In Alex Barie’s TNA Talk he said, “”2013 really put the main event scene into focus. In fact, sometimes it seemed like that was the only scene.” I tweeted that statement and said, “Very true.” Alex Barie replied to my tweet saying, “I understand why they did that but just doesn’t make them ‘unique’.” This year, there was a point where the focus was taken off everything except for the heavyweight division. There were times where I’d be on my laptop and barely watching the show. It was just Bound For Glory Series matches, one after another. The more there are, the less special they become.
Everything else was taken away. I wasn’t interested in TNA as much as I used to be or am now. I was watching it out of habit. Don’t get me wrong. TNA is and always has been, in my opinion, better than WWE. It has always been more exciting and thrilling. Well, with the exception of the first few years. I can’t really say because I did not start watching TNA until 2006. I started watching WWE in 2002 or 2003. Since then, I have watched tons of wrestling. From WCW to WWF to ECW (which I never really cared much for) to TNA, I have seen it. I have actually been going back and watching the first episodes of TNA. Right now, I’m on episode #9.
But TNA, this year, had turned into Bound For Glory Series match after match and Aces and Eights. As I have mentioned, I was a fan of the Aces and Eights. I loved the idea of a biker gang coming in and invading Impact. I was a fan of when they threw darts to decide their next victim. But I am talking about the early days of the faction. I was a fan of the mystery of the faction of who they were and them coming in to take over. When they started revealing themselves, it was exciting. But in hindsight, it seems that the excitement went away with the masks. We now knew who they were. There was no Jeff Jarrett or great heel except for Bully Ray. The rest were WWE throw aways, excluding Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco. But you get the point.
The Bound For Glory Series seemed like match after match with big names facing each other. To me, it always seemed like having the participants only face each other was a mistake. They rarely faced anyone else. It is true that we got to see some of the top names face each other on free TV. But when every match is built up to be something big, it loses its excitement. It is no longer as meaningful. Things are good in does. Too much of something and it will make you go crazy. When you step away from it then come back, you will find your love for it again. This is the way it seemed with the Bound For Glory Series.
Alex Barie was completely right. TNA making the heavyweight division the only focus of their show does not make them unique. The TNA diehards (I will always consider myself one) will still watch TNA no matter what they do. But they won’t enjoy it as much. The TNA diehards know what TNA has been missing over the years. They know what TNA has been neglecting over the years. What they have been neglecting is what originally made them unique. What I am talking about is the X Division.
WCW had a cruiserweight division. Even so, I feel that TNA did a much better job of showcasing the X Division than WCW did with the cruiserweights. Then WWE had a cruisweight division. Once again, TNA beat WWE hands down. The only real cruiserweight action that was seen was on Velocity. You could argue it was seen on Smackdown at times but it was mainly Velocity. That was their show to showcase it. Still, it’s not the same. TNA showcased its X Division with stars such as Jerry Lynn, Low Ki, and AJ Styles. The X Division was something that made the fans chant for TNA over and over again. It was the most exciting thing we had seen in a long time.
The X Division was the main attraction in TNA. In my opinion, it was something that the fans looked forward to more than the World Heavyweight Championship matches. And who can blame them? The X Division always delivered high flying fast paced action. Even so, it wasn’t just about a spotfest. It had a story with AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn feuding. The X Division is what made TNA unique to the rest of the wrestling world. TNA has dropped the ball on the X Division. Let’s face it. No one else has something like it. WWE doesn’t have the cruiserweight championship anymore. Hornswoggle ruined it. WWE is all about giving the big guys the push. TNA is all about Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. In other words, you could say that the X Division is closely linked to the very definition of TNA.
TNA should be focusing on the X Division. They should be showcasing it as one of their main attractions. It would be easy to do so. Sadly, in recent years, TNA has been uninterested in doing so. They focused on the X Division in the summer. This led to the rise of Kenny King. He was the star of the X Division. Even so, there was no real story in the division. The only story was who would win the next #1 Contender’s match. It was all about triple threat matches and spotfests. They even put a camera on the referee’s head so he could catch the spotfest action up close. There was no big story behind the action.
The next way that TNA dropped the ball on the X Division is by being able to cash in the X Division Championship for the World Heavyweight Championship. This is known as Option C and has been made famous by Austin Aries. I do not see how this helps anything except makes the X Division seem even more inferior. I honestly believe that the X Division Championship should be just as important as the World Heavyweight Championship. I feel that TNA fans should be arguing about if it would be better to be X Division Champion or World Heavyweight Champion. I would love to hear fans arguing bout which division is better.
