It's Saturday, you know what that means! For the first time ever, AEW have a one-hour special on TNT. This quarter is the inaugural Battle of the Belts and despite AEW having to deal with the TNT champion himself being unavailable, they have managed to put together a great looking 3 match card tonight, all for titles. So, with that in mind and Excalibur, Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone on commentary, let's get straight to the wrestling!
Dustin comes out with Arn to start the show and I wonder how important that might turn out to be. Sammy follows him to the ring and he wants his belt back. He can get one step closer tonight with the Interim title. We get a handshake to start the match off as both men show each other respect and then Dustin gets the better of the opening with an arm drag and a shoulder tackle while Sammy responds with a Hip Toss as we get another slow moment as the crowd loudly display how split they are between Dustin & Sammy and then when they finally get going again, Dustin needs a breather and Sammy allows him whilst taking a breather on the ropes and that seems to be a rope-a-dope technique that Sammy overcomes with a Roll Up that Dustin kicks out of before Sammy begins to take over the match. He hits an almost Dustin/Cody style dropping uppercut and Dustin retreats outside the ring. Sammy goes to follow and has an interaction with Arn but Dustin then comes at him with some big chops. Sammy tries to use the ring post and steps but Dustin stops him and even uses the steps on Sammy before he hits a Piledriver on the floor. Dustin rolls into the ring and tries to win by count out but Sammy makes it in just in time. Dustin covers for two when he does as we go to our first break with picture in picture.
During the break the action continues outside the ring again and Dustin attacks Sammy's knee and then returns him to the ring to do it some more. Dustin focuses on the knee and Aubrey keeps checking on him. Dustin keeps the pressure on between taking a breather and when we return, Dustin gets a two count from a Powerslam. He follows that with chops and punches in the corner and then goes for a Monkey Flip but Sammy fights him off and comes again with a Clothesline so Dustin rolls outside. Arn comes to check on Dustin and then argues with Aubrey to delay the count. Dustin is about to get back in so Sammy hits a Double Springboard 360 Senton onto Dustin to take him out and then takes the match back in before going for the Double Jump Cutter but Dustin catches Sammy and spikes him with the Cross Rhodes but Sammy kicks out! Both men are down, Sammy in pain, Dustin from exhaustion and Dustin gets to his feet first and gets another two from a Code Red. Sammy is in all kinds of trouble here and Dustin knows it. He climbs to the top rope but Sammy cuts him off and turns it into a GTH but Dustin kicks out at two! Wow! Everyone thought that was it. Dustin rolls outside and then Fuego Del Sol appears from under the ring and sets up a table before Arn chases him off and Sammy sets up to take Dustin through the table but Dustin fights him off and then takes Sammy through the table with a Canadian Destroyer! What is going on in this match?! The crowd love it but Dustin takes too long to get Sammy into the ring and Sammy kicks out! Dustin then hits Sammy with two Crossrhodes and then goes to set up for the Pedigree/Tiger Driver 98 and Sammy escapes. Guevara hits a Superkick and then both men hit Clotheslines for a double down. When they make it to their feet, they go back and forth with roll ups and it's Sammy who gets the victory! What a match!
David Crockett presents Sammy with the interim belt, Dustin congratulates him and leaves, and then Daniel Garcia comes into the ring to attack Sammy and continue his issues with the Inner Circle. The refs all run out to break it up and we head to break to restore order.
We see Jade, Jurassic Express and Hangman get big wins whilst they talk about how they got there. Nothing too special
It’s be a WEEK for #AEW Titles! Just minutes after becoming #AEW’s first-ever Interim TNT Champion, @Sammyguevara puts the TNT Title on the line challenging @GarciaWrestling for NEXT WEEK on #AEWDynamite!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 9, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEW’s first-ever #AEWBOTB on @tntdrama! #BattleOfTheBelts pic.twitter.com/I7BNMX2Zvs
Tony Schiavone joins Sammy Backstage and asks him about what just happened so Sammy tells us that Garcia can have a match next week for his title on Dynamite.
