Your Television's Champion, But Is Anyone Watching?

It's been a strange couple of years for TNA's Television Title. Since coming into being as a rebranded Global Title (which before that was a Legends Title) in July 2010, it's value has progressively fallen in viewers' eyes. To the point that it disappeared off our screen's for weeks on end...and nobody noticed. I don't know whether to blame the shoddy booking, those who held the belt or it's long sordid history as the bastard child in TNA's stable of titles.

In the first half of 2012, the Television Title saw sporadic use. Mostly being wheeled out on PPVs (rather than Television) with Robbie E issuing an open challenge to anyone on the roster. This is a major warning sign in itself. When a Champion is ignored for the entire month leading up to a PPV and has to hijack the show to defend his Title, you know you're in trouble. Especially when the only wrestlers in the back who want a shot are Shannon Moore and Devon. What exactly was stopping someone like Kurt Angle was saying "open invitational? sure, I could do with another title".

At the Victory Road PPV in March, Devon defeated Robbie E to win his first ever singles championship in his long and storied career. Some variation of this match has been booked regularly ever since. Whether it be Impact Wrestling, Xplosion or the monthly PPV, Robbie E and Rob Terry have been in near constant contention for the belt, hoping to regain their lost "glory". Not that that's entirely a bad thing. A former Champion wanting a return match for the Title he just lost is a solid booking tactic that's been in use for as long as professional wrestling has existed. What is bad, is that not a single one of these three wrestlers will help the Television Title in the long term or even bring in viewers in the short term.

For years, any TNA fan with two brain cells to rub together has been asking "why isn't the Television Title defended on Television?". Always running a little behind the curve, Hulk Hogan finally cottoned onto this and upon the debut of his grand concept of "Open Fight Night", he also instituted an obvious rule we've all been crying out for - the Television Title MUST be defended every week on Impact Wrestling. Praise the lord, someone finally gets it! Admittedly, we're still stuck in the proverbial quagmire of watching Devon and Robbie E go back and forth most weeks, but we're occasionally seeing new contenders peppered in like Devon's long time sometime ally/sometime rival, Bully Ray. What this weekly spotlight will provide the Television Title with is opportunity. While we have to let Devon's title reign run it's natural course, whoever follows him as the next Television Champion has an unbelievable chance, full of promise. A guaranteed weekly match on an already overbooked show? That TV time is worth it's weight in gold.

However, to maximise the division's chances of truly getting over with the audience, I would make a couple of changes. Most importantly, ditch that belt design. In people's minds it's associated with mediocrity. We don't think "wow, the Television Championship, golly!", no, we think "oh god, not that thing again". For every serious contender to hold the belt, there have been just as many jokes. Nobody tunes in to watch Eric Young stalk Scott Baio or Gunner chew the belt like a dog. That's not even addressing the fact the belt has failed so abismally in the past, it's been renamed...twice. Whatever that belt stands for, it's not our respect.

In closing, while I've been hugely down on the Title and it's Champions in the past, I'm only mad because it shows such promise and could be so much more. Put the right belt on the right wrestler and magic will happen. It did for Rob Van Dam in ECW in the 1990s, what's stopping TNA now...

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