Wrestlers Who Had Brief Careers In Impact Wrestling

Created under the name NWA: Total Nonstop Action in 2002, Impact Wrestling has become one of the most fascinating wrestling promotions in North America. It has reached some incredible highs and plummeted down to the lowest of lows, yet it continues to maintain its spot in the wrestling landscape. After all, for as many missteps as those behind it have made over the years, it's not devoid of numerous redeeming qualities. Not the least of these qualities is the roster, which over the past two decades has included rising stars, in-ring legends, unmatched on-screen personalities, and more.

Throughout its existence, a handful of names have become synonymous with Impact Wrestling. The likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels built their names while simultaneously elevating the promotion to the next level. Meanwhile, icons such as Kurt Angle, Sting, and Kevin Nash got the opportunity to prove to wrestling fans that they could still go between the ropes. The Knockouts division also allowed Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, and a host of other names to build up the legitimacy of women's wrestling in an era where it desperately needed it.

On the other hand, Impact Wrestling has added some folks to the roster who failed to make a such a mark on the company's history. Here are some wrestlers you'll likely recognize that stopped by the Impact Zone for a cup of coffee before disappearing entirely.

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

As NWA-TNA began to find its footing in 2002, its roster contained a nice blend of up-and-coming wrestling prodigies and established names that mainstream audiences were familiar with. One individual that falls into the latter category is "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who was one of the industry's biggest stars throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. He made his debut in the company in December of 2002 and immediately got things started on the wrong foot. To set up a feud with Vince Russo, Piper cut a scathing promo that implicated him directly in the 1999 death of Owen Hart and called him out for being a danger to all who step between the ropes.

Moving on from this controversial segment, Piper spent the better part of 2003 cutting less eyebrow-raising promos before returning to the TNA Asylum in person in 2004. He announced he'd host his own segment called In the Pit with Piper — a clear play on his iconic WWF talk show, Piper's Pit. At Victory Road 2004, he interviewed his old adversary Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, and a month later, In the Pit with Piper featured Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hector Garza. Following this up, Piper's final TNA appearance occurred at Final Resolution 2005, where he served as the guest referee for Jeff Hardy and Hall's match, helping the former score the victory.

All in all, Roddy Piper's TNA tenure is nothing to write home about.

Rick Steiner

From 2006 to 2010, Scott Steiner worked extensively with Impact Wrestling and found great success while doing so. He won the TNA World Tag Team Championships twice (first with Booker T and second with Eli Drake), stood tall as a member of the Main Event Mafia, and delivered possibly one of the greatest promos in the history of professional wrestling. However, many tend to overlook the fact that "Big Poppa Pump" wasn't the only Steiner to step into the Impact Zone. "The Dog Faced Gremlin" Rick Steiner joined the promotion as well, though his tenure is far less impressive than his brother's.

The tale of Rick Steiner in TNA is sporadic, to say the least. His first appearance came in 2002 at the first ever NWA-TNA event, but fans wouldn't see him again until 2003 when he made a one-off comeback. Three years later, he was teased as Sting's potential partner at Sacrifice 2006 — a spot eventually occupied by Samoa Joe. Come 2007, he enjoyed a much more substantial run alongside his brother Scott as they feuded with Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon). The two legendary tag teams clashed on pay-per-view throughout the year before TNA management granted Rick Steiner his release in early 2008.

It may not have been the Steiner Brothers wrestling fans grew up with, but it was undoubtedly cool seeing Rick reunite with Scott in TNA.

Xavier Woods (As Consequences Creed)

It's difficult to dispute that the New Day — Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods — is one of the greatest stables in wrestling history. Since forming in 2014, the group has prospered in WWE's tag team division, winning championship gold and the support of fans around the world. Of course, while some of their greatest successes have come as a unit, each member has made the most of their singles careers as well. In the case of Woods, he spent much of his early career as a solo act, building his name inside of TNA's six-sided ring as the stars and stripes-clad Consequences Creed.

After making his first TNA appearance at Bound for Glory 2007 (then using the moniker Rasheed Lucius Creed), Creed became a frequent face in the Impact Zone throughout 2008. He competed against the likes of Sonjay Dutt and Sheik Abdul Bashir in the high-flying, hard-hitting X Division, though never secured the X Division Championship. Toward the end of the year, he began teaming with fellow TNA standout Jay Lethal, forming the tag team Lethal Consequences and winning the TNA Tag Team Championships in mid-December. Creed's time with Impact Wrestling came to a close when he was released in March of 2010.

Consequences Creed showed loads of potential during his time in TNA. It's a good thing he had the chance to realize it as WWE's Xavier Woods.

