The idea of seeing your favorite wrestler join the WWE should seem like the best thing in the world, unfortunately history has shown this to not be the case as various names from wrestling's past and present have seen their reputations, drawing ability and even careers ruined due in large part to WWE's inability to capture the same creative booking that helped to make those wrestlers famous in the first place.
This idea was particularly true with wrestlers from TNA/Impact Wrestling as their have been more than a dozen Impact stars who have joined in the WWE and more than 50% of those wrestlers have failed to maintain a consistence level of success within the company due in large part to Vince McMahon and the WWE creative team.
So with that said, let's take a look back at 10 TNA/Impact Wrestlers That The WWE Failed To Use Properly and before we start I just want to say that I'm excluding wrestlers who started out in the WWE but have become more famous for their work in Impact so don't expect to see EC3 or Gail Kim on this list.
10. Bobby Roode
One of the most decorated stars of the 2000's and 2010's, Bobby Roode's success as a solo and tag team wrestler in Impact Wrestling helped to not only establish himself as a main event star, but also became one of the high points during what would be a troubling time period in the company's history.
In 2016, Roode would depart Impact after 12 years to become a part of the WWE's development brand, NXT; During his time there, Roode did have a good run as NXT champion whilst taking on names like Roderick Strong, Chris Hero and Shinsuke Nakamura.
The part where his WWE career began to unravel occurred when he debuted on the main roster and was booked as a babyface for two years despite sounding and acting like a heel...so why did they book him like this? Allegedly someone in management saw how popular Roode's theme song was with fans and thought that this should be more than enough to turn Bobby face.
Other problems include a forgettable run as United States Champion, a move to Monday Night Raw that saw Roode form a partnership with Chad Gable that at first had zero direction, a move back to Smackdown where Bobby shaved his beard but kept the mustache which made him look like a Rick Rude cosplayer, a losing streak between both brands and a 30 day drug suspension back in December of 2019 and so much more.
While his success in NXT and his tag team work with Dolph Ziggler are the only reasons why Bobby doesn't rank higher on this list, Roode's time on WWE's two main brands have been completely mishandled from the beginning and a far cry from the work he use to do back in Impact.
9. Lance Archer
While most fans will undoubtedly know Lance Archer for his work in New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling, some modern fans may not be aware of his work in Impact and even less so for his work in the WWE.
Archer started his mainstream wrestling career as part of TNA when he partnered up with former X Division Champion, Kid Kash; Known as Dallas at the time, Archer became a two time NWA World Tag Team Champion with Kash before eventually turning face and becoming a fan favorite despite losing in matches against names like Abyss, Monty Brown, Rhino and Billy Gunn.
By 2007, Archer would partner up with Christy Hemme and Jimmy Rave to become the trio known as 'The Rock N' Rave Infection' which went over well with the fans and led to Archer and Rave competing in numerous pay per views against teams like LAX, Curry Man and Shark Boy and more. Sadly he would be let go in early 2009 after losing a tag team match against then champions, Beer Money Inc.
About a year later, Lance Archer or Vance Archer as was his new name, signed with the WWE and became a part of their ECW brand where he had an unbeaten streak until he lost a match to Shelton Benjamin on a random episode of Superstars (yup, that WWE show most didn't even watched or barely paid attention to); After his run in ECW, Archer would partner with Brian Myers aka Curt Hawkins on Smackdown as a team called 'The Gatecrasher' where they took on wrestlers like MVP, Christian, Matt Hardy and The Big Show in tag team matches.
This team would end following Archer's lost to Chris Master on Superstars and then one month later his would lose to Luke Gallows in singles competition on....You guest it: Superstar before being let go from the company In November of 2010, a little over a year after he signed with the promotion.
Aside from being a playable character in the Raw vs. Smackdown 2011 video game, there's really nothing of note when it comes to his time in the WWE and in fact before his time in Japan many saw his work in Impact as the best in his career which pretty much says it all.
Despite Low-Ki's relationship with TNA/Impact being what could best be described as 'difficult and complicated' his shown himself to be one of the hardest hitting cruiserweight wrestlers of that last few decades; His time in TNA would see him win the NWA World Tag Team Titles with Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper of Triple X and become a five time X Division Champion.
In 2010, Low-Ki would debut for the WWE's black and yellow brand, NXT (back when it was 'reality show') under the new name of Kaval where he was mentored by Michelle McCool and Layla (aka Lay-Cool) because Kaval and all the other participants on NXT at the time were considered 'rookies' according to the WWE; I would just like to point out that Kaval aka Low-Ki started wrestling back in 1998 and even wrestled on and off in Japan for seven years...so, not exactly a resume you'd would expect for someone being called a 'rookie'.
Aside from a few forgettable matches on NXT, Kaval would win the second season and be given a future title opportunity which came to ahead at Survivors Series 2010, when he challenged Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship in a match that is best remembered for Low-Ki kicking Ziggler so hard in the face that he suffered a bloody nose.
Low-Ki would debut on Smackdown in September but wouldn't get a win on the show until November and about a year later he was let go; His since then he has had on and off appearances for Impact and is currently competing for MLW.
