Wrestling Gold: The History of the TNA Television Championship
Throughout the history of professional wrestling, the business has awarded championship belts in many divisions. While some have been forgotten over the years, some titles have stood the test of time.
The WWE has seen almost 30 titles defended, but today only six remain.
TNA Wrestling began with three titles—the NWA World Championship and Tag Team Championship as well its own X-Division title, but today it owns its own belts and fans see six titles defended between its ropes.
Ring of Honor Wrestling began with just two, but has since added another title to its ranks.
While Shimmer has only been around for a few years, the most well-known all-women’s wrestling promotion currently holds two titles.
Wrestling Gold will concentrate on the active titles of the companies listed, as well as the NWA World and Tag Team Championships, and any other active title the readers would like to see!
That’s right! If there’s a championship you’d like to see included, it will be added to the series.
For this edition of Wrestling Gold I present the TNA Television Championship!
The title was established by Booker T in October 2008 as the TNA Legends Championship. A year later, though, the title would undergo a name change.
With Eric Young as the leader of the World Elite, he renamed the title to the TNA Global Championship. The belt was exclusively defended outside the United States during his reign as champion, but it would return to the U.S. upon losing it.
In 2010, the title would once again change its name. In honor of Ric Flair, then-champion A.J. Styles named the title to the TNA Television Championship and declared that the belt would be defended every week on television. While that didn’t happen, the title remains as TNA’s secondary championship.
Throughout the title’s short-four year history, it has seen 14 champions. So let’s get started!
Where: Las Vegas
When: Oct. 23, 2008
Title Reign: 143 days
At the moment of its creation, there was a feud between the wrestling veterans and the TNA originals/up-and-comers. Feeling disrespected, Booker T created the TNA Legends Championship for himself. He would defend the title against whomever he saw fit to defend it against.
After a match with Shane Sewell on Feb. 8, 2009, Booker T kept beating him down. A.J. Styles would end up making the save and took the title afterwards.
On March 5, Booker had Styles arrested for stealing the title. As Styles was being handcuffed and put into the police cruiser, Booker took the title back.
Later that night, though, color commentator Mike Tenay announced that TNA management director Jim Cornette took the title away from Booker T and that he’d make a decision about it later.
Nothing else about it was mentioned during the rest of the show, though, so the status of the title was uncertain.
On March 12, Jim Cornette decided that Booker could have the title back as long as he signed a contract to face Styles at Destination X. Booker agreed, so Cornette awarded the title back to him.
Booker T made his professional wrestling debut in 1989 with his brother Stevie Ray in Texas. They would soon find their way to WCW as Harlem Heat and become one of the most decorated teams in WCW history.
Together, Harlem Heat would capture the WCW World Tag Team Championship a record 10 times. Despite not being WCW's biggest star, Booker would become one of the most decorated singles wrestlers.
Not only did he become a 10-time tag champion, he went onto win the Television Championship six times, the United States Championship once and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on four occasions. When WCW went out of business Booker made his way to the WWF, later WWE.
During the Invasion angle, he would win the WCW world title one more time as well as the WCW tag titles with Test.
During his time with the WWE, Booker would capture the Hardcore title three times, the World Tag Championship three times, the Intercontinental title once, the United States title three times and the World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion.
He would make his way to TNA Wrestling in 2007, spending two years in the company. He started out in the main event but would fail at winning the world title. He would manage to capture the Tag Team Championship with Scott Steiner and creating this title, though.
He left TNA in 2010 and returned to the WWE at the 2011 Royal Rumble. After competing in the match, he would become a color commentator for SmackDown.
While Booker would return to the ring in a feud against Cody Rhodes and in a match at WrestleMania XXVIII, he remains in the announcer's booth on SmackDown.
Defeated: Booker T
Where: Orlando, Fl.
When: March 15, 2009
Event: Destination X
Title Reign: 126 days
A.J. Styles made his professional wrestling debut in 1998 in NWA Wildside. He would capture the heavyweight title once and television title three times before making his way to WCW in 2001 as Air Paris.
He would only last a few months, though, as WCW would shut down that March. He would head to WWA afterwards, winning the International Cruiserweight Championship once before making his way to Ring of Honor in 2002.