The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags)

In the late 1980s, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags teamed up to become the Nasty Boys and found almost instantaneous success. Not only did they quickly fill their trophy case in the American Wrestling Association, Florida Championship Wrestling, and more, but they soon proved worthy of joining the WWF. They remained there from 1990 to 1993 before heading back to World Championship Wrestling for a tenure that lasted from 1994 to 1997. Beyond that, they wouldn't embark on another extended run in a major promotion until 2010 when they'd sign with TNA.

In January of 2010, the Nasty Boys kicked off a feud with Team 3D, which culminated in a showdown at that year's Against All Odds pay-per-view. Thanks to the timely intervention of their longtime manager Jimmy Hart, Knobbs and Sags defeated Brother Ray and Brother Devon, but the war was far from over. Team 3D got a measure of revenge against their rivals when they scored a win over them in a subsequent tag team tables match. The feud would come to a close by late March when the Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart beat Team 3D and Brother Runt (aka Spike Dudley) in a six-man tag team match.

The Nasty Boys were released from TNA shortly after this match, concluding a rather uneventful stint with the company.

Zach Gowen

To longtime WWE fans, the name Zach Gowen likely rings a bell. Debuting in late 2003 by having "Rowdy" Roddy Piper pull of his prosthetic leg in the middle of the ring, he became a highlight of "SmackDown" throughout the remainder of the year. He famously aligned himself with Mr. America, who was definitely not Hulk Hogan, and feuded with none other than Vince McMahon before he left the company in early 2004. This allowed him to eventually return to the promotion where, unbeknownst to many, he first garnered mainstream exposure in the world of professional wrestling: TNA.

Under the name Tenacious Z, Gowen would clash with the likes of BG James and Mike Sanders during his first run in NWA-TNA in 2003. Two years later, he made his return at Hard Justice 2005, though it didn't bode well for him. Of the four matches he competed in, he only stood victorious a single time in a brief match against Kid Romeo. The year after, Gowen took part in the Kevin Nash Open Invitational X-Division Gauntlet Battle Royal that Austin Starr — better known as Austin Aries — ultimately won. With that, his second stint under the TNA banner came to an unceremonious end.

It may've been where he properly got his start, but evidently, TNA wasn't the right fit for Zach Gowen.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is a wrestling icon whose glory days coincide with the wrestling boom of the 1980s. He became a globally-recognized superstar in the WWF alongside names like Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and countless others, building a fanbase with his 2x4 in hand and his love for the United States on his sleeve. He even won the WWF's very first Royal Rumble match in 1988 by outlasting 19 of the best the promotion had to offer at the time. What many "Hacksaw" fans likely don't know though is that he appeared for Impact Wrestling way back in its NWA-TNA days.

Jim Duggan's NWA-TNA run only spanned three matches throughout 2003. He made his debut at the 36th NWA-TNA event in a match against Mike Sanders, which he won in just under six minutes. Following this bout, he teamed with Moondog Spot in one of the late wrestling legend's final matches to defeat the duo of Sanders and Glen Gilberti in less than two minutes. Drawing his NWA-TNA stint to a close, Duggan stood across the ring from Jeff Jarrett in late October. Sadly for ol' "Hacksaw," he couldn't keep "Double-J" down for the three-count, concluding his run on a down note.

A 2-1 record isn't too bad, though Jim Duggan's TNA tenure is overall forgettable to say the least.

Bob Backlund

From his start in the early 1970s to his retirement in 2018, Bob Backlund carved out an impressive in-ring career for himself. He worked all over the place, stepping between the ropes for the NWA, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and, most notably, the World Wide Wrestling Federation — later renamed the WWF. In fact, during his time with the latter, he became an immensely popular babyface and one of the company's longest-reigning world champions. As his career entered the home stretch, Backlund even signed with TNA for a spell and worked with some of the company's brightest young stars.

Backlund joined the TNA ranks in 2007 at that year's Final Resolution event and found himself at odds with Austin Starr. However, the two never squared off between the ropes in a full-on match during their feud. Moving on from his issues with Starr, Backlund wound up on the radar of the Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. At Slammiversary 2007, Backlund defeated Shelley in his first of two matches for the company. His second and final bout saw him team with Extreme Championship Wrestling favorite Jerry Lynn in a losing effort against the Motor City Machine Guns at Victory Road the following month.

Given how short it was and how little he had to do, it's understandable if Bob Backlund's TNA tenure slipped your mind.

Test (As Andrew Martin)

Upon his debut in 1998, Test quickly became a regular on WWF programming, though his tenures in the company were all over the place at best. He did well as a member of the Corporation, won a handful of championships during his time there, and meshed well with Albert and Trish Stratus as part of the T&A faction. That said, he also wound up lost in the shuffle during the WCW-ECW Invasion, incurred the wrath of Triple H during his meteoric rise to the top, and got stuck on the doomed-from-the-start reboot of ECW in the mid-2000s. Still, at least his WWF and WWE efforts proved more fruitful than his TNA run.