7. Stephanie Trinity
A forgotten pioneer when it comes to women's wrestling in TNA/Impact, Stephanie Trinity metaphorical wrote the blueprint for what the Knockouts Division would become during her early days in the TNA Asylum.
Now, I wouldn't go over all the things that make Trinity so special in the grand scheme of things for the company as I've done a number of articles mentioning them in great detail; However, what I will mention is that she did intergender wrestling, fighting for the X Division title and much more at a time when most females weren't taken seriously as competitors.
Much like all of the other entries on this list, Trinity went to the WWE soon after her time in Impact came to an end and much like the previously mentioned Lance Archer she would spend time in the WWE's version of ECW.
Trinity would go on to become the manager for 'The Full Blooded Italians' but spent much of her time competing in house show matches, rarely wrestling on TV and when she did appear on TV she was either in bikini contests or on the losing end of a match. A knee injury she suffered during a house show certain didn't help things and on June 22nd 2007, the WWE would release her.
Trinity would soon retire from pro wrestling following her time in the WWE but she did come back for one match in TNA during the 2013 Knockout Knockdown event before officially retiring soon after that.
6. Austin Aries
The man who once referred to himself as 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived' became one the biggest break out stars for Impact back in the early to mid 2010's where he became the longest reigning X Division Champion at the time, TNA World Heavyweight Champion and even Tag Team Champion before the WWE announced that Austin Aries would be joining NXT in early 2016.
His time in NXT was short lived after a few matches on a number of NXT Takeover events but Aries would suffer an Injury which put him on the sidelines for quite some time. In order to keep him on TV, Aries would do commentary for WWE shows like Main Event and 205 Live before attacking a heel Cruiserweight Champion, Adrian Neville which would set the stage for a title match at the preshow of Wrestlemania 33 which Neville won.
Aries would get another shot at the Cruiserweight title on the preshow of the 2017 Extreme Rules PPV, which saw another lost for Aries and also led to him giving a smile to the camera outside of the ring after the match which could best be described as someone dying on the inside.
About a month later, he would be released from the WWE with Aries mentioning that the people backstage and the writing staff were not a fan of him and also reportedly told the former TNA Champion the infamous phrase every wrestler hates to hear from the writers, 'We Don't Have Anything For You'.
Following his 18 month run in the WWE, Austin Aries would return to Impact and shocking beat Eli Drake for the Impact World Championship in early 2018 and the rest is bizarre work shoot history.
5. Deonna Purrazzo
Considering she has become of the leading faces of Impact Wrestling's Knockouts Division in recent years, it's almost hard to believe that Deonna Purrazzo wasn't successful in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world but as this list as shown, this tends to be the case.
As she's mentioned in interviews and on Impact TV, the woman would later be known as 'The Virtuosa' first debuted in TNA during the 2014 Knockouts Knockdown event, where the 19 year old Purrazzo competed against and lost to Brooke Tessmacher before appearing again in 2016 and 2017 both times she lost and even competed against Tessmacher on Impact and Laurel Van Ness on Xplosion to which Deonna was unsuccessful.
After appearing a handful of time on NXT in the mid 2010's including her participation in the second Mae Young Classic tournament, Deonna was signed to a WWE contract in 2018 and competed mainly on the NXT brand; There she competed against names like Rhea Ripley, Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox and Bianca Belair before losing a match to Asuka in December of 2019 and later losing to Nia Jax in April of 2020.
As I'm sure you all know, Purrazzo would be one of many names to be let go by the WWE during the infamous Black Wednesday incident of 2020 with Purrazzo mentioning in interviews about the problems she experienced with the creative team and allegedly being told that she wasn't ready for television.
Fast forward one year since her release and she's been a two time Knockouts Champion and will be facing the newly crowned Triple A Reina de Reinas Women's Champion, Faby Apache in a title vs. title winner takes all match at Triplemania...So yeah big mistake on WWE's side.
Following the shutdown of WCW in 2001, Sting would vanish from mainstream wrestling fans until appearing in TNA on June 18th 2003 in a number of sporadic appearances and by the time 2006 rolled around 'The Icon' would soon become a recurring figure in the company.
Sting would mention in interviews that after a segment on RAW in 2001 between The Rock and Booker T where the great one acted like he didn't even knowing who he was, The Icon' would state that he would never sign with the WWE even refusing to sign with the promotion back in 2011 but by the time he left TNA/Impact in early 2014, things apparently changed.
Following months of promotional work by Sting for various WWE events and productions, 'The Icon' would make a surprise and crowd roaring debut at Survivor Series 2014 helping Team Cena defeat The Authority; Sting would make occasional appearances on RAW and soon engage into a feud with Triple H which led to a match at Wrestlemania 31 and it's around this time when things begin to fall apart.
For starters, the WWE focused the feud between Sting and Triple H on the fact that he was the last big name from WCW to join the WWE, blatantly refusing to acknowledge any of his work elsewhere and painting this encounter at Mania as a battle of between two big names from the 'Monday Night Wars' era.
Secondly, Sting would be aided by the NWO in his match with Hunter (despite the NWO being the archrival of Sting for much of WCW's existence) and third, Sting lose to Triple H at Wrestlemania and bizarrely shook Hunter's hand after the match despite getting blasted in the face with a sledgehammer literally minutes ago.
