Recently, All Elite Wrestling Dynamite featured the semi-finals of the TNT Championship Tournament. In the main event, Archer dominantly defeated Dustin Rhodes to advance to the finals. And in the opener of the night, Dustin’s younger brother Cody Rhodes fought Darby Allin. The former beat the latter to advance into the finals after a somewhat controversial finish.
After Darby jumps off of the top turnbuckle to deliver his thus far protected finisher, the Coffin Drop, onto Cody Rhodes, Cody no-sells the move, instead immediately putting Darby in a match-winning “pin.” After the finish, many fans were confused as to what just transpired. Upon replay, they saw what was supposed to be a pin, with Cody’s shoulder lifted but Darby’s shoulders down. The referee counted the “pin” despite there being no purposeful effort on Cody’s end to pin Darby. Darby himself was under the impression he was doing the pin until the referee counted to three, and Cody’s music blared out instead of his.
The controversial finish not just weakens Cody’s claim for the TNT Championship, the belt itself would look far better on a dominant monster like Archer. However, the match itself, arguably, should have been won by Darby. Considering how predictable a Cody vs. Archer finals was, AEW would’ve been wise to go with Archer vs. Darby, simultaneously showing fans that AEW isn’t as predictable or formulaic as fans initially thought. Instead, the finals, set to take place May 23’s Double or Nothing 2020 PPV, would be between Cody and Archer, a match-up that might not quite need the TNT Championship for its story.
The TNT Championship is, of course, a mid-card title, specially made for wrestlers not in the main event scene, currently occupied by AEW World Champion Jon Moxley and the Inner Circle as well as the Elite. A belt such as this would look weak being a prop in a feud between two established wrestlers such as Cody and Archer, with Cody being a former major challenger for the AEW World Championship and the 43-year-old Archer being a former US Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The tournament would’ve been the perfect chance to push young talent such as Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin, both of whom have lost to Cody in the past. Although Lance Archer as the inaugural TNT Champion might be beneficial for establishing the TNT title, it would have been more logical to have him face a younger, unproven talent such as Darby who better represents the kind of opponents that would be after Archer’s title if he were to win. A Cody vs. Archer finals completely overshadows much of the younger roster as well as the entire mid-card scene.
Cody vs. Archer could’ve happened without the tournament and belt involved. Instead, this would’ve been the ideal time to push Darby. A Darby vs. Archer finals, even if Darby were to lose, would’ve been an incredible rub for the already over youngster. Moving forward, AEW would be wise to focus the TNT Championship around up-and-coming mid-card talent, instead of using it as a prop in feuds between veteran stars who do not need the legitimacy of a mid-card title.
AEW's decision to have Cody Rhodes win over Darby Allin to move on to the TNT Tournament finals at Double or Nothing was a huge mistake, here's why.