Tonight ended an era as the Impact World Champion Christian Cage officially retired the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

Cage made his return to the Impact Zone for the first time in over a decade. In his segment, Cage thought out of respect for his career in TNA from 2005 – 2008 and 2012, and the careers of those who made this title so legendary, it was time to retire the well-established belt and shift his focus solely on the Impact World Championship.

In his speech, Cage said, “It was an honor for me to take these titles from Kenny Omega and bring them back to the Impact Zone, where they belong. You see, at one point in time in 2005, I walked out of the biggest wrestling company in the world. I took a chance on myself. And Impact, they took a chance on me. They gave me the opportunity to step into this ring night in and night out and up my stock and up my value to compete in main events and for championships, and that’s all I ever wanted.

“Now, sitting here and talking about my history with Impact Wrestling, it’s got me thinking, this isn’t really about my history anymore. Maybe, it’s time. I had some conversations with Scott D’Amore and the other Impact Executives, and we all agree. As much as this TNA Championship means [to me], maybe it’s time to set this aside [and] to respectfully retire this championship. This isn’t about my history anymore. This isn’t about the past. This is about the here and now, the future. This Impact World Championship represents that. For me, standing here as champion, and for every one of those professional wrestlers in the back that are hoping to have this spot someday, means a hell of a damn lot. So, as of this moment going forward, the Impact World Championship will be recognized as the biggest prize in this company!”

Before handing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship over to longtime announcer, David Penzer, Cage had one last thing to say about this now celebrated belt.

“The lineage of this TNA Championship will be ingrained in my soul forever, and in those in this company, forever,” Cage concluded.

Following that touching farewell, Cage’s opponent at Emergence tomorrow night, Brian Myers, came out to insult the champion before their throw down for the Impact World Title. Myers won his opportunity last week in a #1 Contenders Battle Royal. Their full exchange is available below.

Last year at Rebellion, Moose brought the TNA World Heavyweight Championship back. The self-proclaimed champion defended it against the likes of Hernandez and Michael Elgin.

At Sacrifice, in March, Rich Swann would win the title from Moose, creating a unified merge with the Impact World Championship. Kenny Omega would then win it from Swann at this year’s Rebellion and lose it to Cage on the premiere episode of AEW Rampage last Friday night.

Below are clips from Christian Cage’s homecoming return, as well as his speech.