The 20 Biggest Flops in TNA

Andy Soucek@Andy_SoucekFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2013

The 20 Biggest Flops in TNA

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    TNA has been in business for over 10 years, and during that time, it's often relied on former big WWE or WCW names to build the company around.

    It's also developed a nice collection of homegrown talent to help round out its roster. But it seems that no matter what the company has done, or who it brings in, it's been unable to grow in the ratings.

    With so many big contracts being handed out, you would hope that it would have some return on its investment.

    That's not often been the case.

    Perhaps due to bad booking, or half-hearted attempts by certain wrestlers, not everyone has panned out. Guys like Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and Christian Cage have all enjoyed success in TNA, but many more failed to gain any traction.

    Here is a list of the men and women who were brought in with high hopes of success but ended up flopping.

No. 20: Andrew 'Test' Martin

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    After being known as Test for years in the WWE, Andrew Martin joined TNA as Andrew "The Punisher" Martin.

    It was a decent get for the company, as Martin was still young and had name some name recognition. However, he was also carrying a lot of baggage after failing a WWE wellness test.

    Still, that didn't stop TNA from wanting to push him as a top star.

    Martin and his new nickname never had a chance to catch on in TNA, though, as he only spent about a month in the company. His biggest moment was at Hard Justice 2007 when he teamed up with Abyss and Sting in a winning effort.

    Apparently, the reason that TNA got rid of Martin was because of his enormous physical size. With so many wrestler deaths around that time, TNA couldn't afford to have a noticeable warning sign employed by them.

    He was easily the most jacked-looking guy on the roster and was told he could return when he lost some muscle mass.

    He never had that chance, though, as he passed away less than two years later at the age of 34.

No. 19: Chyna

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    Who could forget Chyna's epic run in TNA?

    Actually, pretty much everyone could.

    On one hand, it was cool to see her again. Chyna hadn't been on a national stage in over a decade, and she was one of the biggest women stars in the history of the WWE. But seeing her in TNA, not quite in wrestling shape and involved in a lame story, just felt out of place.

    She was introduced as Kurt Angle's business partner (when the weeks before her reveal, she was referred to as his mistress), and the two feuded with Jeff and Karen Jarrett.

    A match between the two teams at Sacrifice had Angle and Chyna coming out on top, but then that left her with nothing to do. Chyna then unceremoniously disappeared from the company and has yet to return.

No. 18: Shocker

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    Did you know that Shocker was once in a McDonald's commercial?

    Most of us didn't, either, until Mike Tenay repeatedly told us about it every time he was on TV. This apparently made him a big deal, and TNA tried to capitalize it.

    The company tried to push him as a fan-favorite babyface, but it just never caught on. Was it because of the ridiculous (kids, ask your parents) name? Was it the spiky blonde hair?

    Overall, Shocker was OK, but he was just kind of bland. There were far superior X-Division wrestlers on the roster (when TNA actually cared about the division), and it wasn't before long that he made his not-so-shocking exit from the company.

No. 17: Suicide

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    Suicide is one of the most idiotic characters in wrestling history, simply because he doesn’t exist.

    The character was created for the TNA Impact video game by Midway Games in 2008. In that game, you play as Suicide (who was voiced by Senshi) and are kidnapped by LAX and left for dead in Mexico. Once you recover and receive plastic surgery, you work your way up the rankings until you challenge Jeff Jarrett for the TNA title.

    TNA was not shy about the fact that he came from a video game, as Mike Tenay would constantly tout that fact as if it made sense.

    Upon his debut, Suicide was given a flashy entrance where he would glide down from the entryway on a wire. It was actually pretty cool, and then TNA got rid of it.

    During his run, Suicide was portrayed by Kaz, Christopher Daniels and Kiyoshi. His promos were over-dramatic, cryptic and a bit emo.

    While the character did win the X-Division title once, he never grew in popularity, possibly because of his sporadic appearances and the ever-changing cast of people who played him.

    One can only hope that Suicide is OK and is alive and well in a video game somewhere.

No. 16: Tommy Dreamer

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    For most of 2010, TNA was downright terrible.

    Instead of the company looking at its own talent to push, it kept bringing in former WWE midcarders by the boatload. Those in charge also developed a strange obsession with once again trying to recreate ECW.

