This past Thursday on IMPACT Wrestling, following a successful title defense against Sami Callihan for his X-Division Championship, Brian Cage announced that he was cashing in his X-Division title and exercising “Option C” to challenge Johnny Impact for the IMPACT World Heavyweight Championship at IMPACT Homecoming, the next PPV in January in Nashville, Tennessee.
.@MrGMSI_BCage IS CASHING IN OPTION C!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 16, 2018
Option C is an X-Division tradition that hasn’t been utilized in a few years, but it stems from one of the rulings set in place back in 2012 when Hulk Hogan was still the General Manager for IMPACT Wrestling (then still TNA). In order to grant Austin Aries a title shot for the IMPACT World Heavyweight Championship against then-champ Bobby Roode, he offered Aries the chance to cash in his X-Division title for that opportunity. But the stipulation was that he had to vacate the title to do so.
Hogan gave Aries a week to mull over this new “Option C” to relinquish his X-Division title for a shot at Roode’s title, and the following week, Aries had his answer.
Later that month at Destination X 2012, Aries would go on to defeat Bobby Roode for his first run as IMPACT World Heavyweight Champion. The following year, Chris Sabin defeated Austin Aries and Manik (TJ Perkins) for the X-Division title and after his victory, Hogan came out and offered Sabin the same Option C for Destination X 2013.
Like Aries before him, Sabin was successful in his cash-in, defeating Bully Ray for the IMPACT World Championship.
In 2014, Austin Aries found himself X-Division Champion yet again (for his 5th time) and once again he made the decision to cash in his title for a World title shot, this time against IMPACT World Champion Bobby Lashley.
This time, the cash-in wouldn’t go as planned. Lashley retained the World title at Destination X 2014, losing his X-Division title in the process.
In 2015, Rockstar Spud was the X-Division Champion and working as the minion to #1 Contender to the IMPACT World title, EC3. At one point, EC3 tried to talk Spud out of cashing in Option C so that EC3 could be the man to dethrone Kurt Angle as IMPACT Champion, but Spud turned on EC3 and instead invoked Option C for himself.
That May, at Destination X 2015, Rockstar Spud faced Angle for the World title but fell to the former Olympic Gold Medalist. A month later, EC3 would then go on to successfully become the man to end Kurt Angle’s last run as IMPACT World Champion.
The last time Option C was mentioned was in 2016, when then X-Divison Champion Eddie Edwards was mulling over utilizing it against IMPACT World Champion Bobby Lashley. But instead of cashing in on Option C, Edwards tricked Lashley into committing to a title vs. title, Winner Takes All match at Destination X 2016 instead. At Destination X, the two would fight to a no-contest, but the following week on IMPACT TV, in a Six Sides of Steel match, once again Winner Takes All, Lashley would defeat Edwards, now holding both the IMPACT World and X-Division title.
There was no Option C invoked last year at Destination X, because at the time of the event, there was no IMPACT World Champion. Due to real life incidents involving then-girlfriend Paige, IMPACT World Champion Alberto Del Rio had been stripped of his title and suspended. At Destination X 2017, X-Division Champion Sonjay Dutt instead would defend his title against Trevor Lee, while Eli Drake would claim the vacant IMPACT World title the following week in a 20-Man Gauntlet Match.
With the restructuring of IMPACT Wrestling this year, there was no Destination X event this year. But with IMPACT returning to their old home at The Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee on January 6, 2019 for the IMPACT Homecoming PPV, it’s a nice nod to one of IMPACT’s unique traditions that Option C is making its return.