As a follow on from my previous list of WWE Grand Slam/Triple Crown Winners, here is a gallery of all (TNA) Impact Wrestling Grand Slam & Triple Crown Champions in the promotion’s history. Yes, this will include NWA & TNA Championships, as they count towards the accolades too. There are also some subtle differences between the way Impact records Triple Crowns and Grand Slams compared to WWE, which I shall explain now:
- In WWE, there is a past & present-day version of the Grand Slam. Impact does not have this distinction, because they didn’t have a brand extension and change their format too drastically.
- The biggest difference is TNA/Impact allows their wrestlers to win the Grand Slam/Triple Crown more than once! This is cool, and I’ll detail how it works under the entry for the most decorated TNA/Impact wrestler of all time. Can you guess who it is without looking?
- The way Impact has their championships set up at the moment, it is impossible for any wrestlers to earn the Grand Slam. Also, unlike WWE, there is no way the Knockouts or tag teams can become Triple Crown Winners.
I list the champions in the order of when they “first” claimed their biggest feat. Naturally, Grand Slams take precedence over Triple Crowns.
Kurt Angle – 2nd Triple Crown
We do not begin with the first Triple Crown winner, because they won the first Grand Slam after this. Wrestling’s only Olympic Gold Medalist is one of only three men to earn the Triple Crown, who did not claim a Grand Slam. How so? Because they did not find the time to win a tertiary title. Kurt Angle still made history though…fives times in the same night!
- Upon winning the X-Division and Tag Team titles by himself (from Samoa Joe) in August 2007, he became the only man to earn the Triple Crown by claiming two titles simultaneously.
- He became the first to earn the Triple Crown by winning the World Championship before his others.
- Angle still holds the record for the fastest Triple Crown in history: 92 days! It’s real… it’s damn real!
- Not only is he the first to hold all of TNA’s Championships, but he was also the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Five titles gotta’ be heavy!
- As of this writing, Kurt Angle remains the only WWE & TNA/Impact Triple Crown Champion. Crazy if you think about it.
AJ Styles – 1st Grand Slam & Triple Crown (x5 Winner)
There’s a reason AJ is the Phenomenal One. Not only is he the first-ever Grand Slam (won the Legends title in March 2009), but also the first Triple Crown (finished with the NWA title in 2003). Then he carried on and did it again… four times! What a monster. It is safe to say this extraordinary achievement will never be replicated.
I looked in to the way Impact records multiple Grand Slam’s/Triple Crown’s. Apparently, there is no need to do this in order. For example, a wrestler can win several X-Division titles and they’ll count towards Slams/Crowns, if they were to win more World & Tag Team titles later. I originally assumed wrestlers had to do a full rotation, but this isn’t how it works. Even if it were? I calculated that AJ would be a one-time Grand Slam & four-time Triple Crown; which I’ll show below.
Styles is already a six-time Tag Team & X-Division Champion… so winning the Impact World title would give him his sixth Triple Crown. If Impact introduced a new tertiary title and AJ won it three times? He would be a five-time Grand Slam! But it’s unlikely we’ll ever see his return, other than to be inducted in to the Hall of Fame.
As seen below, AJ would still be a Grand Slam and four-time Triple Crown IF he had to earn the championships in the right order:
- X-Division – June 19, 2002
- NWA Tag Team (w/ Jerry Lynn) – July 3, 2002
- NWA World – June 11, 2003 *1st Triple Crown*
- NWA Tag Team (w/ Abyss) – February 4, 2004
- NWA World – April 21, 2004
- X-Division – June 9, 2004 *2nd Triple Crown*
- NWA World – May 15, 2005
- X-Division – June 16, 2005
- NWA Tag Team (w/ Christopher Daniels) – June 18, 2006 *3rd Triple Crown*
- NWA Tag Team (w/ Christopher Daniels) – September 24, 2006
- X-Division – October 24, 2006
- Legends Championship – March 15, 2009 *Grand Slam*
- TNA World – September 20, 2009 *4th Triple Crown*
In reality, Impact Wrestling has AJ earning his 5th Triple Crown when he won his last World Championship in October 2013 (before he left for New Japan). He got his second Grand Slam after taking the renamed Legends title (to Global) in July 2010 from Booker T. And the funny thing is? He has still yet to earn a Triple Crown in WWE… but we all know it’s a matter of time. Styles is the ultimate belt collecting machine.
