The Heavy Review - Battle of the Belts - 08.01.22
This week Hev changes things up and gives us his Heavy Review of AEW's Inaugural BATTLE OF THE BELTS!
It’s Saturday Night, You Know What That Means…
The Heavy Battle of the Belts Review!
Tonight, we have three big title matches, with one being a first for AEW. Tonight, we have Ricky Starks defending the FTW Championship against Matt Sydal. Then in the main event we have Britt Baker D.M.D defending the World Women’s Championship against the inaugural champion Riho. But right now, we go straight into the Interim TNT Championship Match which is taking place due to Cody Rhodes not being cleared medically to wrestle.
OPENING MATCH: AEW TNT Championship – Interim Championship Match
Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara.
Match Overview: We are kicking off the show with the first-ever interim TNT Championship Match. Bell rings and both men circle each other then they stop and shake hands in the middle of the ring in a show of respect. The match starts off with some quick exchanges and hip tosses from both men before they get up to their feet and stare each other down. They take a moment in opposing corners before they circle around the ring one more time and lock up in the centre of the ring. Sammy takes charge with a side headlock before Dustin whips him across the ring. Dustin stops Sammy short of breath and Sammy takes a nice little rest on the top ropes. Dustin uses the opportunity to gain the advantage but not for long before Sammy rolls him up for a 2 count. Sammy keeps up the fast pace as Dustin struggles with it and slows the match down whenever he can. Sammy hits what looks like an uppercut elbow and Dustin goes out to ring side. Sammy takes control at ringside and rams Dustin into the barricade before he walked over to Arn Anderson and points the finger gun at him, but Arn gives him the middle finger. Sammy takes control and tries to ram Dustin's head to the ring post but Dustin reverses and both men exchange knife edge chops on the outside. On the outside Dustin slams Sammy’s knee into the ring steps to take advantage of the match and set him up for a pile-driver and nails it on the floor. Dustin rolls into the ring two gain some composure while Sammy recovers at ringside. The referee starts the ten count and Sammy makes it into the ring before the 10 and Dustin covers but only gets a 2 count. Sammy continues to hold his knee as we go to picture to picture. Sammy rolls out of the ring and favours the leg as Dustin comes out and kicks him behind the knee of that leg. Dustin rolls Sammy into ring and covers for the 2 count. Dustin mounts the corner and starts slamming fists into the head of Sammy as the crowd chant along with him. Dustin teases the Gold-Dust but stops and slams one last punch into the face of Sammy before whipping him across the ring. Dustin attempts a monkey flip that Sammy pushes out of it and hits a clothesline in response.
Arn Anderson checks on Dustin at ringside while the referee checks on Sammy in the ring. The referee starts a 10 count because Dustin is down and out on the floor at ringside. Dustin starts to make it to his feet as Sammy leaps up to the Ropes and double springboards off with a senton bomb. Both men are on the floor at ringside as the referee checks on them as a replay is shown of that impressive aerial feat. Back in the ring Sammy is in control he whips Dustin into the nearest corner and hits him with a shoulder block before slipping through the ropes and hit him with a enzuigiri to the back of the head. Sammy tries a double springboard cutter but Dustin catches in hit the crossroads with for it to count. Arn Anderson watches on at ringside as both men are down on the canvas. Dustin starts to pull himself up and make it to his feet. Dustin whips Sammy across the room but Sammy reverses and runs at him and gets hit with a kick to the cut before a Code Red, which Dustin gets a 2 count. Dustin goes to climb up top, but Sammy comes up behind grabs him and hits a GTH, Sammy covers but only gets a 2 count.
