Wrestling Review: AEW Battle of the Belts (2022)

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) hosts a special Saturday night show with the first ever Battle of the Belts. In the main event, the AEW Women’s Championship will be defended as the reigning champion, Dr Britt Baker D.M.D. battles a woman she has never defeated, the first ever and former champion, Riho. As tensions continue to rise between Baker and her hired bodyguard, Jamie Hayter, Riho will be looking to capitalise on her momentum to regain the championship she once so proudly held. Also, Ricky Starks will defend his (not recognised by AEW) FTW Championship against persistent thorn in his side, Matt Sydal. Sydal has been long linked to Team Taz through his mentorship of Dante Martin, the young prospect attempted to be signed by Team Taz, so Starks will be sure to put a bit more force between all of his strikes. In the opening contest, a change from the scheduled match — Cody Rhodes defending the TNT Championship against former champion, Sammy Guevara — makes a much more interesting contest: the match will now be Sammy Guevara versus Cody’s older brother, “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes. Though admittedly not within the rankings that would grant him this title shot, with a match against Cody obviously looming for the winner, the idea of another Cody/Dustin match is simply too tasty a treat to ignore.

+ Dr Britt Baker D.M.D. (c) (w/ Jamie Hayter & Rebel) vs Riho (AEW Women’s Championship): this was a fantastic match, and easily one of the best matches of Baker’s title reign. Riho winning would be perfectly logical, particularly if Hayter was somehow involved. It is not often that there is a woman on the AEW roster that can get cheered over Baker, and while there was a split crown here, it still favoured Riho as the underdog hero. I can admit I don’t really see the overall hype about Riho, but with matches like this I could easily come around
+ Ricky Starks (c) vs Matt Sydal (FTW Championship): this was technically a very good match, but it was essentially a no-consequence match-up. The FTW Championship is not officially recognised by AEW, and Ricky Starks barely wrestles anyway, so no matter how good the match was, it wasn’t really a title match. Sydal is so good, though. He is the exactly kind of guy you want to have around people like Dante Martin in a company
+ Dustin Rhodes vs Sammy Guevara (Interim TNT Championship): this was a really good match, but in a meta sense, it kind of ruined what I think AEW was going for. Cody would obviously have been booed against Sammy, and I think the crowd was ready for that. However, the crowd seemed to really want Dustin to win, to set up the Dustin/Cody rematch from a few years ago, and in a way that made Sammy the de facto bad guy. There was also a lot of over the top moves and sequences that I personally wouldn’t have done, but it did make the match seem much bigger than it would ahve otherwise

> I’ll make this as clear as I can right now: interim titles are, nine times out of ten, a horrible idea and I don’t want to see them. I understand this was a COVID-related issue, so it gets a pass – but this is a one time deal. Don’t do interim champions.

Should you watch this event: This was a one hour event with three matches, all of which were good or great. A short and sweet show – just like my reviews.

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