Scott D’Amore On How The X Division Concept Has Evolved, Bringing Back A ‘Traditional’ Aspect In 2021
Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling
Scott D’Amore says IMPACT Wrestling’s X Division will be experiencing a “return to form” in some ways, but having that style of wrestling expand into other divisions has been a good thing for talent.
D’Amore spoke with WrestleZone for our annual “Best For The Business” series and talked about IMPACT Wrestling’s X Division and how it’s changed over the years. Once known for fast-paced matches and crazy multi-man moves, more recent years have seen things slow down and feature more one-on-one programs with storytelling. Recent years have seen ‘unconventional’ X champions like Jake Crist, Willie Mack, Brian Cage and Rich Swann, who has now moved on to reigns as the company’s current IMPACT World Champion.
D’Amore noted how ‘X’ (and the company, for that matter) started in an era when the world title picture was full of conventional heavyweight wrestlers. Many companies tried to do cruiserweight and light heavyweight division, but it was always seen as a lower tier in many ways.
“One of the concepts for the X-Division was, really go out there and feature that style that wasn’t getting top-level featured in a lot of places. Quite frankly, when I came to TNA Wrestling in 2003, the heavyweight division, the world title division was still very much a conventional, traditional heavyweight style, and the X Division was that style at the forefront and as the often quoted, ‘it’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits.’
Noting how former X staples have moved into world title contention as the wrestling business has changed, D’Amore says fans are starting to see talent make easier transitions to different divisions instead of being relegated to one. He also added that you’re also starting to see that ‘X’ style seep into tag team wrestling and women’s matches too, and the evolution is good for business because a few years ago, you only would have seen it in one division.
“A great example of that is Rich Swann, who if we go back, 15 or even 10 years, probably would be one of the pinnacles of the X Division—but maybe not crossing into that world title [division]. But in the world that we live in now, where people now respect athletes of all different sizes and varieties, you’ve seen the ‘traditional’ X Division Style basically move from just being in that division to basically being part of the world title picture,” D’Amore explained, “and when you see that The Motor City Machine Guns, I think, were at the forefront of starting what the Young Bucks have taken to a whole ‘nother level, you’ve seen the tag team style incorporate a lot of that X Division type of style and the same can be said when you look at the Knockouts and the amazing female talent, not just in IMPACT but throughout the wrestling world right now. They’re out there doing unbelievable moves and maneuvers that at one point in time, would have just been restrained to the X Division.”
“I think there’s always going to be an ongoing discussion about what the X Division is. It’s such an integral and important part of our history, it’s something that we value greatly,” D’Amore said, “and I think you’re going to see—one of the staples of the X Division over the course of many of those formative years was the multi-man matches. And not just 3-ways, but 4-ways, 5-ways, 8-ways and some of these spectacles; that’s one of the things that the X Division was built on. If it can be done in a manner that shows proper respect and safety toward the competitors, I think that’s something we could look to start getting back to is some of that fast-paced multi-man style stuff.”
D’Amore closed by saying the push towards the more “traditional” style started with the Super X Cup tournament at Genesis, but fans should expect more of the matches they came to love in TNA’s earlier years, including the different styles and pacing of matches.
D’Amore’s thoughts on both the evolution and return to form are very evident in two of the matches announced for Tuesday’s episode of IMPACT; Josh Alexander will face off with TJP for the X Division Championship, while Trey Miguel, Daivari, Willie Mack and Suicide will clash in a four-way match.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2021
Check out our full interview below: