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Battle of the Belts II TV report

Arena: Curtis Culwell Center
City: Garland, Tx

We were welcomed by AEW’s best commentary team of Excalibur, Taz and Tony Schiavone.  Does make the event feel different.

SCORPIO SKY VS SAMMY GUEVARA, TNT TITLE

Story going in: Sky cheated Sammy out of the belt and has been ducking him ever since

So, Sammy and Tay have basically inherited the Rhodes’ role.  Every aspect of it.  Despite being up against one of the most hated heels in the company, they’re vociferously booed.  Neither is this on the booking; it’s all their own work.

Shooting out of the blocks, Guevara bombarded the champ with strikes in the corner until Scorpio dumped him on his back.  The fast paced back and forth continued as audible – and very male – boos greeted the challenger.

‘Let’s go Sammy/SAMMY SUCKS.’

Nearly ending early when Sky caught Sammy in TKO position as he went for his patented series of flips, when the challenger did execute said flips, the boos got louder.  It’s worth noting that he was in full ‘Sex Gods’ heel-mode here: tongue out, arrogant expression…

On the outside, Sky took control, dropping Guevara across the barricade.

‘Let’s go Sammy/SAMMY SUCKS.’

Until a moonsault off the steps seemed to have turned the tables.  Sky had other ideas, snapping off a vicious TKO onto the apron as the first break beckoned.

Knees and blows sent Sammy to the outside when we returned, a backbreaker greeting Sammy as he did.  ‘One more time…’ Obliging, Scorpio received rapturous cheers from the crowd.

Until he went to the well too often, Sammy flipping out, striking with an enziguri and following up with a Spanish Fly for two.  Even indicating he was about to fly saw the challenger booed, and when Ethan Page came out to aid Sky, cheers played.  Spectacularly, Sammy hit a shooting star from the top to the outside, catching both Men of the Year as he crashed to the ringside mats.

Back in the ring, a roll-up brought Sky a two, before Sammy returned the favor after Conti slapped Sky’s hands off the ropes.  Which brought out Paige Vanzant to the crowd’s continued approval.  Using this to his advantage, Guevara hit a low-blow and the GTH to regain the TNT belt.

As he exited, Sammy and Tay made-out as vociferously as they’d been booed.  Tony tried to claim he was just ‘fighting fire with fire’, Excalibur thought vehemently otherwise.

This title reign did almost nothing for Sky: won with interference, retained on a fluke, lost.

WINNER: Sammy Guevara, new TNT Champion

A quick video package previewing the next match: Castle’s promo was excellent.

JONATHAN GRESHAM VS DALTON CASTLE, ROH WORLD TITLE

Story going in: If there is one, we weren’t told

With the ink still wet on his AEW contract, Jonathan Gresham defended his ROH title against Dalton Castle, who just from his entrance is very entertaining – a unique Jackie Moon-esque character.

A slow start as both looked for the upper hand, exchanging holds and rolling on the mat.  A series of gut-wrenches culminated with Gresham landing hard.

Finally getting control with a springboard hurricanrana, Gresham followed up with a fake-out and a dropkick as the ads arrived.

A thoroughly amusing series of strikes and evasions in the corner ended with a brace of overhead throws from the challenger, bringing the first near-fall.  Several more followed as each countered a sequence of roll-ups.  A unique kip-up/flip-off combo from Gresham led to the champion slapping on the Octopus hold in the middle for the submission, kinda out of nowhere.

Dalton and the Boys (who have a sort-of Sandow with Miz shadowing of everything Castle does) are extremely entertaining.

Unfortunately, we weren’t done, Jay Lethal joining us along with Sonjay Dutt and Tony Khan’s Vince-McMahon-wet-dream Satnam Singh.  Singh wiped out both competitors, then Lee Moriarty and Matt Sydal, who came to help.  If there’s one thing wrestling needs, it’s a new Great Kali.

