Battle Of The Belts II
Date: April 16, 2022
Location: Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, Texas
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks
It’s time for another special as AEW is back with a focus on the titles. That could make for a big night, as we are fresh off a World Title match this week on Rampage. This show is another hour long deal, which tends to mean a focus on in ring action. AEW tends to thrive there so let’s get to it.
TNT Title: Scorpio Sky vs. Sammy Guevara
Sky, with the rest of the Men of the Year is defending while Guevara has Tay Conti with him. Guevara gets knocked back to start and Sky hammers away before things reset a bit. They fight over a suplex attempt before Guevara clotheslines him down. A backflip over Sky sets up a dropkick to the floor, with the fans not being so pleased with Guevara. Sky slams him on the floor and a mostly missed TKO over the top rope sends them both back outside. We take a break and come back with Sky hitting a pair of backbreakers.
The fans want a third so Sky gives them one, and even bends Guevara’s back over the knee. Guevara fights up and hits a standing Spanish Fly for a breather before going up for the 630. Ethan Page breaks that up so Conti gets in an argument with Page, allowing Guevara to hit a top rope shooting star onto Page and Sky. Back in and the springboard cutter gets two on Sky, setting up a rollup for the same, even with Conti adding an assist. Cue Paige VanZant to brawl with Conti, which is enough for Guevara to hit Sky low. The GTH gives Guevara the pin and the title at 12:42.
Rating: B-. That’s the first major step towards Guevara and Conti being full on heels and that is a good idea. They are one of the easiest to dislike pairs in AEW and turning them is going to be a heck of a moment. That being said, Sky’s title reign feels pretty lame and I could have gone for more of the Men of the Year bragging about the title. Pretty good match to start the show and it’s nice to see a title change, though this is about the future more than anything else.
Ring Of Honor World Title: Dalton Castle vs. Jonathan Gresham
Castle, with the Boys, is challenging. They go technical to start with Castle having to grab the rope to escape an armbar. More grappling goes to Gresham but Castle Peacocks up. A springboard hurricanrana takes him back down though and Gresham wants him to bring it. There’s a dropkick to drop Castle and we take a break.
Back with Gresham missing a dive to the floor before heading back inside where they miss a bunch of chops in the corner. Castle misses the Bang A Rang and they trade rollups for some near falls each. With that not working for Gresham, he pulls Castle into an Octopus on the mat for the tap to retain at 10:30.
Rating: C+. More or less just a showcase match for Gresham, but Castle’s flamboyance and facials alone are going to get him over if he is around here for that long. It’s one of the most unique looking presentations in wrestling and he can do enough in the ring to back it up. Gresham feels like a star though and his size issues are completely forgiven due to how sharp he is in the ring.
Respect is shown post match….but here are Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh to interrupt. Singh double chokeslams the Boys and there’s a Lethal Injection to Gresham. Singh goes after Gresham so here is Lee Moriarty for a failed save attempt. The injured Matt Sydal gets in the ring and is beaten down as well but Samoa Joe makes the real save with a lead pipe. This still feels very, very WWE.
Here’s what’s coming up on various shows.
Quick video on Nyla Rose challenging Thunder Rosa for the Women’s Title.
Women’s Title: Nyla Rose vs. Thunder Rosa
Rosa is defending and there is no Vickie Guerrero. They fight on the floor to start with Rose driving her up against the barricade. A bulldog on the floor puts Rose down for a change and there’s a ram into the barricade to keep her in trouble. Back in and a missile dropkick gives Rosa two, setting up the sliding lariat for two.
Rose fights up but gets low bridged to the floor. Rosa’s charge is countered into an apron bomb though and we take a break. Back with Rosa firing off some running clotheslines to put Rose into the corner. The running corner clothesline sets up a running dropkick but Rose pulls a high crossbody out of the air. A kick to the face rocks Rosa but she’s back with a Code Red for two.
Rose hits a chokeslam (which sends us to a different camera shot) and goes up for….something mistimed, as it seemed that Rosa was supposed to get a boot up but didn’t, leaving Rose to try an ax handle to a downed Rosa instead. Rose’s middle rope legdrop only hits apron though and Rosa rolls her up for two. A World’s Strongest Slam gives Rose the same but Rosa is back with a hurricanrana to retain the title at 14:09.
Rating: C+. Rose is starting to feel like AEW’s version of Kane or Big Show: you can build her up as the big monster but other than her first title reign, she doesn’t win anything of note. There is still something to her because of her size and ability to move, but it’s hard to really buy that she is anything more than the next monster for the champion to slay. Rosa isn’t as interesting as champion as she was when she was chasing the title, but this worked for a special main event.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a better and more interesting show than the first edition, though it is mostly skippable stuff. I like Guevara getting the title back as he and Conti as heels have money written on them, though the other two matches are more “if you have time” situations. All that being said, it’s an hour long show with some good action so it is hardly some disaster or complete waste of time.
Sammy Guevara b. Scorpio Sky – GTH
Jonathan Gresham b. Dalton Castle – Octopus
Thunder Rosa b. Nyla Rose – Hurricanrana
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