Almost a year ago, I wrote an article talking about the 10 WWE Stars Who Did Better TNA/Impact Wrestling well considering that Impact been around for almost 20 years, there's bound to be a lot more wrestlers who have jumped ship from WWE to TNA/Impact and accomplished more in the process.
So with that said, here are Another 10 WWE Stars Who Did Better In TNA/Impact Wrestling.
Also, if you haven't seen my first article on this topic, here's the link below:
Jacqueline "Jackie" Moore
10. 'The Pope' D'Angelo Dinero
While most fans remember this wrestler for his time as a color commentator for Impact in the late 2010's his time in Impact goes much deeper than that and by all account much more impressive that his run in the WWE.
The Pope real name Elijah Burke was first seen by mainstream fans in the WWE in 2006 when he played the corner man to a wrestler called Sylvester Terkay on Smackdown but after Terkay was unexpectedly let go from the company, Burke would be sent to WWE's version of ECW where he created his own faction known as "The New Blood" and engaged in a multi month feud with CM Punk; He also wrestled Chris Benoit in a qualifying match for the vacant ECW championship but I wouldn't go any further into that.
After being let go from the WWE in 2008, Burke would arrive in TNA in the summer of 2009 under the new name of 'The Pope' D'Angelo Dinero, later shortened to just 'Da Pope'; During the first several years of his Impact run Pope would feud with names like Suicide and Desmond Wolfe before winning a tournament to become the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Lockdown 2010 but was unsuccessful.
Pope would go on to team up with wrestlers like Kevin Nash, Sting and Brother Devon whilst having tremendous matches with Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, Abyss and Samoa Joe before eventually moving to the commentary table in 2015 where would stay until his departure from the company in August of 2017.
The Pope only makes it to the tenth spot on this list as he never won a championship in Impact despite numerous opportunities for the company to do so, however he was able to have some great matches in Impact and got to demonstrate his gift for gab on the microphone and the headset which is more then what he was able to do in the WWE.
9. Brian Kendrick
This one maybe a surprise to a lot of new fans watching the current product, but yes former WWE Tag Team and Cruiserweight champion Brian Kendrick did indeed wrestle for TNA/Impact back in the day.
Debuting as the mystery opponent to challenge Amazing Red for the X Division Championship in the opening contest of Genesis 2010, Brian Kendrick would spend the majority of his time in the company as a member of the X Division.
Following his loss to Red at Genesis, Kendrick would engage in a feud with Douglas Williams for the X Division championship both on PPV and on TV later that year and while he was unsuccessful in winning the title from Williams he did managed to demonstrate how good of a worker he was inside the ring...something that the WWE never was able to do with Kendrick during his first singles run in the company.
After briefly working with EV2.O (aka a number of ECW originals) during their conflict with Fortune, Kendrick returned to the X Division where he became the unofficial leader of the X Division with the belief that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan weren't treating the X Division with the respect it rightful deserves and as a result he would go on to achieve the biggest win of his career at the time when he defeated "The Monster" Abyss to become the brand new X Division Champion at Destination X 2011.
Brian at this time would begin his transformation into "The Wizard of Odd" where he would be spew out philosophical ideas, come out with a new if not strange theme music and even began wearing baggy wrestling attire and a Chinese hat...so pretty much a prototype for what Matt Sydal's gimmick would be during his run with Impact.
Kendrick would spend the remainder of his time in a feud with Austin Aries which saw Aries become X Division champion for the very first time at No Surrender 2011 and an impressive rematch to start off the show at Bound For Glory 2011; Kendrick's last match with the company came in November of 2011 when he and Jesse Sorensen defeated Kid Kash and Austin Aries in a tag team match on Impact.
Kendrick would make a return to the WWE in 2016 as part of the cruiserweight classic and would eventually become the cruiserweight champion...Though he seems to be enjoying his time in the WWE right now, his two year run with TNA/Impact would help to elevate his career and led to him being treated like a important player in the early days of the Hogan/Bischoff regime.
8. Mr. Anderson
In the mid 2000's Mr. Anderson (then known as Mr. Kennedy) would become a rising star on both Raw and Smackdown but things began to change for Kennedy/Anderson as he rack up a number of injuries and drug suspensions that ultimately derailed his career, including the now infamous Vince McMahon illegitimate son storyline.
