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

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X Division

#20. Alex Shelley — 1 Reign, 63 days

“Underutilized” – Comparing Alex Shelley’s X Division success to his best friend Chris Sabin’s is night and day. It’s not that Shelley sucked or wasn’t over with the fans. It just seems like he was too busy doing other things. He enjoyed leading stables, whether that be in ROH or TNA, but his career didn’t seriously take off until he & Sabin formed Motor City Machine Guns.

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Following the title being vacated, TNA started a tournament to decide the new champion. Alex Shelley defeated teammate Chris Sabin in the final to claim the title. But this was his one-and-only run, before losing it to Suicide in an Ultimate X match. He had been in the X Division since 2005, so it was time to focus on the tag team scene.

Shelley recently wrestled his student Jay White in a singles match on PPV. At Slammiversary, he helped the Impact Originals defeat Honor No More to defend the legacy of the company.

Where Is He Now? – He’s not full-time but wrestles often enough for Impact and the independent scene. Otherwise, his primary job is being a physical therapy clinician, which takes precedence for him over working in wrestling.


Impact

#21. Homicide — 1 Reign, 52 days

Homicide often floated around. He could work in the X Division but was mostly known for his tag team success with Hernandez as LAX. His one singles achievement was defeating Suicide after cashing in his Feast or Fired opportunity. He lost the title to Samoa Joe at Hard Justice. It’s unknown when it started, but it was during mid-2009 that he requested his release, but the company wouldn’t grant it.

Instead, Homicide ditched Hernandez to join the World Elite. He was embarrassed (not his fault) in a four-way Xscape match at Lockdown, and did whatever they needed before finally getting his release in August 2010. He has made returns since then, but they were short-lived. Homicide spends more time in other companies. Whatever happened in 2009 really put him off wanting to stay loyal to TNA.

Where Is He Now? – I last saw Homicide work a main event against Jon Moxley for the GCW title. AEW had him on TV for a minute, partnering with Moxley & Eddie Kingston. He spends most of his time defending the NWA Junior Heavyweight title.


X Division

#22. Doug Williams — 2 Reigns, 202 days

“First British Champion” – Doug Williams used his time differently. Instead of being happy as champion, he had a mission to prove that proper wrestling is superior to spot monkeys flying around for cheap pops. His arsenal included the use of submissions, brawling, slowing the pace, and stopping anyone from flying off the top turnbuckle.

He’d sometimes cheat too, but he didn’t need to most of the time. Some fans saw Williams as “anti-X Division”, but I never saw it that way. The X Division is about no limits, and Williams was simply pushing his style to the forefront. It may not have been pretty, but it was damn sure effective.

This came not long after the British Invasion tag team success with Magnus (Nick Aldis). Sadly, his reigns garnered little attention because he didn’t have viable challengers. Most of his opponents were nobodies he purposely handpicked so he could easily dismantle them. Had TNA got talents like Desmond Wolfe (Nigel McGuinness) or Bryan Danielson mixing it up with him, it would’ve been a different story.

Where Is He Now? – Since leaving the company in 2014, he worked sporadically on the independent scene. Last year, he signed a deal with the NWA and reunited with Nick Aldis for a match as British Invasion. This month, he and Harry Smith (The Commonwealth Connection) won the NWA World Tag Team Championship.


Impact

#23. Robbie E — 1 Reign, 30 days

“Dark Days” – In 2010, with guys like Jay Lethal, Amazing Red, Doug Williams, and many others on hand, TNA management stuck the title on the new kid. Robbie E and Cookie had been on TV for a month before he defeated Jay Lethal for the title. As Cookie had strong ties with J-Woww of Jersey Shore, the company was desperately fishing for mainstream attention through this avenue. They achieved this by having Cookie’s catfight with J-Woww go viral.

A month later, the cheap plug was over, as Jay Lethal claimed back his X Division title. Robbie tried to get it back, but would always come up short. Many fans compared Robbie’s character to that of Zack Ryder and noted how much of a cheap rip-off it was of the Jersey Shore, which most wrestling fans had no care for.

This went to another level when the company introduced Jessie Godderz. Impact paired him and Robbie E together to form The Bromans. They dropped Cookie and found success in the tag division by claiming gold, so this was a much better run. He worked with Impact for 7 years before calling it a day, and while he didn’t get to the top, he was certainly doing better than what he is now.

Where Is He Now? – You can find him as “Mr. Stone” on WWE’s NXT 2.0 brand, managing Von Wagner. Before this, he was more of a comedy act while managing women like Chelsea Green, Mercedes Martinez, Aliyah, and others. It’s safe to say that he’s been nothing but a joke since getting a job with WWE. If that ever changes, then he would have earned it.


X Division

#24. Abyss — 1 Reign, 55 days

“Heaviest Champion / Even Darker Days” – When X Division stars began airing their frustrations over the lack of opportunities, Eric Bischoff turned it into an angle. War was declared, only it was very one-sided, as Bischoff regularly buried X Division stars by having Immortal members destroy them. In one match, Bischoff & Matt Hardy took on and embarrassed Generation Me (The Young Bucks).

Abyss needed something to do, so Bischoff gave him a title shot against Kazarian. Predictably, he became the heaviest champion in X Division history. Abyss admitted how little he cared for the X Division. All he cared about was gaining power for Immortal and destroying opponents. It looked like Abyss could hold the title forever, but one man stood up and achieved what many thought was impossible.

Until then, though, the X Division was in the crapper. The company didn’t care for it, and the fans were struggling to get behind it too. There weren’t many left to cheer for, and those who remained weren’t getting opportunities to garner the support.

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