Because TNA built some of the best stories in the company around it and because it has waxed and waned in emphasis to accommodate influx from all over the board, I feel absolutely compelled to write about the X Division. I'll give TNA some credit on a great many things, but few things more than the renewed importance of the X Division since the introduction of "Option C". Austin Aries made a HUGE statement for TNA as a company, but also for himself as a performer, making him a marquis player on TNA's main stage. A couple of things have changed since that day, which is the subject of this column.
Before I launch into the subject of change, I'd like to make a little bit of a comparison of history, if I may.....think back to WWF on January 4, 1999. Two rivaling factions were feuding during that time....D-X and The Corporation. The Corporation had their champion in The Rock who would face off against a D-X-backed Mankind. In a match where both factions were present at ringside and interference was present as well, the heel Corporation faction was held at bay by the smaller D-X stable, at the time, who backed an outsider to the faction feud on center stage.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago to another faction feud.....The Aces and Eights and the smaller Main Event Mafia, who backed an outsider to the center stage feud....Chris Sabin. In like fashion, Sabin won the day, thanks in no small part to the MEM. His main event moment in the sun, to me, was a tribute to days gone by in wrestling history. Critics will call it a rehash, but I don't entirely agree. I have hope that his legacy won't be tarnished with the notion that he was simply a transitional champion, because his contributions to TNA simply don't conform to that description, at least to my mind. Which brings me to the changes......
Bully Ray once again at the helm of the World Title scene leads me to believe in the eventual return of AJ Styles to his rightful place in the main event at Bound for Glory. Tough as it may be to believe, Bully Ray's regaining of the World Title actually has me doubting my own prediction of Magnus being added to the main event. Why? My reasons are two-fold....
1. Magnus' story must be about the chase for the time being if he is going to be accepted into the title picture as a legitimate threat. We've seen it with a great many TNA mainstays; Bobby Roode being my favorite example. He chased after the title only to lose on the big stage and then used the momentum gained there to return to a much stronger heel character to win the belt and begin his own legacy. I predict a heel turn in his rise to the top of the card, where he'll actually make a very convincing champion.
2. AJ Styles is a fan favorite and TNA's very first homegrown talent to hold a prominent place no matter where he is on the card. Fans WANT him to win the whole thing and to represent the company as the face champion I believe he'll return to. If Magnus wins the BFG Series, it may lessen the limelight that TNA will want to put squarely upon one competitor at their premier spectacle PPV.
To end, I'd like to give props to the designer of the new X Division Title. It looks sleek and clean, without unnecessary frills or bling. It's a classy reintroduction of a belt that now matches the color of the brand, blue. In like manner, the rules introduced by Hulk Hogan made for an interesting diversion from the normal way of doing things, but as things sometimes do, they change.....people will talk and in true TNA style, Dixie Carter listened to the fans and removed the Triple Threat rules stipulation surrounding every X Division Title match in attempts to make the matches even more storyline driven.