Test was released from WWE for the second time in 2007 — his first release occurring in 2004 — putting his future in the wrestling business into his own hands. Before the year was out, he joined TNA and appeared in the Impact Zone for the first time in August using his real name, Andrew Martin. He interfered on behalf of Abyss and Sting during their tag team ladder match against AJ Styles and Christian Cage. At Hard Justice a few weeks later, he wrestled his first and only match for the company, teaming with Abyss and Sting to successfully defeat Styles, Cage, and Tomko in a Doomsday Chamber of Blood match.

Sadly, Andrew Martin passed away on March 13, 2009 at the age of 33, making his short TNA stint his final in a major televised wrestling promotion.

Lex Luger

Early in his career, no matter which promotion he signed with, Lex Luger did well for himself in some form or fashion. As a part of the WCW roster in the late 1980s and early '90s, he prospered as a member of the legendary Four Horsemen faction, won numerous championships, and proved himself as a rising star in the squared circle. Despite not winning any championships there, Luger briefly stood as the WWF's next big thing in the mid-'90s before returning to WCW in time for the fabled Monday Night War. After the latter company closed its doors in 2001, Luger made his way to the newly-established NWA-TNA in 2003.

Unlike most of his other runs in major promotions, Lex Luger didn't exactly thrive as a member of the NWA-TNA roster. In fact, he only competed in one match, and it's far from one of his best. He teamed with Jeff Jarrett and failed to defeat AJ Styles and Sting in November of 2003. The following February, he interfered in a tables match between Styles and Abyss and wouldn't be seen again until 2006. This time around, he appeared in a string of segments alongside Buff Bagwell as an ally of Sting ahead of his Bound for Glory 2006 match against Jarrett. Luger's last appearance for the company came in 2012 when he inducted Sting into the TNA (now Impact Wrestling) Hall of Fame.

Luger's TNA run may not have set the world on fire, but at least he got to work with some of his close friends before leaving the Impact Zone for good.


When discussing the history of women's wrestling, one would be remiss not to give Chyna some well-deserved credit. Making her televised WWF debut in early 1997, the "Ninth Wonder of the World" would stick with the company until 2001. In that time, she'd win a couple of championships, including the WWF Intercontinental Championship, stand tall as the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match, and take part in some of the WWF Attitude Era's highest-profile matches and feuds. As a result, when she decided to return to the ring a decade later for TNA, it certainly got the wrestling world talking.

As part of Kurt Angle's feud with Jeff and Karen Jarrett, Chyna stepped into the Impact Zone to help the Olympic gold medalist even the odds. She made her first televised TNA appearance in May of 2011, setting up a mixed tag team match for the Sacrifice pay-per-view, which pit her and Angle against the Jarretts. While not the most technically sound or intense match on the card that night, it was great to see Chyna step between the ropes one last time under a sizeable spotlight. She scored the win for her team by making Karen submit, putting a punctuation mark on her in-ring career.

Chyna's run in TNA was indeed brief, but as her last ride in the wrestling business before her untimely death in 2016, it wasn't too bad.

Kazuchika Okada

It's a given that when Kazuchika Okada hangs up his boots for good, he'll be remembered as one of the finest in-ring talents of his generation. In the years since his NJPW return, he's asserted himself as one of the promotion's top stars. Not only has he undertaken some historic championship reigns, dominated the G1 Climax tournament, and put on a plethora of five-star (and above) matches, but he's done it all while blending top-notch character work with exceptional ring proficiency. Suffice to say, the Okada of today is practically a different person compared to the Okada of TNA.

With a initial run in NJPW under his belt, Kazuchika Okada made his way to the Impact Zone in 2010 to hone his skills. Competing simply as Okada — and later Okato — the future "Rainmaker" commonly appeared on "TNA Xplosion" and didn't exactly put on clinics. Truth be told, he rarely ever won during his TNA tenure, taking losses in tag team competition against teams like Ink Inc. (Shannon Moore and Jesse Neal) and in one-on-one encounters against names such as D'Angelo Dinero and Stevie Richards. He left the company by October of 2011 for a fresh start in NJPW, and the rest is history.

Kazuchika Okada's TNA run was lackluster, to say the least, and (per Pro Wrestling Insider) it damaged TNA's relationship with NJPW. Still, at least it paved the way for the "Rainmaker" gimmick that would bring him so much success.

Macho Man Randy Savage

"Macho Man" Randy Savage got his start in the wrestling business in the early 1970s, and it didn't take him long to prove himself as a name promoters should want to have on their match cards. Between his larger-than-life persona and natural abilities in the ring, he had all the makings of a wrestling legend — and a legend he became. He climbed to the top of the WWF mountain in the 1980s, became a major player in WCW in the 1990s, and had earned his place as a pop culture icon in the 2000s. Despite having earned status as an all-time great, Savage returned to the ring in 2004 to bring some of his signature Macho Madness to TNA.

