Fool's Gold: Wrestling's Insignificant Championships
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away—championships meant something.
When one man claimed to the best in a division, a title over his shoulder meant he was.
Today, not so much.
Chasing a secondary championship then meant competition. It meant fighting and scraping your way to the top. At the very least, it meant being part of a division made up of athletes wanting the same thing.
Today, again, not so much.
Chasing a secondary championship today means, "You're over enough to be on TV and we have a championship someone needs to carry."
Introducing a new belt could also be a company's way of making its brand look more credible. There could be grand allusions of creating something new or different—or simply creating a stepping stone for future main eventers.
Today I look at fool's gold: modern day wrestling's top-five insignificant championships.
5. The TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship
Established in August 20, 2009: The TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship.
It's significance—zero to none.
Less than a year ago, TNA was full of untapped potential. Including The Knockouts.
In fact today, the women of TNA remain the highest rating segment on Impact.
If anything due to the success of it's heel stable, The Beautiful People.
Yet today people care as much about the Knockout's Tag Team Championship as they do about a movie spin-off from a Saturday Night Live skit.
A year ago, TNA had a vast number of women wrestlers. All considerably over with the crowd, loved, hated, yet usually entertaining. Today, there's maybe four girls that should be allowed to hold a championship—and three of them already do.
Where there isn't any competition, there is very little significance.
Great pic though.
4. The WWE Diva's Championship
A little while ago, the WWE had one women's division.
It worked well. New stars were made and it meant creative had only one woman's division to write for. Then something happened.
Every credible female wrestler left the company in some fashion or another.
Lita retired, as did Trish. Melina went M.I.A a few times. Molly Holly left on moral grounds. Gail Kim went to TNA, only to come back. Then Victoria left in a huff, followed recently by the release of Mickie James.
With about as much credibility as Scott Hall pleading before a judge. The women's division looked like a shell of what it was in 2002-08.
While today, there are some fantastic stars working for the WWE. Maryse being one of them. Instead of booking for one division and rebuilding a championship on a single show, they introduced a second.
It's significance to the world of wrestling?
Unless it's a complete replacement for the somewhat tired and exhausted WWE Women's Championship and part of the rebranding of the "Smart. Sexy. Powerful." Diva persona—it's significance is very, very low.
3. The WWE Tag Team Championship
In a means to make the WWE brand extension a legitimate split, in October 2002, Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon introduced to the world - the " WWE Tag Team Championship."
This due to the "World Tag Team Championship" becoming exclusive to Raw.
While originally contested for, won, and defended by such names as Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit, Edge & Rey Rey, and Eddie & Chavo Guerrero, the belt's value quickly ascended that of Raw's counterpart.
However, in time, the likes of René Duprée & Kenzo Suzuki held the Smackdown title. Road Warrior Animal & Heidenreich even captured the title under the new Legion of Doom banner. While throwbacks, Deuce 'n Domino won the belts in April 2007.
While these reigns do wonders in discrediting the championship's value, the real question remains. Like the WWE Diva's Championship, when competition is almost non-existent for one title, why introduce a second?
With less than a quarter of the "World Tag Team Championship's" history, the former exclusive-to-Smackdown WWE Tag Team Championship has about as much significance in the long-term as Michael Cole's opinions on wrestling outside the WWE.
2. The TNA Global Championship
So correct me if I'm wrong.
Originally introduced by Booker T as the "TNA Legend's Championship" it meant only "Legends" could challenge and carry such a belt? Right?
This, when a majority of TNA's talent are under the age of 40 and have achieved little more than establishing themselves as solid mid-carders.
Alienating 75 percent of your talent. Check.
Then after being re-branded as the "TNA Global Championship," Eric Young establishes the stipulation, the TNA Global Championship cannot be defended on American soil against an American.
This when Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling still books 95 percent of their shows in the United States of America, using American talent.
Alienating 95 percent of your talent. Check.
This doesn't make your championship a rare or sought-after belt—it makes it insignificant.
1. The TNA X-Division Championship
Bound to generate some debate.
At the No. 1 spot—The TNA X-Division Championship.
In 2002, it helped define a company. In fact, TNA was built on the X-Division product. The belt, and the division, was a reflection of a changing of the guard in professional wrestling.
Just over a year earlier, ECW had closed its doors—a company notorious for hardcore and garage wrestling. By 2002, the hardcore style of wrestling was as relevant to wrestling as Justin Beiber's influence on music.
The year 2002 also saw the debut of ROH—Ring of Honor. Like the X-Division, it showcased the best and brightest talent under 200 lbs. doing what they do best. They flipped and flopped and wowed audiences with high risk displays of athletic ability.
Many ROH alumni became stars in TNA and cemented the X-Division as the most exciting division in wrestling—AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Amazing Red, Low Ki, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal, to name a few.
Professional wrestling's new kid on the block was an explosive mix of American strong-style, lucha Libre, and good, old cruiser weight action.
In 2007, Kurt Angle won the belt.
Then a funny thing happened—Johnny Devine, Kazarian, Jay Lethal, Suicide, Sheik Abdul Bashir, and Eric Young—all questionable champions and contenders, won the X-Division Championship.
The few stand-outs from 2007 onwards included Samoa Joe and Alex Shelley. But sadly, the damage had already be done.
In the year that followed, Amazing Red won the belt. Sadly for Red, it was 2009. Not 2002. A lot had changed in seven years, and being a one-trick pony only hurt his return and the championship more.
Kazarian would also capture the belt. Like Amazing Red, the fans had almost forgotten the veteran and former champion.
Douglas Williams won it twice, and has carried it for the most of 2010. Re-establishing the X-Division for pure catch-as-catch-can wrestlers, such as himself, successfully defending it against the likes of Amazing Red, Kazarian, and Shannon Moore.
Once a sought-after championship and staple of TNA Wrestling, the X-Division's credibility sunk and sunk. Poor booking and mediocre champions and contenders meant the title's significance in a world run by Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff would become a blip on the TNA radar.
So much so, even Global Champion Rob Terry receives more and more television time each week.