AEW Battle of The Belts II Preview for April 16, 2022
On January 8th, All Elite Wrestling presented the very first Battle of the Belts from the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, NC. It was a wild night that featured Dr. Britt Baker retaining the AEW Women's World Title over Riho, Ricky Starks and Matt Sydal have a top shelf clash over the FTW Title, and Sammy Guevara besting Dustin Rhodes to lay claim to the Interim TNT Championship.
This Saturday night, April 16th, AEW returns to TNT for our second Saturday Night Fight! It's Battle Of The Belts II hailing from the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, TX, and featuring three championship bouts! Thunder Rosa will defend her Women's World Title for the very first time against “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose, Scorpio Sky will try to retain the TNT Title in a rematch with Sammy Guevara, and for the very first time on AEW programming, the Ring of Honor World Title will be defended when Jonathan Gresham faces a former champion in Dalton Castle!
It all takes place on TNT starting at 8pm EST/7pm CST, and on AEWPlus.com for our International audiences! Each match features a former champion attempting to reclaim a championship they once held, will any of the challengers be successful in recapturing glory? The best way to find out is by watching it all unfold this Saturday night on TNT!!!
AEW WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE MATCH...
“La Mera Mera” Thunder Rosa(c) vs. “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose
The AEW Women's World Champion and her challenger are no strangers to one another. Although they've only had a single one-on-one meeting, back during the 2021 Women's World Title Eliminator Tournament, Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose have shared the ring plenty. That night it was Rose who claimed victory to win the United States bracket of the tournament en route to losing against Ryo Mizunami in the final match, but it would be the last time Nyla defeated Thunder.
Seven months to the day later, these two warriors were part of a Three Way Match that included Jade Cargill, with the undefeated record of the now TBS Champion telling the tale of who won that fight, while the three tag team situations they've been involved with have always ended up in Thunder Rosa's favor.
Now while the past may paint a portrait of what can be anticipated in the present, this picture includes one thing that no other bout did: the AEW Women's World Championship. It's the prize Thunder has, one she fought for a year to get her shot at, even winning 25 straight singles matches between that aforementioned loss to Nyla and the one in the Three Way to Jade, and one Nyla is going to have to pry from Thunder's cold, dead hands if she expects to walk out of Texas with it.
It's a prize Nyla has held in the past, one she has fought to reclaim since Hikaru Shida beat her for it at Double or Nothing 2020, and “The Native Beast” feels this is going to be her night. It may not be dethroning Rosa in her hometown of San Antonio, but 300 miles apart is still Texas, and Nyla has a lot of hard feelings when it comes to this arena. Less than a year ago, July 21st of 2021 to be exact, with AEW freshly back on the road, Rose was the first woman to challenge Dr. Britt Baker for the AEW Women's World Title, and that loss happened right there in the Curtis Culwell Center.
So this Saturday night marks a chance for “The Native Beast” to redeem her loss 9 months ago, and reclaim the title she lost almost two years back. In order to do that though, Nyla is going to have figure out how to stop the tremendous momentum “La Mera Mera” is experiencing after dethroning Baker. The key to beating Rosa over the last year has seemed to be a reliance on outside help, so perhaps Vickie Guerrero will be the key to victory just as Rebel and Jamie Hayter were at Revolution 2022, or perhaps there is nothing Rose can throw at Thunder to knock her off her championship game!
TNT TITLE MATCH...
Scorpio Sky(c) vs. “The Spanish God” Sammy Guevara
After he defeated Sammy Guevara to claim the TNT Title as his own, Scorpio Sky declared the death of the TNT Open Challenge that had essentially existed since Cody Rhodes defeated Lance Archer to be crowned the first champion. It was honored by all the champions that followed, even Miro honored it in his own unique way in being the one to make the challenges, but Sky has elected to break from that tradition after feeling slighted in his own championship aspirations. It's not hard to see where he was coming from, after all prior to his TNT Title fight with Sammy Guevara, Sky had been undefeated in singles competition for a year and yet had never been positioned as a challenger for any championship.
As a point of fact, it took Dan Lambert negotiating a title fight in exchange for Paige Van Zant signing an AEW contract to get it done for Sky. Now, if Sky had just stepped to Sammy face-to-face and challenged him, perhaps the situation would have unfolded differently. After all Tony Nese, Jay Lethal, and Bobby Fish all got their title fights in that fashion, but Sky chose to spend his time complaining about the lack of title opportunities rather than doing something about it.
Still, regardless of how he eventually got to his championship opportunity, the former World Tag Team Champion made the most of it, and ended Guevara's second TNT Title reign with a little help from his friends. Thankfully for Sky, he also had a little help in his first defense against Wardlow, this time in the form of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, or else Scorpio would have had the shortest title reign in AEW's history across all divisions.