Randy Savage made his TNA introduction at Victory Road 2004 and immediately set his sights on Jeff Jarrett. In the weeks that followed, he continued to plague Jarrett as well as his companions, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, which began the build for a match at December's Turning Point pay-per-view. Savage enlisted Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles as his partners, and so the six-man tag team match was set in stone. When the smoke cleared, Savage, Hardy, and Styles stood victorious in a bout that turned out to be Savage's final on television. His TNA run came to an end shortly after.

Randy Savage wasn't long for TNA, and that's just fine. He'd proven himself a wrestling titan long before, so this run was just an exercise in nostalgia for the fans.

Diamond Dallas Page

Before becoming the mastermind behind the aptly-named DDP Yoga, Diamond Dallas Page rose to prominence during the Monday Night War. Firmly planted on the side of WCW, the "Master of the Diamond Cutter" became a massive fan favorite as the company attempted to battle back against the invading New World Order faction. When the promotion closed in 2001, Page eventually made his way to the WWF, though his run there proved anything but special. After sticking around from 2001 to 2002, Page would take some time off from the ring before appearing in TNA in 2004.

Starting off his TNA tenure in grand fashion, Page entered a feud with fellow WCW alum Raven that culminated in a match at Turning Point. Page won the bout and went on to have some decent matches with a variety of opponents throughout the first half of 2005. Alongside partners such as Monty Brown and Ron "The Truth" Killings, he clashed with Team Canada (specifically Eric Young and Robert Roode), the Outlaw, and more. Page even landed an NWA World Heavyweight Championship match against Jeff Jarrett at Destination X 2005, though he didn't win the title. His final match took place at Hard Justice 2005, where he teamed with Killings and lost a tag team match against the Outlaw and Brown.

On pay-per-view and standard television cards, Diamond Dallas Page made sure to deliver to the best of his abilities for the TNA fans during his short stint in the company.

The Young Bucks (As Generation Me)

Whether you love them or hate them, Matt and Nick Jackson, collectively known as the Young Bucks, have climbed the tag team wrestling ranks and become one of the most popular and decorated teams out there. They've brought their fast-paced, exciting in-ring style to numerous promotions, from Ring of Honor to All Elite Wrestling, and have won championship gold around the globe. With such a high level of success, it's easy to forget that the Bucks had to start from the bottom to achieve it — even cutting their teeth in TNA as Generation Me (Jeremy and Max Buck) on the road to worldwide superstardom.

Debuting in 2010, a large portion Generation Me's TNA tenure saw the team compete in a string of matches against the company's top team: the Motor City Machine Guns. They'd also work against Beer Money Inc. ("Cowboy" James Storm and Robert Roode), Ink Inc., and more, coming pretty close to taking the TNA World Tag Team Championships along the way. Sadly for Jeremy and Max, they'd never win the gold. They departed TNA in 2011 and returned for a few matches at 2013's TNA One Night Only event. As the Young Bucks, they popped up during Kenny Omega and Moose's match at Impact Wrestling's Against All Odds 2021 event, where Matt looked at the camera and sarcastically identified himself and his brother as "Max and Jeremy Buck."

Generation Me kept busy in TNA's tag division, yet they couldn't win the big one. At least this run inadvertently led to bigger and better things for the Jackson brothers down the road.

CM Punk

For one reason or another, the wrestling community is almost always talking about CM Punk. His matches, promos, media scrum comments, and more have consistently captivated fans since his career got rolling in early 2000s. Although, compared to his runs in Ring of Honor, WWE, and AEW, Punk's time in NWA-TNA is often overlooked in the modern day. His earliest matches for the company date back to late 2002, though he didn't become a regular face until 2003. With a few singles and tag matches under his belt, he joined Julio Dinero under the leadership of Raven to form the Gathering faction.

As 2003 rolled on, Punk and Dinero secured wins over pairings such as Matt Sydal and Onyx and Ekmo and Sonny Siaki, among others. They'd even team with Raven in a dog collar match against Shane Douglas and the Disciples of the New Church (Slash and Sinn). Flying solo, Punk notably faced Douglas in Clockwork Orange House Of Fun match, though he didn't win the bout. Come 2004, Punk and Dinero continued to team, with the name value of their opponents increasing dramatically. Terry Funk, the Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, and other ECW legends brought the fight to these up-and-comers — often failing to defeat them.

Punk's final NWA-TNA match took place on February 25, 2004 when he teamed with Dinero to face Raven and Sabu. The latter two wrestlers won, sending Punk back to ROH and, eventually, to WWE.