The final straw came when Anderson delivered a back suplex maneuver on Randy Orton during a May 25th 2009 episode of Raw which ended up being Kennedy's return to in ring action but also his last appearance in the WWE.
The story has it that John Cena and Randy Orton complained to management over Kennedy's recklessness in the ring after the latter took what he believed was a botch back suplex during a 10 man tag team match and Kennedy was released from his contract on May 29th 2009.
Anderson debuted in TNA at the Genesis 2010 PPV where he defeated 'The Monster' Abyss in one-on-one action; During the early beginnings of the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff regime Anderson was treated like a mega star thanks to his feuds with Abyss, Kurt Angle, RVD and Jeff Hardy while embracing an attitude that can best be described as being a complete and utter asshole (in kayfabe) to those who crossed his path both in and outside of the ring.
Anderson would win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on two different occasions in 2011 before engaging in a Philadelphia Street Fight with former WWE alumni Bully Ray at Bound for Glory of that same year and then again in 2013 on few episodes of Impact during the finals months of the Aces & Eights storyline.
Impact's resident asshole would be around until March of 2016, when he failed a drug test that ultimately got him released from the company.
After returning to the independent scene for a few years, Anderson would head to Billy Corgan's NWA promotion where he has become a popular name alongside former Impact talents Nick Aldis, James Storm and Eli Drake.
While his time in the company was filled with highs and lows, Anderson was able to finally become a world champion in Impact and was able to save his career from mediocrity following his time in the WWE.
You can be forgiven it you totally forgot this former Knockouts Champion was even in the WWE at one point because considering her time there and her time in Impact, it's pretty much night and day.
Katarina or Katie Lee Burchill as she was called in the WWE was paired with Paul Burchill as siblings who had an implied incestuous relationship with each other which went over as well as you could imagine. Aside from a number of forgettable matches on TV and PPV, Katarina's time in the company was forgettable at best and she was let go in April of 2010.
Katarina would get signed by TNA in October that same year under the name of 'Winter' and her first run in the promotion was weird to say the least with things ranging from being Angelina Love's biggest admirer, to literally mind controlling and even drugging Angelina to become a soulless but aggressive zombie and even associating herself at one point with a former cast member of the Jersey Shore in 2011...like I said weird stuff.
Amongst all of that madness, Winter would become Knockouts Tag Team Champions with Angelina Love in 2011 and then months later Winter would defeated Mickie James in two consecutive pay per views to become a two time Knockouts Champion before leaving the company in 2012.
Suddenly out of nowhere in 2018, Grado returns to the company and his got a girlfriend who just so happens to be none other than Katarina (who went under her real name during this time); The pairing of Katarina, Grado and later Joe Hendry was popular amongst fans until the former Knockouts Champion revealed that she had feelings for Hendry and not Grado but Hendry was having none of it which lead to Katarina hiring a luchador by the named 'Murder Clown' to take care of Hendry and Grado which he did.
The final months of her second run in Impact, Katarina would become the first rival to the newest knockout on the roster, Jordynne Grace which helped in introducing the new star to Impact fans who had never seen her before.
While her time in TNA/Impact was filled with some bizarre moments, she did however become Knockouts Champion twice, had an amazing theme song and became a welcomed addition to the roster, plus she didn't have a incest angle during her run so there's that.
6. Ken Shamrock
In the late 90's, Ken Shamrock was an intense force of destruction during the WWF's attitude era with the former MMA fighter feuding with names like Vader, Owen Hart, Steve Blackman, Val Venis, Jeff Jarrett and most famously The Rock for the Intercontinental Championship, however after being taken out with a kayfabe injury, Shamrock would never wrestle in the WWE again and decided to return to the world of MMA.
In 2002 and 2004, Shamrock found sometime in between his MMA career to compete for the newly created TNA promotion where he would become the companies first ever world champion and held unto that belt before losing to Ron 'The Truth' Killings; In 2019 Shamrock would make his return to the company (now known as Impact Wrestling) when feuded with Moose following a heated exchange on Twitter which culminated in a match between both wrestlers at Bound For Glory which Moose would win.
Unlike the previous two times that Ken appeared for the company, this one lasted a whole lot longer as 'The World's Most Dangerous Man' would compete against names like Joey Ryan, Madman Fulton, Eddie Edwards, Rich Swann and Sami Callihan before turning heel and joining forces with Callihan to unsuccessfully challenge for the Impact World Tag Team Titles at Slammiversary 2020.
