Chris Bey’s Christmas list is ready.
Any gift-giver knows exactly what he wants. It is the same item that has appeared on his list as a child, a teen, and now an adult.
Bey is looking to add to his title collection.
More than a decade before Kenny Omega appeared in Impact Wrestling and declared his intent as a collector of championship belts, Bey began collecting titles as a child. If WWE had a new belt for sale, one of those replicas quickly made its way to the Bey residence. And in the summer of 2009, as Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles battled over the Impact world championship, that piece of gold was the only gift Bey wanted for Christmas.
“I loved that belt from the moment I saw Kurt Angle wearing it,” Bey says. “It was the most gorgeous world title on television, and it was defended in some of my favorite matches. When it was offered as a replica, I begged my parents to have it.”
Bey reflects back on that Christmas with particular joy. His father, who died four years ago, promised that the Impact belt would soon be in his son’s possession. True to his word, the belt arrived a couple of weeks after the holiday.
“When it got there, we had just started back in school from winter break,” Bey says. “I can still remember that day because it was a day I decided to stay late for extra help. I ended up checking my email in the computer lab after that, and that’s when I saw an email saying the package had been delivered. I remember thinking, ‘Of course it comes the one day I stay late.’
“I just keep thinking, ‘Please don’t let anyone touch that package on my porch.’ I got home and immediately grabbed the package, had my favorite drink, which is root beer, and then filmed the unboxing. I was in awe of that belt. It was the most beautiful one I had in my collection. I was super excited to have my hands on it, and I ended up taking it to bed that night.”
Now 24, Bey’s belt collection continues to expand. He defeated Willie Mack for the X Division title in July in one of the matches of the night at Slammiversary. That reign was an opportunity for Bey to stake his claim as one of Impact’s brightest stars, but it turned out to only be a short run. Less than a month after winning it, he dropped the title to Rohit Raju. Naturally, this month, the top of Bey’s Christmas list is a second chance to hold that belt.
“I am working for that opportunity to have an extended run as X Division champ,” Bey says. “I need a solid run to prove to the people what I already know, which is the X Division is the best division in wrestling and that I am its gatekeeper. I’m looking to become a two-time champion, that’s the top of my list. And whoever has the belt should know that there is more than unfinished business for me, there is unfinished ‘beyzness.’”
Raju dropped the belt 10 days ago to Manik, and Bey is eager to work with both opponents.
“I have been given a chance in Impact to work with the best,” Bey says. “I want to be the best, so that means I have to constantly evolve. And I love what I do, so when I get into the ring with guys like Willie Mack, Eddie Edwards, Rohit or TJP, I’m also learning from their style. They’re teaching me how to grow as a performer.
“I want to keep growing. I don’t think I’m the best in the world, but right now, I’m the best version of myself. I have the ability to be better tomorrow, and then better than that the day after. Over time, I want people to think of Chris Bey when they think of wrestling.”
Bey has also kept a watchful eye on Omega’s arrival in Impact. A match against the reigning AEW champion on Impact television would stand out as a rare opportunity, and would allow him to show why he belongs among the industry’s top talent.
“If we wrestle, I’ll be wearing the Impact flag when we do,” Bey says. “And I’ll test my skills against anyone from AEW. They can all learn a lesson from me in the art of finesse.”
With next month’s Impact’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view rapidly approaching, the short-term goal for Bey is to reclaim the X Division title. But there are long-term plans, too. More than fame or fortune, Bey plans on reaching goals that have far more to do with emotion and joy.
“I never got into this business to become famous,” Bey says. “I am here to give people the same feeling that wrestling gave me. Watching is how I escaped from my reality, and I want to give that back. That’s my purpose in this world.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without wrestling, so it’s very important to give that energy right back. I want to reach out, connect, and respond to everybody. I want to motivate people to go chase their dreams.”