TNA X Division Championship
|TNA X Division Championship|
The TNA X Division Championship belt
(July 19, 2013 – Present)
|Current champion(s)||Samoa Joe|
|Promotion||Total Nonstop Action Wrestling|
|Date established||June 19, 2002|
The TNA X Division Championship is a professional wrestling championship owned by the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion. It is primarily defended in TNA and (as per a talent exchange agreement) also in Wrestle-1 as well. It debuted on June 19, 2002 at the taping of TNA's second weekly pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Like most professional wrestling championships, the title is won as a result of a scripted match. There have been 66 reigns among 30 wrestlers. The title has previously been known as the NWA X Championship, the NWA–TNA X Championship, and the NWA–TNA X Division Championship.
The TNA X Division was established on June 19, 2002 at Total Nonstop Action's first weekly PPV event with a Six Man Tag Team match resulting in Jimmy Yang, Jorge Estrada, and Sonny Siaki—collectively known as The Flying Elvises—defeating A.J. Styles, Jerry Lynn, and Low Ki. Later that day at the taping of the next weekly PPV event, TNA introduced the X Division Championship—then known as the X Championship—to showcase the division more prominently. The division is described as wrestling reinvented, as it takes traditional wrestling and mixes it with the fast paced, high–risk style of wrestling incorporated in cruiserweight divisions and lucha libre. The division was until 2011 promoted under the motto "It is not about weight limits, it is about no limits" by commentator Mike Tenay. On the August 11, 2011, edition of TNA's primary television program, Impact Wrestling, TNA authority figure Eric Bischoff announced that from that point onwards the X Division would have a weight limit of 225 lb (102 kg). Following Hulk Hogan becoming the new on-screen General Manager in March 2012, the weight limit was ignored on June 10, 2012, at Slammiversary when the 280 lb (130 kg) Samoa Joe was allowed to challenge for the belt. On October 2012, the weight limit was officially repealed when 237 lb (108 kg) Rob Van Dam challenged for, and eventually won, the title at Bound for Glory. In March 2013, the X Division was given a new set of rules, which meant all matches were wrestled in Triple Threat format, and a new weight limit of 230 lbs. This proved to be extremely unpopular with fans, and the rules and weight limit were repealed once again in August of that year.
The Total Nonstop Action X Division has multiple styles of match types used to showcase the talent within the division and to defend the TNA X Division Championship in more marketable matches. Three of the matches used in TNA are the Ultimate X match, The Steel Asylum, and the Xscape match.
- The Ultimate X match was introduced in 2003. It involves multiple competitors racing to retrieve the X Division Championship or a giant red letter "X", which is suspended above the ring by two cables. The cables are attached to posts that stand behind the turnbuckles of the ring. These cables intertwine to form an "X" over the center of the ring. This match has become successful in TNA; it was featured in the 2008 DVD "TNA: Ultimate Matches", released by TNA Home Video.
- The Steel Asylum made its debut in May 2008 at TNA's Sacrifice PPV event, under the name "The TerrorDome". It was used once again in October 2008 at their Bound for Glory IV PPV event, under the new and current moniker "The Steel Asylum". As of July 2014, this match has only been used to determine the number one contender to the TNA X Division Championship. The layout of the match involves the ring being surrounded by a giant red steel barred cage with a domed ceiling. The only way to achieve victory is to escape the cage through a hole in the center of the ceiling.
- The Xscape match is the third specialty match primarily used in TNA. It is held annually at TNA's Lockdown PPV event in April—an all–steel cage format PPV event. The first two Xscape matches were held to determine the number one contender to the TNA X Division Championship, while, since 2007, it has been contested for the X Division Championship. The contest involves four to six participants. To win this match, two or more participants—depending on how many are involved in the encounter—must be eliminated by pinfall or submission leaving only two participants. These two men then race to see who escapes the cage first to claim victory.
The championship was created and debuted before the main event at the taping of TNA's second weekly PPV event on June 19, 2002; the event aired on June 26, 2002. Later, A.J. Styles defeated Low Ki, Jerry Lynn, and Psicosis in a Four Way Double Elimination match to be crowned the inaugural champion; this match was announced as being for the NWA X Championship on the onscreen graphic while the ring announcer stated it was for the "NWA–TNA X Championship". Afterwards, the title was renamed the NWA–TNA X Division Championship and then shortened to just the TNA X Division Championship. This is the oldest title in TNA.
