Who is the best TNT Champion? Who is the worst TNT Champion? Find out as we ranking every TNT Champion in AEW from Worst to Best! Who do you think so far is the best man to hold the TNT Championship?
Before AEW broadcast it’s first ever episode of AEW Dynamite, behind the scenes plans were already forming. Cody Rhodes teased a television title, not seen since the days of WCW, as a secondary championship to the AEW World Championship.
However, it would not be until the following Match that AEW would official announce a secondary men’s championship to be added to AEW. Fans speculate what championship it would be. Could it be a AEW Television championship? Or perhaps a Internet Championship, inspired by Zack Ryder’s own creation?
However, few guessed that the belt would be announced as the TNT Championship. It was named for the network that AEW Dynamite was broadcast on, and showed a strong partnership between TNT and AEW.
It was announced that a single elimination, eight man tournament would take place to crown the first ever champion. Fans were excited to see who would take part in the tournament, and more important who would be the first man to take the crown.
In a star studded field featuring some of the top stars in AEW at that time, Cody Rhodes (then just Cody) faced off against Lance Archer in the final at Double or Nothing 2020 to become the first ever TNT Champion.
From then on the belt became a huge feature of AEW, and continues to be to this day. The belt has main evented numerous AEW Dynamite and Rampage shows, and being given the belt shows that you are one of the future stars of AEW, akin to WWE used to do with the Intercontinental Championship.
Here we will rank all the AEW Champions from worst to best. For ease of use, we will be counting putting both of Cody’s reigns together, as to not make the entire thing about Cody Rhodes all the time.
Take not Tony Khan.
Every TNT Champion Ranked
Despite being a fan favourite and long overdue a title run, current TNT Champion Sammy Guevara’s title reign has so far been lacklustre.
He won the championship from Miro. However, it was spot that many fans thought should be for his friend Fuego del Sol instead. However, fans were still ecstatic to see this AEW original holding one of the biggest prizes in AEW. Sammy was part of the first match in the first episode of AEW Dynamite, and it was nice to see him finally achieve gold in AEW.
However, since his victory the TNT Championship has become an afterthought. Sammy Guevara became embroiled in a feud against Dan Lambert and American Top Team, with his faction the Inner Circle. Led by former AEW Champion Chris Jericho, the Inner Circle defeated American Top Team at Full Gear and put an end to the feud, whilst barely mentioning the TNT Championship.
While Sammy Guevara has had some good title defences – such as against Ethan Page and Jay Lethal – but they had very little tension or jeopardy. Whilst Sammy performed brilliantly in the ring, I never bought that he would lose the title that night, something which every great title holder has.
The reign has not been great, but luckily for Sammy he still has time to make it so. Now the feud with Dan Lambert and co is over, he can move on to more great matches for the TNT Championship and trying to move up the ranks on the list of the best TNT Champions in AEW.
Mr Brodie Lee
The late, great Mr Brodie Lee is next on our list of the best and worst TNT Champions. However, despite coming it at number four, don’t be fooled into thinking that he was a bad champion. For my money, only Sammy Guevara is so far not living up to the hype of his Championship run.
Mr Brodie Lee won the championship from Cody Rhodes in one of the most shocking victories in AEW history. He dominated the champion, pinning him with a powerbomb within five minutes of the bell ringing. It was brutal and violent and exactly what personified the leader of the Dark Order.
Brodie Lee only managed two title defences before dropping the title back to Cody. However, he made the title feel like a huge deal, almost on par with Jon Moxley and his AEW Championship.
His two title defences came against Cody’s brother Dustin Rhodes and one of AEW’s top stars in Orange Cassidy. His match against Dustin was an old-school brawl which was stiff but exciting to watch. Brodie Lee’s match against Orange Cassidy was also exceptional, and both one of Brodie Lee’s best match and one of the best Orange Cassidy matches in AEW.
He dropped the title back to Cody in a Dog-Collar match 55 days after winning the title. It was a rarely-used stipulation but in the hands of the two former TNT Champion, it became a brutal and incredibly entertaining match to watch.
