When I say feuds, let me be clear. I’m talking about one on one matches . I’m talking about centralized booking. I’m looking at stripping away everyone and everything else and locking in to a traditionally booked feud. Heel vs. Face. Good vs. Bad. Promos, specialty matches and Feud of the Year caliber matchups. I’m not looking at guys who were involved with multiple other opponents at once (see Hogan’s). I’m looking at that brutal blood feud style. So that’s how we came up with these TNA feuds that could of been.
One minor caveat, I’m not talking about feuds we wished we could of seen . Like EC3 vs. Styles, or Ken Shamrock vs. Kurt Angle. I’m looking at only feuds that could of happened without fantasy booking. So unless they were both under contract at the same time, they won’t be included. Also, there are no women feuds on this list. They’ll get their own version later on. Plus, with the smaller roster, there’s not many (if any) blown opportunities to have feuds between the top talents.
Honorable Mention: Chris Sabin vs. Kevin Nash
– They did feud, in earnest. But Nash tanked it. Nash rested on his laurels, chickened out of a second singles match designed to put over Sabin, and let Sabin get all of his storyline wins against Alex Shelley, Nash’s running buddy.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Hardy vs. Sting
– I’d give this a higher slot but this feud was during the whole “Victory Road 2011” debacle. So…yeah, they were going to do it. It was booked for a few months. This was going to be Hardy’s crowning character feud. But nope. Sorry not this time.
10) Chris Harris vs. Beer Money
– Now yes, Chris Harris and James Storm did feud in 2007. Yes, we got that awful blindfold match. However, we also got that great Sacrifice 2007 Texas Death Match. So you know, good and bad. However Chris Harris was brought back to the company in 2011 to face off with former tag team partner James Storm and his then current partner, Bobby Roode at Sacrifice 2011. While his return was overshadowed by Chyna’s debut for the promotion, it still didn’t feel like it was a huge thing.
Bringing Harris back really didn’t get anyone salivating, mostly because he was with Matt Hardy at the time. Had he aligned himself with Eric Young perhaps then maybe they’d of had a better match and the feud would of actually gotten off the ground. James Storm doesn’t have that many tag team partners, especially at that time, so for Harris to be involved was largely just a cameo in a bigger feud. However, bringing in one of Roode’s ex-partners (hence Young), then maybe the fans would of realized the scope of the feud and given it more of a chance.
9) Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin
– While they were part of a tag feud in 2006, where the X-Division had issues with Alex Shelley, Kevin Nash and eventually Austin Starr (Aries), they never had a prominent one on one feud. Which is a little baffling. Early on in their runs, Chris Sabin was seen as many as the No.2 X-Division guy outside of AJ Styles. Alex Shelley was “Baby Bear” to Abyss and former interviewer turned manager Goldilocks. Then he started touring around with his camera, filming his matches. He wasn’t on Sabin’s level in name value then.
Eventually Shelley would garner more name value as his in ring talents started to garner more attention, and that would eventually parlay into a tag team with Chris Sabin. Their one big one on one happened at Genesis 2009, where Shelley would defeat Chris Sabin for the vacant X-Division championship in a decent match. However, there was no feud to follow it. They would go back to teaming for most of their tenure, which was interrupted by injuries to one another, and then Shelley’s eventual departure.
Why they never got together in a prolonged program is beyond me, but in 2006 and 2009 especially, they had the opportunity to do just that. Yet they didn’t really broach the topic, instead just shoving The Motor City Machine Guns into a feud with Christopher Daniels and Suicide.
But to be fair, it did lead to some great Suicide/Jay Lethal bits. So it wasn’t all bad.
8) Booker T vs. Scott Steiner
– Ugh. This would of been so fun. Booker T, Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett and Goldberg were the four most consistent options in WCW in the year 2000. Booker and Jarrett’s feud helped salvage something from the summer, while Steiner and Goldberg carried over until the fall, before Steiner and Book closed out the year.
They would both end up in TNA in 2007 and they ended up facing off a grand total of…ZERO times. (Save for one battle royal). How can you have one of the few good feuds from WCW 2000 and not revisit it? I’m baffled by that fact. For the better part of two years they would be regular tag team partners, winning the belts from Beer Money in July of 2009 and holding on to them until October of the same year. Booker’s contract was up and they wrote him out of the match mid way. There was rumors that Booker didn’t want to be show losing the belt but who knows with Russo booking. There was also some upheaval at the time, as TNA had just agreed to bringing in Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan to overhaul the product and creative; so maybe that had something to do with it.