From under the ring comes Fuego Del Sol and he sets up a table that Sammy nods his head in agreement at as the table is set up right next to the ring. Arn Anderson has a problem with this and approaches Del Sol and goes to reach for the finger Glock and Del Sol runs up the ramp. Sammy goes to set Dustin up for a Spanish Fly off the apron and through the table but Dustin elbows out of it. Sammy hits a pump kick and then not long after Dustin grabs him and hits the Canadian Destroyer off the apron and through the table as Arn Anderson watches on in complete and utter shock. Dustin makes it to his feet and pulls Sammy up with him and rolls him into the ring and he covers but only gets a 2 count. Dustin hits a Cross Rhodes holds on, rolls through, and hits another one. Dustin pulls Sammy up to his knees by his hair and sets him up for what looks like the Tiger Driver 98. Sammy escapes and hits a super kick then Dustin comes back with a big boot and both men come at each other and knock each down with a clothesline. Dustin whips Sammy across the ring and comes back with a sunset flip, Dustin drops to cover, then Sammy reverses to cover, Dustin follows up by reversing to cover, Sammy then reverses again and flips over to get a 3 Count! Sammy wins the match and becomes the interim AEW TNT Champion.
Winner via Pinfall & NEW INTERIM AEW TNT CHAMPION: Sammy Guevara!
After Match: After the match David Crockett comes into the ring and shakes Sammy’s hand congratulating him before presenting him with the title belt. Sammy poses in the middle of the ring holding the title high above his head. Dustin approaches Sammy and they hug it out in the ring before he raised Sammy's hand in a show of sportsmanship. Daniel Garcia then enters the ring and get right up in Sammy's face and then slapped across the face. Sammy retaliated and both men end up brawling around the ring. Referees rush down to the ring and break up the brawl between the two men.
Match Thoughts: This was a great opener match. We have no idea why Cody has not been medically cleared to compete but, in any case, we got this match up. I really like the concept of an Interim Champion in a wrestling promotion. It means you do not have to technically vacate a championship and you have a feud/angle ready for when the injured champion returns. The match was great, the fact Dustin can still go at this age is impressive as hell and Sammy is growing on me as a wrestler.
Segment: We come back from the break into an interview from the AEW TBS Champion Jade Cargill hyping up her win in the tournament. We go to Christian, Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus who hype up their AEW World Tag Team Championship win from Dynamite this week. We then get footage from the AEW World Championship rematch between Hangman Page and Danielson before we go to an interview with Sammy Guevara the New Interim TNT Champion. Sammy says he couldn't give a shit about Daniel Garcia but he will give him the opportunity as the TNT title is about open challenges and he issues the challenge for a match on Dynamite next week.
Thoughts: A nice amalgamation of segments to get over some highlights from the last week which ended with a nice little interview with the Spanish God himself. It’s great that we are seeing Garcia getting a singles title shot, he is overdue for a chance at a title. I don’t think he will win but I think he will still put on a great effort in the match.
MATCH: FTW Championship – Ricky Starks© vs. Matt Sydal
Match Overview: Next up is the FTW Championship match between Matt Sydal and Ricky Starks. Starks comes out with Hobbs by his side. The match starts with both men slapping each other before Sydal takes control with some kicks and a whip across the ring but Starks gets an elbow out in defence. The match pace picks up as Sydal takes control with a huge hurricanrana and a leaping kick to the face before a standing moonsault and a cover for two. Sydal is in control of the match as he goes for a small package getting a two count. Starks manages to gain back control with a spin-out slam and poses like an idiot in the ring. Stark goes to charge Sydal in the corner but gets a kick to the face and he ends up at ringside by Hobbs who is sitting on a chair holding the title belt. Hobbs prevents Sydal from going anywhere near Starks as we go to picture in picture. Sydal waits for Starks and pulls away from Hobbs and takes control with some knife edge chops and some kicks to the chest. Sydal goes to roll Starks into the ring, but he spins through and comes back with double knee to the face then poses like an idiot on the ring apron. Starks takes control of the match and brawls Sydal around the ring with elbows and kicks before backing him into a corner and posing like an idiot before punching him in the face several times. Sydal reverses with an inverted atomic drop and gains control with some punches and chops to the chest.
