Frankie Kazarian was a mainstay in TNA/Impact from 2003 until 2014. Aside from a one-year hiatus between 2005 and 2006, Kazarian was at the forefront of the X Division, capturing the title on five different occasions.
Despite his tenure with the company, he left in 2014 when his contract expired. Kazarian was one of many longtime X Division figures that left the company during a two year period between 2013 and 2015 that included Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Chris Sabin and AJ Styles.
Speaking to Sporting News, Kazarian discussed the ups and downs in TNA that led to his eventual departure. Kazarian started by addressing the 2009 signing of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. While he didn't directly blame the duo for things going wrong, he didn't point to the company having too many cooks in the kitchen.
“There are a lot of people in wrestling who love to stand up and say that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are to blame for the demise of TNA and that is simply not true,” he said. “It was the management setup that caused so many problems in TNA. The wrestlers had no idea whatsoever who was running things. Was it [TNA President] Dixie Carter? Was it [founder and part-owner] Jeff Jarrett? Was it [writing team member] Vince Russo? Who do you go to if you have a problem? If you have this great creative idea you want to pitch, who do you go and speak to? Nobody knew and that was the big problem and everyone felt the same," he continued. "Let me ask you this, if you want something in WWE, who do you think you go and ask? It’s [Chairman] Vince McMahon. Everybody over there [WWE] knows who’s in charge and nobody knew in TNA and that caused so much confusion and unrest.”
Despite the confusion in hierarchy during that time, Kazarian continued with the company for another five years. He credits working with his best friend, Christopher Daniels, and being able to run the tag team division as a big reason why he stayed with the company.
But in 2014, with Daniels on his way out as well, Kazarian made the decision to leave when his contract expired.
“Too many guys were going and the guys they were letting go were some of the best around. AJ Styles, the best wrestler in the company, and one of the best wrestlers in the world, was allowed to leave. There was a small group of us, TNA originals, who did so much to try and take a small wrestling company and make it one of the best in the world, and I don’t think any of us ever really received the credit for it," stated Kazarian. "We were often overlooked for WWE guys looking to come in and that really got to some of the guys. My contract was coming up and I knew in my heart and in my head that I didn’t want to sign another one. I wanted to leave on good terms but then there was so much stuff about us not being able to use the Bad Influence name, so that’s pretty much how Chris and I became The Addiction.”
Kazarian officially wrestled his last match with TNA/Impact on May 5, 2014. Following his departure, he signed with Ring of Honor, where he and Daniels have continued to run the tag team scene. The duo will challenge the Briscoes this Friday for the ROH World Tag Team Titles at Death Before Dishonor.