When I landed earlier this morning at Charlotte-Douglass International Airport, I was optimistic that the Saturday night AEW spectacle Battle of the Belts would still be salvageable. Only 3 matches in the frustratingly short hour long TNT special was originally scheduled to feature Riho vs Dr. Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s Championship. It was later announced that Cody Rhodes would defend his newly won TNT Championship vs Sammy Guevara in a championship rematch. Oh…also there’s Sydal vs Starks for the FTW championship. I assumed the show would feature a healthy portion of AEW Dark tapings, so I was more than content with that being the event.
Then…things changed. Cody was unable to defend the TNT championship, due to a positive COVID test. (Get well soon champ!) That match was replaced with an interim TNT Championship match between Dustin Rhodes and Sammy Guevara. Meh. Obviously “card subject to change” isn’t some vague disclaimer, snuck onto every ad for legal reasons. Okay, maybe it is but, I still wanted Battle of the Belts to be bigger than what it was. It could’ve been a landmark event, bringing PPV quality matches to TNT, on a night not normally associated with wrestling anymore. I understand the irony in that statement as IMPACT had a fantastic PPV running concurrent to Battle of the Belts. But, no matter of what it could’ve been, battle of the belts was just a pretty good episode of Rampage.
Luckily, the TNT special was bookend by two tapings of AEW Dark. Not sure if this will be one super long episode with 14 matches and nearly 2 hours in length or, if it will be presented in separate episodes but, AEW Dark is super fun to watch live. It’s the closest thing to a house show that AEW presents, but the matches vary in length an quality but the presentation is lightning quick, compared to TV.
Overall, History was indeed made tonight as AEW presented the first of their quarterly TNT specials. If you’ve never been to an AEW event, make an effort to do so. I’ve never had a bad experience however, I’d be lying if I said that I was disappointed with Battle of the Belts. Is the Forbidden Door closed? Was a title vs title match not possible? Were there no other champions in AEW other than Ricky Starks, willing to defend a title? Maybe, maybe not, but if these TNT specials are to actually be “special”, Battle of the Belts left much to be desired.