    After Tommy Dreamer joined the company, things got a little crazy. Along with other former ECW wrestlers, Dreamer helped head up EV 2.0, and the group even got their own pay-per-view at Hardcore Justice.

    Now, Tommy Dreamer as a backstage hand, or as an occasional special-attraction wrestler, isn't a bad idea, but as a prominently featured character in 2010, he was just making the company look dated.

    After EV 2.0 mercifully went away, Dreamer feuded with TNA original A.J. Styles and eventually defeated him. He then took on a more MMA-inspired look to spice things up, but it didn't help him land a new contract, as he was in and out of the company in under a year.

No. 15: Orlando Jordan

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    Orlando Jordan had a pretty forgettable career in the WWE. But the important thing was that he was in the WWE, so TNA wanted him.

    In his very first match with the company, he defeated Samoa Joe. That's right, TNA's former world champion, one of their homegrown talents, jobbed to a recently released WWE midcarder.

    Things only got stranger from there.

    Jordan began dressing like Lady Gaga and descended from the ceiling by police tape for his matches. He then hosted a brief talk show and became infatuated with Rob Terry. It was all incredibly bizarre, but it didn't draw the kind of heat the company was looking for.

    After a brief push as a heel, TNA seemed to give up and went the easy route. So they then stuck him in a comedy tag team with Eric Young that basically consisted of unfunny gay panic jokes.

    Unsurprisingly, the duo didn't get over, either, and Jordan left the company.

No. 14: Trytan

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    Not everyone who failed in TNA has come from the WWE or WCW.

    Trytan and TNA got to share his failure together.

    In 2005, TNA was chugging along on the Fox Sports Network. The company only had an hour a week of TV time, so they had to make the best of it. With that limited time, they tried to create a new monster heel.

    One of the top stars in the company at the time was Monty Brown, and someone was out to get him.

    It was Trytan!

    TNA actually had pretty cool vignettes for him before he debuted, but his first match basically killed all of the mystique the company had built.

    Brown himself was no ring general, and the two "wrestled" a match that more closely resembled two mountain goats awkwardly running into each other face first. The match actually ended with Brown pinning a masked Mideon.


    Sure, Trytan was big, and...well, that was about it. There was nothing original about him. Even his ring attire looked bland. His finisher was also a knockoff, as he used Brock Lesnar's F-5 (which they renamed the T-3).

    In the end, Trytan was basically used as a jobber the handful of other times he appeared, before he disappeared just as mysteriously as he arrived.

No. 13: Bobby Lashley

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    First of all, why did TNA nickname Bobby Lashley the “God of Thunder”?

    That’s just ridiculous.

    Second of all, why did they then pick a nickname that's almost as ill fitting with "The Boss"?

    Third of all, whatever TNA paid Bobby Lashley to join the company was probably too much.

    Sure, Lashley had a big WrestleMania match with Donald Trump at his side, but he wasn't really the reason for the great buyrate the show drew. Besides having an incredible physique, Lashley had no mic skills to speak of and basically only one facial expression to convey emotion.

    Anyway, Lashley surprisingly joined TNA at Lockdown 2010. Then he disappeared for three months.

    When he returned, he took on the Main Event Mafia and scored pinfalls against Samoa Joe, Abyss and Robert Roode. That sure looked to have paid off for TNA!

    The only time Lashley's character was interesting is when he turned heel alongside his wife. Unfortunately, that only lasted a couple of weeks. Out of nowhere, Eric Bischoff fired him on TV and he was never seen again.

    Lashley followed up his mediocre TNA run to take on a mediocre MMA career.

No. 12: Mr. Anderson

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    Has anyone in wrestling the past 10 years turned as many times as Mr. Anderson has in TNA?

    Anderson is naturally a better heel than a face, as he showed in WWE. His arrogant, loud-mouth character just doesn’t translate that well as a good guy. That didn't stop TNA from trying multiple times, though.

    When Anderson (then Mr. Kennedy) was in WWE, he seemed destined for the big time. At one point, he won the Money in the Bank contract and was slated to be revealed as Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son (which sadly went to Hornswoggle after Anderson failed a wellness policy test).

    After a return from injury, Anderson was released within four days, reportedly due to nearly injuring Randy Orton.

    A jump to TNA seemed like a small coup for the company at the time. He could have been one of its breakout stars and proved to the WWE that it made a big mistake by letting him go.

