Some pro wrestlers fail to succeed not because of a lack of ability, but because of being in the wrong environment.
This list isn't about whether the mammoth WWE or Dixie Carter's TNA is better—both have their followers, and each are different entities in their own right.
However, there are pro wrestling in-ring performers and on-screen personalities who are currently being limited by residing in a company that is wrong for them at this time.
Here are 10 such people who could benefit from deciding to "cross the line" to switch sides.
Once Vince McMahon’s “Chosen One,” the competent Scot has long since fallen from favor and would likely benefit from a run in TNA where he can rebuild his career and tweak some defining points to his persona before a potential WWE return.
Both Christian and Jeff Hardy were able to actually enhance their careers by going to TNA before returning to WWE as bona fide World Championship contenders. Drew might not yet be at their level, but there’s definitely something to be said for a change of scenery sooner rather than later, when looking to a long-term WWE run in the future.
Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, when injury-free, are one of the best tag teams in the world today, and are stronger together than they are when apart in singles and X Division matches.
However, they’ve probably done all they can as a unit in TNA now, and with WWE showing signs of at least some renewed interest in its own tag team division, a defection could give their careers a massive boost and lead to more promising singles routes later on.
The King’s best days are behind him, not just in the ring, but also at ringside on commentary.
His plastic surgery may have bought him some more on-screen airtime in a WWE environment that puts an emphasis on youth, but his PG-rated remarks are worse than ever, their standard likely lowered further by the stifled control of Vince McMahon and Triple H at the gorilla position shouting in the ears of their announcers.
A move down south would take Lawler where he belongs, in a TNA environment that will allow him more creative freedom and opportunity to ad-lib.
Whether Taz remains in TNA or returns to WWE at some point, Don West is too good on the microphone to be reduced to hustling TNA merchandise to the fan-base.
His role in the old TNA announce team with play-by-play man Mike Tenay was to inject excitement and as-it-happens urgency to the program coverage, whether he was heel or playing it straight.
What WWE has desperately needed for quite some time is a modern day Jesse Ventura; a color commentator who understands the art form, possesses passion for the product, and can offer more than clichéd one-liners.
Michael Cole doesn’t work as a heel play-by-play man, and the installation of Don West in the second seat would provide plenty of color to a WWE announce team that has consistently dropped in quality over the last ten years. West may be no spring chicken, but he can talk.
Good ol’ JR could be described as the definition of a company man.
He’s always done what’s best for WWE since his debut in a ridiculous toga at a Roman-themed WrestleMania IX after being widely regarded as the best play-by-play man in the entire business while with WCW.
As the years have gone by, he’s tolerated more and more upheaval in the company, and with it, more humiliating on-screen roles in WWE, whether relevant to a storyline in expressing disappointment with Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first major heel turn, or just to be the butt of jokes by Michael Cole tastelessly mocking his Bell’s Palsy condition.
JR may take it for what it all is as part of the business, but in TNA he would be welcomed, respected, and fit in perfectly with the southern company’s emphasis on wrestling in its branding.
It’s doubtful he needs to remain with WWE for financial reasons, so it could be a great move by sending a message to the McMahons and WWE by walking - not least for a potentially better working environment where Bruce Pritchard is taking over more control from Vince Russo, thus offering a less hostile workplace for the man in the black hat.
Bobby Roode in 2011 exemplified how TNA can get it right: they built him up as a gutsy underdog family man from Canada challenging the all-American heel champion, Kurt Angle, garnering great interest from the pro wrestling world.
They blew it, of course, by having Angle retain the title and then drop it to Roode’s tag team partner James Storm, who then in turn dropped it to a Roode that had turned heel.
TNA hasn’t quite completely squandered Roode’s potential, and no doubt he hasn’t ironed-out all of the flaws in his character or his move-set just yet, but a trip north to Titan Towers and WWE could give him the repackaging he needs to take him to the next level, even if he had to go to developmental territory FCW first to complete his progress under guidance from the likes of Steve Keirn and Dusty Rhodes.
Just to be clear: Michael McGillicutty is no relation to ECW’s Beulah McGillicutty. In fact, he is of course Joe Hennig, the son of the late, great Curt Hennig, who was also known as Mr Perfect – one of the greatest heels of the 80’s and 90’s and indeed a near-perfect wrestler.
He’s developed well in FCW despite having big shoes to fill, but was wasted as part of Nexus and as tag team partner to David Otunga, and remains a glorified jobber. While his dad Curt enhanced talent who shared a ring with him regardless of their own limitations, Joe is being used as enhancement talent in a completely different way, and it isn't the right way for his career.
A switch to TNA to further hone his skills and to honor his family’s name as third-generation wrestler Joe Hennig would likely stop the rot setting in his career any further, and turn his fortunes around.
WWE’s 2008 release of the man then known by his birth name Elijah Burke shocked many wrestling commentators: “The Black Pope” had the drive, charisma, and microphone skills to succeed in the WWE scene.
But what was their loss became TNA’s gain - until, that is, they too eventually squandered his talents.
Aside from Bobby Roode, Dinero is probably the only man on this list that is in actuality attracting attention and interest from the other company, suggesting someone in power realizes they may have made a mistake in releasing him in the first place, and meaning that Elijah Burke may one day soon return to WWE screens to fulfill his immense potential.
It’s almost hard to believe that Jack Swagger won the Money in the Bank ladder match out of nowhere in 2010 to go on to almost immediately capture the World Championship from none other than Chris Jericho.
Eighteen months later, Swagger’s two month reign at the top of the WWE mountain is a distant memory, and he remains content playing sidekick to the red-hot Dolph Ziggler in Vickie Guerrero’s stable.
While not necessarily bona-fide World Champion material, Swagger deserves better and his continued misuse would justify a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, where he could finally face Kurt Angle, who would no doubt allow them to bring the best out of each other, elevating Swagger in the process.
There are few big names in pro wrestling that have never worked for Vince McMahon, and none are greater than the man they call Sting.
While he has consistently expressed concern for creative misuse like that Bill Goldberg experienced under McMahon, surely Sting would switch for the right price, a chance to challenge the Undertaker’s infamous streak, and a spot in WWE’s Hall of Fame.
Sting is in the twilight of his career. What better way to walk off into the sunset than with a triumphant run in WWE?