All Elite Wrestling has firmly established the TNT Championship as one of its most protected titles. Each of its first four champions — Cody Rhodes, Brodie Lee, Darby Allin and Miro — won the title in memorable fashion and put on outstanding matches on AEW Dynamite and pay-per-view. But while some fans still view it as the company’s midcard championship under the AEW World Championship, AEW president Tony Khan has firmly pushed against that idea.
“It’s not a midcard championship,” Khan said while on a media conference call on Thursday ahead of All Out. “The only people that have held it are Cody, Brodie Lee (rest in peace), Darby Allin and Miro. I’m not booking it like a midcard championship, I’m booking as a top championship that stars hold.
“That is the key to the championship is none of the champions have been a stretch,” he continued. “In thermodynamics, heat is passed from a warmer body to a cooler body. If you have a hot belt and you take a cold wrestler and you say ‘I can heat this guy up by putting the belt on him,’ the problem with that is that you cool off the belt. So the key to this belt from the beginning it’s been hot matches, hot issues, been pushed on television and the champion has always been a protected star.”
He then went on to explain why he held off on Allin (who holds the record for longest reign at over half a year) from winning the championship until he was at his peak popularity.
Khan finished his comments by inferring he’ll never treat the TNT like WWE has treated its midcard championships. While the Intercontinental Championship was once used to main event pay-per-views and live events, it now has a fraction of that prestige
“I think protecting the title is really the key thing, and when you look at other ‘midcard championships,’ that’s how they became midcard championships,” Khan said. “There’s other belts in wrestling, and I think we all know the one I’m talking about, that used to be really protected, used to mean something really important and it’s been battered around, retired… and I never will let this be that.”
Check out the full lineup for All Out below! The show will take place this Sunday at the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
- AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage
- AEW World Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Bros. (Steel Cage Match)
- AEW Women’s World Championship: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander
- AEW TNT Championship: Miro vs. Eddie Kingston
- CM Punk vs. Darby Allin
- Chris Jericho vs. MJF
- Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima
- Paul Wight vs. QT Marshall
- Women’s Casino Battle Royale: Thunder Rosa vs. Big Swole vs. Nyla Rose vs. The Bunny vs. Julia Hart vs. Red Velvet vs. Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford vs. Diamante vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Emi Sakura vs. Jade Cargill vs. Kiera Hogan vs. Abadon vs. Leyla Hirsch vs. KiLynn King vs. Rebel vs. Jaimie Hayter vs. Anna Jay vs. TBA
- (Buy-In) Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta and Jurassic Express vs. Matt Hardy, Private Party and TH2