TNA Needs to Decide What to Do With the X-Division

Rockstar Spud will challenge Kurt Angle for the TNA World Title next week, cashing in the X-Division Title …

TNA will air a special Destination X episode of Impact Wrestling next week, and current X-Division champion Rockstar Spud chose on this week’s episode to relinquish the X-Division Title, trading in the belt for a shot at Kurt Angle and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship next week.

I’ve never liked this gimmick, and have been critical of it in the past. I think it really devalues the X-Division Title, and TNA would be better served to keep the X- Division a separate entity on the roster. TNA should have a heavyweight division and an X-Division, and those entities should mostly be kept away from each other. It essentially gives the company two World Titles, at different weight classes. It’s worked for UFC for years.

So “Option C” in TNA, as it’s called, where a wrestler can trade-in the X-Division Title at Destination X for a shot at the World Title, I’ve never liked.

But there were some new wrinkles added here. Austin Aries announced at the end of Impact that he’s cashing in his feast or fired contract, meaning that there will actually be TWO World Title Matches next week. Spud vs. Angle will happen early in the show, before the winner defends the title against Austin Aries later in the night.

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I fear that, by cashing in the X-Division Title, more of the focus is going to come off of Spud, at a time where he’s really emerged as one of the best in the game. Spud’s an exceptional talker, one of the best, and he’s done such a tremendous job not only establishing his character, but he’s become a tremendous representative for TNA.

Spud’s look is perfect for the X-Division. He’s a different style of wrestler with a different look, and that’s what should be accentuated.

As much as Spud has established himself since moving away from EC3, I don’t think anyone believes he has a real shot at beating Angle. He’s 5-foot-4, 140 pounds. His look just isn’t “World Champion.” That said, he’s a great asset for TNA, and deserves tremendous credit for establishing himself as a wrestler after really being hidden as EC3’s lackey prior to breaking away.

I’m just not sure what the positive is of Spud cashing in the X-Division Title. Instead of elevating that belt by having some great matches with similar-sized wrestlers, which Spud can certainly do, he’s walking away from the belt to challenge Angle. I like the enthusiasm by Spud doing so, but there’s a realistic out for Spud to decline Option C.

In interviews this week publicizing TNA’s move to Wednesday nights, Spud talked about wanting to bring the prestige back to the X-Division Title. Why not use that in the story? Spud declines Option C, because he’s on a mission to establish the X-Division Title as one of the best in all of pro wrestling. There was a time where many argued the X-Division Title meant more in TNA than the World Title. The story could be that Spud wants to bring that prestige back to the belt. It’s really an easy story to tell.

Until this plays out next week, I’ll hold final judgement, but the idea of trading in a title never sat well, and I don’t like the execution here, either. I don’t think it helps the belt, or Spud, and Spud is at a point where he should be protected. He’s breaking out as a star in the X-Division.

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Quick Strikes

(1) I really liked the set for Impact. The tall screens on the side and the main screen at the entrance. It’s just a cool set, and the production team was doing a nice job shooting the talent straight in front of the stage from a lower position, really showcasing the height of that set.

(2) The Pope did a great job on color commentary. He’s a good talker but has a different voice. He also brings legitimacy there.

(3) I wonder if TNA is doing something with Josh Matthews and Spud. Matthews really seemed to fart on Spud quite a bit in this show, more than once saying he has no chance to win the World Title, and that he can’t represent TNA at dinners or other sporting events. It was just strange commentary, and I wonder where it’s leading.

Match Results

(1) Bobby Lashley def. Eric Young

(2) Brooke def. Jade

(3) Drew Galloway, Mica, Eli Drake def. MVP, Kenny King & Low Ki

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(4) The Dirty Heels def. The Wolves (Wolves lead best-of-5 series, 2-1)

(5) Rockstar Spud & Kurt Angle def. EC3 & Tyrus

The Finish

There were definite contrasts between TNA and ROH. TNA had more in-ring promos and backstage segments. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad show. I still think TNA has been producing good television, and next week’s show seems like it should be even bigger. ROH should use some of the same things that TNA does when promoting the show as a weekly episodic program.

Last week’s episode was great, but this show felt more like a build-up to next week’s program. That’s not a bad thing, all shows need breathers once in a while, and this was a good one, establishing some big things to come for TNA.