Taz joins commentary for this match for the title he created and early on he has to watch on whilst Sydal has Starks in trouble with his innovative offence. His kicks have Ricky in trouble until he manages to toss Sydal to the mat and crawl outside as we go to an early break. Hobbs has taken a seat ringside and Ricky crawls towards him and Hobbs guards Ricky whilst he takes his time to recover. He doesn't take long enough as Sydal manages to get back on top but Starks fights back. Starks attacks with right hands in the corner but Matt counters with an Atomic Drop. Starks quickly regains control in the corner and plays to the crowd whilst he's beating down Sydal and he begins to work on his lower back. Starks goes for a delayed Vertical Suplex where he walks around the ring which earns him a two count and then he locks in a Chin Lock as we return. Starks hits a Twisting Ura Nage for two and then Sydal comes back with his educated feet and gets Ricky in the corner for a Sliding Knee Strike. Sydal and Starks both head to the top rope and its Sydal who wins the battle and he follows that with a Michinoku Driver for two. Sydal gets a deep roll up for two but Starks kicks out and then Sydal manages to hit the Lightning Spiral for 2.99 at the end of an excellent sequence for both men. Sydal quickly goes to the top and hits the Meteora but Starks gets his foot on the rope to escape once more. Sydal runs the ropes to follow up with something but Starks explodes with a Spear and then hits the Roshambo to get the win! Another excellent match! Battle of the Belts has been fantastic thus far.
After the match, Team Taz, Starks and Hobbs, beat down Sydal and Lee Moriarty tries to make the save but Hobbs destroys him so Dante Martin has to come do it, sending both Starks and Hobbs running ahead of Dante Martin vs Powerhouse Hobbs on Wednesday!
Before this match we get a brief video package telling us Britt has never beaten Riho and Britt seems scared. I love that the women's title is main eventing the very first TNT special AEW has produced, showing just how far it's come from the low points during the early stages of the promotion. Britt and Riho get acquainted early on and it's all Riho except when Rebel or Jamie involve themselves from outside. Britt retreats to the outside and Riho tries to follow with a dive but she takes out Rebel instead and then Britt follows with a Slingblade on the outside. Britt goes to attack more and Jamie suggests a table. Britt stupidly turns her back on Riho and gets a Dragon Suplex for it before Riho launches off the table to dropkick Jamie. Back in the ring, Britt takes over once more and stomps Riho down as we head to break. Riho tries a roll up but Britt kicks out and just continues to beat the challenger down. Riho fires up and attacks with forearms but Britt just absorbs them and then beats Riho down again. She hits back-to-back Snap Suplexes and Riho kicks out so Britt attacks with elbow strikes and goes for another pin which Riho escapes once more! Britt brings Riho up and then drops her with Knee Strikes.
Britt locks Riho in a nasty chin lock and the smaller athlete escapes so Britt transitions to a Dragon Sleeper and as we return, Riho escapes once more and gets a two from the Double Foot Stomps. Britt fights back with an elbow and then Riho hits a Tijeras and a knee strike in the corner. She gets Britt in the ropes and hits the Tiger Feint Kick for two! Riho locks in a single leg crab and then bridges back with it but Britt escapes. Riho climbs to the top for the double foot stomps but Rebel pulls Britt to the apron and lays over Britt. Riho hits the double stomps on her ass and when Riho goes for it again, Britt rolls out of the way and hits an Air Raid Crash for two. Britt calls for the glove and the Lockjaw but Riho fights back and Britt turns a Dragon Suplex into the Lockjaw with a beautiful counter but Riho makes it to the ropes. Rebel and Jamie help Britt pull Riho off the ropes and Britt transitions for the Lockjaw once more. Riho escapes so Britt hits the Kerb Stomp and Riho kicks out once again! Rebel gives Britt the belt but the referee spots it and sends Rebel to the back. Riho attacks Britt from behind to knock Jamie off the apron and then Riho hits a Crucifix Bomb and a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge but Britt kicks out. Riho goes for Somato but Britt counters with an Up Kick and then Britt hits Riho with a kick and a Kerb Stomp. Riho kicks out again but Britt quickly locks in the Lockjaw and gets the big win. 3 out of 3 for top quality matches tonight. AEW smashed it!
Well, I think that was a very successful first ever Battle of the Belts but what did you think? Let us know in the comments and follow me on Twitter @0r4n93_C4551dy. See you on Monday for Dark Elevation, Adios.
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