TNA Wrestling was once considered to be “the next big thing” in professional wrestling, and the first company since the demise of WCW to have the potential to put up a real fight against the forever-dominant WWE. Originally founded in 2002 by WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett and his late father Jerry, TNA took its first baby steps as a pay-per-view promotion under the legendary NWA banner. By 2004, TNA was on mainstream television with its first weekly TV show, Impact.
Wrestling fans are no strangers to the talent that TNA amassed. During the early years of the company, the likes of future WWE star AJ Styles and future AEW star Samoa Joe were just starting out, and the likes of WCW legends Sting, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner were weekly featured superstars. Big names such as Kurt Angle and Christian Cage also jumped ship from the WWE, further fueling the company’s fire. While some of these names are hugely memorable, others seemed to come and go and others just seemingly disappeared. Without further ado, let’s find out more about the forgotten stars of TNA and what they’re up to today.
10 “Prime Time” Elix Skipper
Starting his career in the dying days of WCW, it was only natural that the young and talented high-flyer, “Prime Time” Elix Skipper would be a prime candidate for TNA’s no limits X Division, and what an impact he made. Skipper was featured prominently in TNA and would go on to win multiple tag-team championships and perhaps most famously, a match of the year award for his performance at Turning Point 2004 where he shockingly walked the cage and hit a hurricanrana on Chris Harris from the top of the Six-Sides of Steel to an awe-inspiring ovation.
Skipper quietly retired from professional wrestling in 2009 after his son, Lemarcus Skipper was tragically killed by a gunman in his home. Today, Skipper enjoys a quiet life with his family away from professional wrestling and seldom takes part in interviews or signings. Skipper did recently appear at a “K & S WrestleFest” virtual signing event in January 2023, where he talks about his decision to leave wrestling after the death of his son at around the 10-minute mark.
“When he was shot and killed I was scared I was gonna be on the road again and something else was gonna happen. So, I made a choice between the wrestling I love and the family I love, and obviously, my family won.” – Elix Skipper, January 2023
9 “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown
It would be hard to talk about the glory days of TNA without mentioning the innovator of The Pounce, “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown. Making an impact (pun intended) the second he began his major run in TNA in 2004, Brown quickly rose to prominence as one of the most talented up-and-comers on the roster, going as far as winning the “PWI Rookie of the Year” award in 2004. A naturally gifted performer who had the look, the charisma, and the talent, it wasn’t long before Brown was challenging for the NWA World Title. In 2006, he joined the WWE where he competed as Marcus Cor Von as a member of “The New Breed” on the revived ECW brand.
Monty Brown’s tenure in the WWE would be short-lived, and he quietly retired from wrestling in late 2007 citing family issues as his reason for requesting his release. Brown sadly never came back to wrestling and according to his personal Twitter profile, he is now a personal trainer, although he does follow the news, often retweets and comments on situations in wrestling. While his run may have been short, it would appear that Brown never lost his love for pro wrestling.
8 Sonny Siaki
Another young and up-and-coming talent from the dying days of WCW was Sonny Siaki. He was a talented in-ring performer with the look and the skills. Sonny was also a survivor of the grueling WCW Powerplant training facility. Siaki would wind up in TNA, quickly aligning himself with the top heel stable in the company, Sports Entertainment Xtreme, led by the ever-controversial Vince Russo. Siaki had a solid few years with the company and was clearly being groomed into a top star position before he joined the WWE where he began in their then-training facility, Deep South Wrestling in 2005.
Much like Monty Brown, however, Siaki would quietly retire from professional wrestling in early 2009 after requesting and being granted his release from the WWE in 2007 due to personal issues. Siaki later revealed that he retired after donating a kidney to save his brother’s life. These days, Siaki enjoys a quiet life outside of wrestling. According to an article by the Miami Herald in 2017, Siaki lives in Atlanta and works for UPS. Staying away from the wrestling scene for well over a decade, fans can only hope that one day he returns to signings and conventions or at the least, social media.
7 Ron “The Truth” Killings
Did you know that WWE’s R-Truth got his first major break in TNA Wrestling? In the early days of the company, there were very few that could match the amazing microphone skills and in-ring talent of the man that was then known as Ron “The Truth” Killings. While his first stint in the WWE in the early 2000s as K-Kwik was short-lived, Killings would find a home and hone his skills primarily in TNA, where he became one of the company’s biggest stars. Untouchable on the microphone and unparalleled in the ring, Killings would not only become a two-time NWA World Champion, but he’d also become the first-ever recognized black NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
R-Truth still actively competes in WWE to this day after first returning to the company following his TNA run in 2008, but fans might argue that some of his finest and most important work was in the now-forgotten archives of TNA Wrestling. When he does finally hang up his boots for good, Truth would arguably be a perfect candidate for the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame for his contributions to the company.
