by Daniel Johnson
If TNA has made one great contribution to the world of professional wrestling it is the X division. At its best the division is a showcase of some of the best high flying and innovative action on mainstream American television since the fall of WCW. The slogan, “It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits,” bellowed loud and true with the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels representing the division. If the peak of the X division could be restricted to one bout, the match this trio had at TNA Unbreakable 2005 is the primary suspect. Yet, in TNA’s 12 year history the X division has had plenty of worthwhile moments years after this, including some occurring at true low points in the company. The TNA X Division Championship has had some great matches fought over it, but they have not all been classics. Further troublesome is the deadly mixture of performers phoning it in and storylines based on absolute drivel. Deadly may sound like too exaggerated a word to describe the effect a wrestling show can have on it’s audience, but if you think that then you probably missed the Hulk Hogan era of the company. At it’s worst the X division has been more of an Xtra division, where no one seems to care about the talent whether it be the TNA office or the fans. This list is about TNA X Division Champions it would be best to just erase from our memories.
5. Robbie E
People can criticize Robbie E for his Jersey Shore inspired gimmick, but fans who have known him since he was just plain Rob Eckos in Pro Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW) cannot deny one thing: Rob loves wrestling. For recent proof of that look no further to his complete loyalty to TNA. At a time when rumors of TNA going belly up were at their greatest Robbie signed a multi-year deal. This is really saying something because if some other rumors of how much TNA pay their talent are true, well actually that’s just sad. In fact, not only did Robbie sign a new five figure contact (if he’s lucky) he then posed for a picture with John Gaburick who I’m not saying looks like a registered sex offender, but I wouldn’t leave him alone with a child. To summarize Robbie loves wrestling and is a loyal guy. These may be some good reasons towards why he keeps having runs with gold in TNA. Why so many of them keep sucking is up for debate. This reign in 2010 was sandwiched between Jay Lethal runs and lasted only four matches.
Syxx-Pac’s reign came in the early days of the company when it was still called NWA TNA. In the early 2000s Syxx-Pac’s passion for pro wrestling was at its nadir. This was unfortunate to see from the same man who wrestled as 1-2-3 Kid and had an awesome match for the WWF Championship with Bret Hart. Like Robbie E, Syxx-Pac’s reign did not last long and consisted of three matches. Actually, the matches were not that bad as AJ Styles pulled some decent stuff out of the uninspired Sean Waltman. However, if you’re looking to see the goods X-Pac, or whatever you want to call him, has to offer then go back and watch his 1-2-3 Kid stuff. Or his Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) stuff. Or even his stuff during the WWF InVasion when fans were shouting at him to get off of their television screens. Any of those would present the man in a better light than this. It’s not on par with his porn career, but a murder is not as bad as a genocide either.
3. Johnny Devine
Does anyone even remember Johnny Devine’s run with the title? Does anyone even remember Johnny Devine? Devine is another guy who obviously loves the pro wrestling industry so it wouldn’t be fair just to crap on him. Devine has been wrestling since 1997 and he’s still at it. Heck, he even popped up for a match at TNA One Night Stand: Ten Reunion last year. Still, at 40 years-old the man’s career has realistically peaked, but let’s say the peak came due to his working his butt off on Canada’s independent scene. His peak can’t be his run with the TNA X Division Championship, it simply can’t. Devine’s reign spanned two months and lasted 20 days at a point when the X division was featured fairly well. The highlight of the reign came at TNA Against All Odds 2008 when Devine somehow lost it in a tag team street fight. The booking may have been impossible to follow (thank you very much, Vince Russo), but the match itself delivered. It is a shame TNA didn’t come through for Devine the same way he came through for them. Devine was never promoted much by TNA and was gone by the end of the year. Maybe if they fill their roster back up, they should hire him back full-time. At least for giggles.
2. Kurt Angle
The idea of putting all of a company’s titles on one person at the same time seems interesting. At least if you’re a pre-teen playing EWR. Only when you see it actually done by a major company do you appreciate how ridiculous it really is. In 2007 someone came into the TNA writer’s office with a big bag of ecstasy right before Kurt Angle was scheduled to meet with the staff to talk about his future. Even more devastating then the orgy that followed was Angle capturing all of TNA’s championships. Heck, Angle was was even winning titles in more confusing situations than what Vince Russo could book. Case in point, Angle wrestled Brock Lesnar in the Inoki Genome Federation and won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (IGF Version). Puroresu fans know of course IWGP belts represent NJPW. It’s really best not to think about. Anyway, as can be expected with such a ridiculous setup all of the titles (except maybe the TNA World Heavyweight Championship) suffered as a result of being downplayed in favor of emphasizing Angle. At least Jay Lethal got a little shove in the right direction when he upset Angle to take the TNA X Division Championship off of him.
1. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam was way, way beyond the TNA X Division Championship when he was given it. Worse than this offense is that when RVD won the belt from Zema Ion at TNA Bound for Glory 2012, it killed Zema’s momentum. Ion has still not fully recovered today. His run was fairly long, but forgettable. He even managed to drag down Joey Ryan in one of Ryan’s few shots at a pay-per-view match at TNA Turning Point 2012. When RVD gives a damn (pun fully intended) about putting on a great match he can be highly entertaining especially in the days of ECW. But ECW had been closed for over 10 years at this point. RVD was at his, “I’m just going to do my taunt and hope the fans are so wrapped up in nostalgia they won’t notice I’m giving them garbage” worst. Aside from the younger talent, RVD did no favors for Christian York who had an interesting story as the journeyman who never made it to the big leagues finally making it. RVD squashed him in under six minutes. Kenny King defeated RVD for the title and thankfully did not get any of RVD’s stink on him. King’s run featured exactly zero more matches with RVD. RVD returned to WWE about four months later where he got a sweet video package and put in a worthy effort at WWE Money in the Bank 2013. The disparity between how crap RVD looked in TNA compared to how capable he appeared in WWE made TNA look bush league. The RVD run was not only bad as it unfolded, but hurt the image of the division and its talent.
Photos 1-6: en.wikipedia.org
Categories: Wrestling Lists