SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW BATTLE OF THE BELTS 2 REPORT
APRIL 16, 2022
GARLAND, TX. AT CURTIS CULWELL CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
AEW Commentators: Taz, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-Excalibur, Taz & Tony Schiavone on the call, welcoming us to the show.
(1) SCORPIO SKY (w/Dan Lambert) vs. SAMMY GUEVARA (w/Tay Conti) – AEW TNT Championship
Sammy’s boos weren’t as heavily edited like last week and we actually were shown fans booing him. Sammy tried an early start, but Sky shot a double leg and bit the head of Guevara in the corner. Sammy turned the tables and did the same thing before he planted Sky with a back suplex. Dueling chants of Let’s Go Sammy and Sammy Sucks are loud throughout the arena. Sky nearly got a TKO off a leap frog counter, but Sammy escaped and we got a chop exchange. Sammy did his double leapfrog into a dropkick, kipped up and posed. The match spilled outside where Sky draped Sammy throat first on the railing followed by a bodyslam. Sammy responded with a standing moonsault off the steps before the match went to the apron and Sky hit a TKO out of nowhere that awkwardly hung up Sammy on the top. [c]
Back from break, Sky lit up Sammy with punches to the midsection and two massive backbreakers followed. The fans are chanting one more time, Sky delivered, but as he went for a fourth, Sammy flipped out and hit a dropkick for the reset. Sammy was able to hit a leaping mule kick in the corner, went up top, but Ethan Page showed up, dragging his tag partner to safety. Tay Conti got in the face of Page, which allowed Sammy to hit a huge Shooting Star Press to the floor that took out Page & Sky. Back in the ring, Sky nearly surprised Sammy with a small package for two. Sammy fought out of the TKO, hit an enziguri in the corner and got about 10% of his double springboard cutter, as he slipped on the top rope. Commentary covered nicely saying his back had been worked over and had he gotten all of it, this would’ve been over. Dan Lambert took the ref, but Tay foiled Page’s plans. Paige VanZant ran to the ring and we have a cat fight between the women. In the ring, Bryce turned his attention to the ladies, which allowed Sammy to get a low blow on Sky and hit the GTH for the win.
WINNER: Sammy Guevara in 13:00 to win the AEW TNT Championship
Ethan Page was busted open by the eye, as he, Paige, Lambert & Sky were furious while Sammy & Tay made out at the entrance ramp.[c]
(Howard’s Analysis: This was a solid Battle of the Belts opener, but I have no idea how Sammy & Tay are considered babyfaces at this point. This should cement their heel turn, as they just come off as completely unlikeable. Dan Lambert is one of the best heel talkers they have and fans struggle to boo him against these two. I don’t like how the TNT Title has been hot potatoed so much, but hopefully with Sammy’s third reign, he is portrayed as a heel because he’s a far better heel than babyface.)
-A video package introducing us to the ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham, along with Dalton Castle, who referred to himself as Sully Sullenberger and compared Gresham to a goose whose feathers he’s going to use to stuff his duvet.
(2) JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) – ROH World Championship
Both men adhered to the Code of Honor prior to the bell as we got a quick exchange of holds before Castle bailed outside to get fanned by The Boys. Castle shot a low single leg takedown and a few gut wrenches before Gresham was slammed right on his shoulder and head. Castle popped Gresham with a spinning back elbow and clothesline. Both men did a misdirection spot, but it was Gresham who stood tall with a dropkick. Gresham faked a head strike, kicked the leg and took down Castle.[c]
Gresham rolled outside to catch his breath, Gresham wanted a dive, but The Boys pulled Castle to safety. This allowed Castle to hit his spinning head scissors on the outside. Back inside, there were about 20 missed clotheslines by each man in the corner and it led to an overhead Castle throw. Castle caught a leg and dropped Gresham with a nice back suplex. A deadlift overhead throw from Castle got a two count. After a failed first attempt, Castle tried the Bangarang, but Gresham turned it into a roll up. There were rolling near fall attempts to the point the ref couldn’t even keep up. Finally Gresham got two, hit an enzugiri, but Castle responded with a lariat that turned Gresham inside out. Gresham blocked a kick, stomped the boot and locked on the Octopus Hold. Castle fell to the mat and had no choice but to submit.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 10:00 to retain the ROH World Championship
Post match, Gresham & Castle shook hands until Satnam Singh, Jay Lethal & Sonjay Dutt hit the ring. Singh took out The Boys with a double chokeslam and caught Castle’s dive, chucking him into the ring steps. With Gresham distracted by Singh, Lethal took out the ROH Champion with a Lethal Injection. Singh kept bouncing Gresham’s head off the mat before Lee Moriarty hit the ring, but got wiped out for his troubles. Matt Sydal came to the ring on crutches, tried hitting Singh with a crutch, but Singh snapped a crutch over his knee. Right as Sydal was about to be powerbombed, Samoa Joe made the save with a pipe in hand. All the heels bailed, as Joe cleared the ring. The ROH World & TV Champion stood tall, which was a cool image to end the segment. [c]
(Howard Analysis: This was an excellent match to potentially introduce new fans to the Ring of Honor champion and product. Both Castle & Gresham came off looking very strong here. The post match should’ve been how they introduced Satnam Singh in my opinion.)
