When first introduced in 2002, TNA was a new radical company which saw the over-the-top nature of the X-Division put in on the map. In fact with the likes of Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy coming to the company because of appreciation for that league, it was starting to become a powerful new alternative to the mighty WWE. We thought that the WWE would have major competition in the wrestling industry once again. But what changed?
Now I’m sure a lot of wrestling fans will cite Hulk Hogan’s arrival in 2010 to the company as the turning point for things in TNA going sour. But even before that, TNA was losing the seriousness about them. They could have signed all the old WWE guys all they wanted and that wouldn’t have even been the issue. The problem that caused TNA to lose its claim as a serious competitor to WWE was losing site of the factor that brought them to the dance – the X-Division.
I mean back in the day, TNA was all about the X-Division. They’d have 20+ man, YES 20+; battle royals for the X-Division Title on a regular basis. A title that was supposed to be lower than the NWA World Title in hierarchy was surpassing it in being the most important title in the company. Why? Because that was the image of the company. Wrestlers from around the world like LA Parka, Juventud Guerrera and even Japanese legend Jushin Liger were calling up TNA wanting to tangle with these stars that were all about high-flying and depth-defying action.
They took that division so seriously that everyone tuned in just to see these X-Division guys in action. That’s what the company was supposed to be based on. Instead, the company for some reason took the same route that the old WCW had taken in an attempt to gain popularity – the focus on star power.
When Kurt Angle was brought into the company, that opened up a media floodgate for TNA. Fans of WWE were tuning into this radical company called TNA to see Kurt Angle. I mean along with these hardcore TNA fans that been watching the company grow comes these new fans wanting to see the likes of Kurt Angle, Christian Cage and Sting. Now I’m not saying that it was wrong for TNA to hype up Kurt Angle when he arrived. You promote your new stars – when you need to.
Too much exposure on Angle after he won the TNA Championship caused a major flux of interest from the X-Division to the stars. The division was still really good at this point, but it wasn’t getting that attention because of Kurt Angle. The likes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe left the division permanently in pursuit of the big title. And why? Both guys suffered because they weren’t getting anywhere out of the division and without a World title feud. Yet, if TNA just, in these situations, shoved the likes of Joe and AJ back into the X-Division, the division and themselves would have benefited.
And right now, the big stars of the X-Division have moved away from that division in pursuit of others titles other than Chris Sabin and Austin Aries. Now these two being in the division and feuding for the title is awesome. But the division can’t be just them two trading the belt back in forth. What exactly is the matter with throwing Daniels, Kazarian and Kenny King back in there? What is the matter with replacing these big stars that they’ve just lost with young up-and-coming X-Division wrestlers that are going to put on a show.
That division still has the potential to take the company to new heights. If Dixie Carter and the TNA Owners simply dropped their philosophy of focusing on the stars we could have a financially fine company with the X-Division being the highlight. I’m sure many old X-Division stars and independent stars would jump at the chance to join the X-Division if given the chance.
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