While wrestling for ROH, Styles would also begin wrestling for TNA Wrestling. He would compete for both until 2006, when he left Ring of Honor.
During his four years with the company, he would capture the ROH Tag Team Championship once with the Amazing Red and the ROH Pure Wrestling Championship on one occasion.
Defeated: A.J. Styles
When: July 19, 2009
Event: Victory Road
Title Reign: Three days
Kevin Nash made his professional wrestling debut in 1990 in WCW as Steel. His most memorable gimmicks, though notable for their ridiculousness, were his time as Oz and Vinnie Vegas. In 1993 he made his way to the WWF as Big Daddy Cool Diesel.
He was at first the bodyguard for Shawn Michaels, and they would win the Tag Team Championship twice together due to the storyline. He would also capture the Intercontinental and WWF World Championships once each before leaving in 1996.
Later that year, Nash made his WCW debut alongside Scott Hall. Known as the Outsiders, it seemed like a WWF invasion was happening. They would soon be joined by Hulk Hogan and form the New World Order.
Nash would find an incredible amount of success during his five years with WCW. He would win the Tag Team Championship nine times, holding it six times with Scott Hall, twice with Diamond Dallas Page and once with Sting.
He would also win the WCW World Championship on five occasions before WCW was shut down in March 2001. Nash wouldn't come over to the WWF during the Invasion angle, but he would make his return in 2002.
Defeated: Kevin Nash and Kurt Angle
When: July 22, 2009
Title Reign: 25 days
This was a tag team match of Mick Foley and Bobby Lashley vs. Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash where Angle’s TNA World Heavyweight Championship and Nash’s TNA Legends Championship were on the line.
If Foley or Lashley got the win, the one that got the fall would win the championship from the champion they defeated. So when Foley pinned Nash, he became the new legends champion.
Mick Foley made his professional wrestling debut in 1986 as a jobber known as Jack Foley in the WWF. He would appear as Cactus Jack on the independents and in WCCW before making his way to WCW in 1991.
He would spend three years with the company having memorable matches with the likes of Sting and winning the Tag Team Championship once with Kevin Sullivan. He debuted with ECW in 1994 while also appearing for Smokey Mountain Wrestling and in Japan.
He would capture the tag titles in ECW twice with Mikey Whipwreck before being signed by the WWF in 1996 as Mankind, a schizophrenic who enjoyed pain.
He quickly began to feud with the Undertaker, which saw a number of memorable matches including a Boiler Room Brawl and the infamous Hell in a Cell match at the 1998 King of the Ring.
He would appear as Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love and himself throughout his tenure and win a number of titles. He would capture the WWF Championship three times and tag titles eight times with Steve Austin, Terry Funk, Kane, Al Snow and the Rock. He would also be awarded the Hardcore Championship, becoming the very first champion in the process.
Foley would retire in 2000 and become the commissioner of the WWF. After leaving the role, he remained semi-active, showing up to wrestle the occasional match and to participate in comedy segments.
He would leave in 2008 and make his way to TNA Wrestling as the executive share holder. It wouldn't be long, though, until he got back into the ring. He would win this title once and the TNA World Championship after a cage match with Sting.
He was last seen in TNA in 2011 as the Network executive but the angle was dropped after a few weeks. He made his return to WWE last that year and he remains with the company making the occasional appearance.
Defeated: Mick Foley
When: Aug. 16, 2009
Event: Hard Justice
Title Reign: 63 days
Nash would make his return to the WWE in 2002 alongside Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall as the nWo. With Hogan being cheered like the legend he was, he left the group after WrestleMania X8 and some contribute his leaving as the main reason the nWo failed.
The nWo would be plagued by member changes and injuries to Nash. The group would disband in July and after nine months on the shelf, Nash returned to feud with Triple H over the world title. Nash would never regain the title and left in 2004.
Later that year, he made his TNA Wrestling debut and stayed with them until 2010. He would be featured prominently during his six years with the company, including storylines with younger stars, fellow veterans and time as a member of the Main Event Mafia.
He would chase the NWA and TNA world titles, but he would never be able to win either title. He would manage to win this title twice and the Tag Team Championship once with Scott Hall and Eric Young before leaving after a storyline teaming with Sting against Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.
