AEW Rampage & Battle Of The Belts V Preview For January 6th
This Friday night is a loaded one for All Elite Wrestling with both RAMPAGE and BATTLE OF THE BELTS V coming to our fans live from Portland, OR! The former sees The Blackpool Combat Club in action against Top Flight, Preston Vance stepping into the squared circle, plus “The Killer and The Pillar” in tag team competition against The Renegade Sisters! The latter features three championship bouts with the AEW World Tag Team Championship on the line in a No Holds Barred situation, the TBS Championship at stake, and Kip Sabian battling Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic Championship as well! It kicks-off with RAMPAGE at 10pm ET/9pm CT on TNT and is immediately followed by BATTLE OF THE BELTS V!
In addition to TNT, these events will also be available at AEWPlus.com for our international fans, so before the night of action gets started, make it a point to visit the official AEW YouTube channel to catch up on the week's excitement with DYNAMITE highlights, as well as the latest episodes of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and the CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone!
TAG TEAM ACTION...
The Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley)
Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin)
Top Flight and The Blackpool Combat Club have found themselves a bit married in recent weeks with Jon Moxley dancing with Darius, Claudio Castagnoli getting embroiled with the duo in the culmination of the Three Kings Casino Trios Royale, and Top Flight taking on Mox and Claudio in tag team action as well. In every situation, the young Martin brothers have taken the fight to The BCC members, and while they only found victory in the Three Kings situation, where Dante and Darius combined to eliminate first Moxley and then Claudio, they have proven willing to throwdown with the best this business has to offer.
This week on RAMPAGE, this competitive rivalry will continue in a different form. This time it will be Moxley uniting with “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, the hopeful number one contender to the AEW World Championship, to take on Top Flight! Now Dante is familiar with Danielson, having been beating by him and Moxley in tag team action with Matt Sydal as his partner, as well as in trios action with Mox, Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta topping Dante, Brock Anderson, and Lee Moriarty. But this is the first time Darius has stepped into the ring with Bryan, a man who is hellbent on fighting MJF for the AEW World Championship come REVOLUTION 2023, and has a mission of remaining unbeaten en route to getting that opportunity.
Now one thing that should be mentioned in the bigger picture of this match is the tense dynamic between Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, especially in light of what happened at FULL GEAR 2022 with William Regal and in the immediate aftermath. The only thing that may have saved Regal from being assaulted by Mox was Danielson, ironic considering it was Regal who had to quell the bloodthirst between Bryan and Mox at REVOLUTION 2022, but this will be the first time the two BCC members have shared a ring since that night. In fact, this is the first night since FULL GEAR '22 that Bryan has stood side-by-side with any members of The Blackpool Combat Club. He's not been seen engaging with Moxley, Claudio, or Yuta during the last several weeks, he certainly wasn't at Wheeler's side in the interview prior to Yuta's fight with Swerve Strickland last week on RAMPAGE, but now he has to go back into battle with Moxley at his side and see if they can get back on that page that brought them four tag team victories in 2022.
This may be a prime opportunity for Top Flight to upset the apple cart, especially if Mox and Dragon are not on the same page, but whichever way it goes, it will no doubt be an amazing example of why RAMPAGE is the best professional wrestling available anywhere on a Friday night!
TAG TEAM BOUT...
AEW Women's World Champion Jamie Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D
The Renegade Sisters (Charlette & Robyn Renegade)
We all know that next Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the AEW Women's World Champion and the Good Doctor will collide with Saraya and a partner of her choosing in tag team action. In Seattle, in the above embedded interview, we all learned that Saraya had narrowed her choice down to two women, both former Women's World Champions, Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm. Much to the dismay of Shida, the longest reigning and most successful of the former champions, Saraya selected Storm as her partner for the bout at the fabulous Forum. Although it was clear from the look on Shida's face that she was quite taken aback by the selection, the match was set for January 12th so now it's about the preparation for the fight.
The prep for the other side of that bout, “The Pillar and The Killer” if you will, begins this Friday night on RAMPAGE when Dr. Baker and the AEW Women's World Champion are in tag team action! Stepping up to the opportunity this represents will be The Renegade Sisters of Charlette and Robyn, two women who have made great strides in their wrestling career since they first began appearing for All Elite Wrestling, but this is arguably the biggest chance they've had to date. Facing the current champion and the former champion is the sort of opportunity that doesn't come often, and the Renegade Sisters will not take it lightly. It's a chance for wrestling headlines, it's a chance to cement their spot in the AEW milieu, and perhaps even insert their names into the championship picture.
