Battle Of The Belts V
Date: January 6, 2023
Location: Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
We’re back with another of these shows that doesn’t feel like all that important to AEW. It’s another three match card and all of them have titles on the line. This includes a rematch from Dynamite, where the Acclaimed retained the Tag Team Titles over Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. This time it’s No DQ though so let’s get to it.
We open with Darby Allin leaving the ring after his Rampage main event.
Tag Team Titles; Jay Lethal/Jeff Jarrett vs. Acclaimed
The Acclaimed is defending, No Holds Barred, and Satnam Singh/Sonjay Dutt/Billy Gunn are here too. The champs get jumped from behind before the bell and the fight is on fast. Lethal gets a Figure Four on Bowens on the ramp but it gets broken up rather quickly. We settle down to a regular tag match with Bowens grabbing a Blockbuster to take over.
Caster comes in, runs the ropes, drops to the floor and punches Singh in the face (no effect) as everything breaks down again. Jarrett saves Lethal from Scissor My Timbers, setting up a double strut as we take a break. Back with Bowens and Lethal slugging it out until Bowens blasts him with a clothesline. The double tag brings in Caster and Jarrett, with the former cleaning house. An Angle Slam drops Jarrett and, after pulling off the invisible straps, Caster grabs the ankle lock.
With that broken up, Singh takes out Caster, leaving Bowens to hit the running jumping Fameasser. The referee got bumped in there somewhere so it’s a second one sliding in to count the late two. Jarrett grabs the guitar but Gunn makes the save and blasts Singh with the guitar. A Stroke takes Gunn down but Jarrett walks into an AA from Caster.
Singh chokeslams both champs though and then does it to the referee as well. Dutt puts the referee shirt on (Jericho: “It even matches his black trousers!”) and counts two with Aubrey Edwards coming out to break it up. Then she breaks his pencil and shoves Dutt down, leaving Lethal to get caught with the Arrival and the Mic Drop to retain the titles at 10:53.
Rating: C. Well that was a lot. I’ve never quite gotten the concept of starting with rules and then breaking down into no rules but that’s a modern wrestling issue. What got me here was Edwards going after Dutt, as if ANYTHING he did would have mattered in the first place. That came off as a spectacle for the save of involving the referee in a match that was already way overloaded. Gunn’s guitar shot to Singh was good but that was about it for the decent weapons stuff. Total insanity here and I absolutely didn’t need to see these teams fight twice in three days.
Will Hobbs has the Book Of Hobbs with him, which includes everything that has happened to him. Now it’s going to happen to you.
Eddie Kingston and Ortiz aren’t sure what is going on with the House of Black but they’ll fight next week on Rampage.
TBS Title: Jade Cargill vs. Skye Blue
Jade, with Leila Grey, is defending. Blue goes right at her to start and snaps off a crucifix for two. After a quick breather on the floor, Jade comes back in and knocks her to the floor with a rather hard forearm. A chokeslam on the ramp plants Blue again but cue Red Velvet to stare Cargill down from the stage.
We take a break and come back with Blue snapping off a rather spinning headscissors. One heck of a pump kick drops Blue though and it’s Velvet coming down to check on her. Back in and Jaded is countered into a victory roll for two, followed by Code Blue for the same. Blue loads up a springboard hurricanrana but Jade catches her and spins it (after a few movements) into Jaded to retain at 9:13.
Rating: C+. They were working here and that finish was awesome. There is something really impressive about Cargill managing to manipulate a full sized human around like that into Jaded and she made it look easy. Blue was putting in the effort, but as I’ve said multiple times now: until they put Jade in there with some big name, there is little reason to believe the title is in serious jeopardy.
The Firm is ready for Junglehook (yes, combining names is very clever) on Dynamite.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Video on Ruby Soho/Willow Nightingale vs. Ruby Soho/Tay Melo in a street fight next week on Rampage.
All-Atlantic Title: Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian
Sabian, with Penelope Ford, is challenging and Danhausen here is with Cassidy. They start fast with a more ticked off than usual Cassidy getting headlocked. That earns Sabian a bunch of right hands, meaning it’s time for a breather on the floor. Cue the Bunny so Sabian can hide behind the women, which is enough of a distraction for a cheap shot on Cassidy.
Hold on though as Danhausen loads up the curse, only to have Sabian bite his finger. The distraction lets Cassidy hit the suicide dive, followed by the Stundog Millionaire back inside. They head back outside though, with Sabian hitting a hanging neckbreaker to the floor. We take a break and come back with Cassidy still in trouble, though he avoids the reverse Cannonball.
Cassidy knocks him off the top but Bunny grabs the leg. That’s enough for an ejection for both Bunny and Danhausen so here are Butcher and Blade to beat up Danhausen. Cassidy and Sabian slug it out, with Sabian trying his own lazy strikes. That wakes Cassidy up but Sabian knees him in the face for two.
Another hanging neckbreaker gets two on Cassidy so Sabian hits his own Orange Punch. Cassidy fights back up and the Beach Break gets two. The frustration makes Cassidy hammer away in the corner until he accidentally shoves the referee away. Sabian tries to go after him again but back to back Orange Punches finish to retain the title at 16:44.
Rating: B-. So Cassidy wins over Sabian, who isn’t exactly the most enthralling opponent. They did something with Sabian getting underneath Cassidy’s skin but that doesn’t really make up for a lot of Sabian’s flaws. I know he has been around since the beginning but I’ve still yet to have much of a reason to get interested in anything he does. Cassidy continues to own Friday night and that’s a good place for him as the fans still love everything he does.
Overall Rating: C+. That’s the latest Battle Of The Belts and while it was certainly entertaining enough, it still doesn’t feel important. That has been the biggest flaw of this series since it started and nothing about this changed it. AEW might be better off by having an expanded Rampage instead of one of these, as that’s pretty much what you got here. It was good on its own and combined with Rampage, this was a rather nice two hour Friday night show.
Acclaimed b. Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal – Mic Drop to Lethal
Jade Cargill b. Skye Blue – Jaded
Orange Cassidy b. Kip Sabian – Orange Punch
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