AEW’s Battle of the Belts is a series of television specials airing quarterly on TNT, which of course was the original network for Dynamite. The first special was live on January 8, 2022 and the next is scheduled to be taped on April 15th and broadcast the next day on April 16th. I’ll get to my overall comments at the end but before that, I want to do a brief rundown and predictions for the hour-long special airing this Saturday.
The first match is scheduled to be Thunder Rosa defending her AEW Woman’s World Championship against Nyla Rose with Vicki Guerrero in her corner. I would say I’ve enjoyed Thunder Rosa’s run as champion so far, but she hasn’t had a match on Dynamite since capturing the title. The cage match in San Antonio back on March 16th was good and Thunder Rosa looked strong coming out of that match the new champion. However, I think before this defense there could have been another during a weekly episode of Dynamite to give Thunder Rosa even more credibility heading into this weekend. I think for a special event that’s only going to feature three matches, this one seems rushed but my pick to win the match is Thunder Rosa. She’s one of the, if not the, strongest female wrestler in AEW and they need a strong woman’s champion to help that division out.
The second match on the card is scheduled to be Scorpio Sky defending the TNT Championship against Sammy Guevara. Now, I will admit that I’m a little bias when it comes to Sammy Guevara considering we worked a lot of shows together back when starting out in 2012/2013, but I really love the heel tactics of Scorpio Sky with Dan Lambert. Also, Scorpio does have a successful defense, of course with a little help, against Wardlow on the March 16th episode of Dynamite. However, that brings up a similar trend as the match prior; no one on this card so far has even had a match on TV in nearly a month. I think with the way this feud has been going the TNT Championship stays on Scorpio Sky. I honestly think this needs to build longer until Double or Nothing on May 29th because there’s a lot of time to really get people invested in this angle and buying the PPV to see it blow off.
The last match on the card will feature Jonathan Gresham defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Dalton Castle. Now, with the way Ring of Honor seemed to fizzle out, and then the purchase of the company and moving into the future everything has seemed so shaky. Of course, there’s expectations of a ROH relaunch with TV and that’s great, but that’s not something that’s a reality now. Having Gresham drop the belt to Dalton Castle makes no sense at all, so I’d expect Jonathan Gresham to come out on top strong in this match. I also think there’s some more plans with Gresham in terms of AEW in the future as well so having him drop this championship is no benefit to him as I think they’d want to keep him as strong as possible.
The ROH title match brings another point to mind where I think AEW has been dropping the ball slightly, During these ROH title matches on AEW programing, the visualization is only halfway there with Bobby Cruise coming out and announcing the matches. Where is a Ring of Honor official to determine the outcome of the match? Small details like that really eat me up sometimes. Maybe Todd Sinclair was booked somewhere else on the past few dates but at the least put someone in a ROH referee shirt to call these matches. Those minor details are what suspends that disbelief and captures the audience. It makes the match seem more official; it makes the championship look even more important. Without the ROH referee I’d wonder can just anyone count three and distinguish who a champion is? Is it the wild west?
If you’re able to stay off the spoilers between Friday night at Saturday, hopefully you can enjoy the event. I personally feel like it was rushed this time around whereas the first Battle of the Belts seemed like something special. This Saturday doesn’t feel special at all with what’s being presented and considering they’re taping it after Rampage suggests AEW doesn’t think they’re that special either. Just fulfilling obligations to the network I suppose.
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