5 times a contracted wrestler appeared for a rival wrestling company

Did TNA become GFW?
Did TNA become GFW?
David Cullen

So, it seems pretty straight forward, right? You work for WWE, so you should only appear on WWE programming. You work for Impact Wrestling, so you should only appear on Impact programming. You worked for WCW and ECW, so you should have only ever appeared while under contract, on their programming. Well, not in these cases.

It has never been unusual for a wrestler to appear on two different wrestling shows for two different wrestling organizations, but that is only if there was a previous working relationship. WCW had working relationships with various companies in Japan in the '90s, as well as Impact Wrestling and Japan in the late 2000's. We have also seen wrestlers appear for different companies because they were under an independent contractors agreement and like various wrestlers in TNA and Ring of Honor at the same time in the mid-2000s.

Now I will be taking a look at wrestlers who appeared for another company while being under contract to a full-time deal that locks them down to just one promotion. Through legal wrangling, supposed expired contracts and deals made between companies, here are five times a contracted wrestler appeared for a rival wrestling promotion.

#5 Ric Flair Gets His Second Hall of Fame Induction - 2012

An important honor
An important honor

When Ric Flair 'retired' from wrestling in 2008, he very quickly found the itch to get back in the ring. His attempts to convince WWE management in early 2009 proved unsuccessful and he would instead return to in-ring competition in a series of matches with Hulk Hogan. These matches occurred during a tour of Australia for Hogan's failed to get off the ground independent touring promotion, HULKAMANIA.

This new business relationship with Hogan would bring 'The Nature Boy' to TNA Impact Wrestling in 2010 as a manager and occasional wrestler. Two years later, in 2012, it was decided that the legendary Four Horsemen faction should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, WWE were presented which a big issue right away, which was Flair was under a multi-year contract with TNA.

WWE would then hold secret meetings with TNA to try to get them to allow Flair to accept his second HOF induction, which he did. Flair would appear on stage with the rest of the Horsemen to accept the honor. During his speech, fans chanted ''Please come back'', to which the TNA star replied ''I want to''.

#4 Christian Cage Appears At Slammiversary - 2012

An instantly classic moment
An instantly classic moment

As mentioned in the aforementioned entry, then TNA star Ric Flair was allowed to accept his second WWE Hall of Fame induction by way of WWE and TNA coming to a secret agreement.

It took almost three months, but in July 2012, TNA's portion of the agreement was finally revealed. In a surprising move, WWE allowed the then reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion Christian to appear at the Slammiversary pay-per-view to reveal what was voted as the all-time greatest moment in TNA history. Christian, of course, had previously wrestled for TNA from 2005 - 2008 as Christian Cage, where he was a bonafide main event player and two time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

The really interesting thing to come out of all this was revealed by Bruce Prichard on an episode of his 'Something To Wrestle With' podcast. Prichard claimed that when negotiating an appearance, he was told they could ask for anyone to show up at Slammiversary, with the exception of The Rock and John Cena. Which means TNA could have at least tried (but probably unsuccessful) to ask for the likes of The Undertaker, or Triple H, or another huge name to make an appearance.

Prichard would then claim that Dixie Carter chose it to be Christian because of his history with TNA, as well as because she enjoyed talking to him about cats.

#3 Rob Van Dam Appears on Monday Night RAW - 2019

Mr. Every Night
Mr. Every Night

After a five year absence of wrestling for an active wrestling company on television, the legendary Rob Van Dam returned to Impact Wrestling earlier this year.

RVD would officially announce on April 3 of this year that he had signed a short-term contract to return to the company, and would see him perform for them up until at least the Bound For Glory event this coming October. So despite being under contract, RVD would surprisingly (although barely leaked out) make an appearance on the recent WWE RAW reunion special.

The special episode of WWE RAW saw legends of the past return for the evening. While the majority of them had been announced by WWE beforehand, RVD's appearance wasn't. RVD appeared ringside during Rey Mysterio's match with Sami Zayn, and along with other legends, blocked Zayn's attempted exit from the match.

It was later reported that RVD was allowed to make the appearance with the Impact office's approval. While nothing has happened as of this writing, it will be interesting to see of impact made a deal over the appearance, similar to that of Ric Flair and Christian in 2012.

#2 Hernandez Returns To TNA

Heavily edited
Heavily edited

Hernandez had a moderately successful run with TNA during the late 2000s, as apart of the original LAX stable.

Then-TNA President Dixie Carter, and other higher ups, saw potential in Hernandez as a big singles star, so the group disbanded in 2009. After a brief pursuit of the World title, Hernandez found himself back in various tag teams for the remainder of his run until his release in 2014. Hernandez would make a surprising return to TNA in June 2015. He returned to aid MVP, joining his faction The Beat Down Clan. Hernandez returned at the beginning of a new set of tapings, and filmed a months worth of matches and storylines.

TNA was then presented with a major issue as Lucha Underground notified them that Hernandez never received his release from the company. Following a short legal dispute between TNA and Lucha Underground regarding Hernandez's contract, he was released from the company, and the Beat Down Clan was pulled from television.

TNA was forced to remove all of the taped matches and segments with Hernandez over the next months worth of Impact episodes and replace them with matches from the recent Slammiversary pay-per-view.

#1 Jeff Jarrett Returns To Impact Wrestling

Not sure if TNA or GFW.... Both?
Not sure if TNA or GFW.... Both?

Jeff Jarrett is the founder of TNA Impact Wrestling, which makes his headline on this entry all the more crazy.

Despite being the reason Impact Wrestling exists, the founder of the company Jeff Jarrett had a surprising exit from his own company in late 2013. While Jarrett remained an investor in TNA, he formed another new company in 2014, Global Force Wrestling. Come June 2015, when it seemed like Jarrett couldn't be further away from TNA, he made a shocking return to the company.

On the same crazy Impact episode as the aforementioned Hernandez return, as well as the return of Matt Morgan and a match from Big Van Vader, Jeff Jarrett (along with wife Karen) would also return on this night. It was revealed that Jarrett had given up his remaining stock in the company, and was to also be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. Jarrett and Dixie Carter also came up with a cross-promotion between TNA and GFW. This would see Jarrett compete at Slammiversary and win the KOTM Championship, and then began a GFW invasion angle which ran from July until September, when Team TNA beat Team GFW in a winner take all Lethal Lockdown match.

Can you think of any others? Head to the comments and let us know!

Edited by Kevin C. Sullivan


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