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Rampage + Battle of the Belts V - 1/6/2023


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They really need to do something about Battle of the Belts. The shows are just so uneventful. The wrestling is decent and all but they never have title changes, they never have a world title match, and they don't have legit main events. Not to mention how tonight's show was live and they didn't build it up or hype it up as a big deal at all.

If they have a full two hours on live TV for Rampage and Battle of the Belts, it should be like a destination show for AEW. It should be on par with something like Winter Is Coming. Otherwise, there is no point in booking Battle of the Belts. They book Battle of Belts like C-grade TV, like a glorified episode of AEW Dark.

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1 minute ago, The Natural said:

Battle of the Belts did give us a ROH World Championship match between Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita which is one of the best matches in AEW history.

ROH is barely even alive as a brand at this point.

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Fun two hours! Great opener of course. Thought the Renegade Twins looked awesome in defeat here. Nice first defense for Darby. Loved Jericho/Tony banter as Jericho is outraged by Taven interfering, saying he hates the idea of having people ringside for your matches. 

Battle of the Belts was excellent top to bottom. Amazing hot opener, the chaos was a blast. Big pop for Aubrey ruled. Loved this whole rivalry. Jade/Skye was awesome, really good showing for Skye since this got some time and she got some real comebacks. The finish was absolutely epic, super impressive that went so smoothly. The whole finishing sequence with Skye's previous two near falls really ruled. I was starting to buy in to the possibility of a Skye upset or Red costing Jade. I've always liked Red V, but not sure I'd have her be the one to beat Jade though it feels like a possibility of going in that direction. And a fantastic main event to top it off. I'm a huge fan of the Orange Cassidy title run so they had me worried that Sabian might win it here, especially with all other champs retaining and I didn't wanna see the reign end, great stuff all the way through. Another super hot crowd. 

Don't recall if it was mentioned but they snuck in on the bottom graphics that Battle of the Belts 6 will be April 7 in Kingston, Rhode Island. 

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Forgot to mention this, but the Renegade Twins (twins?! guess I missed that) were awesome. It was kinda cool having two matches in a row with underdog regular tag teams versus a one-off team of usually singles wrestlers at the tops of their divisions.*

I forgot that Mike Bennett was Mr. Kanellis and was informed of this in the Discord. I laughed and laughed.** He hit a sick Russian leg sweep off the apron, though.

EDIT: * The Renegades totally laid it in just like Top Flight which made the comparison even more complete. Put them in the pool on the main roster ASAP. 

** The reason I think this is funny is because for one Mike looks and wrestles like the most generic wrestler possible. The other is he looks and wrestles like the most generic wrestler possible. 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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3 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Forgot to mention this, but the Renegade Twins (twins?! guess I missed that) were awesome.

I was genuinely disappointed we didn't get Twin Magic. They've done that on Dark a few times. 

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6 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

** The reason I think this is funny is because for one Mike looks and wrestles like the most generic wrestler possible. The other is he looks and wrestles like the most generic wrestler possible. 

Mike Bennett looks generic but he is awesome in the ring.

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One other fun thing. Dasha was vamping to the crowd during commercial breaks. Shouting out signs and chatting with the fans. At one point she got Referee Paul Turner to do a muscle pose. She also tried to shout out VooDoo Donuts and got soundly booed which I found hilarious.

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1 hour ago, Sammo~! said:

One other fun thing. Dasha was vamping to the crowd during commercial breaks. Shouting out signs and chatting with the fans. At one point she got Referee Paul Turner to do a muscle pose. She also tried to shout out VooDoo Donuts and got soundly booed which I found hilarious.

I briefly read that as vaping, lol. That's tiredness for you. Glad you had a grand time, my mate xxx.

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Best Jade has looked yet. Really good chemistry between her and Skye Blue, who also impressed. Still not sure where this storyline with Velvet is going but I'm here for it. Only quibble is that it would have been cool to have Kiera in Skye's corner given their recent teaming and her own issues with Jade. 

The Renegades Vs Britt/Jamie was far more competitive than I expected which was a pleasant surprise. Even in defeat, The Renegades came off still looking like a threat. 

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Caught it all this morning unspoiled which is a lovely way to watch wrestling. It's a lot to keep track of though...