Starks then gains control in the corner over Sydal and blows kisses to the camera like an idiot before imitating Hulk Hogan like an idiot. Ricky gets a 2 count then makes fun of Sydal in the middle of the ring like an idiot. Ricky pulls Sydal to his feet and drills him with a stalling vertical suplex. Ricky plays the ground game with a chin lock. Sydal elbows out of it, but Ricky gets in a knee and whips him across the ring. Sydal charges and Starks gets an elbow out at him then a clothesline before following it up running across the ring and leaping with a body attack before pulling Sydal out in what looks like a side slam for a 2 count. Sydal takes control of the match with some kicks and a huge backspin kick knocking Starks into the corner. Sydal charges across the ring with knee strike into the face of Starks.Sydal hoists Starks up to the top in the corner before climbing up himself but Starks nails a chop to the side of the face, but Sydal leaps up off the mat and throws Starks off the top with a hurricanrana. Sydal hits a Michinoku Driver to get the two count. Sydal impressively rolls up Starks, but Starks kicks out and punches him in the stomach and throws him down, but no Sydal slips out before going for a crucifix pin, but Starks stops it. Sydel climbs up to the top rope and leaps off with a meteora. Sydal covers but Starks gets a foot on the rope. Sydal comes off the ropes and into a spear from Starks who underhooks the arms lifts him up and drills him with the Roshambo and covers for the win!
Winner via Pinfall & STILL FTW CHAMPION: Ricky Starks!
After Match: After the match Starks poses in the ring as Hobbs points at him from ringside praising him. Starks then attacks Sydal in the course of its Sydal comes back with some kicks of his own. This brings Hobbs into the ring who holds Sydal in place for the attack to continue. Team Taz continues the attack when Lee Moriarty comes down for the save but Hobbes levels him with a huge clothesline. This brings out Dante Martin who gets in the face of Hobbs. Martin starts punching and kicking into Hobbs who receives the blows without much effect before grabbing Dante around the neck and lifting him up off his feet. Martin slips out and kicks him in the face and then dropkicks him out of the Ring.
Match Thoughts: I wont lie, while the action in this match was great at times, I am still not a Starks fan and some of the shit he did in this match was just cringeworthy. Yeah I know he’s a heel but I find the guy annoying as hell and I do not see the fuss in him whatsoever.
Segment: We come back with a short hype package that details how Riho got her title match against Britt Baker and the history between the two including Rio winning the AEW World Women's Championship becoming the first women to hold the title.
Thoughts: Nice little segment that adds another layer of hype to the main event.
AEW WOMENS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D© vs. Riho
Match Overview: Up next is the main event for the women's championship. Riho is first out as the Challenger to a nice pop from the crowd. Commentators put over the fact that Riho was the first ever AEW World Women's Champion. Next up Britt Baker the champion comes out to the ring with Rebel and Jamie Hayter at her side. The match starts off fast and Britt takes control with a side headlock takedown. Riho looks like she's favouring her side as Rebel and Jamie Hayter distract her from Ringside, which left Baker coming for the attack from behind to take control of the match. Riho does not let the match be completely one-sided and comes back with some quick offense before sending Baker out to ring side with a front dropkick to the face. As Baker takes a few minutes to herself Riho climbs the top rope and leaps off with a cross body but hits Rebel instead. Baker hits a slingblade to Riho on the outside. Hayter and Baker are exchanging heated words at ringside as Hayter suggests that they get revenge on what Riho did to Rebel and pulls out a table. This gives Riho the chance to drill Baker with a dragon suplex and hit Hayter with a front dropkick to the face. Riho rolls Baker back into the ring climbs up the top rope and leaps off with a missile dropkick. Riho then runs across the ring but Baker grabbed her and hits her with an STO into the turnbuckles then takes firm control with stomps to the head. We go to picture in picture as Hayter and Britt exchange words on the ring apron which gives Riho the opportunity to roll Baker up for a two count. The advantage doesn't last long as Baker turns the tables and hits what looks like a northern lights suplex and then drills elbow after elbow into the shoulder of Riho and covers for a two count. Baker toys with Riho kicking her in the face and goes to shove her into a corner and drill her with elbows but Riho reverses and hits elbow after elbow. Baker with a snap suplex to Rio and pulls her up hooks her and hits another one in the middle of the Ring. Baker covers but only gets a two count, she then mounts Riho and starts driving fists into a face and gets a two count while she's mounting Riho. Baker hooks the head and pulls Riho to her feet in a modified side headlock and drills her with knee after knee after knee into the side of the head knocking her back down. Baker covers for a 1 count and elbows Riho in the side of the head. Baker pulls Riho up into a seated position and into an abdominal stretch with a chin in lock. Baker hooks in a dragon sleeper on Riho.
