Cody Rhodes became the inaugural All Elite Wrestling TNT Champion at this year’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view. Since then, he’s revealed plans to defend the title in open challenge matches, and his opponents won’t be limited to wrestlers employed by AEW.
As documented by Sportskeeda, Rhodes took to Twitter over the weekend and revealed that non-AEW wrestlers are eligible to compete for the title. This will certainly add some excitement to the matches, as the idea of anyone showing up will please fans.
The tweet led to fans speculating about which out-of-company wrestlers Rhodes will face. This provides the company with more opportunities to work with other promotions and independent talents, so it’s more than likely that Rhodes and co. will want to take advantage of that.
AEW has always been open to letting talent wrestle elsewhere in an effort to support the independent scene. They have also brought performers in from other promotions to compete on episodes of Dynamite. Perhaps fans will see more of the latter moving forward.
AEW has working relationships with Mexico’s AAA and China’s Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, so bringing in performers from these promotions seems likely. However, this is also a way of creating more dream matches for Rhodes against competitors from other notable promotions.
AEW might also use these open challenge matches to introduce new signees to weekly television. As The Inquisitr recently reported, Zack Ryder has teased an upcoming match with Rhodes. Ryder — whose real name is Matt Cardona — is expected to join AEW when his 90-day non-compete clause from WWE expires, and this could be a potential way to bring him into the fold.
While many fans are focusing on which outside competitors will participate, the TNT Championship will also be used to elevate current AEW talents. The company boasts a large roster, many of whom are wrestlers who have rarely competed on Dynamite or have yet to make their debuts. This will help them get more air time.
The TNT Championship rule is similar to WWE having John Cena defend the United States Championship in open challenge matches a few years ago. While the company didn’t bring in performers from outside of WWE, they did pit Cena against several rising stars and underutilized talents, and the caliber of the matches elevated the wrestlers and brought more prestige to the title.
This ruling has made TNT Championship matches must-see television, and gives wrestling fans yet another reason to tune into Dynamite every week.