Josh Alexander is the new face of Impact Wrestling’s X Division.
Formerly known as a tag team specialist in Impact, Alexander had his breakout moment as a singles performer on Sunday night at the Rebellion pay-per-view. He defeated Ace Austin and TJP in a show-opening triple-threat match, beginning his first run as X Division champion.
“This is me solidifying my spot in the pro wrestling landscape as a singles competitor,” says Alexander, a two-time Impact tag champ beside Ethan Page as The North. “I’ve been known for being part of a tag team because of all the success The North had, but I also had 14 years on the independent circuit before I came to Impact. I always knew I had this within me—that when the pressure was on, I’d rise to the occasion.”
The match was a clinic in athleticism to open the show, offering a nonstop pace and setting the tone for the pay-per-view. The three moving parts in a triple-threat add a different level of difficulty, but everyone involved was on the same page from the start all the way to the finish. There were multiple creative spots on display throughout the 11-minute match, like Austin’s Fosbury Flop onto both opponents, where he somehow landed on his feet, as well as Alexander hitting a double suplex off the ropes on both opponents.
There was even a callback to the main event of TNA/Impact’s 2005 Unbreakable pay-per-view, which was a match for the X Division title that featured AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe.
“That’s the greatest three-way match of all time,” Alexander says. “The monkey flip where I caught TJ, they did that same spot. They did it straight into the rana, but I added a little flair by powering TJ, taking a kick, and then he rana’d me.
“When Samoa Joe came to the X Division, that gave me the burning desire to be a pro wrestler. So having that throwback to the Unbreakable match, that was a way to pay respect to this division.”
Alexander embedded a hunger and intensity into this bout, capitalizing upon an opportunity to elevate himself in the industry. He expressed gratitude for the chance to work with the veteran TJP and rising star in Austin, who he pinned for the victory after his double underhook piledriver finisher, known as Divine Intervention.
“I have an immense amount of respect for TJP, we have a chemistry in the ring I can’t describe, and Ace is a once-in-a-lifetime athletic talent who’s still finding his feet in this business, but he’s already had so much success,” Alexander says. “Having the three of us in there, to play off each other and challenge each other, I think we made magic.”
Alexander, who is 33-year-old Joshua Lemay, celebrated the victory by FaceTiming his wife and two sons. He confirmed that he found out earlier in the week that he would be winning the title. Yet as a performer with 16 years of experience in the industry, he knew not to celebrate prematurely.
“I’ve been in wrestling long enough to know that you don’t believe anything until it actually happens,” Alexander says. “So I’d known for about a week, but the reaction when I won was as genuine as can be. And it was so great to see my two sons, holding up their own toy belts, celebrating at home with my wife.”
The pay-per-view represented a critical juncture for Impact. In a title vs. title main event, Kenny Omega defeated Rich Swann to win the Impact World Championship, which he now adds to a collection that includes the AEW and AAA titles. That is a result that will have ripple effects across the industry, but the whole card delivered.
Deonna Purrazzo showed off her technical brilliance to retain the Knockouts title against Tenille Dashwood, and New Japan stars Juice Robinson and David Finlay retained the Impact tag titles. New Knockouts tag champs were crowned when Jordynne Grace and Rachael Ellering won the belts. Trey Miguel stood out in a Last Man Standing match against Sami Callihan, Brian Myers picked up a win in a grudge match against Matt Cardona, and there was also a surprise as former WWE star Big Cass made his Impact debut as W. Morrissey in Eric Young’s Violent By Design faction. And though Rebellion took place in front of an empty venue and would have benefited tremendously from a crowd, Alexander winning the X Division title added the energy needed to carry the show.
“There was an incredible amount of hype around this pay-per-view, and there were so many extra eyes on this show, so I wanted to give people their money’s worth,” Alexander says. “This was my chance to establish myself in a division that revolutionized the pro wrestling business. AJ Styles, Low Ki, Amazing Red, Samoa Joe, they all found their success in the X Division, and they were always the match of the night. I would like to return the X Division to its glory.
“This is the workhorse division. I’m going to bust my ass and try to steal every show I’m on.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.