  • I'll write up the Top Flight tag for Monday but this really felt like Tsuruta-gun vs some snotnosed kids. Much more one-sided than the Claudio tag and Danielson and Moxley were unrelenting. I feel like they came up with a bunch of tag spots/sequences/visual images back in May and then never got to use them for one reason or another so they were all here. Dante vs Danielson is a match I really want. Darius needs to figure out what makes him stand out next to his brother, what he can do differently.
  • Was a bit weird to have two matches in a row with underdogs doing their best against top wrestlers and the heel/face dynamics wonky, but that's AEW for you. Renegades looked good out there. I half wonder if them being back means Rosa's about ready to come back. I think it more or less lived up to my measured hype for it the other day but yeah, no twin magic is sad.
  • I would have had Vance hit just one more power move but we got the point. Unfortunately, the lariat still looks crummy. He should figure out some variation like a roaring elbow or polish hammer and then say he's mocking Brodie Lee by changing the move.
  • I'll have to rewatch the main of Rampage for Monday but Bennett is selfless and probably insisted on taking some of the big spots so it was less about Darby wiping himself out and more about Champ Darby wiping someone else out, which was welcome.
  • I honestly much preferred the Dynamite match to the BotB match for the Acclaimed vs Lethal/Jarrett. That first match felt honestly special due to the heat between Caster and Jarrett and Bowens sort of working around and through it all with Jarrett and Lethal. Plus all of the comeuppance the heels got within the match and the legit heat Jarrett got through the break. This was just there until the finish which was fine because Aubrey works really hard and cares a lot and deserves a pop on 11 pm on a Friday night once. Honestly, the two tags weren't even in the same stratosphere with each other. Night and day with Wednesday's being so much better.
  • I don't love the structure of Jade vs Skye with Skye getting absolutely nothing for so long and then everything all at once but there were some really smooth bits towards the end there. Between this and what Saraya's doing there is more of a sense of "Catty females" in the women's division than in the past. Not anywhere close to Skye's best match but I'm glad she got the spotlight and a bit of hope at the end. Jade, on the other hand, looked pretty good in there. I don't remember her trashttalking throughout the match quite so much and that was very effective.
  • And yeah, like I said, I loved the main. It's probably my favorite AEW match in a few months. It felt kind of CHIKARA-y? Or like Austin vs Mankind with the deck stacked against Austin in its own sort of mid-card way. I know the announcers kind of went along with it and they did a great job with the clips before the match of every little mind game he did, but it really felt like Sabian building his own story out of almost nothing. Sabian was an absolute supervillain here. His evil plan played out and at every point he launched another part of his death trap, and Cassidy was so good in getting more and more frustrated as one thing after the other went wrong. Sabian lost, in the end, but he completely threw Cassidy off in the meantime and made him completely lose his cool and I'm a little sad that this is the end game. On the other hand, you sort of want to save Cassidy losing his cool for a really big angle against a top guy but this was some of the best heeling in AEW outside of what Christian was doing in the last year or two and this was far more creative.
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Saturday Reflections: I really hope Top Flight wrestles Claudio and Yuta next and pin Yuta to set them up for a title shot.  Top Flight taking the belts off the Acclaimed would be good.  I just LOVE how hard edged AEW was in this episode.  AEW channeling Mid-South and then channeling All Japan Women from 1985 is SOOOOO the best AEW. I love how the structure of the Top Flight/BCC and Renegades/Hayter and Baker was the same, amazingly over babyface ass kickers beating the shit out of a younger team as total heels, but staying over as babyfaces because they beat so much ass- it's the Four Horsemen all over again.  I await Eddie Kingston versus Brodie King.

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Saturday Reflections II:  Man, that Darby Allin/ Mike Bennett match was fucking awesome.  Maria Kanellis is a treasure and that spot was fucking great.

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20 minutes ago, The Natural said:

Darth-Vader-No-Gif.gif&ehk=xIPAEuzKhj16p

Least we agree Bryan Danielson's the GOAT. Still love you, David xxx.

I think it’s the hair. Attitude Era and TNA Jarrett looked like a douche. Current Jeff’s locks are gorgeous. Handsome, yet luxurious.

Edited by Octopus
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The pop for that guitar shot.  The conservative approach to Singhs selling is paying off.  So much fun.
 