Nash would return to the WWE at the 2011 Royal Rumble, but wouldn't appear again until SummerSlam in August.
A storyline with CM Punk turned into one with Triple H and it culminated with a Ladder Match between them at the TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV.
That would be Nash's final appearance to date.
Defeated: Kevin Nash and Hernandez
Where: Irvine, Ca.
When: Oct. 18, 2009
Event: Bound for Glory
Title Reign: 101 days
This was a triple threat match.
On Oct. 29, Eric Young renamed the title to the TNA Global Championship. He declared that he would never defend the title on American soil and would never defend against an American wrestler.
When the TNA website recognized the name change, Young was recognized as the first TNA Global Champion.
During a triple threat tag team match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship on Nov. 15, Young came out to help the British Invasion. After the referee sent him to the back, Kevin Nash attacked Young and stole the title.
On the next episode of TNA Impact, though, Nash gave the title back to him saying that Young outsmarted him to win it and if he could do that, he had great potential in the business.
Eric Young made his professional wrestling debut tin 1998 in Michigan. After appearing on the independent circuit and making a few appearances on WWF Velocity and Heat, Young debuted with TNA Wrestling in 2004 as a jobber.
He soon joined Team Canada in the World X Cup and began to appear more. As a member of the stable, he would capture the Tag Team Championship twice with Bobby Roode. When the stable disbanded, he started to become a comedy character.
He was at first paranoid about various things, including getting fired, but soon got frightened by Black Reign and Rellik. During that storyline he became Super Eric and won the tag titles briefly with Kazarian.
He would then enter into a feud with Sheik Abdul Bashir over the X-Division Championship and win that title, though it was also very briefly.
He then turned heel and formed the World Elite, a group of foreign wrestlers. He would win this title as the leader and rename it the Global Championship. After losing it and disbanding the group, Young would join forces with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
As a member of the Band, he would capture the tag titles one more time. Hall would be released soon after the title win and the team broke up.
Defeated: Eric Young
Where: Cardiff, Wales
When: Jan. 27, 2010
Event: House Show
Title Reign: 167 days
Rob Terry made his professional wrestling debut in 2007 in WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling. He would be released in 2008 and be picked up by TNA Wrestling in 2009.
He was the muscle for the British Invasion and helped Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams in winning the TNA and IWGP Tag Team Championships once each.
After winning a Feast or Fired briefcase towards the end of the year that contained a shot at the X-Division Championship, he left the British Invasion after they forced him to give the briefcase to Williams.
After leaving the group, he would win this title and join Immortal upon losing it. He would be kicked out after only a few months, though, and get paired up with Robbie E.
Now known as Robbie T, Terry is the body guard and bouncer for Robbie E. As of last year, Rob Terry also competes for Ohio Valley Wrestling where he is a one-time heavyweight champion, one-time tag team champion and one-time television champion.
Defeated: Rob Terry
When: July 13, 2010
Title Reign: 145 days
On July 29, Styles announced that he was renaming the title to the TNA Television Championship and that he’d defend it every time he was on television.
When the TNA website recognized the name change, Styles was recognized as the first TNA Television Champion.
Styles has been with TNA Wrestling since 2002 and has been the face of the company. Being there since day one, he became the first-ever X-Division champion, going onto win the title a total of six times over the years.
He would enter into the main event quickly and go onto capture the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times. At the time TNA was an affiliate of the NWA and was given permission to exclusively feature the world and tag titles in the company.
Speaking of the Tag Team Championship, Styles would win those belt four times, once with Jerry Lynn, once with Abyss and twice with Christopher Daniels.
They don't call him the Phenomenal A.J. Styles for nothing, though. When TNA broke ties with the NWA and created their own titles, he would capture the TNA tag titles twice with Tomko and Kurt Angle and the World Championship once.
He would also win this title twice, once as the Legend's Championship and once as the Global Championship before being renamed it to the television title during his reign.
As TNA's first Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion, Styles continues to be one of the absolute best in TNA with great matches against everyone he steps foot inside the ring with.
Defeated: A.J. Styles
When: Dec. 5, 2010
Event: Final Resolution
Title Reign: 35 days
Douglas Williams would make his professional wrestling debut in 1993 in England. He wrestled on the independent circuit there before making his way to the United States in 2002. He joined Ring of Honor, staying with them until 2007 and winning the ROH Pure Wrestling Championship on one occasion.