Abyss – 2nd Grand Slam, 4th Triple Crown
AJ was the elephant in the room, so it will get easier from hereon in. Speaking of large creatures, Abyss is the largest man on this list of incredible wrestlers. It took him a while! Over seven years separates his tag team victory with AJ in 2004, to the X-Division win to seal the deal.
In 2011, TNA was being dominated by the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff regime. They hated the X-Division so much, they initially placed a weight restriction on it in 2010, making it more of a cruiserweight division… god knows why. A year later, they did away with the weight limit to allow monsters like Abyss to bury the division so hard, they might as well have thrown the title in the trash. This is how Abyss became a Grand Slam & Triple Crown Winner, by not only taking out a credible champ like Kazarian, but by being the first man to earn both accolades in the same match.
Samoa Joe – 3rd Grand Slam, 3rd Triple Crown
All good things come in threes? If that’s the case, Samoa Joe had the best time of anyone. He had a great run though, culminating with arguably the biggest win of his career. Defeating Kurt Angle for the TNA title in a steel cage at Lockdown 2008, is likely his proudest achievement. He became the second TNA Original to earn the Triple Crown, behind AJ Styles. After 180 days as the #1 guy, he lost the title to Sting and his career has never reached the same heights again.
No matter what he did, Joe just couldn’t find his way back to the top. He floundered around in the mid-card for the rest of his career. Although in 2012, he was given a consolation prize. Because of a contract dispute, Devon vacated the now renamed (previously Legends/Global) Television Championship. Samoa Joe took over by beating Mr. Anderson, but would soon lose it to Devon two months later. Little did we know, it would be his last championship run in TNA, before departing for WWE to become a two-time NXT, United States Champion.
Chris Sabin – 6th Triple Crown
Hail Sabin! — Remember when TNA pushed him to the World title?? I think if there were any issues, it was because Sabin had been an X-Division and Tag Team wrestler for so long. It was hard to believe he could beat Bully Ray for the World Championship and be the top draw. At Destination X 2013, Sabin used “Option C” (created by Austin Aries a year earlier) to vacate the X-Division title and earn a shot at the biggest prize. His gamble paid off spectacularly, but for whatever reason… his big push didn’t remain last.
Literally one month later, Sabin lost it back to Bully Ray at Hardcore Justice. Only Pentagon Jr and James Storm have held the World title for a shorter time than him. If Impact were to bring back a tertiary title? That is all Sabin would need to complete his Grand Slam. Til then, I’m sure the fans won’t mind him and Alex Shelley working hard as the Motor City Machine Guns.
Eric Young – 4th Grand Slam, 7th Triple Crown
The “World Class Maniac” is the current Impact World Champion, but he didn’t need it to earn these accolades. He already had them! Back in 2014, around the time when Daniel Bryan was shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” on the way to his WWE Championship win at WrestleMania XXX, Impact suddenly moved on from Magnus and handed the World title over to bushy bearded Eric Young. It was a controversial move, not only because EY had been a comedy character for so long, but because it appeared to copy what WWE was doing.
Upon defeating Magnus in 2014, Eric Young became the only wrestler (as of this writing) to win his first Grand Slam & Triple Crown simultaneously, by becoming the TNA/Impact World Champion.