But to see Booker “abandon” Steiner in the match would’ve served as the perfect catalyst to launch them into a final feud. But alas, it never came to fruition. In fact, they spent nearly two and a half years together in WWE after WCW’s closure and they only were involved in three televised matches; one in early 2003 on RAW where they faced each other, another at Survivor Series 2003 where they were on opposing survivor teams, and then finally one last time by the end of the year.
For two guys who feuded in tag teams, the mid card, the upper mid card and finally in the main event over the course of ten years, you’d think both companies would do a better job making this a must see interaction.
7) Magnus vs. Ethan Carter III
– Unlike Magnus and Styles, these two never even went one on one. EC3 debuted the same night AJ Styles won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the last time. Then the belt was moved to Magnus, before then moving to Eric Young, and then Lashley. While Lashley was a great champ and used well, he was never dynamic enough for him to warrant constant air time across the full two hours show. A wrestler like Lashley is great in small doses, doing what he does best; wrestling. Magnus’ run was cut too short due to the mismanagement of his booking, which lead him eventually leave the company.
However, in an alternate world, former stable mates EC3 and Magnus would not of parted ways so quickly, and the two would eventually feud over Magnus’s World Championship before departing, where Magnus could put over EC3. This would allow EC3 to feud with Angle then. However, it gets even worse as Magnus would return to the company just last year for a few years in order to drop the defunct Global Force Wrestling Championship to an TNA/IMPACT wrestler. Even when he returned to the company that gave him his big break, they still found new ways to not bring EC3 and Magnus together
6) Jeff Jarrett vs. Ken Shamrock
– Unlike most on this list, that kind of happened or sort of almost did, this one never got off the ground. Ken Shamrock was brought in to be the top guy in the early days of TNA. He won the NWA World Heavyweight title by defeating Malice (aka The Wall), and was positioned to be the top guy in the promotion. However a big payday from the UFC swayed him back to the UFC, leaving pro wrestling behind once again. Jeff Jarrett was the top heel in the promotion from the jump. He’d eventually win the belt from Ron Killings, but most of us all know that Jarrett and Shamrock were destined to feud.
This would of been a classic encounter considering how good both men were at one point when they were younger. Both men had submission and grappling techniques, while being able to talk. So the idea of watching these two roast each other in promos, then pummeling each other for the NWA title would of been amazing. It would of undoubtedly been the biggest feud of TNA’s early years and maybe even helped get them noticed by more a little sooner.
5) Magnus vs. AJ Styles
– A match, does not a rivalry make. AJ Styles and Magnus were in the company then known as TNA for about five years together. Styles was the Ace of the company but Dixie Carter was hoping for more, and was going to pick Magnus, now known as Nick Aldis, as his heir apparent. Styles was asking for too much money for Carter to stomach so they let him walk. Before they did, they did a piss poor, hastily done one-off that saw Magnus defeat AJ Styles to take back Styles’s version of the TNA World Championship. Both men had a version of the belt, but as AJ was working dates with foreign promotions, they merely claimed his soon-to-be-expiring contract had already expired.
So they faced off on an episode of IMPACT that saw everyone and their brother come out and attack AJ Styles. The same thing would happen again with Sting. So instead of Styles taking the ‘L’ to Magnus in a convincing fashion, what we got was a waterdown, piss poor example of TNA booking for 2014. The feud could of been great had the come out of Bound for Glory with that in mind. Instead of sending him off, you keep him around to at least Lockdown, where Magnus could end Style’s time as the top guy in the company, and as Dixie’s golden boy, by having Magnus literally drive him from the company. The angle would of been great, but, that was when Dixie and company were running things.
4) Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan
– This one is far more egregious when you realize that Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair spent weeks feuding in Australia prior to their TNA debut’s. Now, Flair and Hogan were involved early on as managers for AJ Styles and Abyss, and eventually Lockdown, but it was so convoluted. Hogan was also feuding with Eric Bischoff at the same time he was dealing with Flair, Sting, Mick Foley and helping Abyss. He was all over the place, so it really diluted the intensity of the duo and it was so hastily done that there was no build up.
