Sanada retained TNA’s X Division Title on Thursday’s edition of Impact Wrestling, defeating Tigre Uno and DJ Zema Ion in a three-way match.
Zema, sporting a large amount of strapping around his waist following a heavy fall in the Bro Mans v The Wolves World Tag Team Title match one week earlier, was the victim of the match-winning pin, with Sanada hitting the Tiger Suplex finisher.
The Asian superstar, on loan from the Wrestle 1 promotion which is based in his native country of Japan, has held the title since the 10th March – the longest reign of any of the current TNA title holders. Having won the belt from Austin Aries at a TNA live event in his homeland, he has now successfully defended against the likes of Uno, Ion, Christopher Daniels and compatriot Seiki Yoshioka.
Masked Mexican Uno is still seeking his first title win since debuting in TNA at Lockdown in March, while Zema last held the X Division belt in 2012, dropping the title to Rob Van Dam at that year’s Bound for Glory event.
The importance of the X Division was reiterated this past Thursday, with the announcement that Destination X – the division’s showpiece night of the year – will return later this summer.
Destination X offers the opportunity for the X Division Title holder to cash in their belt for a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Title. In the past this method of challenging for the company’s biggest prize, known as ‘option c’, has been successfully undertaken by Austin Aries, who went on to defeat Bobby Roode, and Chris Sabin, who beat Bully Ray last year.
With Sabin, the X Division’s most successful ever wrestler with eight title reigns and a combined 433 days as champion having recently left the company, along with fellow former title holders Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, the division is extremely open. Meanwhile, the position within the company of Aries, another X Division veteran with four titles to his name, is currently unclear following his recent feud with MVP.
While Sanada seems to be well accustomed to defeating both Uno and Zema, he is surely due a return to Japan in the not too distant future, and the door could yet remain open for another possible challenger to emerge. Kenny King is the only other name on the current TNA roster with recent X Division experience, although Samoa Joe has also been very successful in the division in the past. All will become clear later this year.
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