If Hayter and Baker take this lightly, there's a chance they could head to Los Angeles on a down note, but if they come in with intent to send Saraya and Toni Storm a message, the Renegade Sisters are going to be in for a rough night!
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP OPEN CHAMPION CHALLENGE...
Darby Allin(c) vs. Mike Bennett
Darby Allin reclaimed the TNT Championship from Samoa Joe on Wednesday night's edition of DYNAMITE, making him a 2-Time title holder and once more The Face of TNT! And while it was absolutely a moment of celebration between Darby and his hometown after the cameras went off the air, when he returned to the back, the new champ didn't even get such opportunity thanks to The Kingdom of Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, and Maria Kanellis-Bennett.
See during his original championship reign, just as Cody Rhodes had done before him, Darby operated under an Open Challenge policy for title opportunities, and obviously intends to continue that tradition with his second stint holding the TNT Championship. So this Friday night on RAMPAGE, with Taven and Maria no doubt at Bennett's side to provide support (or run interference), Darby Allin has accepted the challenge of the 20-year veteran of the ring wars.
Mike is no stranger to championship success, as he stated he's a multi-time champion in Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and beyond, and after the war Darby just went through with Samoa Joe on Wednesday, Bennett may also be the smartest man in the locker room when it comes to picking his spots. Darby is hurting, moreso than usual after the sheer physical beating he took en route to ending The King of Television's reign, so Friday night could be the prime moment to bring a premature end to Darby's run and create a new Face of TNT for 2023!
“PERRO PELIGROSO” PRESTON VANCE IN ACTION...
Since Preston Vance betrayed The Dark Order to align himself with Rush and La Faccion Ingobernable, he has had a great deal to say about his career, his choices, and his future. This Friday night on RAMPAGE, for the first time since joining LFI, Vance will be back inside the squared circle! The former Ten has always been a powerhouse of a professional wrestler, but has being part of LFI brought out any other sides of his personality? We've all seen just how violent Rush can be when the mood strikes, is that something being passed onto the newest LFI acquisition as well?
Following the conclusion of RAMPAGE, do not change your channel because BATTLE OF THE BELTS V will air immediately afterwards on TNT! There are three huge championship bouts lined up for the fans live in Portland, OR and those watching on live television, featuring the All-Atlantic Championship, the TBS Championship, and the AEW World Tag Team Championship all on the line this Friday night!
LL-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Kip Sabian
For several weeks now fans have seen Kip Sabian interject himself into the world of All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy, but the reality is that this dynamic dates back quite some time the pandemic days in Jacksonville, FL. At that point the existence of the All-Atlantic Championship was quite far off in the future, but Kip was heading towards celebrating his wedding to Penelope Ford out in front of the whole world on DYNAMITE. With Miro as his Best Man, Kip and Penelope were prepared to have their big moment take place on a grand stage, but instead the time came to reap what had been sewn, and the couple saw their moment ruined by Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor.
The wild Arcade Anarchy battle would come out of those ruined nuptials, and shortly thereafter Miro would actually inflict a horrific injury to Kip Sabian, an injury that ultimately kept “SuperBad” out of in-ring competition for 18 months, but led to a transformative experience for Kip in the process. Fans would begin to see a man with his head adorned in a box around AEW events, wandering the concourses, never speaking a word as he interacted with fans via magic tricks, hand gestures, and assorted forms of non-verbal communication. Kip distributed pics of himself, his old self, with X's across the eyes, scribbles across the face, and offered written messages about embracing change and transformation.
Kip, with his wife at his side, even appeared at the AEW booth during New York Comic Con with the box adorning his head, the words “Underrated, Over it” scribbled across the cardboard, and did not speak a word to the fans who came to meet them. This would be the course charted by Kip until after PAC won the All-Atlantic Championship at FORBIDEEN DOOR, and he began to follow “The Bastard”, even stalking the new champion to England as PAC began to establish the championship. Just prior to ALL OUT 2022, Kip made his intentions clear and assaulted PAC, leading to their ZERO HOUR confrontation ultimately won by “The Bastard”. While Kip Sabian may have lost that encounter, clearly his interest in the All-Atlantic Championship did not wane because he resumed pursuit of said title now that Orange Cassidy reigns as champion.
Kip put Trent Seven on the hunt for the championship initially after having eliminated Orange Cassidy in the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale, and although Seven failed in his title bid, Kip seemed to view it as a way to wear out the defending champion.