I might have been being a douchey Gen-Xer drunk on irony in my admiration of this Jarrett run.  But I’m genuinely enjoying him and this faction.  It feels like an FBI-Nova/Chetti/Balls/Axl party match with a semi New Jack run in chaos garnish.  I might not push it too much further with Jarrett being that he is an older guy that isn’t moving that crisply.  Mostly because I’m kind of looking toward a Lethal/Singh team focus.

Loved BCC/TF.  Perfectly played to each teams strengths and status.  Very unique in that it wasn’t technique acting as the counter putting the kibosh on the  youngsters.  It was Mox and his overwhelming force shutting them down hard.  Applause.

It appears that the days of playing Hayter and Baker as having no chemistry as a team is over.  That was awhile ago, though I might spotlight them overcoming that a bit more considering how much currency they’ve spent historically.  Plus it moves the mind away from the UNAVOIDABLE BETRAYAL!!!

I complained awhile ago about Jade not always looking like she had her feet beneath her. Making a lot of her movements in ring kind of awkward.  But she sure does now.  I too WAS feeling like this part of her story being undefeated was coming to an end sometime soon.  But after this week I think there might be more potential miles to go.  Is there money in going to 100?

Sabian and The Kingdom are acts that don’t do much for me.  But I’ve had my mind changed a lot recently.  So we’ll see.

 

Edited by Brandon Bones
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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

Caught it all this morning unspoiled which is a lovely way to watch wrestling. It's a lot to keep track of though...

  • I'll write up the Top Flight tag for Monday but this really felt like Tsuruta-gun vs some snotnosed kids. Much more one-sided than the Claudio tag and Danielson and Moxley were unrelenting. I feel like they came up with a bunch of tag spots/sequences/visual images back in May and then never got to use them for one reason or another so they were all here. Dante vs Danielson is a match I really want. Darius needs to figure out what makes him stand out next to his brother, what he can do differently.

Well, he's like Matt Hardy in the Hardy Boys dynamic, but Dante is so much better than Jeff Hardy at the regular in-ring stuff that there is less separation in what their roles are in the match.  Dante should suck more or something.  I don't know.

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Ok, so Rampage: Top Flight fought super hard, but once again, Danielson didn't even need to lock the LeBell Lock in since a Martin was already knocked out at that point. I wonder if this will lead to something? Takeshita actually fighting out of the move when people assume he is out, maybe?

Renegades did all they could too, but people didn't really get behind them. Hayter and Britt are still on surprisingly good terms.

Darby had a huge week. Ok, Bennett isn't the most exciting wrestler on the planet, but this was a really good showing. Keep throwing challengers at Darby.

Preston Vance did a move.

Adam Page is ready to kick some ass.

Battle of some Belts V: the tag title match started out surprisingly conservative, but got wild in the end! Jarrett getting trapped in the ankle lock was a good call back. Has any other team gotten destroyed on raps three times withing 4(?) weeks, by the way? Jarrett's been slaughtered! Aubrey bringing back order to the ring was really good! Entertaining match, again!

Skye Blue had a good showing, but the match slowed down a bit too much, when Jade was just dominating. The end sequences were very nice. Why were Red Velvet's eyes so, well, red?

Good main event. When they mentioned Shibata, it occured to me that the following weeks could be a good time to get that Shibata-Danielson match out of the way. Danhausen doing his best to help was touching and when Best Friends did show up to even the odds, that was even better! It kinda did look that Kip might pull off a dirty upset, but Orange prevailed. It does seem like the constant defences are catching up with him and that will lead to trouble pretty soon.

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16 minutes ago, DEAN said:

Well, he's like Matt Hardy in the Hardy Boys dynamic, but Dante is so much better than Jeff Hardy at the regular in-ring stuff that there is less separation in what their roles are in the match.  Dante should suck more or something.  I don't know.

Darius needs to learn kung fu like Stan Lane.

Edited by Matt D
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Just now, Matt D said:

Dante needs to learn kung fu.

I was remembering how good the Bowens/MOX match from back when Caster was out and after seeing Danielson and Darius beating the fuk out of each other, I want to see Darius versus Anthony Bowens singles match just to see the WORKERS~! of each tag team getting it on.

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