Impact Star Comments On AJ Styles And The X-Division

"Speedball" Mike Bailey has been putting together a career year in 2022 across the independent scene and in Impact Wrestling, where he's a former X-Division Champion. In a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, Bailey remarked on the legacy of that title, naming AJ Styles as the early X-Division Champion he would most want to have a match with.

"AJ Styles is of course No. 1 and I think the person that will forever be associated with TNA, right?" he said, adding praise for other early X-Division standard bearers like Jerry Lynn, Amazing Red, Chris Sabin, and Samoa Joe.

What was most impressive, Bailey added, was that the X-Division had managed to maintain its signature status as a unique, trademark attraction for Impact across 20 years. Unlike other titles with highly specific stipulations –- he named WWE's 24/7 and Hardcore Championships as examples — the X-Division is just broad enough to not feel boxed in. "The X-Division is still kind of an open-ended thing," he explained. "It's just very action-packed professional wrestling, and it's maintained that identity for so long; it's amazing."

Over the years, the division has been home to wrestlers of all sizes and styles, from junior heavyweights like Christopher Daniels to hard-hitting heavyweights like Samoa Joe. Naturally, Bailey called out the famous Triple Threat X-Division Championship match between Daniels, Joe, and Styles from 2005's TNA Unbreakable pay-per-view as the singular match that is most representative of the division's unique style.

More than a year into his Impact contract, Bailey has been building a memorable body of work of his own. On December 8, he challenged Impact World Champion Josh Alexander in a title match that lasted nearly one full hour.