X Division: Honoring Innovation With 50 TNA/Impact Wrestling Champions

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X Division

#14. Samoa Joe — 5 Reigns, 350 days

“First Multi Champion” – We’ve talked about his rivalry with Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles, but from 2005 to 2006, Samoa Joe took his career to the next level. He had been undefeated in singles matches since his debut, and his X Division encounters made him an exciting prospect for new signing Kurt Angle. He would lose his undefeated streak to the Olympic Gold Medalist, but it cemented his place as one of the company’s biggest stars.

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Not long after this, he won the X Division Championship for the third time, and the tag team titles, making him TNA’s first multi-champion. He later lost them to a familiar foe but could move on from the X Division, for now. Joe got two more reigns down the road, one in 2009, and his last in 2014. He’s the third-longest champion overall and is one of the most ruthless and strongest the division has ever seen.

Where Is He Now? – He is the current ROH World Television Champion working for Ring of Honor and All Elite Wrestling.


Impact

#15. Jay Lethal — 6 Reigns, 294 days

“First African-American Champion” – As he’s had to do his entire career, Jay Lethal worked super hard to earn what he has. After being noticed for his work in JAPW and Ring of Honor, TNA signed him for the X Division. Being brought in at the end of 2005 meant he struggled to get anywhere because the division was headed by heavy names AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and his mentor, Samoa Joe.

At Slammiversary in 2007, he defeated Chris Sabin to claim the title for the first time but lost it two days later to Joe. After the title went through a feud with two of TNA’s biggest stars, Lethal picked up a shock win at No Surrender over World Champion Kurt Angle, to claim the title for a second time. This victory was way more lucrative for Lethal, and he kept on winning the championship up to his departure in 2011.

What Lethal did for the X Division title was bring entertainment value. The love triangle between him, Sonjay Dutt, and SoCal Val brought a different type of attention to the X Division. During his tenure, Lethal grew as a performer, in the ring and out. His Randy Savage and Ric Flair impersonations are legendary. By 2011, he was ready to move up the ladder, but the company wasn’t ready for him, so he moved on to ROH. Lethal grafted harder than ever before to become the face of the company.

Where Is He Now? – Ironically feuding with the man who mentored him, Samoa Joe, over the ROH Television Championship while under contract to All Elite Wrestling.


X Division

#16. Kurt Angle 1 Reign, 28 days

“All The Gold!” – His Hall of Fame career has had many accomplishments, but Kurt Angle did in TNA what he couldn’t do elsewhere. He won all the gold! At one point, he was the TNA World, IWGP (IGF) Heavyweight, TNA Tag Team, and the X Division Champion.

Angle defeated Samoa Joe in a Winner Take All match to achieve this. He would later lose the X Division title to Jay Lethal because of a fluke roll-up. But as far as title reigns go, Kurt Angle solidified the title’s worthiness on the same level as others. The X Division title is better, having had his name on the list of its history. It’s true. It’s damn true.

Where Is He Now? – Retired. Angle made a surprise video appearance congratulating Impact Wrestling on its 20th anniversary at Slammiversary. He now hosts “The Kurt Angle Show” podcast with Conrad Thompson.


Impact

#17. Johnny Devine  1 Reign, 20 days

“Hot Shot” – TNA tried to get Johnny Devine over by involving him in stables like Paparazzi Productions (w/ Alex Shelley, Kevin Nash & Austin Starr/Aries), and Raven’s Serotonin. With one last-ditch effort, they partnered him with Team 3D (Dudley Boyz). Devine defeated Jay Lethal for the X Division title, with Brother Ray’s help.

20 days later, he lost it back to Jay Lethal in a six-man tag with Team 3D. He had one singles defense, which he lost by DQ to Homicide. So, not only did Devine fail to win the title cleanly by himself, he never defended it clean either. Ten months later, he left the company because he didn’t find wrestling fun anymore. He’s had only four recorded matches since then, with the latest happening in 2017.

Where Is He Now? – Devine is listed as a semi-retired wrestler. He also acted as a doctor on a TV show in 2014. There are no other known details.


X Division

#18. Sheik Abdul Bashir (Shawn Daivari) 1 Reign, 84 days

After serving as a manager (for Muhammad Hassan & The Great Khali) and occasional wrestler in WWE, he signed with TNA and changed his name. This was his chance to prove he could do this as a serious singles wrestler, and Bashir did pretty well drawing heat as an anti-American. At No Surrender 2008, he won the title by defeating Petey Williams and Consequences Creed.

In 2009, he formed a promising stable with Eric Young called The World Elite. This served as an international heel stable that wasn’t about being anti-American (Kevin Nash was its only American member), but more about showing the rest of the world’s potential. It was more about uniting the world, although doing so for the benefit of power.

By the end of 2009, Bashir saw that the management and creative teams were changing hands. As Jeff Jarrett would no longer be his boss, he requested and was granted his release two weeks before Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff’s debuts.

Where Is He Now? – Daivari is in a unique position of having three jobs. He works for WWE as a producer, and occasional wrestler/manager for Major League Wrestling, and runs a wrestling school with Ken Anderson, brother Ariya Daivari, Molly Holly, and Arik Cannon. Not long before getting his job with WWE, Daivari made several appearances for Impact Wrestling.


Impact

#19. Eric Young — 1 Reign, Less than 1 day

“Shortest Reign Overall” – One of the longest-serving originals has won many of Impact’s championships. The title he won controversially was the X Division Championship when he beat Sheik Abdul Bashir with Shane Sewell’s help. Jim Cornette did not like how it went down, so he vacated the title almost immediately. Still, it goes down in the history books as a win for “Showtime” Eric Young.

Where Is He Now? – Unsuccessfully challenged Josh Alexander for the World Championship in this year’s main event of Slammiversary. He is the leader of the Violent By Design stable.

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