There is no doubting that Young deserved this. He had put in the time and earned his right to be called the World Champ. But it was more about the way Impact went about it that turned heads. No one was blaming Young, it was more about how management handled things. Six years on, Eric is an entirely different character after being underutilized in WWE. Young has a point to prove… he wants to be taken seriously. He wants to show the world he’s not a jobber and was always World Championship material.
Eddie Edwards – 8th Triple Crown (x2 Winner)
Aside from AJ Styles, Eddie Edwards is the only man to have earned the Triple Crown more than once. He has done this mainly because of his five tag team reigns with Davey Richards as one-half of The Wolves. Eddie set himself up by having five tag titles, along with two short runs with the X-Division Championship. So if he wanted to earn more Triple Crowns? He would need to return to the X-Division, and pick up the World title again.
Eddie’s first Triple Crown came about when he toppled Lashley for the World Championship in October 2016. Almost four years later, he did it again, but this time in a Fatal Five Way at Slammiversary 2020 against Ace Austin, Trey, Rich Swann, and Eric Young. Despite this, he has a habit of losing his singles titles relatively quickly. Eddie’s longest reign was with Davey Richards, their last reign lasting 186 days.
Eddie could easily pick up more Triple Crowns, because he has dedicated himself to Impact for the rest of his career. I’d be highly surprised if WWE or AEW showed any interest… they would’ve knocked on his door already. He has come a long way and Impact has rewarded his hard work and dedication. Before we move on, did you know that Edwards is the only wrestler to have earned the Triple Crown with Impact Wrestling and Ring Of Honor? And it could remain that way for a very long time.
Austin Aries – 5th Grand Slam, 5th Triple Crown
“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” — Impact Wrestling’s last Grand Slam Champion. Aries earned this name by being the only wrestler to do it with the “Grand Championship”, a short-lived title that made use of traditional rules, timed rounds, and judge’s decision if it goes that far. In January 2018, he became a double champion by pinning Matt Sydal (who was representing the actual champ… Josh Mathews, what a joke!) with his World Championship on the line.
The Grand Championship only lasted for 20 months before Austin Aries (funny how he’s Impact’s last Grand Slam AND Grand Champion) unified it with his Impact World Championship at the Slammiversary XVI press conference. Before all that, Aries was already a Triple Crown Winner going on five years. A memorable, dominant run as X-Division Champion inspired Aries to create “Option C”, and at Destination X 2012, he defeated the longest reigning TNA World Champion Bobby Roode at Destination X 2012. To this day, it remains one of the biggest highlights in TNA history… but they won’t relive it (and rightly so), because he gave management the middle finger on his way out at Bound For Glory 2018.
Anyway, Aries picked up his Triple Crown in January 2013 by teaming with his former rival Bobby Roode (they were called “The Dirty Heels”), to dethrone Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez in Manchester, England. I believe this makes him the only wrestler in Impact history to earn the Triple Crown outside of the US/Canada? Not seeing anyone else who has. Either way, Austin Aries could be the last Grand Slam Champion ever, because neither the Legends/Global/TV/King of the Mountain, or Grand Championships exist anymore.
Who Missed Out?
I will tell you now, there is an incredible list of guys who didn’t earn the Triple Crown! It’s mostly the X-Division title which is the culprit for the biggest stars, but not always. Here’s an extensive list of guys who missed out on completing their sets with these championships:
World Championship:- Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki, Alex Shelley, Jay Lethal, Amazing Red, Homicide, Kid Kash, Doug Williams, Robbie E, DJ Zema, Trevor Lee & Jake Crist.
Tag Team:- Rob Van Dam, Lashley & Brian Cage.
X-Division:- Sting, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Bully Ray, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Ron ‘Truth’ Killings, Eli Drake, Magnus & Pentagon Jr.
And that’s all folks! I hope you found that interesting. If you would like more of these lists? Please let me know and I’ll consider other promotions as well (WCW, ECW, ROH etc.). Otherwise, I shall move on to different topics. Thanks for reading and see you again soon.