Speaking of Austin Aries, the same night that he won the X Division Championship he chose to enter into the Feast or Fired match to have a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship. Honestly, this just makes the X Division Championship looks weak. When Chris Sabin was X Division Champion, he was challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship. This shows that it is all about the World Heavyweight Championship. While the World Heavyweight Championship is important, it should not be what the whole show revolves around. It seems that no one wants to be the X Division Champion or Tag Team Champions anymore. This is a shame. To have a respectable division, we need people who actually want to be the champion. We need people who treat the championship with respect.
What TNA needs to do is make the X Division a staple of the show. They need to showcase it. This means having at least one X Division match every week. There was no X Division match or promos last week. We did not see Austin Aries or Chris Sabin. We did not see Kenny King or Manik. This is ridiculous. The least they could have done is have Austin Aries do a backstage promo. TNA is constantly playing a game of hide and seek with the X Division. If the X Division is here then gone, how can there be any rivalries? How can a true X Division Champion be built? Sure, you can call someone a champion. You can call Abyss the Television Champion. But does anyone truly care? No one will truly care about a champion until they have a memorable rivalry and have been champion for months. They need to go through wars and come out on top. Abyss has been “champion” for a long time but does it matter? The same could be said about Chris Sabin and now it looks like Austin Aries.
Kenny King was a very respectable champion. In my opinion, the summer was not about the X Division. It was all about Kenny King. I say that it was not about the X Division because there were no meaningful rivalries. We never knew who was going to be the next challenger for King. What we saw was the build of Kenny King and him now being noticed as a true star in the eyes of fans. He was the face of the X Division. Honestly, his reign as X Division Champion was cut short. But as with the X Division Championship, no one is truly the champion for long. In fact, since the championship was born on June 19, 2002, there have been 63 reigns between 29 wrestlers.
When we think of rebuilding the X Division, we question who can do it. Who should be the face of this new rebuilt X Division? I will compare this with the World Heavyweight Championship. The World Heavyweight Championship was very credible with Bully Ray as champion. Bully Ray, whether you like him or not, is polarizing. In a way, he is like Chris Jericho. He has a very strong heel character. Some people can’t stand him because of him being a heel and some people love him for it. A few years ago at a house show, a person next to me and I were the only ones in the whole place chanting for Chris Jericho. He was such a strong heel character. The World Heavyweight Championship was very credible with AJ Styles as champion. We all love Styles. No matter what Dixie Carter says, the man has been the face of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling since day one. He is the Phenomenal One. He is the one that we all tune in to TNA to see. He is one of the wrestlers that we can’t take our eyes off of. Truthfully, it does not matter who is the face of the X Division. As long as they are someone with a strong gimmick, such as Kennny King, Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe, it can work. We also need a champion who will be the champion for at least a half of a year.
Last, but definitely not least, TNA should bring back the ones who built the X Division. We cannot bring in Jerry Lynn or Low Ki. Jerry Lynn is much too old now and Low Ki has retired. If Low Ki wasn’t retired, I would love for TNA to sign him. If you fast forward a few years, there are stars that we can bring in. We can bring in Petey Williams. We can bring in Matt Bentley. We can bring in Sonjay Dutt. We can bring in Jay Lethal. We can bring in Amazing Red. We can bring in Brian Kendrick. We can bring in Paul London and Jimmy Yang. We can even bring in new names such as Ricochet and AR Fox. If you combine those names with the names of today such as Manik, Kenny King, Austin Aries, and Chris Sabin all in the X Division, you have a loaded division. I believe it is possible to have a division like this. It is just about if TNA really wants a division like this. They could easily remove people from their roster to bring in people that will build up the X Division. Who is in the division will help shape the division and can build it up again to be what truly makes TNA unqiue.
A recap of how to rebuild the X Division:
1. Showcase it. Make the X Division a part of TNA every week.
2. No more Option C. No more having X Division Champions challenging for the World Heavyweight Chammpioship. We need to have the champions respecting the title so much that they think it is the most important championship in the company. This will translate over to the fans at home.
3. Have meaningful rivalries. No more triple threat matches just for the sake of it and ridiculous gimmicks. We need to have meaningful feuds that the fans can get emotionally invested in.
4. Have a champion be someone that has a strong gimmick, such as Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, or Kenny King. Have a champion that the fans either hate or love, like TNA did with Bully Ray and AJ Styles.
5. Have that champion be the champion for at least a half a year. He needs to have a memorable run with the title and have meaningful rivalries with top contenders.
6. Bring in past X Division wrestlers. Bring in Jay Lethal, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, and Amazing Red. You can also bring in Jimmmy Yang, Alex Shelley, Matt Bentley, Greg Marascuilo, Paul London, and Brian Kendrick. If you mix the talent there with the talent that TNA now has in the X Division, it can be the most exciting division in the history of professional wrestling.