6 Judas Mesias
In 2007, TNA began to experiment with characters a bit more, and one such character who was poised to rise to prominence was Judas Mesias. Mesias was billed as the son of Father James Mitchell and the brother of “The Monster” Abyss in a questionable Kane and The Undertaker knockoff angle. Wrestling fans may not remember much about Mesias as his time in TNA was very short-lived after the character failed to connect with fans, and he was quietly released just one year later in 2008.
While many failed characters simply fade away, the man behind the character, Ricky Banderas, continued to perform in wrestling and eventually struck gold with what became his most known persona, Mil Muertes, in the Lucha Underground promotion. The former Judas Mesias is still very much active in professional wrestling where he currently competes on the indies, but he has spoken about potentially being open to joining AEW in the future when he is a free agent.
5 “Wildcat” Chris Harris
Another talent who was seemingly primed for the main event before disappearing was none other than “Wildcat” Chris Harris. Alongside James Storm as one-half of one of the most important tag teams in TNA Wrestling history, America’s Most Wanted, Harris became one of the most featured tag-team wrestlers in the company for over six years. He then embarked on a singles adventure, which ultimately led to him signing with the WWE in 2008 where he would compete in a handful of matches under the name of Braden Walker, before seemingly disappearing altogether.
After a few guest appearances in TNA in the 2010s Harris would re-merge in TNA, now known as Impact Wrestling, in 2021. Harris, aligning himself with Storm, introduced their legendary duo to modern audiences at Impact Wrestling’s Against All Odds pay-per-view in 2022 where the duo proved they hadn’t missed a step in their tag-team offense, leaving fans asking whether one final run for AMW is on the cards in the future.
4 Michael Shane
The growing popularity of the no-limits X Division in TNA saw the promotion bring in many young and talented competitors from all over the world. One name in particular that had wrestling fans excited about the future was Michael Shane. The real-life cousin of Shawn Michaels and trained by him also, Shane went on to win the first Ultimate X match in 2003. He had a pro wrestling illustrated match of the year and also become a multiple-time X-Division champion. The sky was the limit for Shane, who also worked for TNA under the name of Matt Bentley, so why did he just disappear?
By all accounts, Matt Bentley took a temporary leave of absence from wrestling in the late 2000s, but he did return to the ring for Jeff Jarrett’s GFW promotion in 2015 before disappearing again. Bentley’s now-defunct website also lists him as a trainer for FXE based out in Florida. Only in his early 40s today, could the man formerly known as Michael Shane, Matt Bentley, make a return to Impact Wrestling in the future? Given his importance in the early era of the X Division, he would certainly receive an ovation from the Impact fans should he choose to return for one last run.
3 The Amazing Red
“It’s not about weight limits, it’s about NO LIMITS” are the words of Mike Tenay that still resound when wrestling fans think of TNA’s X Division, and one wrestler that lived and breathed that motto was the high-flying Puerto Rican sensation, The Amazing Red. While his first run in the company would only last two years, the impact he made would be a lasting one, and he is highly regarded as one of the innovators of the X Division. A multiple-time X-Division Champion, Red’s massive popularity took him all over the world, and he eventually came back home to TNA for another two-year run in 2009.
Unlike many others on this list, Amazing Red didn’t simply just disappear. He’s remained active as a pro wrestler all over the world. Following his run with Impact, he was affiliated with NJPW where he competed in the 2019 SUPER-J CUP in a match against Will Osprey where he proved he hasn’t lost a step in his high-flying offense. Red later announced in 2019 that he would be retiring due to a severe neck injury, but it remains to be seen if this timeless aerial assault artist will truly hang up the boots for good. However, he’s wrestled sporadically since then, most recently competing for indie promotion House Of Glory in April 2023.
2 The Naturals: Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens
A two-in-one for this episode of “Whatever happened to those guys from TNA”. Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens made up the team known as The Naturals, and at one point, they were one of the most important tag teams in the company when the product was just starting to make waves. As one of the headline teams at the time alongside the likes of America’s Most Wanted, The Naturals had some great matches and the future looked bright before they unexpectedly parted ways with TNA in 2007. A short while later, the team disbanded and faded into the archives of the forgotten.
Today, Chase Stevens is still very much active on the independent circuit and looks jacked compared to his days in TNA. Andy Douglas however wrestled the indies for a while after the team disbanded, before retiring completely and becoming a registered chiropractor where he practices under the name of Dr. Andy Roberts in Tennessee. At least wrestling fans can be assured he’s staying healthy should the time come for one more run!
Returning to the great (?) character experimentation of TNA Wrestling that was 2007, we find ourselves looking at Rellik. This edgy character inspired by The Great Muta, whose name is “killer” spelled backwards (so you know he meant business), was portrayed by none other than Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli of WCW and WWE fame. Much like Mesias, the character was a huge flop and as such, was so short-lived that you probably forgot that those dark segments even happened. While the character itself is better off forgotten, what became of the man behind the mask?
Johnny Stamboli continued to actively wrestle independently until 2014 before quietly retiring. These days, Stamboli is active on social media where he continues to talk about pro wrestling. But if his Instagram is anything to go by, he seems to be enjoying his time away from the ring as a family man.