He would appear for TNA in 2003 and during their tour of England in 2008 before making his official debut in 2009 as a member of the British Invasion.
As a member of the team, he would capture tag team gold twice, having reigns with the TNA and IWGP tag titles. He would also win the X-Division Championship on two occasions and this title once before disappearing from programming.
The British Invasion would reunite in 2011 but the team wouldn’t find the same success as they did a few years ago. The team would disband again when Magnus was paired up with Samoa Joe in the Deuces Wild Tag Team Tournament and Williams would once again disappear.
His last appearance would be at Destination X earlier this month in the X-Division Championship tournament.
Defeated: Douglas Williams
When: Jan. 9, 2011
Title Reign: 64 days
As Abyss had been off television since the January 20th edition of TNA Impact, the status of the title was not known. Out of nowhere, ring announcer Jeremy Borash announced on March 17 that the title was vacant and that the match to follow was going to decide the new champion.
Abyss made his professional wrestling debut in 1995 in the Northern Wrestling Federation. He wrestled throughout the independent circuit and the NWA before competing at TNA's first show in June 2002 as Justice.
He didn’t become Abyss until joined IWA Puerto Rico and soon debuted as the character in TNA in 2003.
Abyss has been with TNA ever since, and has had a number of memorable feuds and matches with the likes of A.J. Styles, Sting, Bully Ray and many, many more. His first title in TNA would be the NWA Tag Team Championship with Styles and he would become the NWA world champion as well by defeating Sting.
He would become a Triple Crown Champion after winning this title and became TNA's second Grand Slam Champion after winning the X-Division Championship last year.
His X-Division title win was during the Immortal storyline and the Monster wouldn't look much like one after losing the title. He would be abused by Bully Ray both physically and mentally and it would result in Abyss leaving the faction and battling the Bully.
He would disappear after Genesis this past January and return in the spring as Abyss' brother Joseph Park. Abyss continues using the Joseph Park character while also making appearances as the Monster.
Defeated: Murphy and Rob Terry
When: March 14, 2011
Title Reign: 64 days
This was a triple-threat match to decide the new champion.
On May 12, Eric Young would eliminate Gunner from a battle royal. Thinking that he won the title, he grabbed it and walked out of the Impact Zone. Young would hold onto the title until he officially won it.
Gunner made his professional wrestling debut in 2001 in NWA Anarchy. He would remain with them until 2011, winning the Tag Team Championship once as well as the Heavyweight Championship on one occasion.
He would also make one appearance for ROH in April 2010 before making his way to TNA in June. Along with Murphy, Gunner was a member of TNA security but both of them would soon become involved in storylines.
They would join Immortal after the group formed and Gunner would capture this title after Eric Bischoff placed only Immortal members into the match for the vacant belt. He would hold onto the title until May and be entered into the first Bound for Glory Series in June.
Gunner managed to make it to the final four but was defeated by Bobby Roode in the semifinals.
Gunner gained the managerial services of Ric Flair after that and he began to take people out by delivering a DDT to the concrete floor. The angle evolved into a feud with Garett Bischoff, which ended at Lockdown this past April when Garett led a team in a winning effort against a team led by his father Eric Bischoff in Lethal Lockdown.
He was last seen at the Lockdown PPV but is still with TNA Wrestling.
When: May 17, 2011
Event: Impact Wrestling
Title Reign: 180 days
In July 2010, Young would hit his head and adopt another comedy character. This time around, EY was mentally challenged and began to team with Orlando Jordan. The team wouldn't go anywhere outside of comedy moments and EY soon began to target this title after eliminating Gunner from a battle royal.
Young would steal the title at first, thinking that he won it after throwing Gunner over the top, but he would end up winning it soon enough and hold onto it until November.
After losing this title he entered into the tag team division. He was paired up with TNA Knockout ODB in the Deuces Wild Tag Team Tournament, and despite losing the tournament, they would stick together.
They would soon defeat Gail Kim and Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship and get married in storyline inside a steel cage before Lockdown. Young would disappear after Lockdown to film a television show, but he would return last week.
