13 Wrestlers Who Were Better In NJPW Than They Were In TNA

Sometimes people just fit in more in Japan than they do at the Impact Zone.

Okato Okada

While New Japan Pro Wrestling is expanding into the United States, and has enjoyed a strong bond with Ring Of Honor, people often forget that NJPW actually had a working relationship with TNA Impact, leading to a lot of talent exchanges between the two companies and even some TNA talents like Jeff Hardy defending the top title at Japan's Tokyo Dome.

Most logically thinking wrestling fans would believe that this would be a mutually beneficial relationship, with a few NJPW talents winning major titles and always being taken seriously, but TNA has always had trouble operating logically. The case usually was that no matter who was lent to TNA, be they a minor player, or their next top prospect, they would always suffer in the Impact Zone.

Even wrestlers not on excursion seemed to always find greater success when they signed with NJPW and began working in Korakuen Hall, some either being foreign talent, or Japanese wrestlers who worked for other promotions like NOAH, All Japan Pro Wrestling, or Wrestle-1.

Whether they trained in the Young Lion Dojo or in the United States, whether they were in TNA for years or just a few nights, the fact remains that these 13 wrestlers all experienced great success in NJPW, and wrote a chapter in TNA that many fans would rather forget.

13. Doc Gallows

Okato Okada

The Director of Chaos never seemed to click anywhere but NJPW.

His WWE time never got off the ground. Fake Kane was terrible. Festus may have weathered the tides, and his run with the Straight Edge Society was okay, but Gallows always felt expendable. Even after coming back to WWE as a hotly sought-after free agent, he and good-brother Karl got lost in the shuffle, failing to revitalize the tag team division as WWE instead gave all their attention to the Usos and The New Day.

Similarly, Doc couldn't feel like anything more than an extra when he was in TNA, just another face in the bloated Aces & Eights faction. Once he made the switch to NJPW, he and Machine Gun Karl Anderson helped bolster the ranks of the Bullet Club, making them a consistent threat to the IWGP heavyweight Tag Team titles. He would shine not only in the Bullet Club, but in a hotly competitive NJPW tag team scene, having great matches with TenCozy, Great Bash Heel, and even MeiYu Tag, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Tag belts three times.

He even accomplished one of the hardest things for any NJPW wrestlers to do and actually made World Tag League fun to watch.

His run in NJPW was so good that WWE opened up their checkbook just to lock him down again.


A former NCAA runner turned writer, and an ardent aficionado of all things academic, aesthetic and athletic.