-A video package about our main event is shown. This has been a pretty weak build for a title match, but I have faith both ladies can deliver here in the main event. Even though I thought the champion getting beat up a blinded by cake challenger was silly, I laughed out loud at Nyla screaming to Rosa that she loved cake and violence.
(3) THUNDER ROSA vs. NYLA ROSE – AEW Women’s World Championship
We’re told Vickie Guerrero isn’t here due to the forearm she suffered from Nyla on Wednesday. Nyla wasted no time slinging Rosa to the railing and chopped her hard on the chest. Rosa fought back, posted Nyla and hit a springing bulldog off the post. Nyla was slammed into the railing, as Rosa went to the top back inside with a missile dropkick for a one count. Sliding lariat got Rosa another one count, but Nyla raked the eyes and got a big headbutt. Rosa low bridged Nyla to the floor, but Nyla caught a hurricanrana attempt into a powerbomb on the apron. [c]
Nyla connected with a suplex to the floor and drove Rosa into the steps to follow. Back inside, Rosa tried making a comeback, but ran into a brutal shoulder breaker to give Nyla a two count. Back from commercial, Rosa connected with multiple clotheslines, but Nyla didn’t go down. A stunner did the trick, as Nyla finally was taken off her feet. Rosa hit a nice leaping corner clothesline, double knees and charging corner dropkick. Rosa hit another dropkick that sent Nyla to the outside. Rosa wisely did a low dropkick this time to not get caught, went to the top and hit a Tornillo. Back in the ring, Rosa went to the top again, did a cross body, but Nyla rolled through. Rosa attempted a school girl, but Nyla hit a short superkick. Nyla draped Rosa over the ropes, but missed her big time knee drop off the top. Rosa was able to hit a Code Red to get a very close two. Rosa ran into multiple clotheslines to give Nyla two of her own. Nyla drove Rosa into the mat with a chokeslam and went to the second rope. Rosa tried to get the boots up, but Nyla had it scouted. After a brief misdirection, Nyla leveled Rosa with another clothesline for two. Nyla hit almost a Jackhammer variation, but Rosa again kicked out. Nyla went for a senton on the side of the apron, but Rosa moved and got a roll up for two. Both ladies traded near falls again until Rosa hit a hurricanrana into a pin for the flash pin. Rosa celebrated in the crowd as the show went off the air.
WINNER: Thunder Rosa in 14:30 to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship
(Howard’s Analysis: The AEW crowd was hot for this match, as they were behind their hometown girl in Rosa. Towards the end, both ladies seemed gassed, but overall this was a solid title defense for the champion. The ending really came out of nowhere, so maybe Nyla has a gripe that Rosa got lucky down the line.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: An overall solid hour of programming tonight, with the ROH Title match being my personal favorite of the three. The TNT Title match seemed more storyline oriented than anything else, as I have no idea if they’ll fully commit to Tay & Sammy as heels, which they should. I know that probably wasn’t the original plan when Sammy took over this storyline, but the fans simply don’t see he & Tay as babyfaces, so they should just commit to being heels. I’m hopeful we’ll see more Jonathan Gresham on our AEW TV screens and wonder if Tony Khan’s big announcement has to do with streaming or TV deal for ROH, which would be great. I have no idea who the next challenger for Thunder Rosa would be. If I was booking the show, I’d choose Serena Deeb. I preferred last night’s Rampage over tonight’s show, but both were fun hours of television.