impact wrestling has been the go-to alternative to WWE in the United States since its arrival in 2002. Replacing companies like World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, Impact would have some massive shoes to fill. During this time, the company has developed a large and loyal fan base by creating stars like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Abyss, but not every gimmick was a huge hit with fans.
Impact Wrestling, just like every other promotion, has decided to air some completely horrible gimmicks, but luckily for the fans and for Impact, these gimmicks were quickly removed from television. Whether you’re a long-time employee or a new wrestler trying to start your career, here are some of the gimmicks TNA/Impact Wrestling came up with that wouldn’t last long.
10 Abyss and Hulk Hogan
While Abyss wouldn’t have a 100% gimmick change during this time, he would start doing something that Abyss, even two years ago, wouldn’t have imagined. With the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to work at TNA, a handful of superstars would receive facelifts in character and style.
Abyss’ change would come in the form of receiving Hulk Hogan’s WWE Hall of Fame ring, which would suddenly make Abyss stronger and invulnerable to pain. This all happened after Abyss started getting hit by multiple stars and stopped being the menacing monster he used to be, but a clumsy jerk who was constantly scared.
9 Nature Boy AJ Styles
One of TNA’s biggest failings was the way they constantly mishandled their talent, mainly someone like AJ Styles. The company would often throw something at the poor guy and just see if it worked, often to no avail as Prince AJ Styles. Styles would have to carry the role of being Ric Flair lite.
The two would begin teaming up on screen after capturing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Styles would then turn heel after defending the championship multiple times and would even go so far as to wear Ric Flair’s robes in the ring before dropping the belt to Rob Van Dam.
8 governor palin
As talented as she was, Daffney would not find much success during her few stints with Impact Wrestling. After her first few appearances with the company where she played the typical WCW character of hers and even Shark Boy’s Shark Girl, she would return in 2008 under a new political gimmick.
Daffney would start posing as a political figure, Governor Sarah Palin. During this time in his career, he would feud primarily with The Beautiful People faction and have a pay-per-view tag team match with Roxxi and Taylor Wilde to defeat Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne, and Angelina Love.
7 aron rex
Aron Stevens would end a spectacular run with WWE after playing The Miz’s stunt double, Damien Mizdow. Stevens would have a brief stint in the independents before signing a contract with Impact Wrestling and debuting for the promotion in the summer of 2016.
Stevens would work for Impact for a time before becoming something of a parody of the musician Liberace. He would have a new look of clean shaven, lip gloss, fur coat, and skin-colored boxer shorts, as well as having Rockstar Spud as his new manager, whom he would have wear ridiculous outfits.
6 black reign
Dustin Runnels would have a brief career in TNA around 2004, where he played “The Lone Star” Dustin Rhodes and would feud with the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Bobby Roode, before deciding not to renew his contract with TNA and return to WWE.
He would return to TNA in 2007 and debut a new character under the name “Black Reign”. The character was a Jekyll/Hyde situation with Runnels switching between Dustin and Black Reign. The character would last for a year before his profile was removed from the TNA roster page and released from the promotion.
5 Rock N’ Rave Infection
Lance Hoyt and Jimmy Rave would begin teaming up in 2007 in the No Surrender tag team challenge. The two would be managed by Christy Hemme, who was Hoyt’s on-screen girlfriend and constantly losing games against other teams.
The trio would look goofy as they strutted into the ring equipped with Guitar Hero guitars and dressed as ’80s and ’90s rockers. The team would be fired from TNA in early 2009 before both men went their separate ways working elsewhere.
4 Brutus Magnus
Former Impact World Heavyweight Champion Magnus would make his TNA debut under the ring name Brutus Magnus and portray a gladiator. The company would start Magnus on a short undefeated streak beating out the likes of Eric Young, Chris Sabin, and Matt Morgan.
The gimmick would not last long though, as Magnus would soon find a tag team partner in Doug Williams and form the team, The British Invasion. The duo would capture the TNA World Tag Team Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Professional wrestler Ryan Wilson would have a few gimmicks under TNA including security guards and bodyguards. The strangest and most prominent stunt of his, however, was that of Trytan, which he portrayed in 2005. The character had similar features to The Terminator with his black leather outfit, sunglasses, and stiff mannerisms.
Trytan would also make a finisher similar to Brock Lesnar’s F-5 titled T-3, also a reference to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Trytan wouldn’t last long with this gimmick before his momentum stopped and Wilson signed a contract to work full-time with WWE on their development of OVW.
2 flying elvis
During TNA’s go-to days, the company produced some of its weirdest characters. Some of them include the Flying Elvises tag team with talents like Sonny Siaki, Jorge Estrada and Jimmy Yang. The trio would last a few pay-per-views during this time and even receive a title match for the X Division Championship against Low Ki.
Sonny Siaki would turn on Jimmy Yang and thus end the faction. However, Estrada and Yang would continue the legacy of the team without Siaki for a few more pay-per-views before the gimmick died down and was seen no more.
1 the johnsons
Mike and Todd Shane would win the NWA World Tag Team Championships in June 2002 and promptly debut for TNA at their first pay-per-view that same month. The twins would come out dressed in skin-colored jumpsuits and masks and be called “The Johnsons”.
Richard “Dick” Johnsons and Rod Johnson would appear in TNA with their manager Mortimer Plumtree for multiple pay-per-views before leaving TNA and having to vacate the NWA World Tag Team Championship as TNA held the rights to the belts.