I am sure that the majority of you reading this will be fully aware of what Option C is in regards to the X Division and World Title in TNA but for those of you that may be unfamiliar here is a brief description. “Option C is a concept in which the current X Division Champion may voluntarily vacate the championship in exchange for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at that year’s Destination X event.” So with that explained I will be looking at whether Option C is actually a good option or not.
Since its inception, in 2012, the concept has had mixed results. Kicking off with Austin Aries, the first man to cash in the option, who claimed, to then general manager Hulk Hogan, that he was no longer satisfied with “just” being X Division champion. Hogan offered Aries a world title shot but under the condition that Aries relinquish the X Division title. Aries countered that he would accept provided the X Division champion was granted the same deal every year leading into Destination X and so Option C was born.
At the time this seemed like a masterstroke of a move by TNA creative. Bobby Roode was the current TNA champion and had beaten all conceivable challengers with the likes of Sting, James Storm, Rob Van Dam, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy all having fell to Roode on PPV. By implementing Option C, TNA, in one fell swoop, created a fresh challenger for the world title and set up the opportunity to always shake up the world title picture.
At Destination X that year Austin Aries defeated Bobby Roode in an absorbing main event and thus made Option C a relevant part of the build up to Destination X. Just think of how it would have damaged Option C from the start had Aries cashed in but lost. By having Aries go over on Roode it validated the whole concept as a legitimate chance to become world champion. On that night TNA made the right call as Aries had been getting more and more popular with each passing week and fans had been clamoring to see someone dethrone Roode.
With the idea set in place it seemed logical that TNA would build the X Division and set up a similar scenario for the next year’s Destination X event. After all, the Aries situation was far more organic as fans gravitated behind Aries and he picked up momentum naturally from that.
Moving onto 2013 and things took a turn for the worse when Chris Sabin was selected as the man to choose Option C and challenge, then champion, Bully Ray. This if you remember was during the midst of the Ace’s N Eights storyline and it seemed almost inevitable that Ray would walk out of Destination X still champion. It seemed logical at the time as well, seen as Sabin had not been built nor was there an overwhelming groundswell of support from fans for him to become champion. On the night, after a relatively mediocre bout Sabin won after hitting Ray with a hammer. That’s right, a babyface who fans weren’t mad about had to cheat to beat a heel. Granted fans popped on the night as it was extremely surprising but after the initial shock had worn off Sabin went back to receiving tepid reactions. Fans just didn’t seem to accept Sabin as champion in the same way they had Aries. This was compounded when Sabin dropped the title back to Ray in his very first title defense 4 weeks later at Hardcore Justice thus rendering the Option C cash in pointless. Indeed weeks later fans had already forgot that Sabin was ever champion.
Now I don’t want to reveal what happened on this week’s Destination X as people in the UK have yet to see Impact, all I will say is if Austin Aries is in the match then you know it’s always worth tuning into watch.
So is Option C actually a good thing for TNA to utilize? On the one hand it creates intrigue leading into Destination X and creates a fresh challenger for the world title. It adds a mystique and if used properly, it can elevate a talent just like it did with Austin Aries in 2012. On the other hand it can also be negative thing for TNA. It devalues the X Division title in that it is seen as stepping stone to the world title whereas in the early years of TNA the X Division was seen as a separate entity and that winning the the X Division title was seen as the ultimate for those competing in that division. Moreover if the talent choosing the option has not been built appropriately, like Sabin for example, the whole exercise can seem pointless.
For me TNA need to stop with the Option C gimmick now. It was an innovative idea at first but ultimately it just does too much harm to the X Division for it to be continued. How often do we hear from TNA how they will be rebuilding the X Division? How can they accomplish this if the champion decides the division is beneath him? The X Division was a cornerstone of what made TNA unique and could so easily be again so if the talents competing for the title treat the belt as the ultimate goal they wanted achieve. For the sake of the X Division being taken seriously, here is to hoping TNA chooses to end Option C.
What do you think? Please comment below.
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