Reviews

The John Report: AEW Battle of the Belts II 04/16/22 Review

aew battle of the belts 2

There were two AEW titles on the line at Battle of the Belts II with the TNT Title up for grabs along with the AEW Women’s Title. In addition to that, the ROH World Title was on the line as well.

This Battle of the Belts special was taped on Friday after AEW Rampage at the Curtis Culwell Center in Dallas (Garland), Texas. It was a one-hour show that aired on TNT, which is where Rampage airs on Friday nights.

It’s Saturday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone.

Sammy Guevara entered with girlfriend Tay Conti for the TNT Title match. There were some boos for Sammy and they didn’t edit them out as they have done in the past. Scorpio Sky beat Sammy for the TNT Title on March 9th, so now Sammy gets a rematch. Sky made his entrance as the TNT Champion with Ethan Page and Dan Lambert, who also had a TNT Title around his waist. Page went to the back while Lambert went down to ringside.

TNT Championship: Scorpio Sky (w/Dan Lambert) vs. Sammy Guevara (w/Tay Conti)

Sky with a double leg takedown into a slam. Sky worked over Sammy with elbows in the corner, then Sammy came back with elbows and some head biting. Sammy with a belly to back suplex followed by punches. There were dueling “Let’s Go Sammy/Sammy Sucks” chants. Sky wanted the TKO, Sammy got out of that and hit a clothesline. Sammy hit a dropkick to stop a running Sky. They left the ring with Sammy sending Sky into the barricade, but then Sky came back to send Sammy throat first across the barricade. Sky with a body slam on the floor. Sammy with a back elbow followed by a moonsault off the steps onto Sky on the floor. Sky was on the apron, Sammy went after him and Sky hit a TKO neckbreaker on the apron with Sammy’s foot hitting the ropes. They went to a 90-second picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Sky was in control with a barrage of punches that sent Sammy out of the ring. Sky with a backbreaker. There were more “Let’s Go Sammy/Sammy Sucks” chants as Sky hit a backbreaker and the fans chanted “one more time” for it. Sky hit a third straight backbreaker followed by a stretch over the right knee. Sammy flipped out of a backbreaker attempt, Sammy landed on his feet and hit an enziguri kick. Sammy with clotheslines, then a whip into the ropes and Sammy hit a Spanish Fly for two. Sky tried a move, Sammy avoided it and Sammy jumped off the middle ropes with a back kick. Sammy went up top, so Ethan Page went to ringside and pulled Sky out of the ring. Tay Conti got in Page’s face to yell at him, Sammy went up top and Sammy hit a Shooting Star Press on Sky/Page at the same time. Back in the ring, Sky got a tight inside cradle for two. Sammy fought out of a TKO attempt, Sammy with a kick to the head while on the apron and Sammy hit a double jump Cutter, but he didn’t land it clean since he stumbled on the second jump off the top rope. Lambert was on the apron, the referee was distracted by him, Sky tried to hold on to the ropes to prevent a move, but Conti hit Sky’s hands and Sammy got a rollup for two. Lambert was yelling at Conti, Page stopped her and Paige Vanzant went down to ringside to fight with Conti at ringside. They exchanged punches. Sky with an eye poke right in front of referee Bryce Remsburg, who then starts looking at the action on the floor for some reason and Sammy hit a low blow punch to Sky’s groin. Sammy hit the GTH knee to the face for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW TNT Champion: Sammy Guevara

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a good match that had the controversial finish for the title change just like the last time they did this match. They didn’t really try to have a special match with a bunch of nearfalls. It was more about the angle of Sammy cheating with the low blow to win the title. The refereeing was bad here. They could have done a better spot to not have the referee see Sammy’s low blow. Instead, referee Remsburg had to look at the women fighting on the floor. It looked dumb. You need to do better in terms of referee distraction spots. Anyway, I assume Sammy is a heel now due to the low blow spot while Sky is likely going to remain a heel as well although if there’s a rematch then Sky would be the face.

Sammy Guevara left with the TNT Title. It’s his third time as a TNT Champion. Ethan Page was bleeding for some reason. Sammy kissed girlfriend Tay Conti after the match. It was an aggressive makeout session. Taz: “Get a room.” They didn’t show any replays of the finish.

