On the November 10 edition of TNA Impact, the show opened with the "Immortal Regime" in the ring, gloating about their respective wins at TNA Turning Point, when Hulk Hogan called to the rafters, and down came a brand new title belt, dubbed the "Immortal Championship." The "Immortal Championship" belt is anything but traditional. The belt is purple, with silver and purple plating, and has a big "Jeff Hardy painting" face on the front.
My initial reaction to the new belt was "that's a really cool prop belt. Jeff will probably go to hang that in his locker room" and then it became "or maybe he'll get a new 'prop' belt every time he defends the title," but never did I think that the new belt was replacing the old one, until they through it in the trash, that is.
Ever since the belt was introduced four days ago, I have been generating reaction, as well as trying to make sense of this new move, and to be honest, I'm on the fence about this one. There are very good arguments, so I will try to argue for and against this new belt as best as I can.
Title belts are arguably the most popular, and traditional element of professional wrestling. As a kid, when you watch wrestling on TV, you dream of one day holding the World Heavyweight Championship, and everyone in sports knows the importance of the title belts to wrestling, and fighting sports in general.
The traditional title belt is black, with gold plating. Obviously there are other elements, depending on which title belt this is, but lets take the victim, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, as the example. The old TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt is very basic, with nothing much more than the gold plating, as many title belts have been since the beginning of professional wrestling.
Wrestling is one of the many sports that is built on tradition. Professional wrestling companies around the world honour the past, the greats of the sport, and the traditions that made professional wrestling what it is today.
From this point of view, TNA management pissed off a lot of loyal, die hard wrestling fans, by taking something as precious as the most prestigious title belt in the company, and replacing it with what many refer to as a "Divas Championship look-alike."
"Traditional" is a word I used often in my "against" argument. The new Immortal Championship is anything but traditional, especially for a World Championship belt.
Here's the thing, neither is the man holding the belt, or the company that owns both the belt, and the champion.
TNA has always been known as the WWE's little brother, that lives in the shadows, and has done so for the 10 years of it's existence.
The reason they have been living in the shadows of WWE is because they were almost the same company, with different characters, and a six-sided ring. Ever since Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were brought in, they have been trying to stand out, and make themselves different from WWE.
The first thing they did was take away the only visual thing that made them different from WWE, the six-sided ring. Yes, it makes very little sense, but ever since, they have been making themselves different from WWE, almost reverse-proportionally.
WWE has completely cut out blood, TNA showcases more blood.
WWE starts to lose it's hardcore roots, TNA brings back theirs.
WWE has very short title reigns with the same champions recycled over and over, TNA incorporates many stars in their main events, constantly shuffling the main-event wrestlers.
So by logic, WWE has traditional titles, TNA shuffles it up and creates their own hybrid title belt.
That's all fine, but by changing the belt, they are bound to lose connection with casual fans who like traditional professional wrestling. There is no doubt that TNA has a strong cult following, but they need those casual fans to improve TV ratings, and generate money. While there is no doubt that the new title belt fits Jeff near-perfectly, it may be a bad business decision for TNA.
Having said that, Jeff Hardy has a very strong following, and there is no doubt that he helps TNA put asses in seats. Jeff Hardy also has a very distinct style, which many fans of his love, and come to expect from Jeff. Logically, TNA wanted to do something to enhance Jeff's new heel drive, by giving him a title belt that fits his enigmatic style.
I could argue with myself over this issue for days, but then I would probably have to be committed. Nonetheless, I would like to know what you think about the new "Immortal Championship" belt. Is it a good decision for TNA, to enhance Jeff Hardy's new heel attitude? Or is it a bad business decision that will cost them fans?