The Way I See It - Top 5 WWE-to-TNA Wrestlers
by, 09-15-2012 at 01:21 AM (8687 Views)
Hello, again. I'm going to do something a bit different this week. Instead of touching on the current happenings in TNA wrestling, I'm going to do a top five list. My list is going to revolve around the top five wrestlers that have jumped ship from the WWE to TNA. Now, I understand that a simple idea such as this can have many loopholes, so allow me to fix them:
1.) I'm not including guys that simply had a cup of coffee (or less) in WWE. For example, both AJ Styles and Samoa Joe wrestled a match or two (or three) with WWE, but neither made a splash in the company. To be honest, many wrestling fans do not even realize they appeared for WWE.
2.) I'm only including wrestlers. Guys such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, etc. are not going to be on this list because they were not brought into TNA for their wrestling.
3.) I'm only counting guys that came from WWE at some point. Thus, Sting, for example, will not be on this list because he never wrestled for the WWE.
There, now that I have that out of the way I can start my list. I am going to stress that this is simply my OPINION. It can be argued, countered, etc. I am taking success into consideration for this list. Guys that won championships, important matches, had memorable feuds, etc. For example, you won't find Rikishi (just to name someone) because he only had about three matches in TNA. Also, when I say "best," I don't necessarily mean guys who made TNA the most money, increased ratings, etc. Because, let's face it, none of the WWE guys have really raised TNA's ratings. I am just choosing guys based on in-ring success. Anyway, here's the list; it's in order from five to one, where the guy at the one spot is the "best" wrestler to have jumped to TNA.
5.) Gail Kim - [[ Accomplishments: TNA Knockouts Tag Champ, 2x TNA Knockouts Champ, Knockout of the Year (2007) ]]
I failed to mention that my list isn't gender-specific, didn't I? Anyway, what can you say about Gail Kim? She's ridiculously hot. In my opinion, she pioneered the Knockouts division. I mean, it takes more than one female wrestler to make a division, but Gail was floating around on TV before the division was even in existence. On top of that, she was the first TNA Knockouts champ. Oh, and did I mention she's hot? (I know I did. But it needed to be said a second time!)
When she returned to the company, I thought she was excellent in the heel role. Since she's lost the title she's kind of faded, but I'm sure she'll be back eventually. But my point remains -- she's one of the best Knockouts in TNA history, if not the best, and she's definitely the best "WWE-to-TNA" female member of the roster. She has a dynamite combination of great looks and awesome wrestling ability. And you know what? She's really hot... heh.
4.) Team 3D (Bully Ray and Brother Devon) - [[ Accomplishments: NWA Tag Champs (when TNA used those belts), 2x TNA Tag Champs, and Tag Team of the Year (2005) ]]
I'm not a fan of Devon, especially when doesn't have Ray by his side, but the main reason they are on this list is their success as a team. Everyone knows The Dudleys; hands down, they are one of the best tag teams in the history of professional wrestling.
For years, TNA had the best tag team division in wrestling. It was strongly anchored by these guys, as they put on great matches with teams such as LAX, Motor City Machineguns, America's Most Wanted, Beer Money, etc. They were a constant in a division that held strong for many years. Unfortunately, the tag team division in TNA has died down in the past year or so, but that's neither here nor there.
My point is: and this is a point that can be argued, but I don't think TNA's tag division would have been as much of a success as it was if Team 3D weren't involved. They brought name recognition and their ability to have solid matches with almost anyone, especially considering that neither members of the team are ring generals, is amazing. These guys definitely gave a lot to TNA and had a lot of success along the road in their five years as a team in the company.
I'm thrilled to see Bully Ray having a successful single's run and I'm not upset at all that Devon is no longer with the company. Without Bully, I can't get behind him.
3.) Christian Cage - [[ Accomplishments: 2x NWA World Heavyweight champion (when TNA used this belt) ]]
Again, I want to stress that this list is my opinion. Many of you may not agree with my positioning of Christian, but perhaps it's a pick I made with my heart rather than my brain. I loved Christian in TNA, and honestly, he was my favorite wrestler while he was there. I hated him for leaving, but I understand why he did it and I don't hold a grudge against him any more.
