This past week on AEW Dynamite, Darby Allin dropped his TNT Championship to a dominant Miro, who has been demanding championship competition since splitting from his accomplice, Kip Sabian. Miro’s stock has skyrocketed since nabbing his first title under the AEW banner, and has never looked better with some new gold around his waist.
With Double or Nothing on the horizon, it begs the question of who will be the first challenger to step up to face Miro for the TNT Championship. The beauty of the mid-card title is that pretty much anyone could enter the fray, so let’s take a look at five AEW wrestlers that could face the former ‘Bulgarian Brute’ in his first title defence.
1. Orange Cassidy
‘Freshly Squeezed’ Orange Cassidy has become one of AEW’s unsung heroes over the past year, putting together some iconic feuds with the likes of Chris Jericho and PAC. With his first-ever AEW Championship opportunity coming as part of the main event of Double or Nothing, it begs the question of whether or not he has it in him to be the flag bearer for the biggest wrestling promotion outside of WWE at this stage of his career.
Personally, I don’t see Cassidy being able to manage the weight of AEW Champion right now. Kenny Omega is killing it with his ‘belt collector’ gimmick, maintaining a buzz around himself and the brand as a whole as he continues to break down the Forbidden Door between them and the rest of the industry. Cassidy could very well be AEW Champion sometime in the future, but now is not the time.
However, the fact he’s featured so heavily shows that AEW have a lot of faith in his unique style and his likeability amongst the fans. Cassidy could easily be the ‘Rob Van Dam’ of AEW, killing it as the babyface star of the mid-card scene as he works towards his first TNT Championship. It would be the perfect position for Cassidy to be moulded further towards becoming a future main-event talent, while willing over the last few fans who aren’t on the Orange Cassidy hype train.
Plus, with the added history between Miro and the Best Friends, this makes for a perfect conclusion to their story, with the TNT title in the centre of it all.
2. Adam Page
‘Hangman’ Adam Page has taken a bit of a backseat during the rise of Kenny Omega, despite originally being one of the first challengers for the AEW Championship. It could very well be that Page’s crowning comes at the expense of Omega, whenever that time comes, but in the meantime he could easily slot himself into the TNT Championship picture to remind everyone of his potential.
After dispatching of Brian Cage and Team Taz after Double or Nothing, Page would be considered one of the top ranked singles stars in the division, setting him up for a shot at either Omega or Miro’s titles. At this stage, I’d rather see Page duke it out with the former WWE star, giving Miro a high-profile AEW feud to add to his repertoire.
‘Hangman’ could pose a huge threat to Miro’s championship reign, especially with the Dark Order at his side.
3. Eddie Kingston
‘The Mad King’ is in line for a Tag Team Championship spot alongside Jon Moxley at Double or Nothing, but whether or not he and his frenemy walk away with gold is up for debate. Kingston has rightfully earned his place in AEW and without a doubt deserves a championship run at some point in the future. With Moxley putting his focus into his IWGP United States Championship, this leaves Kingston open for a shot at the mid-card title.
Miro and Kingston could put together one heck of a hoss-off, with both men favouring a more physical in-ring style. Hopefully this will allow Miro to really go to town with this new monstrous side he’s displaying on Dynamite, and cement Eddie as one of the leading babyface stars on the brand.
Much like Orange Cassidy, Kingston could be the modern mid-card hero, similarly to RVD, Booker T and Christian Cage before him. If anyone’s worthy of that moniker, then it’d be a tenured wrestler like Eddie Kingston.
4. Jungle Boy
‘Jungle Boy’ Jack Perry has seemingly disappeared from the spotlight along with his Jurassic buddies, comfortably sitting in the Tag division awaiting his big moment. AEW have seen something special in the young high-flyer, and there’s a tonne of potential left to be explored in his singles career. Whether or not AEW are ready to pull the trigger on Jungle Boy this year, it’d be great to see him featured a little more on Dynamite.
Jungle Boy could be a fantastic underdog challenger to Miro’s TNT Championship, bumping like mad for the big European as he continues to develop his heavy-hitting persona. Jungle Boy’s fan following would easily carry him through a TNT title match, making for a truly exciting bout for either a special episode of Dynamite or even a pay-per-view.
Let’s hope this will be the start of big things for Jungle Boy as his budding career continues to evolve in All Elite Wrestling.
5. Paul Wight
‘No More BS’ Paul Wight has been an integral part of AEW throughout 2021, digging his heels in as part of the commentary team on Dark: Elevation and promising an in-ring return as part of the AEW roster when the time’s right. Paul Wight is going to be a huge draw for the company when he does choose to lace the boots, so why not feature him as part of a major feud with fellow former WWE alumni, Miro.
This doesn’t mean that Miro has to drop said championship to the former World Champion, Wight would likely refuse to be put over by a young gun like Miro, who’s currently wrestling in his prime on AEW. Regardless, a match between he and the TNT Champion would do wonders for both wrestlers, giving Miro a huge feud and an equally big win to add to his legacy, and Wight a match worthy of his name.
Paul Wight and Miro have of course butted heads in the past, but seeing both men unleashed with no creative limits would be a treat for all fans.
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