With the hold locked in the Women’s Champion pulls Riho up to her feet and then goes for a german suplex but Riho elbows out several times ducks a clothesline and then hits a wheelbarrow into a roll up and a stomp to the stomach. Riho covers and gets a two count and takes control of the match hooking Baker and going for a suplex of her own, but Baker drops to her knees. Both women make it to their feet and start to exchange punches in the middle of the ring. Riho with control rules Baker in the corner with a huge knee and pulls her out for a northern lights suplex. Baker manages to club her way out of it whips her opponent across the ring executes a drop toe hold into the ropes… but Riho comes through with a spin double knee strike. Riho covers for a two count and then goes for a single leg grab onto Baker. Riho then bridges in the hold, but Baker makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Riho steps on Baker’s stomach to go to the corner and climb up top but Rebel pulls Baker under the ropes shields her to protect her from her opponent, but Riho dives off with a double stomp to Rebels ass (they can try a save it by saying lower back, but it was her ass lol!). Rio prevents Jamie Hayter from making the save and she rolls Baker into the ring and climbs up top before coming off with a Stomp but misses then Britt comes and hits the rolling elbow then follows it up with an Air Raid Crash. Baker gets her glove as she's going to go for the Lockjaw soon but no, she goes for a Stomp instead and Riho dodges and both women exchange punches in the middle of the Ring. Rhio goes for a dragon suplex but Baker reverses it and is going for the Lockjaw, but Riho is fighting it with everything she has and makes it to the ropes to break it up. Baker retaliates by drilling her in the back of the head with elbows. Baker roles Riho into the centre of the ring and places her back in the Lockjaw! Riho rolls out and covers Baker for a two count! Baker then comes back with the Curb Stomp and covers for the two count. The commentators put over the fact that Britt Baker has never been able to beat Riho. Rebel grabs the belt for her and gets ejected from ringside. Jamie Hayter and Baker get into an argument while Hayter is on the ring apron. Riho comes in and kicks Baker and she knocks Hayter off the apron. Riho takes control of the match and successfully hits the northern lights suplex and bridges for the two. Riho charges across the ring gets feet to the face from Baker who then hooks with a fisherman’s suplex but Riho reverses and then Baker takes control with a superkick and comes back with a Curb Stomp then covers Rio to only get the two. Baker immediately locks in the Lockjaw and Riho taps out.
Winner via Submission & STILL AEW WORLD WOMENS CHAMPION: Britt Baker D.M.D!
After Match: Rebel and Jamie Hayter get into the ring and hold up Baker’s hand in victory as she poses with the title. They are definitely teasing some dissension between Baker and Jamie Hayter as Hayter holds the title, but Rebel takes it away from her before Jamie snatches it back and presents it to Baker and the three girls hug it out in the middle of the ring.
Match Thoughts: Not a bad match, not sure I would have made it the main event match but it was still a great match. Riho and Baker worked well off one another, and they really hyped up the fact that Baker had not defeated Riho previously. They are really planting some seeds for something between Baker and Hayter and I feel she will cost her the title at some point to kick start the feud. I am not sure where Rebel will fall into all that but if booked right it would be a hell of a feud for the Women’s Division!
The Heavy Thought on Battle of the Belts: This was a match heavy, 1 hr show. The segments were short and sweet. I just felt that will all the hype they put behind this event that it was a little lacklustre. It was still a great little show but another show so close to Rampage just seems heavy handed (no pun intended lol!). I would have much preferred if they combined this with rampage to give us AEW Rampage: Battle of the Belts… but that is just my opinion. It will be very interesting to see what happens after both the TNT and Women’s Title matches, not so much after the FTW Title. I just really don’t like Starks, he does absolutely nothing for me at all. I feel if they are going to make the FTW Title a worthy prize they need to have Ricky defend it more or put it on someone else.
I hope you all enjoyed this review as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. I look forward to next week’s review, until then, this is Hev signing off… Say hi to your folks for me!