The Smarkdown Hotel – Hot Forum Topic of the Week: Which TNA Wrestler Does WWE Want the Most?

Michael Sullivan

Admittedly, money isn’t a hugely pressing issue for WWE – they could certainly afford to give any active TNA wrestler a healthy pay increase without seriously endangering their own bottom line.  In their case, the investment would be more about camera time and opportunity cost.  If they brought in an AJ Styles for 4 years, would the short-term benefits outweigh the potential good of calling up Sami Zain or Adrian Neville from the NXT roster and positioning them to excel over the next decade?  In short, the answer is no.  So as much as it pains me to say it, the WWE probably doesn’t want to make an investment (both monetary and temporal) in developing characters for AJ Styles (currently age 36), Bobby Roode (36), Kazarian (36), or Christopher Daniels (41).

Samoa Joe and Austin Aries are slightly younger, but both of them are problematic hires as well based on their size and attitudes.  Granted, those sizes are completely different.  Joe has had problems in recent years keeping his weight in check, and that is a problem that Triple H has no sympathy for.  He also may carry a bit of a reputation as a diva for his open demonstrations of displeasure with TNA over the years.  To be fair, he had a good point when he was suspended in 2010 for entering a TNA production truck, but his actions are still unlikely to be forgotten.  If Joe would be a controversial hire, Aries coming over to the WWE might make Mark Madden’s head explode.  The undersized Aries has been suspended at least thrice in TNA (two times during his initial run for showing up late to a pay-per-view and no-showing a promo day, then again this year for the infamous incident with Christy Hemme).  There are so many guys out there who would do anything for an opportunity to be in the WWE, it would be tough to rationalize taking a chance on a guy who thinks he’s better than the industry.

There are a few wrestlers in TNA who have already had a great deal of success in WWE.  They wouldn’t require nearly as much of an investment as guys who have never worked there (or who were only there for a brief period of time).  Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, and Bully Ray could theoretically all trade heavily on this “nostalgia factor,” which would make them viable hires despite their advanced age.  I wrote about Mr. Anderson last week.  Suffice it to say that the demons of his past (his reputation for being injury-prone and unsafe in the ring) will keep him from the WWE for the foreseeable future.  Jeff Hardy’s issues with drugs and Kurt Angle’s DUI arrests mean that they won’t be appearing in the WWE very soon either.

Bully Ray?  If you’re not a fan of TNA, you may not realize that the former tag team specialist has become one of the very best heels in the industry.  He’s in his best physical shape since… well, maybe ever, now that I think about it.  His promos, his in-ring ability, and his character are all consistently entertaining.  He could come back to the WWE immediately, with or without the lesser Dudley Boyz.  My only concern, of course, is Bully’s age.  At 42, he would likely only be available for a relatively short-term run.  Obviously this didn’t stop them from signing RVD.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him back.

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