It’s been a strange rocky road for the red strap. It’s held several different names over the years before settling on becoming the “Television Title”. When the the belt was first introduced into TNA in late 2008 by Booker T it had been dubbed by Booker T himself to be the “Legends Title”. Now if you weren’t a fan of TNA at this time and you’re reading this thinking to yourself “what the hell is a legends title?”. The truth is, I don’t know, I don’t think TNA knew either. What are the stipulations of which this title was to be defended? Apparently you have to be a legend. How that was defined during this era is well unkown. Regardless the TNA “Legends Title” didn’t last long. A year after being brought into the company Eric Young rebranded the belt as the “Global Title”. Eric Young went on to state that with this being the “Global Title” that he would not defend the title on American soil. In December of 2009 Eric Young went on to make his first title defense…against a woman…in the impact zone…which is in florida…which is an American state. It kind of goes without saying that this belt didn’t really have much going for it and certainly was not taken very seriously. Eventually the belt made it’s way to a former “Legends Title” holder in the form of AJ Styles which brings us to it’s current branding of “Television Championship”.
Now throughout it’s years and different versions of the title here in TNA there have only been a total of 12 people to hold the big red belt. The title itself regardless of name never really got priority booking wise in TNA. Branding the title as the “Television Championship” however was a step in the right direction. T.V. titles can work. The T.V. title was the second tier championship in ECW and a huge stepping stone in elevating guys to the maint event. I can remember when Rob Van Dam held the ECW T.V. title for almost two years before vacating it due to injury. At this time he and his title defenses were the highlight of the show and easily eclipsed whomever was ECW world heavyweight champion at the time. Having a T.V. title worked for WCW as well they used it as a way to break up their large roaster at the time and make midcard guys seems a little more important by carrying gold. Believe it or not the T.V. title also worked in TNA…for a while.
On an episode of Impact that aired April 19th 2012 general manager Hulk Hogan announced that the TNA Television Championship from then on would be defended every single week. This was indeed exciting news. It meant that no matter what was going on with Impact at the time you were guaranteed a title defense when you tuned in on Thursday nights. This was exciting. Devon who was the champion at the time made the belt look prestigious. He was indeed a fighting champion and he brought the fight every week to all comers. The T.V. title defense became a personal highlight for me on the show. This belt was gaining a reputation in my eyes that it could only be held by the tough due to the weekly title defense. The weekly title defenses lasted until the June 21 2012 episode of Impact and then the title seemed to slip away again. It was still defended here and there but was eventually vacated by Devon whom had to give it up due to no longer being under contract with TNA (which I still don’t know for sure if that was legit or just part of the Aces & 8′s angle).
The title was eventually brought back to life in the form of Samoa Joe beating Mr. Anderson for the vacant title. Once again Joe’s title defenses weren’t weekly but they did seem to happen quite frequently. The title was once again building up a reputation for being a belt only the tough could hold and Joe was the perfect guy to do it. Samoa Joe tore right through his opponents like a sheet of paper and carried the belt with pride. It was the perfect spot for a guy who is a monster which TNA doesn’t seem to be willing to push to the main event. Joe won the title in September of 2012 then lost it to Devon who was already at the time a member of Aces & 8′s in December 2012.
Since being won once again by Devon the T.V. title has been nothing worth mentioning. It seems now to be only a prop that Devon carries around to raise the status of Aces & 8′s by having them carry more gold. I honestly can’t even remember the last time the belt was mentioned which is a total shame for something that has the potential to be so useful to the company. As I watched this past weeks episode of Impact more specifically the number one contenders tag match involving the dirty heels VS bad influence I couldn’t help but think to myself how perfect alot of those guys would be for the T.V. title. Everyone involved in that match including special referee James Storm is more than capable of carrying the main event but TNA seems unwilling to let any of them back up to that top tier. Imagine a feud between Storm and Daniels over the T.V. title? What about Roode VS Aries which is something you know will happen again in the near future so why not include a title?
The possibilities are endless as far as the T.V. title goes and I really think it could give alot of guys who just seem to be drifting a purpose. I personally would love to see Samoa Joe hold it again. He was perfect for that belt. The belt could do wonders for a guy like Magnus or Matt Morgan who need a bit more of a purpose in TNA wrestling. They both have the talent and are main event worthy but TNA just lets them float around different tiers of the roster. If this belt went back to being defended every week on Impact as well as every PPV it would no doubt be able to build up a great reputation for anyone who could hang on to it for a substantial amount of time. The T.V. title could be used as a great tool for TNA to build up future talent or just give more attention to talent that has already shown what they are capable of. It is indeed a great tool and it is a tool which TNA should be using.