That still may be the case though as Scorpio must now contend with Guevara in a rematch of their March 9th TNT Title fight! It's not a fight Sky wants, but it is the fight he's getting, and it's going down as part of Battle of the Belts II this Saturday! Between two championship reigns and his time as Interim Champ, Sammy has amassed nine title defenses over 148 days, and he is aiming to add to those numbers with a third reign as TNT Champ!
Can “The Spanish God” become the second man to be a three-time champ, or will Sky continue both his championship reign and his singles undefeated streak when AEW's latest Saturday Night Fight goes down?
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Jonathan Gresham(c) vs. Dalton Castle
At Supercard of Honor 2022 (Order Replay) two weeks ago, Jonathan Gresham defeated Bandido to become the Unified ROH World Champion. After months of two men walking around with a claim to the throne, it was “The Octopus” who found the key to winning, and had his hand raised in victory when the final bell rang. It should have been a time of celebration, a moment to relish that honor was still alive and well in the care of Gresham, but instead it was spoiled by a man Jonathan once considered a friend in Jay Lethal. Their history together is rich indeed, one that began as rivals, brought them together as teammates, then as record-setting championship champions, and ultimately as founders of The Foundation. It all seemed that Final Battle 2021 would be the end of their road together after Gresham defeated Lethal to claim the ROH Original World Title, but the purchase of Ring of Honor by AEW CEO Tony Khan changed the landscape, and put the two together in the same place once more on April 1st.
Sadly it would end up with Lethal and Sonjay Dutt assaulting the new Unified Champion until ROH Legend Samoa Joe shocked the world with his arrival, saved Gresham from the beating, and choked out Dutt while Lethal watched on helplessly. This betrayal by Lethal has to be something that's lingered on for Gresham, especially considering their parting in December 2021 was far more cordial. Still, Gresham soldiered on carrying that specific ROH World Title belt, defending it all around the world, across company borders, and against all-comers, ultimately hitting an impressive fourteen title defenses in three months prior to the unification match with Bandido. Now he's set for number sixteen this Saturday night during Battle of the Belts II, and it's against another man quite familiar with the responsibilities of carrying the banner for ROH.
Dalton Castle reigned as ROH World Champion for 197 days after defeating Cody Rhodes at Final Battle 2017, and would successfully defend it seven times against foes such as Jay Lethal, EVIL, Punishment Martinez, and Trent Beretta, before Lethal would dethrone him in the ROH staple match known as the Four Corner Survival. Castle also reigned as an ROH Six Man Tag Champion, a World Television Champion, and won the Soaring Eagle Cup in 2017. Castle is also an accomplished amateur wrestler, having competed for a decade prior to becoming a pro, and winning championships throughout his career. Castle traveled with Team USA for World Championships, competed three times on the NCAA All-State team, and won two consecutive championships at the Beach National in his weight class. Suffice to say, Dalton Castle has skills that belay his ostentatious wrestling presentation, and they have brought him a great deal of success across his thirteen year career.
The successes that brought him to Ring of Honor were continued in the aforementioned title reigns with the World, Six Man, and TV Titles, and in the case of Castle's foe this Saturday, also gave “The Peacock” the victory in the lone singles match between him and Jonathan Gresham. Since that 2017 match, the two men have been partners and they've been foes, but this Texas fight will be the first time a championship has ever been on the line in their handful of meetings.
It may be their only title fight, but it is over a championship near and dear to the hearts of both men, one that Dalton carried with pride during his time, one that Gresham views as the most important championship in the whole of professional wrestling today. Holding the ROH World Title is the culmination of the dream Jonathan held when he first stepped into a ring, and as he stated in the SoH 2022 Media Scrum after the event, one he does not intend to let slip away until he has defeated the two men he views as having tarnished its legacy: CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.
What will it mean to Gresham if Dalton Castle ends this destiny now before the reigning champion can accomplish his mission? What will “The Octopus” have left to fight for if Castle takes it all away in the same venue where Gresham became Undisputed? And if Gresham does make it past this former ROH World Champion, what will the future bring him? Is it Lethal? Is it Samoa Joe? We know he is slated to face another former ROH World Champion at IMPACT's Rebellion 2022 event, will that bout with Eddie Edwards be Gresham's next title fight?
It's a time rife with intrigue for the most influential wrestling company of the last twenty years, and whomever holds the ROH World Title after Saturday night will be at the forefront of it all! It's Gresham versus Castle with the ROH World Title on the line and it goes down this Saturday night at AEW Battle of the Belts II!!
Catch all three of these title fights Saturday night on TNT when Battle of the Belts II begins at 8pm EST/7pm CST, and at AEWPlus.com for our international viewers! Prior to the fights, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube page for the highlights from Dynamite and Rampage that led to hear, as well as the most recent episodes of AEW Dark: Elevation, Dark, Road To, and The Control Center with Tony Schiavone!