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21 March 2014

Take it on the Run, Baby!


2014 has seen an exciting new direction for TNA, but one event stands above the rest to me. I'm not talking about the signing of the Wolves, or the revelation of MVP as the new investor, or even the introduction of Jeff Hardy's new character, Willow.  No, what's got me excited is Wrestle-1's Seiya Sanada winning the X Division Championship.

As a long suffering fan of the X Division, I really like the attention this is bringing to the championship. Not only is Sanada an amazing talent, but the very fact that a wrestler from another promotion wears and defends the belt is a fascinating story. Sanada will be defending his X Division title on a Wrestle-1 show this week in Japan against an opponent completely unknown to TNA fans. In fact, I doubt many American fans will even be able to watch the match.

This opens up an intriguing door. Imagine if TNA were to turn the X Division champion into a sort of ambassador to the independent wrestling community. Now hear me out here before you dismiss the idea. Much like Sanada taking the belt back to Japan, any holder of the X Division title could defend the belt in any promotion around the world against any opponent deemed worthy. This would expose TNA fans to a whole host of amazing wrestlers, and it would completely change the landscape of the X Division.

How excited would the fans of, say, OVW be to see the reigning TNA X Division champion putting the belt on the line right there in their home arena against their own OVW champion? And how cool would it be to, in turn, see a talented wrestler like Jamin Olivencia show up on Impact Wrestling to defend his newly won X Division belt against the TNA roster? Think of the story possibilities. 

What could TNA possibly benefit from doing this? Firstly, I think it would be a marketing coup. What kind of buzz do you think Sanada wearing and defending the X Division belt in Japan is generating among Japanese wrestling fans? I'd bet having the X Division champion show up at independent promotions around the country defending the belt would generate significant interest amongst the fans of those promotions. And that would likely translate to increased POSITIVE buzz amongst the Internet Wrestling Community. It's hard to buy that kind of grassroots exposure, and TNA could get it for practically no cost. And secondly, it would allow TNA to scout some fresh faces for TV. Sanada sure created some excitement among TNA fans with his TV appearances! 

I'm not saying TNA is going to go this route with the X Division championship. In fact, I'll admit that it's a pretty far-fetched idea. But putting the belt on Sanada and allowing him to defend it in his home promotion is an intriguing step in that direction.

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