Analysis: The TNT Title is the one that AEW likes to move around for short title reigns. When it comes to the AEW World Title, Women’s Title and Tag Team Titles, almost all of those reigns have been lengthy. With the TNT Title, they like to book title changes and sometimes controversial finishes like the last two times Sammy and Sky wrestled. I don’t even know why Sammy needed to lose the title last time if they were just going to put it back on him. Perhaps they did this title change due to Sammy getting booed a lot, so they want to see how he does as a heel.

(Commercial)

A video aired featuring Jonathan Gresham talking about how he needs to be the ROH World Champion. Dalton Castle did a unique promo that was brief talking about how he was the pilot Sully Sullenberger and Gresham was like a bird in his engine. I know the story and saw the movie, but that was a weird promo.

Dalton Castle made his entrance with “The Boys” as he stepped on one of their backs to get into the ring. Excalibur talked about how Castle was a former ROH Champion. Gresham was up next with a skull mask with octopus legs on it since he’s “The Octopus” due to his technique. Gresham won the ROH World Title on April 1 at ROH Supercard of Honor.

Analysis: I think AEW did a poor job of setting this match up. They should have given TV time to both guys on Dynamite and Rampage to try to make people aware this match was happening. Yes, it’s a title match, but you need to try to make people care. Some effort would be nice.

ROH World Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs. Dalton Castle

They shook hands before the match since that’s the ROH code of honor. They did a lockup, Castle left the ring and regrouped. Castle with some gutwrench tosses leading to a gutwrench suplex where Gresham landed on his shoulder/head. Ouch. Castle with a back elbow, a clothesline and Castle hit a boot to the head. Gresham with a leapfrog, then a cartwheel and Gresham jumped off the middle ropes with a hurricanrana. Gresham with a kick to the knee followed by a dropkick. That led to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Castle on the floor, Gresham went after him and Castle got a headscissors takedown while on the floor. They did a spot in the corner where they avoided moves about eight times, which looked ridiculous and then Gresham hit a back elbow. Castle with an overhead throw across the ring. Castle suplexed Gresham across the ring for a two count. Castle with a running attack, Gresham jumped onto him, Castle caught Gresham and they did a sequence of in attempts followed by a roll around the ring leading to Gresham hitting another nearfall. Castle with a boot, Gresham with a kick and Castle with a clothesline. Castle charged, Gresham avoided contact and Gresham applied the octopus hold submission. Castle tapped out after 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Jonathan Gresham

Analysis: **3/4 It was okay, but it came across as an average match. I didn’t really like the rolling around spot that went on too long or the spot in the corner where they kept avoiding eachother’s strikes for like eight times in a row. It’s too choreographed for me. Anyway, I think they could have had Castle get a couple more nearfalls to make it look like he had a shot. Gresham’s finishing submission looked good at least.

Gresham celebrated with the ROH World Title with Tony calling it a great wrestling match and Taz saying it was tremendous by both athletes. I think they’re overdoing it, but that’s what AEW announcers are going to do. Gresham and Castle did the post match handshake that is part of the Code of Honor.

Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt made their entrance along with the 7’3” big man Satnam Singh. Satnam picked up both of The Boys at ringside and hit a double Chokeslam on the floor. Satnam whipped Castle into the steel steps. Satnam got into the ring with Gresham, who is about 5’8” maybe and Singh had a huge size advantage. Lethal touched Gresham in the back, so Gresham had to stand there while Jay bounced off the ropes to hit the Lethal Injection. Singh slammed Gresham’s head into the mat a few times. Lee Moriarty ran in for the save, but Singh tossed him into the air and Lee hit the mat. Matt Sydal went in there with a crutch, he hit Singh and Singh broke the crutch. Lethal and Dutt stomped on Sydal a bit. Samoa Joe made his entrance with the ROH TV Title and a lead pipe in hand. Joe went into the ring with the lead pipe, then he had to take his time getting there to let the guys go out the other side. Joe stood tall in the ring while the heels were on the floor. Joe and Gresham stood all in the ring with their titles.

Analysis: It was fine as an angle to put over Singh’s dominance as a big man as an ally of Lethal/Dutt. This was a better use of Singh than his debut appearance on Dynamite. Joe and Gresham teaming up against Lethal and somebody else (perhaps even Singh) in the near future.

There was a rundown of what’s coming up in AEW. I just pasted this in from my Rampage review.

Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite:

* Wardlow vs. The Butcher.

* Hook’s Dynamite debut.

* Women’s Owen Hart Cup Qualifying Match: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Danielle Kamela.

* Men’s Owen Hart Cup Qualifying Match: Jungle Boy vs. Kyle O’Reilly.

