The SmarK Rant for AEW Battle of the Belts V – 01.06.23
OK, catching up from last night with the other half of the AEW double-header. Rampage was a banger and hopefully they can keep it up with this one. And you know what’s great? No ROH title matches!
Live from Portland, OR
Your hosts are Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone & Chris Jericho
AEW World tag team title, No Holds Barred: The Acclaimed v. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal
Caster calls Jarrett “worse than Vince McMahon” in just about the sickest burn you can deliver this week. And he hasn’t even sold WWE to the Saudi princes yet! He’s just getting started! Big brawl to start and Lethal puts Bowens in the figure-four at the top of the ramp and then rolls him down to ringside in a unique spot. Into the ring, Bowens comes back with a blockbuster on Jeff and then beats Lethal down to set up a double suplex for two. Max decides to slide out and give a cheapshot to Satnam, which seems like a bad idea in a match with no rules, and back in for more double-teaming on Lethal. Jarrett breaks up the Scissor Me Timbers, leaving Jay’s timbers un-scissored, and the heels stop to strut in celebration. On some level, Jarrett reviving his career by trolling the entire AEW fanbase is kind of brilliant. Lethal works a headlock on Bowens while the announcers discuss how you shouldn’t mess with whoever has the pencil if you want to stay employed. Bowens fights out and puts Jay down with a clothesline and it’s back to Caster. Superkick for Jarrett and an Angle slam (Olympia WA slam according to Excalibur, waka waka) sets up an anklelock, so Lethal drops the Black Machismo elbow on the ref to break things up. So now Satnam hauls Caster out and beats on him while Bowens gets the legdrop on Jarrett for two after another ref comes in. Jarrett gets the guitar, but takes too long getting ready and Daddy Ass makes the save. So Bowens retrieves the boombox for a music showdown, but Sanjay takes him out and Satnam goes after Billy and gets El Kabonged as a result. But he shrugs it off and chokeslams the Acclaimed and the new ref, and then Sonjay decides to declares himself the new ref while Lethal hits the Lethal Injection on Bowens. So this brings out super babyface ref Aubrey, who BREAKS THE PENCIL and takes out Dutt, and the Acclaimed drop the mic on Lethal to retain at 10:52. Holy shit this was the craziest damn thing I’ve seen all year and it was FANTASTIC. ***3/4 Granted the year is only 7 days old but STILL.
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs literally has a Book of Hobbs, containing all the blood and pain from his life. Is there a Kindle version of that?
Meanwhile, Ortiz and Eddie discuss the House of Black and their overtures to Kinston, and Ortiz is a tad jealous that no one is talking about HIM. So next week on Rampage, it’s House of Black v. Kingston & Ortiz.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Skye Blue
Skye decides to attack to start and gets caught by Jade, but manages a crucifix pin for two. Sunset flip gets two and Jade bails. Back in, Jade knocks Skye off the apron and puts the boots to her on the floor before hitting a chokeslam on the ramp. So this brings out Red Velvet to continue THAT endless storyline, but Skye beats the count and Jade beats on her in the corner some more. Jade chokes her out on the ropes and Leila adds some punishment as well, and Jade gets a snap suplex for two. Skye fights back and gets beaten down again, but Skye comes back with kicks until Jade puts her down with the pump kick. Skye reverses Jade into a rollup for two and Code Blue gets two. Meanwhile Velvet and Grey are having issues on the floor, and Jade catches Skye to block a rana and hoists her into the Jaded to retain at 9:20. Skye was game here but it’s still the same old same old from Jade. **1/2
Meanwhile, Stokely and the Firm think it’s suitable that they’re fighting the Jungle Hookers in LA, because that’s where talent goes to die. Also, Tay & Anna will be facing Willow & Ruby in a street fight on next week’s Rampage.
AEW All Atlantic title: Orange Cassidy v. Kip Sabian
Orange tries the punch right away and misses, and they battle to a stalemate. So Orange slugs Kip down and beats on him until Sabian bails to the floor and sings some Cranberries. This brings the Bunny out for some extra moral support for Sabian while an angry Danhausen seems to be readying a really big curse. Back in the ring, Kip puts Orange on the floor again and follows with a moonsault to the floor and a hug from the ladies in a cute spot. And Danhausen does indeed curse him, but Sabian bites the fingers. Wasn’t Sabian previously doing a Harry Potter gimmick where his moves were named after curses? They should do something with him and Danhausen based off that. They continue on the floor and Kip gives him a neckbreaker out there, and back into the ring, where Kip tosses him out AGAIN. Back in the ring, Sabian goes to a nerve hold and gets two. Northern lights suplex gets two. Sabian with a headscissors while the announcers resurrect the Honeymooners joke from Dynamite’s commercial break commentary this week, but Kip misses a cannonball in the corner and Orange brings him to the top as they fight over a superplex up there. Orange wins that battle, and Bunny gets caught interfered and the ref tosses her. Kip and Orange collide for the double down and this brings Butcher and Blade out to destroy Danhausen and take a seat at ringside. Back in the ring, Orange and Kip slug it out and Kip tries the Orange kicks, so Orange hits him for real and Sabian responds with a headbutt and puts Orange down with a nasty knee strike for two. Cradle powerbomb gets two. Orange bails and runs afoul of Butcher and Blade, but the Best Friends finally come out and save, while Sabian hits a neckbreaker on Orange for two. Kip with his own Orange Punch, but that doesn’t put Cassidy down, and he fights back with a DDT and his own PK and Beach Break for two. Finally Orange has had enough and stomps Sabian down before shoving the ref down, and Kip gets a rollup for two. But Orange is DONE with this shit and finishes with a pair of Orange Punches at 16:11 to retain. An excellent main event that wrapped up the Sabian feud and continues to give Orange more layers, as he had to do it by himself. ***1/2
Another great show on the night, with that tag title match being the most wholly entertaining thing on the night but Kip and Orange coming close. Now THIS is what these specials should have been delivering all along!