5. Michael Shane
During TNA’s asylum days, a major reason for the little traction that the company made was due to the X-Division. Comprised of high flying cruiserweights, it provided a welcome deviation from the WWE Cruiserweight division that had become a little stale following the likes of Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio fighting higher up the card.
TNA owner Jeff Jarrett seemed to have learned nothing from the old WCW days and put the world title time after time on his own shoulders, the X-Division were creating new stars – not least the likes of AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian and Chris Sabin.
But the match that first put TNA on the map was the Ultimate X match – a variation of the ladder match, but with two interlinked cables having a title hanging from their intersection above the ring – won by a charismatic youngster named Michael Shane. Shane was the cousin of the legendary Shawn Michaels and took a variation of HBK’s name as his ring name and used his Superkick as his finisher too.
Shane would capture the X-Division title on two occasions and form an entertaining tag team with Frankie Kazarian, before changing his name to Matt Bentley to escape the WWE suing him for using the Michael Shane name.
TNA management seemed to lose interest in Bentley as new stars joined the X-Division and instead of establishing Shane as a home-grown superstar, relegated him to being one of Raven’s lackeys. Shane gradually got frustrated with the lack of direction of his character and he left the company soon after, going into semi-retirement from wrestling soon enough.