Battle Of The Belts III
Date: August 6, 2022
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Taz, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
It’s time for another of these specials and I’m not sure what to expect from something like this. AEW does not seem to be the most interested in running these shows but that very well might have a lot to do with the shows being network mandates. At least we should get some good action so let’s get to it.
TNT Title: Jay Lethal vs. Wardlow
Lethal, with Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh, is challenging. Wardlow shoves him around to start and a big toss sends Lethal outside. Lethal gets in a cheap shot though and scores with an enziguri back inside. A tilt-a-whirl slam gets Wardlow out of trouble but Lethal knocks him outside for the suicide dive. That means Lethal can get in the strut before wrapping Wardlow’s leg around the post. We take a break and come back with Lethal having to escape the powerbomb. Instead Wardlow goes with a clothesline to turn Lethal inside out and the powerbomb retains Wardlow’s title at 7:19.
Rating: C+. Wardlow wasn’t losing the title so soon into his reign but having Lethal in there made for a good match. Lethal is able to make almost anyone look better, even if he isn’t likely to be a major threat to the title. Wardlow could be champion for a rather long time and having him win matches like these is only going to boost his credibility.
Post match Wardlow gets jumped by the rest of the villains, with Singh putting his foot on Wardlow’s chest as Lethal applies the Figure Four. Lethal lets go so Wardlow fights up and kicks Singh low. The powerbomb is loaded up but Lethal makes the save, allowing Singh to chokeslam Wardlow through a table. I could go for a nice long break between table spots.
Women’s Title: Jamie Hayter vs. Thunder Rosa
Hayter, with Britt Baker and Rebel, is challenging while Rosa has Toni Storm with her. Rosa gets jumped fast, with Baker and Rebel being rather pleased at ringside. Some choking in the corner keeps Rosa in trouble but she knocks Hayter outside. A whip into the barricade cuts Rosa off but she’s back with a DDT on the floor. Baker grabs the title belt though and the distraction lets Hayter knock her off the top for a crash.
We take a break and come back with Rosa catching Hayter on top but getting dropped with a brainbuster. Baker and Storm get in a fight on the floor with Storm hitting a tornado DDT off the steps. The distraction lets Rosa grab a rollup for two, followed by another rollup to retain the title at 11:28.
Rating: C+. Another nice enough match here with Rosa surviving to retain the title, as she gets built up a bit more. I’m not sure I can imagine her surviving her next big title match, as you can probably pencil Storm in for the All Out shot. Rosa’s title reign hasn’t been a disaster, but it has never risen above a certain level and that is rather telling most of the time.
Video on FTR.
Here’s what’s coming on upcoming shows.
Ring Of Honor World Title: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita
Castagnoli is defending and William Regal is on commentary. Neither can hit a hard shot to start and it’s an early standoff. Takeshita is taken down with a test of strength and Castagnoli monkey flips him over, meaning it’s time for a handshake. A hiptoss takes Castagnoli down for a change but a running shoulder puts Takeshita down instead.
Castagnoli gets knocked outside where he avoids a slingshot dive. Back in and Castagnoli plants him for two as we take a break. Back with Takeshita hitting a middle rope hurricanrana and knocking Castagnoli outside, setting up the big running flip dive. They get back in with Castagnoli catching him on top with a gutwrench superplex for two, setting up the giant swing.
Takeshita catches him with a running big boot in the corner though and a Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. A turnbuckle DDT sets up a frog splash for two more on Castagnoli, who elbows him out of the air. The Crossface is countered with a rollup to give Takeshita two and he hits a clothesline for the same.
A running knee into the brainbuster gets another near fall on Castagnoli, who blocks a powerbomb. Back up and a double stomp to the ribs looks to set up the Riccola Bomb but Takeshita reverses into a hurricanrana for two. The Death Valley Driver drops Takeshita though and its the hammer and anvil elbows to rock Takeshita again. The Riccola Bomb retains the title at 19:52.
Rating: B+. This felt like an old school Ring Of Honor World Title match, as there was no major story here but they had a heck of a fight anyway. It was never about anger between the two of them but rather about being the best. They tore the house down here and had a pretty excellent match, which is exactly what you have someone like Castagnoli here to go. Very good stuff here as Takeshita continues to be unable to do wrong.
Overall Rating: B. As usual, this was a show that was completely skippable, but there was enough good action that it’s worth your time, especially the awesome main event. It’s also really hard to complain about a show that is only an hour long as it hardly overstays its welcome. This felt like a show where they threw some matches together and told the wrestlers to carry things and that worked out well. Nice stuff here, and check out the main event if you have time.
Wardlow b. Jay Lethal – Powerbomb
Thunder Rosa b. Jamie Hayter – Rollup
Claudio Castagnoli b. Konosuke Takeshita – Riccola Bomb
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