For the past four weeks, it seems TNA’s movement to rebuild the X-Division could be for real. This Sunday, four men will vie for a TNA contract. Two of them are former X-Division wrestlers, and the other two are looking to make a break in the business. All four men have earned their way through 3-Way qualifiers to earn the right to wrestle at Destination X, but who will walk out with the contract?
As of right now, Low Ki, according to an on-line poll conducted on Impact Wrestling’s facebook page, is the odds on favorite to win the TNA contract with 2,271 votes. It wasn’t too long ago when Low Ki was competing on WWE’s NXT Season 2, working under the ring name Kaval, for a WWE contract. Kaval was voted to the number 1 spot on the weekly polls week after week by the WWE Pros and WWE Universe before winning the WWE contract.
But after being released by WWE because Creative had nothing for him, why does Low Ki want to return to TNA?
As mentioned on a past edition of Dave Lagana’s Formerly Creative podcast, Low Ki left TNA the first time in 2004 because he wanted to gain experience in Japan. Then when he returned in 2006, Low Ki noticed that the same guys who were in charge were the same guys in charge when WCW went under. Soon after the X-Division started being featured less and less on TV to make room for the much older WCW wrestlers, who couldn’t perform up to the same level as the younger X-Division guys. Then TNA starting giving Low Ki a hard time for wanting rights to the Low Ki name, and to sign a contract where they would also control his bookings. Enough was enough, so Low Ki left TNA in 2008.
On June 27, 2011, Low Ki returned, defeating fellow former X-Division wrestlers Jimmy Yang and Matt Bentley to advance to the four-way match at Destination X. In a mixed video package featuring the three combatants, the former 2-time X-Division champion stated that the reason he came back is to prove to the world that pro wrestling still matters.
Austin Aries, a former X-Division rival of Low Ki’s, will also be competing this Sunday. Aries was the first of the four finalist to advance to Destination X, having defeated fellow former X-Division wrestlers Jimmy Rave and Kid Kash on June 13, 2011. Now, after four years wrestling for Ring of Honor Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, Evolve Wrestling, and NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, including an unprecedented second reign as the ROH World Champion, Aries is long overdue to wrestle on a national platform.
Shiima Xion, who is now working under the ring name Zema Ion, defeated Dakota Darsow and Federico Palacios to advance in the tournament. Shiima garnered moderate success wrestling for International Wrestling Cartel, which included battles against future TNA stars Homicide, AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, and Nigel McGuinness. He also gained experience in Japan wrestling in Sanshiro Takagi’s Dramatic Dream Team promotion. Shiima is an unknown to the Impact Wrestling audience, but can this Sunday prove to be a name recognition night?
The final participant to join Sunday’s 4-Way match is Jack Evans. Aside from a short appearance as part of TNA’s Team Canada (he’s American), Evans has yet been given the opportunity to wrestle on a national stage. With breakdancing, a large arsenal of corkscrew variations, and a jaw-dropping 630° senton, Evans certainly possesses the high flying excitement that fans have come to expect from the X-Division. But with Austin Aries in the mix, how will Evans fair against his former Generation Next stable mate?
With TNA currently having a working relationship with Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), it’s safe to speculate that Jeff Jarrett, the company’s current World Champion, personally granted Jack Evans, the promotion’s current World Cruiserweight champion and World Tag Team champion, this opportunity.
Evans’s match this past Thursday, defeating Jesse Sorenson and Tony Nees, captured the interests from current WWE Superstars Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd, and Gail Kim. Ziggler tweeted the following, “Cool ultimate x qualifier match on impact tonight! Evans does some pretty sick stuff! #seewrestlingcanbefun.” If Evans happens to not win this Sunday, could we see him on WWE performing against the likes of Evan Bourne, Rey Mysterio Jr, and Sin Cara?
When it comes to the belief that Wrestling (still) Matters, men like Low-Ki, Austin Aries, Shiima Xion, and Jack Evans could indeed elevate TNA to the next stage in cementing its core product. It all depends on who wins this Sunday, and if the TNA Powers believe in the X-Division.