I titled this column the way I did to communicate the value of Austin Aries to the X Division, what happens if he leaves the division, and what happens to the top tier if he joins up there. So, since there is much to discuss, let's get right to it.
Austin Aries is now the longest reigning X Division Champion in TNA history. He's charismatic, he can work his tail off and carry the division like few on the roster today. All this is stuff that is almost second string argument now since I've been saying it for so long. What most people don't realize is that he's contemplated retirement in the recent past. In his last run with TNA, he never won a title and now that he's back, he's not only won the biggest belt for his specialty, but has carried the division nearly single-handedly on his back and for longer than most currently in the division. He's on par with Jeff Hardy, Ray and Devon, and RVD in terms of age. You'd never know it, either.
If Austin Aries turns his belt in this coming week on Impact, the X Division will have to be given to someone and those in line for title shots are thin, at best. Kid Kash could do the job, but not for the long run. Zema Ion could do the job eventually, but not in his current state. The only two potentials I'm seeing have yet to compete officially in the division. Joey Ryan and Alex Silva. Ryan could do it and probably quite well, depending upon how his character plays out with the crowds. Silva is still untested, so his ability to do the job could be called into question.
TNA's main event scene is filled to the brim with very good potentials. Jeff Hardy, RVD, Bully Ray, James Storm, Bobby Roode, just to name a few. And with AJ Styles and Kurt Angle always hovering around the title scene, there are more than enough names to headline PPVs. The question is....is there room for one more? I believe the answer has to be yes. Do I believe he's ready to lead the company into the summer? I do think TNA needs a title change, even if it's only to freshen the main event and give something new to the fans from what we've been seeing for the last few months. I think it best for Bobby Roode to encounter someone who can play higher impact hardball than what he's used to seeing from his challengers. I think it'd be nice to see Bobby Roode overwhelmed for once.
Do I believe that now is the time for Austin Aries to ascend to the title of World Champion? It would be a nice change, but I don't know if those in the upper echelons are willing to give him his dues just yet. I hope I'm wrong, but I get the feeling there is still at least one more feud between him and the World Title belt. One thing is for certain, though, the Greatest Man That Ever Lived isn't going away without the chance to prove himself.