There have been countless title changes that have occurred in Impact Wrestling but it's very rare when a championship reign isn't really seen as legitimate due to the title change having a large amount of controversy around it or the change in question happened outside of an Impact ring.
In this list, I'll be going over six title wins that Impact didn't or still don't recognize as legitimate today.
6. Frankie Kazarian and Super Eric
In 2008, Eric Young was feeling a little bit frighten when came to battling the duo of Black Reign and Rellik, so he adapted the superhero persona known as Super Eric which saw EY wearing red and yellow tights with a cape and mask with the idea being this version of Eric was brave enough to take on the forces of evil alongside his then tag team partner, Frankie Kazarian.
After winning a contender's match at that year's lockdown event, Kazarian and Super Eric won the TNA Tag Team Champions on the April 17th edition of Impact however that victory was short lived as on the same night the title change occurred, authority figure Jim Cornette stripped the team of their titles because EY refused to admit that he was Super Eric...Yup, that actually happened.
Because of this, the tag team titles were vacated leading to a tournament at that year's Sacrifice pay per view to see who would win the titles, which ended up being Homicide and Hernandez of LAX.
5. Jordynne Grace
The most recent entry on this list occurred on the October 6th, 2020 edition of Impact when then X Division Champion, Rohit Raju issued an open challenge or as he called it "The Defeat Rohit Challenge" to anyone in the back who wanted to face him.
At first, former X Division Champion Willie Mack came out to accept the challenge only for Rohit to mention that Willie already had his opportunity at him previously, so he can't get another one.
Instead, the person that came out to accept was former Knockouts Champion, Jordynne Grace; Thick Mama Pump accepting this challenge by the way not only plays into the whole anyone can get a shot idea of an open challenge but also plays into the old tagline about the X Division being about no limits.
The match begins and Rohit is reluctant to give his X Division title to the referee, but Willie Mack who is at ringside attempts to grab the belt and give it to the ref but what this does is distract Rohit, allowing Jordynne to pick up the win and become the new X Division champion....or does she?
Rohit immediately runs to the referee to say something and few moments later the announcer mentions that Jordynne Grace did indeed win the match but the belt wasn't on the line as the X Division belt wasn't raised by the ref to confirm that it was for the title, so by that logic Rohit is still the champion.
Now, whether you want to see this as brilliant booking for a chickenshit heel or convoluted storytelling to build up a future title match is up to you but never the less for a couple of minutes Jordynne Grace was announced as the new champion.
4. Ray Gonzalez
There's very good chance many of you may be unfair with Puerto Rican businessman and wrestler, Ray Gonzalez best known for his work in Puerto Rican and Mexican territories, and he also became NWA World Heavyweight Champion in 2005 but for the sake of this list we will be focusing on that last point.
Back in 2005, the International Wrestling Association or IWA partnered with a burgeoning southern promotion called NWA TNA which saw stars from the TNA roster making appearances like Bobby Roode, Konnan, Hernandez and the NWA Champion himself Jeff Jarrett.
At an IWA event called 'Juicio Final' Ray Gonzalez took on Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Title and in a shocking turn of events, Gonzalez won the match and became the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
There was just one problem, Jeff Jarrett was scheduled to defend the NWA World Championship against "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles in the main event of the inaugural Hard Justice pay per view...so how did Jarrett get the belt back if the Gonzalez beat him for the very same title the night before Hard Justice? Easy with a dusty finish.
You see, the referee who made the count in this match was a referee who worked for IWA but was not sanctioned by the NWA to be the referee for this match as the ref who was cleared by the NWA for this title match was knocked out amidst all the action.
As a result, Jarrett was awarded the belt back allowing him to face AJ the next night at Hard Justice, Ray Gonzalez's NWA title win meanwhile was retconned from the history books until it was official recognized by the NWA in 2015.
3. Cody Deaner
Long before he was a big bearded, beer drinker from the Deaner Compound or a flag waving member of Violent By Design, Cody Deaner was the kayfabe boyfriend of ODB in 2009 and the trailer park duo took on The Beautiful People in a 3 on 2 handicap match for the Knockouts Championship.
The finish to that match saw Deaner picking up the victory which in theory should've meant that ODB is the new champion after all the Knockouts Championship is a female exclusive title...but you can probably see where I'm going with this.
Yes, Cody Deaner claimed that he should be the new champion as he scored the victory for his team, but he was a male holding a women's title?
This controversy led to the belt being vacated and a match between Deaner and ODB for the Knockouts Championship at No Surrender 2009, which saw ODB win her first ever Knockouts Championship, on the other hand if you check the Wikipedia page showing the history of titles reigns for the Knockouts Championship, Deaner's time as champion isn't seen as legitimate.
2. Eric Young
Another questionable title win for EY on this list as we good back to the December version of Final Resolution 2008 for this next story.
After winning a number one contender's match the previous month at Turning Point, Eric Young was set to take on Davari then known as Shiek Abdul Bashir for the X Division Championship at Final Resolution.
In the closing moments of the match, then TNA referee Shane Sewell kicked the ropes that Bashir was holding onto to for too long in order to break up the pin, which was a move done before by referees in the past; This allowed Eric Young to win his first and only X Division Championship but much like his tag title win with Kazarian in 2008 it didn't last as Jim Cornette declared the belt vacant following the circumstances on the win.
This would eventually lead to a tournament to crown a new X Division Champion at Genesis 2009 with the final two being both members of the Motor City Machine Guns: Chris Sabin and Alex Shelly...Word of advice if you haven't seen this match, do yourself a favor and watch it because it's that damn good.
In the end though, Eric Young's win as X Division was considered null and void as a result the win isn't recognize.
1. Kurt Angle
I've talked about this moment numerous times on previous lists but if this is your first time hearing about this story, it goes like this...
In May of 2007, the company was set to have its annual Sacrifice pay per view but the show was impacted of sorts thanks to some news that occurred earlier in the day. That same day, it was announced by then vice president of the NWA that the National Wrestling Association and TNA would be ending their partnership after five years due to some of the wrestlers who held NWA titles not defending the belts in NWA territories.
However, TNA still had the NWA titles in their position and continued on as if business was usual even though the reigns would soon be seen as null and void in the history of the NWA.
In the main event of Sacrifice, Christian Cage who was the NWA champion was set to defend the belt against Sting and Kurt Angle in a triple threat match however the finish was controversial as Sting had Cage in a pinning predicament while at the same time, Sting was tapping out to the ankle lock by Kurt Angle; The referees in this match ended up seeing one of the two closing moments which lead to some confusion as to who won at least until ring announcer Jeremy Borash announced that Kurt Angle was the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Like many of the other entries on this list, Angle's reign didn't last long and this whole thing would set the stage for Kurt Angle to be crowned the very first TNA World Heavyweight Champion at Slammiversary the following month.
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