Speaking of 2020, at that year's Bound For Glory pay per view Ken Shamrock was inducted into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame with special guest appearances from names like Mick Foley, Bret Hart, a few of Ken's friends and former rivals from MMA and the biggest or perhaps the greatest guest to congrat Shamrock for his induction was Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson himself.
Overall, Shamrock's combined three runs in the company has seen him achieve success in way that he wasn't able to do in the WWF/E.
5. Brooke Tessmacher
Long before Katie Forbes, Kiera Hogan or Tasha Steelz were shaking their asses inside an Impact Wrestling ring, this Texas born pro wrestler was doing that and creating quite an impressive career for herself.
Brooke first got into pro wrestling in 2006 where she spent time in FCW later OVW where she had a few matches and also played the role of valet before being called up to WWE's ECW brand after failing to make it in the WWE Divas Search competition.
Tessmacher teamed with Kelly Kelly and Layla to form a group in ECW called 'Extreme Expose' where they would dance on an almost weekly basis whilst doing very little wrestling and while the group would move up in their careers by being the groupies to the undeveloped superstar named The Miz in ECW it wasn't really much and she would be gone from the company in November of 2007.
Brooke would appear in TNA three years later as the assistant to Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff even became the authority figure for the Knockouts Division until she was fired from these positions by Bischoff leading to Tessmacher training to become a wrestler if she wished to stay employed.
Brooke would wrestle names like Mickie James and Madison Rayne before teaming with Tara as part of 'TnT' to become the new Knockouts Tag Team Champions with a reign that lasted about 106 days. In 2012, Tessmacher was given the biggest opportunity of her career when she began working with Gail Kim in a series of matches that ultimately led to her winning the Knockouts Championship for the very first time in her home state at that year's Slammiversary.
Tessmacher would win the Knockouts Championship two more times, be ranked number seven on PWI's Top 50 Females in 2012, join the heel group Aces & Eights, appeared on the 25th season of The Amazing Race alongside fellow Impact wrestler Robbie E and even became the first opponent in TNA for a unknown wrestler from New Jersey called Deonna Purrazzo...I wonder what ever happened to her?
Brooke's time in TNA/Impact has completely overshadowed her time in the WWE which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
4. Scott Steiner
I could just mention Scott Steiner's math promo as more than enough reason to include him on this list, but there is so much more to Big Poppa Pump's time in Impact then just being The King of Memes.
Scott and his brother Rick would wrestle as a tag team in the WWF from 1992-94 where they became two tag team champions and wrestled against teams like The Beverly Brothers, The Headshrinkers, Money Inc, and The Smoking Guns; Steiner would soon be gone from the WWF after being eliminated from the 1994 Royal Rumble.
Fast forward eight years later and Steiner would return to the WWE where his outrageous promos can genuinely be seen as the biggest highlight of his second run in the company as most if not all of his matches during this time were the drizzling shits and as such he would leave the WWE for good in 2004 after being eliminated in that years Royal Rumble match...how ironic.
Steiner would then debut for TNA at Destination X 2006 where he aligned himself with Jeff Jarrett and later Christian Cage in the role of bodyguard before reuniting with his brother Rick Steiner to feud with Brother Ray and Brother Devon of Team 3D for much on 2007; The next year, Steiner would associated himself with former X Division Champion, Petey Williams and his 'freak' Rhaka Khan which is when the legendary or infamous (depending on who you ask) math promo occurred.
The biggest highlight of Scott's time in the company came when he joined the Main Event Mafia and continued to make memorable comments like calling Samoa Joe 'This Fat Son-A-B#tch' to doing ring announcements on a episode of Impact that needs to be seen to be believed.
Scott would make on and off appearances for Impact throughout the 2010's with each one of them being a highlight in of it's own; Simply put it, Scott Steiner's time in TNA/Impact has become so memorable that his it's completely washed away the stink that was his second run in the WWE.
3. Taryn Terrell
If you don't remember anything that Taryn Terrell did in WWE aside from being the smiling generic blond haired general manager of WWE's ECW brand than I don't blame you.