    However, TNA then made its own mistake by giving him a flat debut when he took on fellow heel Abyss.

    After that, Anderson wasn’t given a series of squash matches to help establish his character, and he took on the company's stars in even-steven booked matches.

    Anderson then took on Kurt Angle in a high-profile feud and began his "asshole" catchphrase. While it became popular initially, it wasn't quite enough of a reason to turn him face. Since then, he's turned a few more times to diminishing returns.

    Sure, Anderson had a couple short-lived world title runs, but his character has never truly caught on in TNA. Right now he's the third-most important guy in Aces & Eights, which is a far cry from where he should be.

No. 11: Mickie James

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    As soon as Mickie James was released from WWE, fans were demanding that she show up in TNA.

    Mickie was underutilized and under-appreciated in WWE, so the thought of her joining the more athletic Knockouts Division seemed like a perfect fit. 

    Eventually she did join, and a couple weeks later no one cared.

    It's hard to say what went wrong with Mickie in TNA. She's beautiful, talented and has the name recognition from her run in WWE that the company craves.

    Once she joined TNA, though, she started wearing goofy outfits that didn't quite fit her well-known persona. She also seemed to be missing the fire that made her so popular in her early WWE run.

    Mickie started off in a lukewarm feud with Madison Rayne that should have felt more special than it did.

    She quickly captured the Knockouts Title, but over the past couple years, she's taken a backseat to Velvet Sky, Gail Kim and Tara.

    Now, Mickie's disappearance from storylines couldn't possibly have anything to do with her making fun of Hulk Hogan for saying that Garrett Bischoff is the future of the business. Could it?

No. 10: Rob Van Dam

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    Van Dam may have been the "whole f'n show" at one point, but he became "I'll watch another show" when he joined TNA.

    Van Dam's TNA debut is one of the most confusing ones in wrestling history. It was the first night of the new Monday Night War, with TNA going head-to-head against the WWE.

    To get people talking, Van Dam made a surprise appearance and pinned Sting within seconds. Once the match ended, though, he was then beaten by a baseball bat. Over and over again.

    It looked like he was going to fight back...then he was beat on some more.

    Anyway, TNA went all in with Van Dam for a short while when he won the Heavyweight Championship. The ratings didn't grow, though, and the company retreated from Monday night.

    Over the next couple years, Van Dam took on guys like A.J. Styles, Abyss and Bobby Roode before settling into the X-Division. Instead of giving the division the spark it needed, Van Dam just didn't seem to care anymore.

    It's not out of the question that he will someday return to the company, but if it's anything like his last run, TNA probably shouldn't bother.

No. 9: Booker T

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    Booker T may be a five-time WCW World Heavyweight champion, but he was a zero-time TNA World Heavyweight champion.

    As a nice consolation prize, though, he did award himself the Legends Title.

    In a sea of underused midcarders who went from WWE to TNA, it was cool to see Booker T come aboard. They got a big name that could give the company some fresh matchups as well as help elevate younger talent.

    Well, it was cool to see Booker T in TNA until his never-ending feud with Robert Roode began. The two just didn't work well together, and it killed off a lot of momentum that he had going.

    Later in his run, Booker turned heel and joined the entertaining Main Event Mafia group. But even though the group had a lot of star power, it wasn't bringing in new viewers.

    Much like Booker's good friend Rob Van Dam, he just looked like he didn't care in TNA and was just there collecting a paycheck. He was overly goofy in his backstage promos (which admittedly were funny), but he just wasn't bringing it in the ring.

    Luckily, he's back in WWE, where he seems to at least be taking things seriously again.

No. 8: Scott Hall

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    A lot of people that flop in TNA only get one chance to do so, but Scott Hall got to do it four times.

    Hall originally joined the company during the first few shows of their weekly pay-per-views. It was nice to have his star power for the struggling company to entice potential pay-per-view buyers, but Hall quickly disappeared.

    He re-emerged in 2005 when TNA was on Fox Sports Net. Hall aligned himself with his old running buddy Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett to form the Kings of Wrestling.

    After wrestling a couple of pay-per-view matches (one of them where he, Nash and Jarrett were inexplicably dressed as Elvis), his personal demons came into play and he left the company.