Mercifully, Samoa Joe’s music hit to the loudest ovation of the night.  The new champ came strapped and with a lead pipe, sending the heels scattering before clinking belts with Gresham in the ring.

WINNER: Jonathan Gresham

THUNDER ROSA VS NYLA ROSE, AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

Story going in: Nyla attacked Rosa at her ‘inauguration’ and ruined her moment.  Also, Rosa ‘caused’ Nyla to strike Vickie Guerrero on Wednesday.

Rosa rivalled Joe’s reaction as she emerged, complete with cowboy hat.  There’s not a more charismatic smile in wrestling than Rosa’s.  It’s the good-guy equivalent of Bryan Danielson’s sarcastic smirk.

Dominating from the get-go with strikes and body blows, Nyla had the tables turned on her after Rosa used the ring-post for a spring-off bulldog.  A shotgun dropkick from the top followed, then a clothesline, both gaining counts of one.

And the match continued like this.  Whenever it slowed, Rose took control, whenever Rosa sustained pacy offense, she held the advantage.

Nyla caught Rosa attempting a hurricanrana off the apron, planting her back there with a powerbomb as the final break arrived.

Returning, Rosa was desperately trying to capsize her opponent with strikes and running lariats off-the-ropes, a stunner finally getting the job done before she followed with a double knee and a dropkick as Nyla was slumped in the corner.

A further dropkick through the ropes sent Nyla to the floor, leading to a twisting dive to the outside from the champ.  Back inside, Rosa went to the top again for a cross body, Nyla dropping her but rolling through, draping her across the ropes before setting up the guillotine knee-drop.  Dodging, Rosa was again caught as she came off the top, positioned for a Beast Bomb before reversing into a code red for a very close three (this was an awesome spot, probably should’ve been the finish).

Almost in tears with frustration, Rosa fired-up as the crowd roared her on.  A short-arm clothesline cut Rosa off.  An awkward-looking sequence followed, ending with a two for Nyla off a suplex/slam combo.

Both gained a bunch of two-counts via roll-up, before Rosa finally ended things with a hurricanrana into a pin (think West Coast Pop without the ropes).  The last few minutes felt flat, as did the finish, confirming the fact that this should’ve ended with the Beast Bomb/code red sequence.  The match would’ve been better for it.

Rosa went into the crowd to celebrate as we went to black.  An entertaining hour of wrestling.

WINNER: Thunder Rosa

These shows always seem to catch Tony Khan unaware.  As if there was no notice and he had to throw something together.  Considering these are quarterly ‘specials’, there hasn’t been much special about them.

Scorpio Sky is really, really good and deserves more TV time.  But he hasn’t had it.  Barely featured for the majority of this unbeaten streak.  If we don’t see it developing, it doesn’t mean anything.

Meanwhile, the ROH match suggests they were planning to put Cole/Page here until the Rampage ratings went to sleep.  Also meaning Friday night’s Rampage had a much higher profile match with much bigger stakes than anything shown here the day after.

Lastly, not one person believed Nyla Rose was taking the title to bed with her tonight.  As shown by the enthusiasm for Rosa and the silence which greeted the challenger.  She’s a monster that’s been defeated too many times to really mean anything.  If it took place on a Wednesday, this wouldn’t have closed the show.  That should be the bare minimum for these quarterlies: would this match main event a Dynamite?

AEW has more than enough talent to make these worthwhile.  Depending on what they want out of these – both ratings-wise and otherwise – number three needs to pack a punch, needs to have a match you’d otherwise see on a pay per view.  With the mass of content fans have to choose from, and particularly on a Saturday night, it’s very easy to get a reputation of ‘can miss’.

GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO WATCH…

  • Nothing.  The first two matches were very entertaining: if you have the time, check ‘em out.  But don’t go out of your way.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://paulreveres.weebly.com
Paul Hemming lives in Liverpool, England, is a huge Liverpool fan, gamer and history lover.

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