There is nothing inherently wrong with Bobby Lashley. That feels like an important caveat to hurl out before this discussion is had. Now that we have done so, however, TNA’s decision to not only have him trotting about the federation as the Heavyweight Champion, but also as the X-Division Champion, is both troublesome and illogical.
Let’s also note, as there are spoilers available, that we will discuss this move without the spoilers. This is a spoiler-free zone. You are safe, my friends.
Yes, most can acknowledge that the aspects of the X-Division that once made it so alluring – mostly the fact that it was essentially a cruiserweight division – is no longer the case. Still, the idea that it was once the home of smaller, less traditional main event-level talent was always an aspect of TNA that made the promotion’s potential something worth not overlooking.
Now, however, we have Lashely running around the company as the X-Division Champion. A wrestler who is the very antithesis of what the original X-Division was about.
To be clear about it, him being the Heavyweight Champion is not my cup of tea either, but I get the idea of having someone with some name recognition carrying around the most prestigious belt in the company, especially during a rebuilding process of sorts happening during a reported financial crisis.
But both – the only two – singles male belts? I mean, talk about overkill.
This is similar, but not exactly the same since the WWE has two mid-card titles, as Seth Rollins once holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and U.S. title at the same time. The difference here is obvious though, as Lashley is nowhere near the transcendent talent Rollins happens to be.
TNA is a company that needs to build within. Homegrown guys need to be the focus of the company, as the proof is in the pudding – the federation’s attempt at building with former WWE stars has failed time after time.
By putting the X-Division Championship on Lashely, which will inevitably have a payoff for someone not named Bobby Lashely, the company is shifting away from giving a different, non-former-WWE guy a chance at being a pivotal member of the roster.
There’s even more.
While the endgame here is a clear, as someone will topple Lashely for the X-Division Championship at some point, TNA has put itself in the unforgiving position of having its main event star lose to a presumed mid-card talent, but not losing the TNA Heavyweight Championship – which can lead to the correlation that the X-Division Championship is greater than the TNA Heavyweight Championship.
It’s honestly just bad booking. As most wrestling promotions have traditionally done, with some exceptions, belts do not mesh well when one superstar is holding multiple titles at once. And unless TNA plans on jobbing Lashely to two different guys in the same show to have the titles switch hands, which would essentially be changing an era in TNA wrestling but also killing of Lashley’s credibility, there’s no positive outcome here.
That tends to be an overlying problem in TNA’s booking process. The company often creates stories for an immediate satisfaction of sorts, or even a shock and awe experience, but the long term plans be damned.
Instead of thinking things through, the people in charge of creating TNA’s storylines rather deal with whatever repercussions await down the line than acknowledge how poor of an idea it is to give one man – a man who hasn’t drawn many eyeballs to the company as is – all the federation’s belts at one time.
Anyway, even the die-hard Bobby Lashley supporters can acknowledge the holes in the logic of having him carry around the company’s two titles. He is going to, at some point, suffer because of this, as he will have to job for someone and it will probably be to a talent many consider “lesser” than him.
Book smarter not harder, TNA. As importantly, book in a way that doesn’t feel as though the company is so worried about the right now that it purposely overlooks how badly certain angles are going to play out in the end.