Before Christian came to TNA, he had a lot of success in WWE. Obviously, he was in a hugely successful tag team with Edge, he won a couple of midcard championship, etc. But he was never "the man," you know? When he joined TNA, he instantly became the top guy. He won their top championship on two different occasions. He was such a phenomenal heel, he could be a prick, he could be funny, he could be arrogant; he could truly do whatever was needed at any particular moment. The stable he formed with AJ Styles and Tomko, called Christian's Coalition, was brilliant and I enjoyed every moment of it.
While he was in TNA, he ranked as high as the seventh spot on the PWI 500 in 2007. TNA showed the wrestling world that Christian could be "the guy," and when he returned to WWE, he had reigns as the ECW champion as well as the World Heavyweight champion.
Who knows what could have been, you know? He was in his prime when he was in TNA. The limited touring schedule allowed him to do more in the ring than he normally would in WWE. He could say what he wanted, when he wanted, when he had the mic. He was a star, and while WWE will always have a place for him on their shows, he'll never be treated as a well as he was in TNA.
2.) Jeff Hardy - [[ Accomplishments: 2x TNA World Heavyweight champion, 2012 Bound for Glory Series winner ]]
Again, I'm not sure if people will agree with this choice, but I'm going to roll with it. For a moment, I want to touch on Jeff Hardy's TNA stint since he returned from drug and legal troubles. When I see him, or when I read dialogue from interviews he does, I really, really believe he's having fun, you know? He looks thrilled to be wrestling. Thrilled to be alive. He shows so much appreciation to the fans, each and every time he performs. I actually met him at a TNA live event once, in fact; I had a picture taken with him in the ring after the show. He's just so nice. You always hear that wrestlers are pricks, but not this guy. You can say so much about him, but he has his head on right, at least at this moment, and I hope he continues down the right path.
But anyway, enough of that, I might be the only one, but I thought his heel run when he was the champ in 2010 was awesome. I know he was beyond messed up on drugs, but I thought he did great in the role. It was something different, kind of similar to when he first broke in with Matt Hardy when they were aligned with Gangrel, in a sinister, dark kind of way. And, of course, he has one of the most memorable TNA moments from his original run, when he jumped off the big screen with a Swanton Bomb onto Abyss, who was lying on a table.
Obviously, for TNA, he's amazing because of how much merchandise they can sell because of him. Even at his age, I think he is one of the best high-flyers in the business and I really enjoy watching this guy perform. As long as he can keep his head on right, he's going to continue to do great things in TNA, which will eventually lead to more title reigns down the road.
1.) Kurt Angle - [[ Accomplishments: 5x TNA World Heavyweight champion, 2x TNA Tag Team champion, TNA X Division champion, King of the Mountain (2007, 2009) ]]
Anybody surprised by this? When he signed with TNA in 2006, his body was already breaking down. To some, it was a reckless signing by TNA, but how could they pass on this guy? To this day, I think he's the biggest signing TNA has ever made. Even if I threw Hulk Hogan into this list, Angle is still the biggest signing. The thing is, even though he was already starting to falter in 2006, he still had a lot left in him and apparently, he still does. The guy puts on great matches each and every time he steps into the ring. He wrestles injured more often than most, I'm sure.
Sure, he says some stupid things on Twitter and what not, and he's had some stupid run-ins with the law, but when it comes to wrestling, he's one of the best competitors in the history of the business. I don't know if signing him did anything in terms of creating immediate growth within TNA, but having him as a mainstay for many years has definitely helped them grow.
I don't know how many years he has left, but in terms of "WWE-to-TNA" guys, he's definitely at the top of my list. He's had some great, great matches in TNA and I'm sure he'll get another run or two with the belt before he retires. And of course, he'll be inducted into TNA's Hall of Fame, as well.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Jarrett - and here's the reason I didn't include him: it's a fine line, really. Since he started the company, he wasn't truly a "WWE-to-TNA" guy, but at the same time, he was. He definitely could be on this list because of the amount of success he's had in TNA, but given the circumstances, I didn't incorporate him.
I hope you guys enjoyed the read. I think it's a pretty solid list, but a couple of spots could be debatable. There's been some solid WWE-to-TNA guys; Mr. Anderson, RVD, Booker T, Scott Steiner, etc., but many of them failed to truly make an "impact." Anyway, thanks for reading guys. Have a good one.