TNA's Television Championship: The Revival of a Wrestling Tradition

'Rowdy' Ross RutherfordSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2010

Recently here on the Bleacher Report I talked about how the WWE and TNA have been  misusing their World Heavyweight Championships.

However, on the last episode of TNA Impact, which aired on July 29th, AJ Styles renamed the TNA Legends Championship , which had already been renamed the TNA Global Championship, the TNA Television Championship . I hope I’m not the only one who thinks that is a little ridiculous.

I think TNA has way too many titles for a promotion that has only one wrestling program on television, but I think they could actually do some cool things with a Television Championship.

It has been nearly ten long years since a television style title has been used in a major American wrestling promotion i.e., WWE and TNA. However, Ring of Honor established a Television Championship earlier this year. Should I consider ROH a "major North American wrestling promotion?" Maybe I should. I'm sure of the ROH fans do so maybe I should also. Whatever.

I suppose for many newer wrestling fans you may not know how a Television Championship is any different from other 2nd tier titles.

A Television Championship is a title in which the holder usually only defends the title on television (hence the name). Therefore a title change usually doesn’t occur at house shows or on pay-per-views. In most cases there is usually a time limit on the title matches as a good way for a heel champion to draw heat from the live crowd.

I would like to point out that some promotions did have their Television Champions defend the title on pay-per-view and at live events, but the title is defended more on television than other championships.

I would also like to point out that every promotion tends to tweak the rules and make the concept their own.

The most famous reign of any Television Championship is most likely Rob Van Dam's reign as the ECW Television Championship. Van Dam held the title for over two years and only lost it when he had to give it up after suffering an injury. I find it odd the Van Dam is the most well known champion as the championship itself is better suited for a heel character. 

This reign made RVD a legend and a big reason he was so popular when he entered the WWE. At least that was my opinion. I cannot doubt Van Dam's high flying offense was a big reason also.

The concept of a Television Championship was created to encourage fans to tune in to a promotion’s weekly television broadcast as the fans would be more likely to see a Television Championship change hands on TV than a World Championship. This is because world titles usually only change hands at pay-per-view events. The fact that in most cases the Television Championship matches had a time limit added another aspect of suspense and drama to the wrestling show. It is a good way to get people watching.

Television Championships, like almost all 2nd tier championships, are used to put over under card talent and re-elevate guys who have lost momentum; giving them a chance to shine. The rules of the matches also make it very easy for a heel to draw heat and get the crowd interested in the contest.

TNA making AJ Styles the first TNA Television Champion is a good call. Styles will do a fantastic job at generating heat and if TNA has a time limit on the title matches like other companies have in the past than AJ Styles will quickly become the most hated guy in TNA. He will also bring some respect and creditability to the newly renamed Television Championship.

The time limit would give Styles a chance to retain the title without having to beat his opponent and he can use underhanded tactics and also his fellow members of Fortune to aid him by distracting his opponents allowing the other members of Fortune to draw heat also.

This is all just considering that TNA uses this championship correctly. I wouldn’t doubt if they added some other odd rule that makes no sense at all. However, if they use this title right they could really put some undercard heel wrestlers over.

I would also like to say that TNA has some major work to do as they now have two 2nd tier titles in the X Division Championship and now the Television Championship. I think the X Division title keeps getting pushed further and further down the ranks in importance and will soon be nothing more than a glorified cruiserweight championship.

I think that is really sad considering the X Division was a big reason people were originally drawn to TNA in the first place. Even so, I think if TNA uses this Championship right they could in the future get heels over using the rules of the title matches to their advantage. Maybe they have learned from their past mistakes.

However, this could be another title that means absolutely nothing like the TNA Women’s Tag Team Championship and now even the X Division Championship. It really just depends on the fans reaction to the title.

Regardless of what TNA does I am at the very least interested in seeing a television title on an actual television again seeing as the WWE does not have a title with rules like this. However, as I said before ROH has a Television Championship now so maybe we are seeing the revival of a wrestling tradition.

Wrestling promotions like ECW, NWA, and WCW all had television titles that were used to elevate under card talent on free television. I have hope that the promotions, ROH and TNA, will use their new titles to elevate talent and don’t waste the opportunity they have.

However, to be fair TNA could have just kept building up their X Division Championship and make it as important as it was back before TNA’s “higher ups” got all caught up in “surprising” us every week and bringing in veteran after veteran to try and get ratings.

If they want ratings they should have kept doing what they were doing, but that is a story for another day children.

The point is TNA has in their laps another golden opportunity to do something different and when I say that I mean they have a chance to give the fans something the WWE doesn't have. When I say that I mean they have a neat concept championship that has rules in its title matches which make it a perfect device to allow heels, and even baby faces, in TNA to get major reactions from wrestling fans.

Once again, this is just assuming TNA doesn’t screw up another golden opportunity. Here are a few of TNA’s missed golden opportunities:

  • Making Christopher Daniels a legend 
  • Making Samoa Joe the face of TNA   
  • Capitalizing on the popularity of the X Division    
  • Being different than the WWE    
  • Awesome Kong/The Women’s Division

I could go on for days and you may or may not agree with me that some of those are missed opportunities by TNA. You may not even agree this new Television Championship is a golden opportunity, but I was just trying to point out TNA has another chance at being different from their competition and they get to do something slightly cool by bringing back my favorite gimmick title of all time.

Sorry if I got off track guys, but I just love talking about stuff like this.

Until next time, thank you for reading....

Check out some of my old work you might not have read before!! :

“The Forgotten Legend” Jerry Lynn: The Definition of Underrated  (originally published on August 2, 2009)

ECWA: The Stomping Ground for Future Superstars  (originally published on August 17, 2009)

Pro Wrestling Countdown: Top 10 Rivalries of the Past Decade  (originally published on April 15, 2009)




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