Cody defeated Lance Archer at Double Or Nothing to claim the TNT Championship.
The next week on AEW: Dynamite, the American Nightmare pledged to defend the title weekly as part of an open challenge.
But even though there’s going to be a new challenger every week, there are multiple AEW stars in the running to become the second TNT Champion. In fact, the American Nightmare will defend the title against Jungle Boy on tonight’s AEW: Dynamite.
Cody made history by becoming the first to hold the strap. Bu he can’t hold it forever.
Here are the All Elite Wrestling stars we think could win the TNT Championship.
5. Orange Cassidy
The King Of Sloth Style is at the bottom of the top contenders.
He hasn’t exactly had a sterling run as a singles competitor. In fact, he’s lost both of his PPV singles matches. He suffered a defeat at the hands of PAC at Revolution. And then he lost to eight other men and to his own lack of understanding about the rules in the Casino Ladder Match at Double Or Nothing.
So why is he in the running for the TNT Championship?
Because as much as AEW likes to say wins and losses matter, and as much as they like to talk about analytics, this is still professional wrestling. And championships – secondary or otherwise – are there to get over guys more over.
And Orange Cassidy is as over as it gets right now. Plus, one of Cody’s signature attitudes is, “Do the work.” In other words, the opposite of Cassidy’s MO. If, as I suspect, a heel turn is in Cody’s future, what better way to push him over the edge than to have the lazy guy take his hard-earned title?
4. Sammy Guevara
The TNT Championship could serve to make Sammy Guevara an even bigger star.
He’s both the plucky mascot of the Inner Circle and one of the most insufferable heels in all of pro wrestling. And considering the TNT Championship represents both AEW and the history of pro wrestling airing on the Turner Empire, Cody vs. Sammy would make a fitting contest for the belt.
Cody took on Guevara on the first-ever episode of AEW: Dynamite.
If the TNT Championship is to be linked to wrestling on TNT, why not make the first transition between the two men who there at the literal beginning of AEW on TNT?
Sammy Guevara could easily become the second TNT Champion.
3. Jake Hager
Cody survived battling one monster, Lance Archer, to become the TNT Champion.
Could he survive another?
Jake Hager made a big splash on the first AEW: Dynamite, revealing himself as Chris Jericho’s personal muscle. He later became the muscle of the Inner Circle, and he’s already fought his way through Dustin Rhodes and a grueling empty arena match with AEW Champion Jon Moxley.
Either Sammy or Hager taking the title back to the Inner Circle would be sure to draw the ire of Jericho. To have his underlings carrying gold while he’s empty handed.
Plus, and I’m sticking to this theory, Cody is going to turn heel. It could take losing the TNT Championship after a beating from the monstrous Hager to push him into Evil Cody territory.
2. Shawn Spears
I’m going to keep saying this until someone at AEW listens.
They left a lot on the table when they closed the door on the Cody vs. Spears feud at AEW All Out. Becoming TNT Champion could give Spears the motivation to take the fight back to the American Nightmare.
Having paired up with MJF, another prominent Cody foe, at recent AEW: Dynamite events, Spears clearly still has his sights on the grandson of a plumber.
And his loss to Dustin Rhodes at Double Or Nothing (in embarrassing fashion, no less) could drive him to a dangerous place.
A dangerous place that could help him the TNT Championship.
1. Darby Allin
It has to be Darby Allin. If there’s any semblance of logic in the universe, the second TNT Champion must be Darby Allin.
Cody has lots of history with everyone on this list except Orange Cassidy. But his matches with Allin have made for the first major rivalry in AEW history.
Allin and Cody went to a brutal time-limit draw at last summer’s Fyter Fest, and they’ve since battled twice on AEW: Dynamite.
Darby Allin has built a truckload of momentum in that time and, along with MJF, has become AEW’s biggest “homegrown” (I know they weren’t really, shut up) talent.
When Cody’s run TNT Championship ends, Darby Allin’s will begin.