The Ric Says – Change: The X-Division

Welcome to another edition of The Ric Says. Today, I will be discussing the X-Division and the change in the styling of the X-Division matches. Some like it and some don’t, but this begs the question: Will there be changes to another division in TNA/ Impact Wrestling?

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The X-Division was a fantastic concept when introduced in TNA. It was a division for the high fliers of the company to showcase athleticism and to compete in some of the most memorable bouts in company history with stars such as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles to name a couple (who went on to become world heavyweight champions). The Ultimate X match, where cables above the ring form an “X” and would hold the X-Division championship in the middle of said “X”, gave us highlights and memories of a brighter time in the X-Division itself.

For some time, the division was a bit shaken in its foundation and lost much of its luster in the more recent years of the company. This was due to there being no extensive competition. Performers naturally moved on to the world title, tag team or television title scenes. A change was made last year where the holder of the X-Division championship would be able to trade in the title for a world heavyweight championship shot at an Destination X pay-per-view. Just recently, new rules were added and the concept changed again where there would be a 230lbs weight limit, all matches would be three way matches and the loser of the match (whoever is pinned) would not be able to compete in the next three way X-Division match for the gold. Mixed reactions later from the IWC, and here are my two cents:

X-DIVISION CHAMPION CAN TRADE IN FOR A SHOT AT THE WORLD TITLE AT DESTINATION X
An interesting concept to bring prestige back to the X-Division Championship. On paper it sounded great and the concept, when played out by Austin Aries, was a success. However, the natural order of things in TNA businesses would not allow the concept to stick, and we all knew it wouldn’t. This goes back to more inconsistencies of TNA management and booking.

Let’s fast forward to 2013 and remember that there will only be 4 TNA Wrestling pay-per-views this year with 2 already down (Genesis and Lockdown). Slammiversary and Bound for Glory are remaining. There will be no Destination X pay-per-view, so where does this leave the trade in stipulation? There has been no mention of this on Impact Wrestling television (and if so, please educate me as to when and I will be more than happy to admit I was wrong), so the only educated assumption is that TNA management brushed it under the carpet and quietly put it to rest. Or, being this is the inconsistency of TNA, management simply forgot about it themselves. This should have been a permanent staple, giving a secondary title and its champion a much needed boost.

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NEW 230LBS WEIGHT LIMIT AND NEW MATCH TYPE RULING
Why are the majority of fans upset about these provisions? In regards to the weight limit, doesn’t everyone remember that the X-Division started out with competitors under 230lbs to begin with? It’s only really been in recent years that heavier competitors have entered the fray. The difference between then and now is that TNA never truly made official that it was a division with a limitation in weight. And then management just decided to let anyone jump in (such as Abyss). The change in weight limitation is a good sign because it gives a talented group of competitors a place to shine without the worry of others in the world title picture stepping in. The rules of the X-Division matches are another thing altogether.

I’m happy to know that a fast paced style will remain. Three way dances with X-Division stars are sure to have great spots all over the ringside area (see the opening Lockdown 2013 match) and the “elimination” of the loser is a nice touch. The loser would have to work his way back up to earn a spot in another three way match, but that hasn’t been made clear by TNA on television (again, if I am wrong, please let me know). The winner and whoever was not pinned would move on to the next three way match with a new third competitor involved. Importance has been restored because no one will want to be eliminated in a match for gold, obviously. That’s how you build on the importance of a secondary title and the importance of the title holder, so good call on that TNA. I just wish the same trade in stipulation applied somewhere down the road on television or at a pay-per-view.

One thing that bothers me is the Ultimate X match was not mentioned or advertised as an attraction of the “new” X-Division. Has the Ultimate X match also been brushed under the carpet in favor of just three way matches? I can’t imagine it has. It’s been a staple of the X-Division since its inception, really, and TNA would take away one of the star attractions of not only the division, but the programming itself. Wrong move if they have. TNA needs as many attractions as they can intelligently manage to make TNA stand alone as a wrestling promotion.

The rules and match changes are steps towards defining what TNA’s X-Division should be and how it should be presented to new fans here and for the future. There will be tweaks here and there and mistakes are expected, but TNA needs to stick to the plan and be consistent with this for it to work and be taken seriously. The naysayers will always object to these changes, but you can’t please everyone. They are the same people who want change but complain when it comes. This is a good start and I hope this leads to more positive changes, say, in somewhere like the tag team division? We’ll save that for next time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed. Remember to check out the other articles here on TNANews.com. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and remember: “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”.

Follow me on twitter: @RealRicSantos

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  • Cody Springer

    Good read Ric. I enjoy reading your material.

    The only thing I don’t like about the new X-Division rules is the weight limit. The X-Division is supposed to be about “no limits” which it has prided itself on.

    I’m with you on the Destination-X thing, eliminating the parlaying of the titles with no explanation is just bogus. They will only bring it up when they talk Aries’ first run as World Champion.