That would be Brodie’s last ever wrestling match. He went into hospital not long after that, and passed away on Boxing Day 2020, aged just 40. Had he stayed healthy and remained with us, there is no doubt that he would have had more title reigns, and maybe even a AEW World Championship reign under his belt.
When Darby Allin defeated Cody Rhodes and became the TNT Champion, fans rejoiced. He had quickly become of the most popular wrestlers on the roster and his daredevil style and unique look endeared him to the AEW fans.
Allin defeated Cody Rhodes at AEW Full Gear 2020 to win his first Championship in AEW. He immediately became a fighting champion, with WCW legend Sting by his side. He defended the title eight times over his six month reign, against a wide variety of opponents.
Darby Allin defended the belts in great matches against all-comers, although some argued that the level of his challengers were lesser than some other champions.
While he managed to defeat the likes of Brian Cage and Matt Hardy, his title defences also included lower-card wrestlers like Joey Janela and JD Drake. However, Allin always performed and showed new facets of his character with every title defences.
His reign did start to drag toward the end, but that can be partially attributed to the lack of crowds during the pandemic era. Whilst Darby Allin was a great TNT Champion, the reign ended when it was supposed to and he lost to an even better TNT Champion.
For someone who’s theme song prelude has it’s own prelude, any title reign just had to live up the hype. And as the first ever TNT Champion, the hype for Cody Rhodes’ reign could not have been higher.
When he defeated Lance Archer to become the first champion, some fans though that it was the wrong choice. Archer was the undefeated monster, whilst Cody was just starting to lose some of the goodwill he had from the fans since he helped start AEW.
However, he soon won back the lack-of crowd during the pandemic with one of the best open-challenges in wrestling for a long time. Every week Cody would face a new challenger each week, both AEW contracted workers and some of the hottest names on the independent scene.
During his title reign, Cody Rhodes managed to introduce multiple new faces to the AEW fans. Some even managed to impress enough to earn themselves contracts with AEW. Now stars of the promotion Eddie Kingston and Ricky Starks both made their AEW debuts in losing efforts to Cody, but wowed enough to earn deals from Tony Khan.
He also helped elevate current AEW wrestlers like Jungle Boy and Orange Cassidy during his runs. In his second reign, he only managed two defences, both against Orange Cassidy. The first was a time limit draw, in which Cassidy had Cody beat before the buzzer sounded. Cody retained but the challenger was the star of the show in one of Orange Cassidy’s best ever matches.
He lost the championship twice, to Brodie Lee and Darby Allin, making both men look as strong as possible in victory. His reign will be remembered as one of the high points of a difficult pandemic period. Whilst feeling towards Cody may have soured now, he was one of the best parts of the show during his time as champion.
The honour of being named the best TNT Champion in AEW history has to fall on the wobbly neck of God’s Favourite Champion himself.
“The Redeemer” Miro became one of the best characters in AEW during his chase, and title reign, for the TNT Championship. He completely reinvented himself from his disastrous Gamer gimmick, ditching Kip Sabian at the earliest possible convenience, and going out on his own as a successful singles star.
Miro began speaking to God in his promos, claiming to redeem and forgive those who he destroyed in the wrestling ring. He vowed to be God’s favourite champion and to the win TNT Championship for “my God”
He defeated Darby Allin in May 2021 for the championship, and his character work only improved from there. His devotion to God and promo’s improvement, and he expanded his character in a way that no other champion had.
He did have one weakness, a bad neck which his opponents tried to exploit. As the weeks went on and his list of successful defences grew longer and more impressive, the weakness of his neck became more apparent. He was even almost defeated by AEW Dark legend Fuego Del Sol, due to his penchant for performing Tornado DDT’s.
He was finally defeated by friend of Fuego, Sammy Guevara, who successfully targeted the neck and beat the champion. However, the run expanded on the character of Miro. It helped set him to launch straight into the main event scene at a moments notice.
His matches were entertaining, and showed a new kind of storytelling in AEW. Having each challenger wear down his weak spot until it finally crumbles under the pressure. His run was thoroughly entertaining and was the most successful into building the TNT Champion into a main event star.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.