Eric Young is obviously still with TNA and remains as one-half of the Knockout's tag team champions.
Defeated: Eric Young
When: Nov. 13, 2011
Event: Turning Point
Title Reign: 126 days
Robbie E made his professional wrestling debut in 2000 in the Independent Wrestling Federation. He wrestled for them and various other independent promotions winning multiple championships before signing with TNA Wrestling in 2010 as Robbie E.
Along with Becky Bayless as Cookie, Robbie was a parody of the Jersey Shore. He would win the X-Division Championship once under the gimmick and also got involved with actual members of the Jersey Shore cast, including JWoww and Angelina Pivarnick.
After losing the title, Robbie would break up with Cookie and align himself with Rob Terry, who soon became known as Robbie T.
His new alliance would gain him this title and a feud with Eric Young. His storyline with EY would see another Jersey Shore cast member come in as Young teamed with Ronnie to take on the Robbie's.
When he was finished with Young, he began to feud with Devon over the title, losing the belt to him at Victory Road. Robbie would fail at regaining the title and can now be seen competing in the Bound for Glory Series.
Defeated: Robbie E
When: March 18, 2012
Event: Victory Road
Title Reign: 129 and counting
Devon made his professional wrestling debut in 1991 as A-Train on the independent circuit. He competed on the independents until he was signed to ECW in 1996.
He debuted as D-Von Dudley, a member of the Dudley family, and soon began to team with Buh-Buh Ray as the Dudley Boyz. He competed primarily as a tag team wrestler in ECW and won the Tag Team Championship a record eight times.
After having bloody battles with teams such as the Eliminators and the Gangstas, the Dudleyz made their way to the WWF in 1999.
While the team would break up during the first WWE draft, Devon would remain as a member of the Dudley Boyz throughout his six-year stint with the company.
The Dudleyz would capture 10 tag titles during their stay, including eight reigns as world tag team champions, one reign as WWE tag team champion and once as WCW tag team champions, being the final champions the WCW belts have seen.
In 2005, Devon became Brother Devon in TNA and stayed with Bubba Ray, now Brother Ray, as Team 3D. They would capture five titles in their five years as a team in TNA. They would hold the NWA Tag Team Championship once, the TNA Tag Championship twice and the IWGP Tag Championship in Japan twice.
Team 3D would break up in 2010 with Devon dropping "Brother" and Bubba becoming Bully Ray. After a feud between the two, Devon was used sporadically. He would pop up here and there until Victory Road this year when he won this title.
Devon remains as champion and defends the title at least once a month on Impact Wrestling.
Statistics and Final Thoughts
Most Reigns: A.J. Styles, Kevin Nash and Eric Young (2)
Longest Reign: Eric Young (180 days)
Longest Combined Reign: Eric Young (281 days)
Shortest Reign: Kevin Nash (three days)
A secondary championship is something TNA Wrestling was lacking in a big way. While they did have the X-Division Championship, it’s more of a division title than an official midcard belt.
The introduction of this title was a great idea by TNA. For a smaller company, they had a pretty decent-sized roster and not everyone could be in the main event scene or in the X-Division. A title for the midcard would give non-main event stars the chance to shine and it did that during parts of its existence.
Guys like Rob Terry, Doug Williams, Gunner, Robbie E and Eric Young’s first reign gave them the spotlight at a time when they normally wouldn’t get it. The title has also kept veterans and main event stars relevant as well while they were out of the title picture.
The title has seen better days, though. Young’s second reign wasn’t very pretty to look at, but Robbie kept the belt alive upon winning it.
Devon was defending the title every single week and bringing some prestige to the belt in the process, but now fans are lucky to even see him on television.
If TNA were to get serious with the title, it could become a real stepping stone to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, much like the WWE Intercontinental Championship was once a stepping stone to WWE’s world title.
I hope to see the title become a sought-after belt by the end of the year!
Thank you for reading! Next up will be the TNA X-Division Championship, followed by the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
From there, I will present the titles of Ring of Honor before getting into the world titles, including the original world title from 1905 and the NWA title.
The TNA X-Division Championship will be up as soon as it’s finished.
Information on the wrestlers provided by Wikipedia
Title “Wrestling Gold” thought up by editor Jeff D. Gorman