Upon returning to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions, Sting would suffer a back injury thanks to a buckle bomb maneuver by Rollins in the match which would end the icons in-ring career as a result; A WWE hall of fame induction in 2016 and few more appearances on RAW would be the last of Sting in WWE before his contract ended in 2020 and his currently rebounding his career in AEW.
3. Eric Young
When the wrestler in question spends a portion of an interview criticizing your failure as a leader among other things then you know that you've screwed up big time. Such was the case for Eric Young who was let go by the WWE as a cost cutting measure in the previously mentioned 'Black Wednesday' incident after four years with the promotion.
During those four years, Eric Young debut in NXT where he would create his own faction known as 'Sanity' which included names like Nikki Cross, Killian Dame and for a short period of time, Sawyer Fulton aka the future Madman Fulton; The group was booked relatively well all things considered but when Sanity was called up to the main roster (without Nikki) the group became afterthought on Smackdown and they even lost to The Miz in a three on one falls count anywhere handicap match which signaled the end of the group.
EY didn't due to much after being drafted to RAW in 2019 as the most 'memorable' moments of his time there saw him getting hit in the back with a steel chair by a paranoid Seth Rollins, losing way too many matches on Main Event and RAW, and was one of many wrestlers who were seen running around for weeks in pursuit of the 24/7 championship.
He would be let go from the WWE in April of 2020 and by the time of Slammiversary 2020, Eric Young returned to the company that made him famous and continued his World Class Maniac persona from his last run in the company; EY would then have interviews heavily criticizing the WWE basically on the eye that they could have a 2-3 hour weekly show but couldn't find anything for him to do in that time.
Since his return, Eric Young became World Champion once again and would later form his own faction known as Violent By Design.
2. Mike Bennett
Mike Bennett also known as "The Miracle" only lasted in TNA for one year before jumping ship to the WWE, but to be fair he did do a couple of impressive things during his run like feuding with EC3 which led to him ending Ethan Carter's impressively long undefeated streak, plus Bennett introduced the impact fans to former football player turned pro wrestler, Moose at Destination X 2016 and since his debut Moose has become a breakout star for the company.
In early 2017, Mike and his wife Maria left Impact during the start of the GFW era after a series of phone calls with Kevin Owens, William Regal and Paul Heyman persuaded The Miracle to come to the WWE, at which point things went terribly wrong as he rarely appeared on Monday Night RAW and the company pretty much gave Bennett his wife's last name as she was the more recognizable star in the eyes of the WWE fans.
Not only that but Bennett was humiliated by his wife following a mix tag team match on Raw against Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins where Maria called out Mike by saying things like 'Your Not Man Enough To Get Me Pregnant' and other chastising comments which certain didn't help his image...oh yeah and this happened after he and his wife re-signed with the WWE after years of not doing much on the roster by the way.
The embarrassment continued when Mike defeated R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship only to lose it soon afterwards to his heavily pregnant wife after laying down on the floor before she put her foot on him to win the title.
Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending for Mike Bennett as he and his wife would be let go with countless other stars during the infamous "Black Wednesday" incident which left him a free agent; By late 2020, Mike and Maria would return to Ring Of Honor where the two of them are doing much better there than they ever did in the WWE.
1. Chris Harris
Chris Harris takes the top spot on this list simply because unlike all of the others mentioned, Harris' career was never able to truly bounce back after a dreadful run in the WWE.
Without a doubt, Chris Harris is best remember for his run in TNA Wrestling where he and 'Cowboy' James Storm became a tag team known as America's Most Wanted (AMW) where the team became six time tag team champions and take on some of the best tag teams that TNA had to offer at the time but after shocking heel turn at the hands of Storm in 2007, Harris became a solo competitor.
While he was still a fan favorite around this time, his booking in the main event scene felt a little forced and didn't resonate well with fans, this and the fact that Vince Russo had plans to make him World Champion only for that not to happen for a number o reasons led to Harris no longer working with TNA in early 2008.
A few days later, the WWE signed Harris to the company and the former tag team champion was set to make his debut for the ECW brand in July of 2008 under the name of 'Braden Walker'. When Harris did make his debut on ECW he looked very different from how he did back in TNA and it also doesn't help that the WWE made his first words on TV be a lame knock knock joke as well.
Apparently WWE didn't expect Harris to be in the shape that he was in once he started to competed but the company certain didn't help by having him wrestle two matches on their ECW brand before having him do nothing of interest for almost a year until his release in August of 2009
The Wildcat' would make a brief return to Impact in 2011 to be Matt Hardy's partner against Beer Money Inc. at that year's Sacrifice PPV before falling off the radar after event; Harris would make few appearance for Impact in 2020 and 2021 with the most notably being Storm and Harris reuniting in a backstage segment.
Despite all of this, Chris Harris' legacy in TNA/Impact is well remembered for his work with AMW during early and golden years of the company but sadly he was never able to replicate that level success in the WWE for multiple reasons and or anywhere else after leaving and is why 'The Wildcat' takes the number one spot on this list.
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