    In 2007, Hall rejoined TNA again for an incredibly brief run. He was set to team up with Kevin Nash and Samoa Joe at Turning Point, but Hall no-showed the event and was gone from the company once more.

    Hall's last go-around was in 2010, when TNA was going head-to-head with the WWE. Hall joined up with Nash and Sean Waltman to form The Band. This time, though, it was clear that Hall was merely a shell of his former self.

    Perhaps surprisingly, Hall lasted almost six months during that run before being fired from the company.

    With Hall's personal life currently in much better shape, a fifth run (preferably not as a wrestler) would actually be a welcomed sight.

No. 7: The Nasty Boys

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    The word "nasty" may have been cool and edgy in the 1980s, but basing an entire gimmick out of it in 2010 was eye-rolling and lame.

    Miraculously, after Hulk Hogan came into power in TNA, his old friends Jerry Saggs and Brian Knobbs landed jobs with the company the first night. It didn't matter that the two hadn't wrestled on a national stage in over a decade.

    In fact, the two had a tryout match with the WWE in 2007, but as usual, they acted like jerks and didn't get signed. TNA didn't care about that, and three years later, it picked up the 46-year-old free agents (and aligned them with Hogan's other good friend, the 67-year-old Jimmy Hart).

    After less than a three-month run with the company, in which they battled Team 3D in lousy matches, they were released...after being jerks.

    Guess it really doesn't pay to be nasty.

No. 6: Rob Terry

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    TNA has tried multiple times, but there's just something about Rob Terry that doesn't connect with the crowd.

    Is it the strange hair style? The average mic skills? Or the fact that he's pretty terrible in the ring?

    Rob Terry's body puts the rest of the TNA roster to shame, but the problem is though, it greatly reduces his mobility. Other insanely muscular guys like Scott Steiner and Batista were able to work pretty good matches in their careers, but Terry has yet to have even a decent one.

    But that didn't stop Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff from trying to make him a star. Shortly after the duo took control of the company creatively, they made Rob Terry an unstoppable Goldberg-like figure. Every week, he was destroying a new opponent and seemed to go over half the roster.

    In a tag match with Samoa Joe, they even had Joe give him a nod of approval. The fans didn't buy it, though, and Terry eventually went back to a bodyguard figure with Immortal and later for Robbie E.

    Rob Terry is now on his own again, but there's no reason to think that this run will be any different.

No. 5: Crimson

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    Speaking of Goldberg, TNA tried to create its very own ridiculous winning streak, but absolutely no one cared about it.

    Crimson’s introduction to the audience was by portraying Amazing Red’s brother. This was quickly forgotten, and he re-debuted with the ridiculous “They” stable. Again, that didn’t work out very well.

    TNA saw something in him, though, and for 470 days, Crimson was undefeated.

    He was truly unstoppable, except for that he lost in tag matches, won a few matches by DQ and no one kept count of his winning streak. TNA had him go over guys like Matt Morgan, Magnus and Samoa Joe, even though it was clear to most fans who the more talented wrestlers were.

    After Crimson lost to James Storm, he quietly disappeared. All of that buildup for nothing. It was strange, too, as Crimson finally started to find his footing as a heel.

    Expect to see him back in the company someday (as he’s currently in its developmental system), but don’t expect to see him pushed as aggressively as before.

No. 4: Matt Hardy

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    Unlike some other former WWE talent who have joined TNA, it was pretty clear from the get-go that Matt Hardy would be a terrible fit.

    Hardy had just been on a roller-coaster ride of self-destruction for months before being hired. His last few months in WWE were highlighted by his bizarre online behavior and noticeable weight gain. It was clear that something wasn't right with him.

    Instead of going to rehab, he was hired by TNA.

    He lost his first match and quickly joined the bloated Immortal stable. The company then gave away the first Hardy Boyz match in years without any advanced hype.

    Hardy continued to make poor choices and was suspended by the company six months after joining. A release from TNA only seemed like a matter of time, and two months after that, it happened when he was fired after being arrested for a DWI.

    While Hardy seems to be doing better personally these days, it's still sad to think about how little the once popular star meant to TNA.

No. 3: Ric Flair

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    Ric Flair, the Nature Boy, one of the all-time greatest wrestlers and box office attractions in wrestling history, meant absolutely nothing to TNA.

    In one of the biggest boneheaded decisions in wrestling over the past few years, TNA had Ric Flair wrestle and didn't make a big deal out of it.