Could you imagine a tag match at Slammiversary or Lockdown, and not given away on free tv? Or if you built up the match similarly to how Sting and Hogan faced off at Bound for Glory 2011, and you could of done a single’s match eventually. Did TNA at any time do this? No. They did next to little with their potential feud. Then they paired them up, and even built a super stable around them as the leaders.
Two long term rivals, with money making potential in a real feud, diluted, and then forced to be buddies.
3) Monty Brown vs. AJ Styles
– While Monty Brown wasn’t creating too much of an impact for the first year or so, by late 2003, early 2004, Monty Brown really emerged in the company as a guy to notice . He, America’s Most Wanted and AJ Styles were the core four of original stars in the company’s early days. Yet, unlike the other three men, Monty Brown never rose to the same title success as the others.
So the thought that Monty Brown and AJ Styles never hooked up in a one on one match. Monty Brown has faced Chris Hero, Ron Killings, and Colt Cabana. But never Styles. A few six man tags, a regular tag match, a battle royal and a King of the Mountain match. But never one on one. And the thing was, they’re perfect foils for each other. AJ Styles was (and still isn’t) a great promo guy, and Monty Brown needed a dynamic worker to really up his in ring game. Monty’s in ring skills are comparable to Styles’s mic work. So by pairing them up, you could of really delivered and driven home a great feud. It would of elevated Brown, shown how talented that Styles was by being able to elevate people he worked with and maybe have gotten Brown his first World Title win.
What’s fascinating about all this is that Monty Brown probably has the most title opportunities in company history to never have a win. He’s had four World Title matches, one tag team title match and about 5 or so No.1 Contender opportunities. You can’t say Monty Brown wasn’t booked well (at least until 2006).
2) Christian Cage vs. Sting
– Christian smashed Sting in the face with a guitar. He stood there, swung upwards and smashed Sting in…..THE FACE. Not just that, but he did it in Sting’s first World Title single’s match in over SIX YEARS. That’s how the main event of Hard Justice 2006 ended; with Cage turning heel on the fan favorite Sting. So obviously at the next month’s No Surrender show, we got Sting vs. Cage; right?
Wait, are you telling me that the only times Cage and Sting ever fought were in THREE triple threat World Title matches in 2007? So they never had a simple one on one feud? Wait, was this a Vince Russo booked feud? (*checks notes*) OH GOD IT WAS.
I have little doubt that there were seeds being planted for Sting vs. Cage prior to August and shortly after. However during TNA’s upswing and impressive growth in 2006, Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett made the decision to bring back Vince Russo as head of creative. So the Sting/Cage feud in earnest died. We never got to see them one on one. We never got to see a non Abyss/Angle included storyline. We would of gotten these two men giving it there all.
1) Raven vs. Jeff Jarrett (Part 2)
– We all remember the poorly booked Vince Russo version of this feud. It saw Jeff Jarrett and Raven squaring off for the NWA World Championship with run in after run after run in. It was a cluster fuck of stupidity but buried inside was a semi-decent match. However, it should of been more epic. More impressive.
About two years after trying for the NWA title, he finally wins it in a King of the Mountain match from champion AJ Styles. Styles himself defeated Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett and Raven would then engage in a pseudo feud through the summer of 2005, but it was mostly Raven feuding with Abyss, Sabu and Rhyno, while facing Jarrett once in a tag match. At no point did he and Jarrett have that singles match until a Border Championship Wrestling event, that saw Jarrett defeat Raven for the belt, thanks to America’s Most Wanted turning heel. Sure it happened at a house show but it go people talking. and with TNA’s biggest event ever, Bound for Glory, just around the corner, surely they were building to Raven getting the belt back at the October event; right?
Wrong. Kevin Nash came back, took Raven’s spot, and was booked to beat Jarrett for the belt until Nash had to pull out due to health reasons. Instead of putting Raven in the match, they decided on Rhino who’d go on to take the belt off of Jarrett for all of a week. So TNA pissed away it’s opportunity to make this feud truly legendary, and to this day no one explained why. Raven would spend the next five months after losing the belt feuding with Larry Zbyszko, who was trying to drive him out of the company. Jarrett would get his belt back from Rhino, and begin feuding with Christian Cage and then Sting before taking time off.
We never got the resolution to the Jarrett/Raven feud we deserved.