Saturday night wrestling returns this week as All Elite Wrestling’s Dynamite will take place on the 22nd, rather than its usual Wednesday night time-slot. The show will feature the TNT Title open challenge for Cody’s championship, with the leader of The Dark Order, Mr. Brodie Lee, stepping up to challenge the newly named ‘Prince of pro wrestling’.
Inaugural champion Cody has regularly defended the championship since May, putting on stunning performances with up-and-coming talent as he does so. ‘The Exalted One’, meanwhile, debuted in March and has sparsely wrestled in singles competition, with his most notable singles appearance coming as a loss to AEW Champion Jon Moxley at Double Or Nothing in May.
Since the initial tournament to determine the inaugural champion, the matches for the TNT Title have been arguably fairly predictable in their outcome, with most fans accepting that Cody will retain but the match will nonetheless be an exciting and suspenseful showcase for the talent in the ring with him. This Saturday, however, could be an entirely different story, with Brodie Lee coming across as a viable threat to Cody’s reign.
Should ‘The Exalted One’ dethrone ‘The American Nightmare’? There are reasons for and against both outcomes, as we’ll explore now.
A strong leader
The revitalised former Luke Harper has made his impact on Dynamite more so through his imposing appearance and talking ability, both in his intense in-ring promos and mob boss themed out-of-ring vignettes. Due to his limited engagement in one-on-one action in AEW, the times Mr. Brodie Lee does step into the ring without his Dark Order minions have felt like important events, befitting his status as a cult leader.
But a leader who attacks their followers when they lose matches or show behavioural transgressions needs to demonstrate their power to justify their abuse of it, and capturing the TNT Title would achieve this for Lee. As noted, Lee came up short in his pursuit of the world title, and so it would not do him much good to fail again.
The Exalted Champion would undoubtedly be a good path for AEW to take, as growing The Dark Order into a more powerful evil entity with a significant presence on the weekly show could be good for the company; it would mean more when up-and-coming babyfaces vanquish the minions, we could see hostile takeover style riots when Lee eventually does lose the championship, and maybe even a faction vs. faction war for control of AEW against Inner Circle.
Also, with Dark Order performing well in tag team action as of late, it is likely that we will see them compete for the Tag Titles at some point, perhaps at All Out. Imagine if Mr. Brodie Lee were to hold a singles title and his minions could capture the World Tag Team Championships. Between holding all the gold and recruiting new people to the group, as with Colt Cabana, The Dark Order would mark themselves out as a threat to be taken seriously in AEW.
Cody’s long-term booking
On the other hand, it may benefit AEW to keep Cody as champion – here’s why. In addition to fantastic action, a great thing to come from the champion’s regular defences of his title has been the story of Cody’s desperation to keep the (formerly silver, now) gold. While the matches are always initially presented as respectful contests between two noble athletes, they then often follow a story of Cody going against his coach Arn Anderson by showing off, the younger talent making him pay for it, and Cody then having to resort to less noble, more vicious tactics to secure the win.
This narrative was switched up for the Eddie Kingston match (in my mind, the best TNT Title bout so far) with Eddie letting Cody know bluntly that he would have to get vicious to win a fight against a veteran like Kingston – which was then proven true as Cody exploited an injury to win.
Ideally this is all part of a long-term story in which Cody will eventually turn heel by full-on cheating in a match to retain his championship. Logically, this will happen during one of the aforementioned ‘two noble athletes, may the best man win’ affairs, not against a flat-out heel such as Mr Brodie Lee. Unfortunately for ‘The Exalted One’ it therefore may be necessary for him to lose to Cody, unless they want to hotshot the title between the two men for a while and then pursue the bigger storyline for the ‘Nightmare’; the climax would then not likely be as impactful with Cody doing everything to prevent losing the title if he’s already lost it before.
So, for the story to continue and lead to a bigger payoff, it would be best for Cody to retain on Saturday. The company could then go ahead with the heel turn on a random Dynamite, which would be perfect as it will catch some fans by surprise, give Cody some more interesting character development to work with, and make a star out of the up-and-coming underdog who would be unjustly screwed out of their first championship because the cowardly Cody couldn’t handle being beaten.
Ultimately, either outcome will lead to exciting programming, and the match itself is sure to be great. More than anything, what I’m most excited for is to be watching wrestling on a Saturday again, and I think we’re all looking forward to this match that may well be Saturday night’s main event.
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