    Flair was most recently remembered for his incredible retirement match at WrestleMania 24 and the following night's farewell. It was arguably one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.

    So TNA brought him in, on the same night that Hulk Hogan, Val Venis, Scott Hall, The Nasty Boys and Sean Waltman all came back. From the start, he was an afterthought.

    One of the company's initial mistakes was pushing him as a heel, when fans were wanting to cheer the living legend. Instead, he faced off against Hulk Hogan in a continuation of their never-ending feud that Hogan always wins.

    Flair's "epic" in-ring return happened when he teamed with A.J. Styles against Hogan and Abyss in a match that was quickly forgotten. He later took on Abyss, Sting and Mick Foley in one-on-one contests that also received very little hype. 

    The company's attempt to start its own version of The Four Horsemen with Fortune flopped, and Flair's run with Immortal was downright awful, with him taking a backseat to Eric Bischoff.

    Mercifully, Flair's run with the company ended with him as a judge on Gut Check. It's still incredible to think that TNA could never figure out what to do with one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. 

No. 2: Garett Bischoff

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    How does someone like Eric Bischoff, who helped revolutionize the professional wrestling business, still not have an eye for talent?

    Perhaps no greater case for his lack of good judgement was displayed when he aggressively pushed his own son at the expense of others who were far more deserving and talented.

    Not only was Garett far from being ready from such a role, but you can only imagine how the lockerroom reacted to the boss's son being pushed ahead of them.

    Garett originally joined the company as referee Jackson James. Then, out of nowhere at Bound For Glory 2011, it was revealed that he was Eric's son. In a baffling move, he was immediately turned face and feuded with his dad.

    He picked up victories over Gunner and began training under Hulk Hogan. Hogan then basically seemed to beg fans to cheer Garett. To no one's surprise, that didn't work.

    That didn't stop them from trying, though, as at Lockdown 2012, Garett captained a team consisting of A.J. Styles, Mr. Anderson, Austin Aries and Rob Van Dam.

    Yes, Garett was the captain.

    After that, Garett took on a midcard role and enjoyed a lot less TV time. He then turned on Kurt Angle and joined Aces and Eights.

    Garett is already 29, which is older than every member of The Shield. While it's possible that he'll develop into a decent midcarder someday, it's also incredibly likely he'd never have that chance without his last name.

No. 1: Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff

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    After reading this list, you may have picked up on a recurring trend of bad choices that were often instigated and championed by two men: Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.

    Now, Hogan is the biggest name in the history of professional wrestling. Eric Bischoff was the only man in the past 30 years to challenge Vince McMahon for wrestling supremacy.

    It would seem that any company able to sign them would jump at the chance.

    TNA did, and it has yet to pay off.

    Sure, the company has started playing in bigger arenas since Hulk Hogan has joined, but their ratings have not grown. At all.

    Hogan and Bischoff debuted with TNA on Jan. 4, 2010. There were high hopes that the two would usher in a new era of wrestling, that we'd get back to the Monday Night Wars (we did, and that plan failed) and we'd see new stars develop (nope, though they did both hire one of their children each) and compelling storylines (all we got was a retread of the NWO with Immortal).

    The three years before the duo joined the company, starting with 2007, Impact drew a 1.04 average rating. In 2008, they drew a 1.06, and in 2009, a 1.14.

    Starting in 2010, with Hogan and Eric Bischoff in charge, they drew a 1.06, a 1.17 in 2011 and a 1.01 2012. 

    For those who know wrestling history, it's almost insane how two of the men who helped drive WCW out of business are now two of the top power players in TNA in 2013.

    During his time in TNA, Hogan has not created any stars. He hasn't even shown the ability to judge who a star is by once calling Abyss "TNA's John Cena," as well as his praising of Garett Bischoff over the rest of the roster. 

    No one in all of TNA has taken up anywhere near as much TV time as Hulk has since his debut, and what has the company got out of it? One match against Sting at Bound for Glory, and a man who rarely makes appearances at house shows.

    Yes, Hogan does have great name recognition, and with the right storyline, he could still be used effectively. But right now, TNA storylines revolve around a guy who can't wrestle and is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.

    In 1997, Hogan and Bischoff would be two of the first guys to call to start a wrestling company. In 2013, they should rightfully be two of the last.