Tony Khan: The TNT Championship Is Not A ‘Mid-Card’ Title, I Will Never Book It Like That
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling
Tony Khan says the TNT Championship will always be treated with prestige in AEW.
During Thursday’s AEW All Out media call, Tony Khan was asked about the position of the TNT Championship as a ‘mid-card’ title in the company. Khan was adamant that the title wasn’t seen that way by him, noting that it’s only been held by stars thus far.
“It’s not a ‘mid-card’ championship. The only people that have held the belt are Cody, Brodie Lee, may he rest in peace, Darby Allin and Miro, so I don’t consider it, I don’t book it like a ‘mid-card’ championship,” Khan said. “I’m looking at it as a top championship that stars hold, so I will take exception [to that idea] right off the bat.”
Khan was then asked how he feels like each champion has been able to elevate the title and give it prestige early in its run. Khan used thermodynamics to explain how they’ve been able to keep the TNT Championship as a hot title, noting how timing has been paramount in booking each respective champion.
“That is the key to the championship, is that none of the champions have been a stretch. Thermodynamics—heat is passed from a warmer body to a cooler body. If you have a hot belt and take a cold wrestler and say ‘I can heat this guy up,’ the problem with that is that you cool off the belt. So the key to this belt has been, in my opinion, from the beginning, it’s been hot matches, hot issues. It’s been pushed on television and the champion has always been a protected star. It would not have been right for Darby to win the first tournament,” Khan noted, “and Darby was a huge part of the tournament. He went to the semifinals and lost to Cody before the Cody/Lance Archer match at the pay-per-view because it was part of the build for Darby finally winning the title. Cody and Darby had a classic match at Full Gear, a great pay-per-view even though we were at 25 percent capacity.
“I thought it was one of the best wrestling shows anyone did all year, period. And really for me, I just think it wouldn’t have made sense where he was at that point. [Darby] had to get red hot for it to be the right time for him and same for Brodie and Miro. They are huge, huge stars and neither one of them came in and won the TNT title their first week,” Khan stated. “They really were built up and built steam and solidified their place in the fans’ eyes, so I think the belt has been very protected and I think that’s why it is not a ‘mid-card’ championship and I never intend for the TNT title to ever become a ‘mid-card’ championship.”
Khan went on to talk about how there have been other titles in wrestling that have been treated as a “secondary” championship or a mid-card title, alluding to the WWE Intercontinental Championship’s previous identity as the workhorse title. Khan questioned what bouncing a title around did for its value, then closed by saying he wouldn’t do it to the TNT Championship.
“It’s really near and dear to my heart, and I think protecting the title is a key thing. We look at other quote-unquote ‘mid-card’ championships and that’s how they became [seen that way]. There’s other belts in wrestling, and I think we all know the one I’m talking about,” Khan noted. “That used to be really protected, that used to really mean something really important. It’s been batted around, retired, it’s been brought back, but what does it even mean anymore? I never will let [the TNT title] be that.”
If you use this transcript, credit WrestleZone and link back to this post.