Lance Archer and Cody Rhodes finally face off in the final match of the TNT Championship tournament on AEW Double or Nothing tonight. Chad McMahon here, despite a certain rude colleague hoping The Chadster wouldn't show up, to continue Bleeding Cool's live coverage of Double or Nothing. A video package got viewers up to speed on the feud between Cody and Archer. I'm a little surprised this match is happening so soon on the card, but it is a pretty stacked card.
Mike Tyson came out first. The belt looks… interesting. Silver and red with TNT Champion on the plate. Lance Archer came out next with Jake the Snake Roberts. Archer brought a jobber with him and choke-slammed him in the ring. Tyson seemed amused. He handed off the belt to the ref and kept an eye on Jake. Cody came out next with Arn Anderson. Archer told referee Bryce Remsburg he "doesn't give a s**t" about the rules. Archer and Cody declined an opportunity to shake hands before the match.
Cody Rhodes vs. Lance Archer for AEW's TNT Championship
Archer hit the Blackout for the first move of the match, but Cody rolled to the outside. That's a good way to start because Cody can sell for the entire match now. Back inside the ring, Archer went for the claw but Cody reversed into an armband. Archer stood up and stepped on Cody's face to escape. Archer no-sold some chest slaps and forearms. When he tried to run the ropes, Cody grabbed him by the ponytail and tried to hit a Cody Cutter, but Archer shoulder-tackled him and Cody rolled to the outside again.
Outside, Jake the Snake egged Archer on for some violence, Archer tried to pull up one of the ring mats, but Cody rolled in the ring, off the ropes, and hit a dive. He tossed Archer into the railing, but Archer picked Cody up and launched him back to ringside. Some ringside violence ensued and Archer tossed Cody back into the ring. Archer went for a charge into the corner but Cody came back with a running knee. Archer responded with a kick and then gouged Cody's face on the ground. A hammer blow to the back and a face slam into the turnbuckle, then Archer walked the ropes and hit a moonsault for a two-count as Jim Ross played up what a hoss he is.
Archer choked Cody on the ropes and gouged the eyes again, as Tyson watched with pleasure. Archer beat Cody into the corner and hit a big slap. Then he went for a standing vertical suplex but Cody reversed into one of his own, but he dropped him face-first instead of backward. Another suplex attempt from Cody but Archer reversed and duplexes him across the ring. Archer ripped off the turnbuckle pad as the camera caught Tyson yawning.
This is an all-out war between @CodyRhodes & @LanceHoyt!
Who will become the first-ever #TNTChampion?
Order Double or Nothing NOW on all major cable & satellite providers / @BRLive / @FITETV (Intl Fans Only) #AEWDoN pic.twitter.com/iliHBOfyn4
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 24, 2020
Archer charged but Cody dodged and Archer smashed his ribs into the exposed turnbuckle. Cody took advantage with some punches and then wrapped Archer's ribcage around the ring post and pulled from the outside. Back in the ring, Cody went to the top rope, but Archer was up and picked him up into a press slam over the ring post to the floor.
Outside, Archer hit a kick to the face and stood on Cody's neck. Archer jaw jacked with Big Swole in the audience. He choked Cody on the ropes from the outside this time. "He just punked you, bitch," Roberts told her and Ross said Jake must hate women. Inside the ring, Archer hit a sort-of urinage for a two-count and then hammered him with fists. He gouged Cody's… hair? Archer put Cody in the claw and pounded him on the ground. Cody powered up for the comeback and now Tyson was chanting Cody.
Cody rolled escaped and rolled outside for a breather. Archer followed him, and Cody hit a few punches but ended up tossed into the railing. Cody no-sold a kick and hit some forearms on Archer, but Archer no-sold those and took Cody down with one elbow to the face. He applied the face claw again and talked some smack to the camera. Archer rolled in to intimidate the ref as Cody crawled back in. Cody tried another comeback, but Archer rolled him up for a two-count.
Cody reversed out of the pin into a crossface, using Archer's hair n the process. Jake Roberts approached the ringside to distract Cody, and Cody stepped out after him. Archer tried a backdrop but Cody reversed into a DDT, rubbing it in for Jake. Cody tried an Irish whip but Archer reversed into a spinebuster, then pointed at Arn Anderson. Archer climbed to the top rope and took a seat for some reason, but Cody slid outside to the apron and hit a springboard cover on Archer into the ring, but he only got a one-count.
Cody hit some punches and a running knee to the face on Archer, but Archer continued to get up. Cody hit his dad's jabs and bionic elbow, then a Final Reckoning. Cody made indicated a finish and hit a crossroads on Archer, but Archer kicked out big time at two. Next Cody tried a Stinger Splash, complete with the "woo," but Archer no-sold and hit a chokeslam for two. Tyson chanted "Cody" again.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 24, 2020
Here's The Finish
Archer put the face-claw back on and slam Cody's head into the mat a few times. The announcers pointed out that Archer is actually selling now. Archer grabbed Cody's arm again and hit some clubbing blows, then climbed up to walk the ropes again. No way that works twice. As Jake distracted the ref, Arn Anderson climbed up to the apron and knocked Archer's legs out from under him as Archer was crotched on the turnbuckle. Cody hit an avalanche reverse suplex, but referee Paul Turner came out to squeal on Anderson. Anderson was sent to the back. Roberts cheered, but the refs sent him back as well.
Archer hit a belly-to-back suplex on Cody and went for the claw again. Jake the Snake came back out with his snake in a bag, but Tyson for up and took his shirt out. Jake didn't want any of that and backed away. Tyson then turned his attention to Archer and posed on the ramp. Archer went for the Blackout, but Cody reversed into a Crossroads. He held on and picked up for another, and that earned a three-count. Cody is the first TNT Champion for AEW.
The Bottom Line 'Cause Chad Said So
That was a cleaner win for Cody than I expected to see, though Archer was at least a little distracted by Tyson. Nobody got decked by Tyson, which is unfortunate, but I can live with it. Cody celebrated with the belt and it's a moment fans have been waiting for since the launch of AEW.
After the match, an AEW doctor reported on Britt Baker's injuries, which were various tendon and ligament tears. The doctor said the patient is worse than the injury though, calling her "high maintenance." Baker will be on Dynamite Wednesday to announce how long she'll be out of action.