Option C is a concept in which the current X Division Champion may voluntarily vacate the championship in exchange for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at that year's Destination X event. It began in June 2012 when then-champion Austin Aries said that he was not satisfied with being just the X Division Champion, which led to then-General Manager Hulk Hogan offering him a match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but only if he first vacated the X Division Championship (as Hogan didn't want the same wrestler holding both titles).
Aries agreed to Hogan's terms, on the condition that the X Division Champion be given the same opportunity in future years. Aries would then relinquish the X Division Championship. The following year, Hogan asked then-champion Chris Sabin if he wanted to vacate the championship and challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, which Sabin accepted. Below are a table of the results of those matches:
|Champion||World Champion||Destination X||Date||Result|
|1||Austin Aries||Bobby Roode||2012||July 8, 2012||Aries defeated Roode to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion|
|2||Chris Sabin||Bully Ray||2013||July 18, 2013||Sabin defeated Ray to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion|
|3||Austin Aries||Lashley||2014||June 26, 2014 (will air July 31, 2014)||Lashley defeated Aries to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship|
Unifications and outside defenses
In July 2002, the X Division Champion AJ Styles defended the title against Adam Jacobs and David Young at Ring of Honor's Crowning a Champion, the first defense outside TNA. In May 2003, before the professional wrestling promotion World Wrestling All-Stars' (WWA) foreclosure, then NWA–TNA X Division champion Chris Sabin defeated WWA International Cruiserweight Champion Jerry Lynn, Frankie Kazarian, and Johnny Swinger in a Four Corners championship unification match to unify the X Division Championship with the WWA International Cruiserweight Championship. On Winter 2004, Petey Williams defended the title in various IWA-Mid South events.
During Christopher Daniels' first reign in mid-2005, he defended the X Division Championship at several Pro Wrestling Guerrilla shows. The first defense happened at All Star Weekend - Night One on April 1 against Alex Shelley, while the second occurred at All Star Weekend – Night Two on April 2 against Chris Hero; Daniels won both encounters retaining the championship. At Jason Takes PWG on May 13, Daniels fought A.J. Styles for the X Division Championship and Styles' PWG Championship to a one-hour time-limit draw. Daniels successfully defended the X Division Title two more times in PWG; once at Guitarmageddon on June 11 against El Generico, while once at The 2nd Annual PWG Bicentennial Birthday Extravaganza - Night One on July 9 against fellow TNA wrestler Chris Sabin. In September 2005 at TNA's Unbreakable PPV event, the TNA X Division Championship was defended in the main event for the first time at a monthly PPV event; then-champion Christopher Daniels defended the championship against A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe. The title was once again defended in the main event of a monthly event at TNA's August 2007 Hard Justice PPV event, where Kurt Angle defeated Samoa Joe to win the TNA X Division and the TNA World Tag Team Championship and retain the TNA World Heavyweight and IGF's version of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. This win made Angle the only person in the history of TNA to hold every active championship at the same time; TNA World, X Division, and World Tag Team.
On March 4, 2014, The title was defended in Japan as part of Kaisen: Outbreak - a supershow event promoted by Wrestle-1 in partnership with TNA - where the title was won by Wrestle-1 star Seiya Sanada. On March 22, Sanada defended and successfully retained the title on a Wrestle-1 show.
In May 2007, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) ended their five-year partnership with TNA, which allowed the NWA to regain control over the NWA World Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships that TNA had controlled since June 2002. TNA then introduced a new TNA X Division Championship belt on the May 16, 2007 edition of TNA's online podcast TNA Today. Jeremy Borash and Management Director Jim Cornette, TNA's on-screen authority figure at the time, unveiled the new belt and awarded it to then-champion Chris Sabin. On July 19, 2013, TNA President Dixie Carter unveiled a new design for the championship.
The inaugural champion was A.J. Styles, who won the championship by defeating Low Ki, Jerry Lynn, and Psicosis in a Four Way Double Elimination match on June 19, 2002 at TNA's second weekly PPV event. At 301 days, Austin Aries' first reign holds the record for longest in the title's history. At less than one day, Eric Young's only reign, and Chris Sabin's sixth reign are the shortest in the title's history. Chris Sabin holds the record for most reigns with eight.
Austin Aries is the current champion in his fifth reign. He defeated and Seiya Sanada in a three- on June 27, 2014 in New York, NY during the Impact Wrestling tapings (airing August 7) to win the vacant title after previous champion Austin Aries voluntarily forfeited the title in exchange for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match.
- X Division
- WWA International Cruiserweight Championship
- History of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
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