* Dustin Rhodes vs. CM Punk.

* Coffin Match: Darby Allin vs. Andrade El Idolo.

* Tony Khan “will make a huge announcement.” Tony loves announcements.

Next Friday on AEW Rampage:

* Daniel Garcia vs. Eddie Kingston – Everyone banned from ringside.

* TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Marina Shafir.

(Commercial)

A video aired about the AEW Women’s Championship match between champion Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose. They showed some cheap attacks from Rose while Rosa threw a cake into Nyla’s face.

Nyla Rose entered first without Vickie Guerrero and she is a former AEW Women’s Champion. Thunder Rosa was next as the AEW Women’s Champion with Thunder getting a big ovation from the crowd.

AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa vs. Nyla Rose

Nyla with a knockdown to send Rosa out of the ring. Nyla whipped Rosa into the barricade followed by a hard chop to the chest. Nyla left Rosa on the floor, but Rosa shoved her into the ring post. Rosa with a bulldog on the floor. Rosa broke the count, but they were outside the ring for over a minute with the referee not even counting. Anyway, Rosa sent Nyla into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rosa went up top and hit a missile dropkick. Rosa with a sliding lariat for just a one count. Nyla came back with a headbutt followed by some choking on the bottom rope. Nyla charged, Rosa with a back elbow and Rosa with a low bridge using the ropes, so Nyla went running over the top to the floor. Rosa tried a leap onto Nyla on the floor, Nyla caught Rosa and hit a Powerbomb on the apron. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

They exchanged strikes, Rosa with two running clotheslines that did not knock Nyla down. Rosa with a dropkick, a kick and a Stunner that did not Nyla down. Rosa with a running clothesline followed by a double knee strike in the corner. Rosa with a running dropkick in the corner followed by a running kick that sent Nyla out of the ring. Rosa with a running kick that knocked Nyla down on the floor. Rosa went up top leading to a spinning dive onto Nyla on the floor. I don’t see how that’s supposed to hurt more than a regular jump onto somebody, but I guess it’s a case of looking flashy. Rosa jumped off the top, Nyla caught her and Nyla kicked Rosa to knock her down. Nyla suplexed Rosa on the top rope so Rosa had to sit there while Nyla went up top, but Rosa moved to avoid a jumping knee attack. Rosa jumped on Nyla’s back leading to a Code Red (sunset flip into a Powerbomb) for two. Nyla came back with a short-arm clothesline for a two count. Nyla with a Chokeslam although it didn’t look that great. Nyla jumped off the ropes, Rosa got the boots up, I don’t know what happened there and then they just did another spot with Rosa running off the ropes leading to Nyla hitting a clothesline for two. Nyla with a Jackhammer slam for a two count. The crowd barely reacted to it as a nearfall. Rosa was under the bottom rope by the apron, Nyla went to the apron and Nyla jumped off with a senton, but Rosa moved out of the way. Rosa got a rollup for two. Rosa ran the ropes right into a front forward slam from Nyla for a two count. Rosa hooked the arms for a two count. The crowd wasn’t even reacting to the nearfalls. Rosa hit a hurricanrana and sat on top for the pinfall win after

Winner by pinfall: Thunder Rosa

Analysis: **3/4 A competitive match that did a nice job of putting over Rosa as a tough babyface champion. I’d call it average or barely above average. There really wasn’t a point in the match where it looked like Nyla might win. That spot with Rosa doing the Code Red was the best part of the match. The finish was flat. They did a couple of rollups before with no reaction, then Rosa hit a hurricanrana to a little reaction and that was it. It just didn’t seem like the finish of the match, but it was.

Thunder Rosa celebrated with the title by going into the crowd to pose with some fans. Meanwhile, Excalibur was shouting quickly about matches coming up next week. That was the end of the show.

 

Final Thoughts

I’ll rate it a 6.5 out of 10.

I think TNT should ask AEW to put more effort into making Battle of the Belts a bigger deal. Three title matches in a one hour show is fine, but none of the matches felt like a big deal. The last Battle of the Belts didn’t feel that special while this was just a barely above average show. The ROH Title match was okay, but the post match angle was better than the match.

The most noteworthy thing was that Sammy Guevara became TNT Champion for the third time by beating Scorpio Sky, which happened due to Sammy going with a low blow. I guess this means Sammy is a heel now since the fans don’t like him and Tay Conti now.

The Women’s Title main event was just a regular match with a flat finish. It didn’t feel like much of a main event.

Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport