AEW Has Devalued The TNT Championship

Sammy Guevara TNT Championship

One thing that AEW has always been commended for in its lifetime is the presentation of its championships. Every championship is presented as a rich prize for the roster to fight over, this event extended to the company’s secondary titles. At least, it did. Following Battle of The Belts 2, it’s hard to see the TNT Championship on the level it once occupied.  Short reigns and poor decisions have devalued a championship once held to a much higher standard. But, how did we get here? Let’s take a look

The Decline of The TNT Championship

A Foundation

In May of 2020 AEW crowned the first TNT Champion. Cody Rhodes emerged as the winner of a tournament and put his name in the history books as the inaugural champion. During this time Cody was the beating heart of AEW, its fan-favorite ace. Due to Cody’s inability to challenge for the AEW World Championship, the TNT title became HIS world championship.

Cody’s reign featured an exciting open challenge that opened the door for exciting newcomers to get their shot on the biggest stage. The TNT title didn’t subscribe to any rankings, it was about opportunity, an opportunity to take on the best AEW had to offer and prove yourself. In this way, the TNT title developed an identity of its own, a unique purpose that made it important.

And then, along came Mr. Brodie Lee. In one of the most shocking events in AEW history, the Dark Order leader destroyed Cody in just 3 minutes to become champion. This destruction was unlike anything AEW had ever done before, especially not in a title match between two pushed commodities.

It was Cody who won the title back from Brodie Lee in one of the most stereotypical wrestling angles ever. The defeated hero returning to vanquish his foe in a bloody war, it’s a storyline as old as most of AEWs roster and it was refreshing to see such simple stories play out for a championship. You have to remember, at this time Cody was essentially the ace of AEW, booking him to overcome a monster was a great move. And then, the Championship went in a different direction.

The Legacy Building

Darby Allin defeated Cody at Full Gear 2020 to become TNT Champion. It was this title win and subsequent reign that elevated Darby Allin to a legitimate main event level talent in AEW. Not only had Allen defeated Cody, a rival since the budding days of the promotion, but he brought back the Open Challenge aspect. Allin was a take on all challengers style of champion, another who offered an opportunity to all who wanted one, and in the process, both he and the TNT Championship became synonymous with exciting matches.

Darby Allin’s reign was eventually brought to an end by Miro, the former Rusev doing some of the best work of his career. Miro’s reign was similar to the previous reigns, except for one key detail. Miro wasn’t elevating opponents by offering them opportunities. No, Miro was obliterating anyone that dared take his precious championship away. While at times this reign didn’t deliver in-ring, Miro still felt like a massively important name in AEW and one that valued this championship above all else.

Miro was defeated in the end by Sammy Guevara, and this, this is where things started to go south for the championship.

A Title in Decline

Let’s start off by saying that there is nothing wrong with Sammy Guevara. In fact, his original TNT Championship reign started off fairly well. He too had an open challenge and was putting on consistently entertaining matches as champion. The TNT Championship again felt like a title of opportunity, one that allowed those outside the main event picture to showcase their talents.

But then, he lost to Cody. Only to win it back within a month in a ladder match. This quick switch felt nothing like the Cody/Brodie Lee arc but Cody putting over Guevara felt like a way to kickstart Guevara’s time as champion. Until Guevara lost to Scorpio Sky just a month later.

Nothing against Scorpio Sky as a talent, but his supposed year-long build up to the win took place almost entirely on AEW Dark and AEW Dark: Elevation. Before beating Guevara for the title Sky’s last singles match on Dynamite or Rampage was in March of 2021 when he lost to Darby Allin in a TNT Championship match.

Now, there is of course some room for a weasely midcard heel to lose the title. So, we waited to see who would be the valiant babyface to dethrone Sky. Well, it was Sammy Guevara.. Yes, just weeks after losing the title to Sky it was time for Guevara to become a three-time champion. The difference now, however, is the crowd has completely turned on Guevara.

This title, once presented so well is now resembling something fresh out of WWE’s midcard with an undeserving heel cheating to win, a babyface the crowd doesn’t like, and a title getting thrown around from holder to holder.

The TNT Championship isn’t beyond salvaging, AEW’s roster is stacked with talent who could easily bring it back to it’s previous status, but the title’s recent path has been a damaging one in many ways.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. As well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TBS and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube. AEW Rampage airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night.