On the March 21, 2013 episode of Impact Wrestling new rules for the X Division were implemented which are:
- A 230lb weight limit
- All matches will be contested under triple threat rules
- In matches contested for the championship who ever gets pinned / submits will be illegible for the next championship match.
These new rules are another attempt by TNA to freshen up the division and restore the attraction to its former glories but will this change in rules add anything to the product or will it just vanish like the previous attempts at shinning up the former star attraction?
This rule change is the second attempt TNA have made in placing a weight limit on the X Division, the first coming in August 2011 after Abyss had reigned supreme over his smaller opponents until the Destination X event where the entire division helped Brian Kendrick defeat the monster, with the rule implemented weeks afterwards to stop it from happening again although this limit was removed in March 2012 to allow wrestlers who wrestle in the style of the division such as Samoa Joe and Rob Van Dam to compete.
I'm not a big fan of an imposed weight limit as it restricts the division too much, the previous mentioned champions can no longer compete for the title if they wish to and if current champion Kenny King puts on just 1lb he would go over the restriction. If a limit is needed then it should be closer to 300lb to stop the Abyss' of the roster dominating the division again rather than forcing wrestlers such as King to watch their weight in fear of being stripped of his title.
|Zema Ion going high risk at Lockdown|
In an unusual twist all matches will be contested under triple threat rules, making one on one matches in the division a thing of the past but going through the history books the more memorable moments from the X Division have been when there have been more than two wrestlers in the ring. The decision to make the matches triple threat's are unclear but I imagine the opener of Lockdown had something to do with it with as King, Christian York and Zema Ion put on an entertaining match that was more memorable than anything put up by the division in the last year despite the dangers the match posed.
There are limitations to this new rule though with the most noticeable being the lack of wrestlers currently on the roster who would compete for the championship. With the number of wrestlers required for a match increasing we will be seeing more of the same faces competing against one another so unless TNA are looking at bringing in new wrestlers or some from developmental then the matches come under threat of getting old quickly.
The division will also have to tread carefully between conventional matches and 'spot fests', X Division matches are famed for having high spots to increase the excitement but increasing the number of wrestlers will raise the bar of those looking to stand out and could be dangerous for the health of those involved, just look at the injury's suffered by Jesse Sorensen, Chris Sabin and Sonjay Dutt over the last couple of years along with the painful looking moments suffered by Marty Scurll on Impact and Kenny King in the previously mentioned Lockdown match. I'm a fan like most of the exciting spots but I don't wish to see wrestlers taking unnecessary risks on their career and more importantly their life just to get an extra crowd pop.
The new rules follow on from last years failed attempt of boosting the division by offering the Champion a trade for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship (which was cashed in successfully by Austin Aries) as the idea has gone by the wayside after the PPV was dropped.
TNA will have to push the division and invest in new talent to bring back the former glories to make the X Division relevant again; it is an area that WWE are currently overlooking on their main products but slowly building on NXT; but this is a chance to for TNA to differentiate themselves again, making use of the fresh crowds on the road to lap up the action to create a buzz that has been missing for a number of years. Given enough television time the change in rules could be a success in the short term but developmental of talent is vital to ensure that the company builds stars for the future and doesn't find themselves in the same position in another couple of years.