Gadget changes are a necessary part of the wrestling world for talents to evolve and find greater success. Impact wrestling was specifically known for being a blank canvas for wrestlers to reinvent their careers and find their next chapter. Many wrestlers have shown the best examples of this by saving their futures with a gimmick change.
The stories feature wrestlers struggling in TNA and in need of a change or coming from another promotion with a desire to shake things up. A constant for all the names in question is that they had a huge progression after taking a risk. Impact saw subsequent wrestling careers saved by gimmicky changes.
A former WWE talent coming to Impact Wrestling after a disappointing run can easily turn his career around for the better. EC3 created the blueprint for this career resurrection by joining TNA and leaving his Derrick Bateman persona in the past.
TNA allowed EC3 to rebrand themselves with a completely new name and identity that saved their career. EC3 played Dixie Carter’s heel nephew using his wealth and power to his advantage. Returning to WWE for a failed run and now the embarrassing Control Your Narrative project makes it easy to forget his success in TNA.
9 Booker T joins the Main Event Mafia
Booker T’s TNA run doesn’t speak loud enough about the seriousness of the situation, as a gimmick change saved her. The Main Event mafia formed with Kurt Angle and Sting as the leaders saw fellow former world champions Booker, Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash join them.
TNA saw Booker go completely from an underwhelming free agent signing to a huge part of a hot act. The Main Event Mafia using elements of reality to tell a story fans wanted to see coincided with Booker stepping up his character work.
Allie aka The Bunny is currently on the AEW roster, but her biggest success came in Impact Wrestling. The standout script to introduce Allie featured Maria Kanellis as an evil authority figure hiring an assistant to lead.
A previous indie wrestling run as Cherry Bomb saw Allie play a heel while waiting for her big break. Impact gave her a whole new gimmick and a name that worked perfectly as an underdog assistant. The chemistry between Allie and Maria has created a new star who is progressing through the Knockouts division.
seven Bully Ray
Team 3D aka the Dudley Boyz seemed to be at the end of the road after another great run in TNA. Bubba Ray and D-Von thrived in every promotion they worked for, but the act was starting to get old after accomplishing everything possible.
TNA took the huge risk of having them part ways with Bubba turning heel and adopting Bully Ray’s new gimmick. Unlike WWE’s failure with the split from the Dudley Boyz, Bully’s character change saved and extended his career for many years.
6 Crazy Steve in Decay
TNA featured Crazzy Steve as part of The Menagerie faction since his clown appearance fits well into that group. The Menagerie ultimately failed and saw all of the wrestlers trying to find new paths to success before TNA went their separate ways.
Crazzy Steve lucked out with the best change of those names when he joined a much better group. Decay found success in the tag division with Crazzy Steve joining Abyss and Rosemary to form an entertaining trio. Their feud with the Broken Hardy Boyz provided some of the Impact’s finest moments of the era.
5 Matt Hardy broken
TNA signing Matt Hardy has had many ups and downs throughout his tenure. Matt having personal issues that were part of his wrestling career caused him to walk away from the business and come back with more passion.
One of the greatest examples of Matt’s passion and creativity was channeled into his move to the Broken gimmick. Many fans considered Matt to be over the hill and not as valuable as his brother Jeff until the character of Broken and Broken Universe became a smash hit for Impact Wrestling.
4 Paranoid Eric Young
The disbandment of Team Canada put the members in a difficult position, all trying to find new identities and fend for themselves. Eric Young felt like a strange man since Petey Williams and Bobby Roode each received pushes after the split.
TNA found a fun way to keep Young involved and show a radically new side of himself. EY was already starting to show a paranoid side, but the face twist allowed him to have some fun with the audience. Fans supported Young’s “Don’t Fire Eric” movement and helped him re-establish himself as a comedian for many years to come.
3 beer money
Bobby Roode received a push after Team Canada ended, but it just didn’t work. James Storm was in the same boat with his singles run running out after the end of America’s Most Wanted with Chris Harris. TNA decided to solve the similar problems of Storm and Roode by bringing them together.
Beer Money allowed them to change their gimmicks without completely sacrificing prior identities. Storm’s love of beer and Roode’s love of money influenced the tag team. TNA witnessed instant success for Beer Money who quickly rose to prominence and became arguably the greatest team in company history.
2 MVP forming the Beat Down clan
No one could have realistically predicted that MVP would become a great manager until he made this change in TNA. MVP turned heel from his position as an authority figure and formed the Beat Down Clan faction with names like Bobby Lashley, Samoa Joe, Low Ki and Kenny King joining him.
TNA was still using MVP in the ring, but he also became a personality cutting promos for his talent. MVP becoming Lashley’s manager was TNA’s missing piece to help him reach new heights. WWE hiring MVP for a producer role saw the same story unfold for Lashley to finally reach the main event stage there.
1 black machismo
The TNA X-Division stars of the 2000s had three ways to move up the card, stay in the division, or fall out of favor to lose their spot. Jay Lethal was having a hard time getting TV time and getting a role until he started playing the character of Black Machismo.
Most parody gimmicks don’t work in wrestling, but Lethal’s impression of Randy Savage was perhaps the most successful. Several X-Divisions stars like Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt were released over the next few years. Lethal finding a gadget to overcome saved him from breaking out in TNA in the most unlikely way.
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