Joe went off to win multiple championships during his time with TNA. Winning every major championship within the company. Joe also has the bragging rights of being involved in TNA’s only 5-star match at Unbreakable 2005 featuring Samoa Joe, vs AJ Styles, vs Christopher Daniels for the X-Division Championship. When Samoa Joe finally showed up at NXT to everyone’s surprise he was still Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe being the first modern TNA Wrestler on this list to make the jump over to the WWE proved to be a successful move for him to make. Quickly becoming a legitimate badass just like his early days in TNA, Joe was able to capture the NXT Championship before ultimately making the jump to the main roster where he was found great success and matches with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, & Braun Strowman just to name a few. Although he’s only been on the main roster since 2016 an injury has set back his full potential and I can say with lots of confidence that Samoa Joe is destined for great success.
Following the breakup of “3Live Kru” Ron Killings again tried his luck for the World Heavyweight Championship ultimately failing and shortly thereafter asked and was granted his release. Now re-debuting with the WWE in 2008 as R-Truth (A shortened name from his TNA run as “Ron The Truth Killings” the now R-Truth even debuted using his old TNA theme although now a more polished version but nonetheless the same theme song. R-Truth was one of the first to take a character who was made in TNA to come over to the WWE and start using the gimmick again. However, coming very close in the WWE in one night having a shot at the WWE Championship, he never won and he did not become successful as he once was during his time in TNA. R-Truth goes to show that a popular gimmick can come to the WWE.
The Broken Hardy segments produced some of the highest ratings for TNA while on their new network POP TV. The Broken Hardy’s while in TNA had “The Final Deletion” with Matt going against Jeff Hardy, “Delete or Decay” which was a feud with The Decay “Abyss, Rosemary, & Crazy Steve”, “Total Non-Stop Deletion” and before returning to the WWE they teased “A Great War” which during the time Total Non-Stop Deletion was going on The Broken Hardy challenged any team from time and space, calling for several public feuds which were directed towards ROH’s “The Young Bucks”, & WWE’s “The New Day” & “The Wyatt Family”. When it was announced that the Broken Hardy’s were not going to resign with TNA. The Hardy’s returned to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Now in a legal battle between The Hardy Boyz and Impact Wrestling over ownership of the Broken Universe, all The Hardy Boyz could do is tease and make their “Broken Mannerisms” without being 100% in character of their previous gimmick.
Now The Hardy Boyz wouldn’t have been on this list at all had it not been for the recent turn of events which led to a settlement with the new owners of TNA now Impact Wrestling which gave the wrestlers permission to use any Intellectual property used while working with TNA whether it be from the past or for future characters created while working for the company. The Hardy Boyz once again became “The Broken Hardy’s” while in the WWE. This is the first time in a long time that a full gimmick is now being used on WWE programming which came from another wrestling organization. Broken Matt Hardy just had a “Final Deletion” type match against Bray Wyatt. What really makes this special is that all the elements from their original TNA run was present here, we saw Senor Benjamin, Brother Nero, Vanguard One, along with Reby Hardy & King Maxell. WWE did the unthinkable by letting a full-fledged TNA creation crossover into the WWE Universe. Now with this great start and great success let’s see how else The Broken Hardy’s will continue to change the wrestling business.
After all his success and long tenure in TNA, in 2013 he left TNA after not coming to terms on a new contract deal, citing pay issues. The unthinkable happened AJ Styles left TNA and went to the independents before signing with NJPW in 2014. While with NJPW he would go on to winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his debut match with the company, he would later become the leader of the Bullet Club a popular faction originally formed by Prince Devitt now known as Finn Balor in the WWE. After a brief and successful run in NJPW AJ Styles would headline Wrestle Kingdom 10 in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in a losing effort. Soon after this match it was confirmed that AJ Styles would soon be making his debut for the WWE but no one knew when that would be. There were early rumors that his debut would be at the 2016 Royal Rumble but nothing was set in stone as TNA was also trying to get AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, & Karl Anderson to come into TNA for their debut on Destination America as The Bullet Club. AJ Styles would eventually make his WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, in a historic debut as it was also for the WWE Championship. The WWE Championship was put on the line, the current champion at the time was Roman Reigns and he was defending it in the 30-man Royal Rumble match, a match that Triple H ended up winning.
Although he did not end up winning the Royal Rumble the simple fact that his debut match for the WWE was technically for the WWE Championship which goes to shows how much of a made star he was in TNA and the simple fact that he was also referred to as “The Phenomenal AJ Styles” a name he was first given while in TNA, was also being used in the WWE. AJ Styles was definitely a house hold name before joining the WWE, largely due to TNA’s TV deal that they had on SPIKE TV. AJ Styles would go on to make his Wrestlemania debut in a match against Chris Jericho, although he did not win AJ Styles quickly became a fan favorite and was eventually crowned the new WWE Championship in a match against Dean Ambrose at Backlash in 2016. During AJ Styles' early career, we finally got to see a dream match of AJ Styles vs John Cena. This has been the closest we have ever been to a TNA vs WWE match as AJ Styles is considered Mr. TNA and John Cena is Mr. WWE. The two would later have a WWE Championship match at the 2017 Royal Rumble match were John Cena ended up victorious. AJ Styles would later win the WWE United States Championship and as well as a second title reign as the WWE Championship. AJ Styles made his legacy in TNA and is now creating a new legacy in the WWE. It just goes to show you that the cream always rises to the top! And for those reasons why, that is why AJ Styles tops the list as the 10 TNA wrestlers who got to keep their name/gimmick when joing the WWE.
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