REVIEW: All Elite Wrestling – Battle of the Belts (2022)

A TV special from All Elite Wrestling

As you may have noticed, AEW Dynamite switched networks this week, from TNT to TBS. This came about because TNT was CONSTANTLY having to pre-empt Dynamite for Hockey, as the two had a habit of happening on the same day quite often. While AEW Rampage remains on TNT, Warner Media sweetened the deal by agreeing to also produce four quarterly television specials for TNT that would take place on Saturdays. This is the first of the four, and was an hour in length. For the most part, this is AEW’s answer to WCW’s Clash of the Champions, which is a great idea! Covid-19 and injuries had a say in what the card was going to be for this show, and sadly some expected matches were nixed – thankfully what we got was still good.

The Card:

  • 1 Sammy Guevara defeated Dustin Rhodes (with Arn Anderson) by pinfall Singles match for the Interim AEW TNT Championship 16:15
  • 2 Ricky Starks (c) (with Powerhouse Hobbs) defeated Matt Sydal by pinfall Singles match for the FTW Championship 9:00
  • 3 Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D (c) (with Rebel and Jamie Hayter) defeated Riho by submission Singles match for the AEW Women’s World Championship 12:47

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

MAN! I Wanted Dustin to Win!!

Going into this match, I knew Sammy was going to win, but I held out the hope of all hopes that Dustin Rhodes would get the win. I want Dustin to get some kind of a nice title run before he retires, and especially would love to see him have a short World Title run. It was not to be so, as this thoroughly solid match went the way of Mr. Guevara. If you are wondering where Cody is, he tested positive for Covid-19 and is out for a few weeks, it seems Sammy has the interim TNA Championship, and there will be a unification match soon.

Cool to see David Crockett:

I was too young to ever see David Crockett doing wrestling commentary for his father, but I definitely have seen clips and appreciate the stuff he did in his prime. Glad to see AEW always actually honor the legends and veterans of the business.

Ricky Starks is Amazing:

Ever since his first appearance in NWA 3 years ago, I have been a big fan of Ricky Starks. With the tag team championship no longer on the table, they tossed a defense of the FTW title on the card, and Starks brought his A-game in against Sydall. Starks is far too charismatic and good to not be featured heavily on the show, and I’m very glad he has fully recovered from whatever neck injury he had in the summer.

Lockjaw!

The hype for this match was that Britt Baker was largely ducking former AEW Women’s Champion, Riho. She had never beat Riho on the many occasions they wrestled, and feared that trend would continue. Riho fought hard, but Britt used her goons to constantly interfere in the match, ultimately this was too much for Riho who folded under the pressure. We shall see if they get a rematch, perhaps with the outside “help” issue addressed? Overall, this was the match of the night for me.

Conclusion:

This was pretty cool, but basically felt like an extra episode of AEW Rampage to a large degree. It’s cool to see a full show of title matches, but I’m used to these specials feeling like Pay-Per-Views with commercials, and this one was missing something I can’t put my finger on. We’ll have to see what happens in a couple of months for the next one, but overall I was happy with this show. I will never turn my nose up at another solid hour of good wrestling! Stay tuned for more wrestling reviews as seemingly every company I watch had something this weekend.

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