From 2008-10 Taryn took part in a number of forgettable matches before becoming the general manager of WWE's version of ECW; So when she first appeared in TNA in 2012 many remembered Taryn as that blonde chick in WWE and not much else but by the end of her time with the company she became a new wrestler that everyone was talking about.
After starting her TNA run as the new referee for the Knockouts Division Taryn would eventually get into a feud with Gail Kim which lead to their critical acclaimed Last Knockouts Standing Match at Slammiversary 2013, which was a career defining match for her as the fans began to respect Taryn as her progression within the company continued following her feud with Gail.
Taryn would go on to defeat both Gail Kim and Jessicka Havok in a triple threat match to become Knockouts Champion for the very first time in her career and she would hold onto that belt for a record breaking 291 days becoming the second longest reigning champion in the company's history before Taya Valkyrie's year plus title reign overshadowed Taryn's.
Terrell would also turn heel in the mid 2010's creating and leading the all female stable known as "The Dollhouse" until the group split in 2016.
Taryn would make a couple of returns to the company with the most recent one being her brief time in 2017.
While some of the names on this list achieved some level of success and notoriety before or during their time in the WWE, Taryn Terrell didn't have that kind of luck, she started out in TNA as just another WWE reject who was probably looking for a easy paycheck, but in the end she became as one of the best female wrestlers of the early 2010's.
2. Rich Swann
Rich Swann became well known to mainstream wrestling fans thanks to his work in the WWE where he spent the majority of that title competing for the Cruiserweight Championship until a highly publicized incident would lead to the WWE releasing him from his contract.
Following his dismissal from the WWE, Swann initially considering retiring from pro wrestling all together but after working in the indies for a little bit and then signing with Impact in 2018, Rich would take his career to a whole new level.
From 2018-early 2020, Rich Swann was seen competing in the X Division and tag team division with the former resulting in Swann becoming X Division Champion and the latter seeing the debut of Willie Mack to the company at Bound For Glory 2018; After suffering a leg injury at the Bash At The Brewery 2 event, Swann was taken out of action but would return at Slammiversary later that year which began his feud with a returning Eric Young and eventually becoming the Impact World Champion.
Swann would also make history at the 2021 Sacrifice event when he defeated Moose to become the first ever Unified Impact World Champion and later taking on Kenny Omega in an interpromotional title vs. title match at Rebellion; Simply put it Rich Swann was not only able reinvigorate his career in Impact but take it to new heights that he'd never would have achieved in the WWE.
1. Sami Callihan
Considering his time in Impact compared to his time in NXT, which saw him appear almost exclusively on live events with even the man himself saying that WWE tried to turn him in a b###h, is it any wonder why Callihan makes it to the top of this list.
After making his debut at Bound for Glory 2017 and becoming the leader of OvE, Sami Callihan became one of the most controversial but in demand wrestlers by the end of the 2010's.
While Callihan's participation in the OvE vs. LAX feud was a good way for him to start his time in the company, it was his infamous baseball bat shot on Eddie Edwards that changed everything; A moment that occurred following a match between Sami and Eddie on the March 1st 2018 episode of Impact when Sami hit Eddie in the face with a baseball bat completely missing the steel chair that he set up and fracturing the orbital bone in Eddie's in right eye.
The incident unsurprisingly drew a hell of a lot of criticism from fans, journalist and wrestling personalities alike but the incident also turned Callihan into the most hated and talked about wrestler outside of the WWE, in fact the publicity from this incident ended up helping Impact Wrestling as the growing resurgence the company was facing thanks to a new regime got everyone wondering: What's going to happen next?
And let's not forget the matches that Callihan had with names like Pentagon Jr., Brian Cage, Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, Ken Shamrock, Tessa Blanchard, Trey Miguel and Kenny Omega with many of those matches being some of the best not just in Sami's career but also some of the best matches in modern day pro wrestling.
Not to mention, Callihan has become one of the new locker room leaders within the company alongside his rival Eddie Edwards and former Knockouts Champion, Rosemary.
In closing, without the help of Sami Callihan and a number of others names that are currently still working with the company, Impact Wrestling would not be enjoying the boom period they are having right now and plus his dedication to the brand is why 'The Draw', 'The Callihan Death Machine' is my number one pick for a WWE star who did better in TNA/Impact.
If you haven't checked out my first list on this topic be sure to do so when you get the chance and if you enjoyed this article, be sure to follow me on Twitter @hakeemfullerton
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