WWE’s version of ECW as Kelly Kelly’s overbearing boyfriend, Knox tried to revamp his reputation in TNA. They made him part of the putrid Aces and Eights faction that went absolutely nowhere despite a year-long storyline. Knox would get another chance but the gimmick of the Menagerie was yet another bust thanks to the company’s poor writing. The career of Knox has yet to take off and the failures in TNA may have been the final blow to his perception.
Christian Cage’s time in TNA was wonderful and he went back to his WWE ties by bringing in Tomko as an enforcer once again. The duo had tremendous chemistry that allowed Tomko to showcase his strengths without highlighting any of his flaws. That all ended when Christian left the company but Tomko returned as a singles star. Tomko was exposed as a lackluster performer and it didn’t help that he was starting to appear out of shape. The career of Tomko is currently on life support following the poor end to his TNA tenure. Tomko was arrested for robbery charges in 2011 and is working on the lowest tier of independent wrestling shows.
The early years of TNA saw Raven enter the company as one of the biggest stars. Raven feuded with Jeff Jarrett for the world title during the weekly PPV era in the first captivating TNA storyline. Things would unfortunately go downhill for Raven shortly after. The years of work and aging process caught up to him as he appeared to be out of shape while an active performer. Raven couldn’t keep up with the new stars and looked horrible towards the end of his TNA run. The career of Raven could not find any more relevance following the demise in TNA and he occasionally appears on a local independent wrestling show desperate for past name value.
6 Val Venis
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff brought in many established talent to add depth to TNA’s roster in hopes of adding star power. Many of the names were poor choices and saw their careers die a quick death in TNA. Val Venis was the perfect example of this. The veteran entered in a feud against TNA star Christopher Daniels and got the big victory over him on PPV. Fans absolutely hated it and this led to his run ending rather abruptly. Venis was still playing the adult star/ladies’ man gimmick despite his older age and larger gut. Val's wrestling career ended so poorly in TNA that he transitioned into becoming a marijuana enthusiast as his new life path.
5 Garett Bischoff
The majority of stories on this list are tales of once popular wrestlers having their careers end on a sour note thanks to a horrible run in TNA. This was one of the very few incidents of a talent seeing his career end before it even started. Garett Bischoff was pushed in a major storyline involving Hulk Hogan turning face with him. As the son of Eric Bischoff, Garett entered a feud with his father in a storyline no one cared about. The limited in-ring skills and undeserved push early into his career led to a huge downfall for Garett. Once TNA’s relationship with Eric ended, Garett was sent home as well and has not attempted to continue his career in wrestling, seeing the writing on the wall.
4 Elijah Burke
The purpose of WWE’s reincarnation of ECW was to showcase the company’s rising young stars before they moved to Raw or Smackdown. Elijah Burke showed great promise but was unable to get a sustained push before leaving the company. TNA did a pretty good job making Burke look like a big deal with the new character as “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero. His popularity reached the point of main eventing one of the Lockdown PPVs against A.J. Styles for the TNA World Championship. Pope lost the match and would go on a steady decline for the rest of his career. Dinero no longer wrestles but is currently serving as one of the worst commentators in the industry for TNA.
TNA’s constant growth from 2006-2010 saw many stars come in and out of the company. Most of them were former stars from WWE or WCW looking to get another chance on national television. Rikishi entered the promotion with the hopes of reaching the heights of his Attitude Era success. That obviously didn’t happen and Rikishi embarrassed himself as one of the worst members of the roster. One specific moment saw Rikishi refer to Bobby Roode as “Rick Rude” during a live promo. The overall work put out by Rikishi showed what he thought about TNA and it sunk his last days as an active performer. Aside from the occasional indie show, Rikishi’s career ended with the lackluster stint in TNA.
2 Orlando Jordan
The experiment of Orlando Jordan’s push in TNA was a complete failure due to a terrible idea and abysmal execution. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff hired Jordan but wanted to use his real life bisexuality as part of a character. Despite most bisexuals being normal human beings that just happen to be attracted to both genders, Jordan played a creepy sexual deviant. The most memorable visual is Jordan squirting lotion all over himself on a bed during a feud with Rob Terry. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how the stint failed but it also destroyed Jordan’s career. No one took him seriously and he has not been booked by any noteworthy promotion since his TNA days.
1 Matt Morgan
Matt Morgan was Jim Cornette’s prized prospect in OVW and everyone expected big things for the athletic giant. At nearly 7 feet tall, Morgan had the speed and athleticism to add more dynamic to his game but it was all for nothing. TNA signed Morgan after a failed run with WWE and managed to expose him as being completely overrated. The big man was involved in some of the boring moments in TNA history. You likely skipped anything Morgan was involved in unless he was working against Kurt Angle or A.J. Styles. Morgan’s run was so bad that he retired to enter another field, knowing wrestling was no longer going to be beneficial to his livelihood.