On top of that, whether by intention or happenstance, Kip would be in position to drive a wedge into the cohesiveness of The Best Friends unit as Trent Beretta used Sabian's “I eliminated you so I deserve a title match” logic against him, and ended up in an All-Atlantic Championship match with his friend. By the end of the match, won by “Freshly Squeezed” after a distraction by Penelope Ford left Trent open for an Orange Punch, there would be trouble in the world of The Best Friends, with Beretta feeling like OC betrayed the trust in getting the victory in that fashion.
That brings us to this Friday night's collision at BATTLE OF THE BELTS V where the DDT Pro Wrestling-bound Kip Sabian, with Penelope Ford at this side, will challenge Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic Championship, but who will be at OC's side? Based on what happened in front of the live audience in Seattle at the very end of Wednesday night, where Trent and Chuck walked away from OC, it seems only Danhausen is in the Cassidy camp right now. Kip, on the other hand, has his wife, and potentially The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny all willing to be at his side, putting the defending champ in quite the handicapped situation.
Which of these men will start their 2023 on a high note, and move forward into the new year as reigning All-Atlantic Championship? Will Kip get to take the title to Japan with him and Penelope? Will The Best Friends find their way back to the same page? So many questions to be answered this Friday in Portland!
TBS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Jade Cargill(c) vs. Skye Blue
On DYNAMITE, the TBS Champion and Red Velvet teamed up to defeat Skye Blue and Kiera Hogan in tag team action, with Cargill pinning Kiera to pick up the victory for her team. Although, to be fair, the use of team should possibly be placed in quotes, because Red barely functioned as a team with Jade, and in fact walked out on her as the match drew towards its close.
The undefeated Cargill still managed to find a way to win despite finishing the match as a one man band, but it is now crystal clear that Red Velvet is not on the same page as The Baddies much less the TBS Champion. There is absolutely a situation there that Jade will have to revisit, but before that comes BATTLE OF THE BELTS V and another TBS Title defense for Cargill as she celebrates one year reigning as champ.
The woman stepping up to challenge Jade in Portland on Friday night, coming out of Wednesday's tag match as the competitor not pinned by Cargill, will be Skye Blue as she she attempts to make her third career singles bout with Jade swing in her favor. Jade won their first bout on the 10/8/21 edition of RAMPAGE and their second, a TBS Championship Eliminator contest, just about one year ago on AEW DARK, but this will be their first championship bout. In fact this will mark Skye's first championship bout in her All Elite Wrestling career, and she aims to make it count!
Skye has already grown by leaps and bounds in her AEW career, but this championship chance is the biggest one she has had thus far! Can she end Cargill's TBS Title reign on its 366th day, as well as end Jade's undefeated streak as she creeps towards a 50th victory?
EW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP NO HOLDS BARRED...
The Acclaimed(Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)(c) vs. Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett
On Wednesday night in Seattle, there was a moment there where Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett though they'd won the AEW World Tag Team Championship from The Acclaimed. They thought they'd snuck on over on referee Stephon Smith when Sonjay Dutt pushed Anthony Bowens' foot off the rope as the defending champion was pinned by Jarrett, but referee Aubrey Edwards caught the tomfoolery and the match would be restarted much to the chagrin of the challengers.
Lethal and Jarrett would enraged by this decision, but that rage would not lead to actual championship success, instead they would end the night frustrated by their inability to defeat The Acclaimed, and would vent that frustration in a challenge:
So thus it will be a championship rematch from Wednesday night, only now under the auspices of a No Holds Barred stipulation, meaning chaos is likely to ensue! Sonjay can interfere at his leisure, Satnam Singh can get involved as so desired, leaving Max Caster and Anthony Bowens to fight against serious odds in hopes of maintaining their status as reigning AEW World Tag Team Champions! Caster and Bowens have gone through so much to achieve this dream, they've been to battle with FTR, Swerve In Our Glory, The Varsity Athletes, and even two teams simultaneously in Private Party and The Butcher & The Blade. They are not about to give up their belts easily, and the Lethal/Jarrett combination is about to find out just what kind of fight The Acclaimed actually have inside themselves. This may be a case of “be careful what you wish for” given it was Jay and Jeff who made the challenge, or it may be the best decision they've ever made. Whichever way the fight swings, fans in Portland are definitely in store for a wild brouhaha with the AEW World Tag Team Championship at stake!
DYNAMITE kicked off 2023 in grand fashion capped off by Darby Allin becoming a 2-Time TNT Champion and a loaded Friday night aims to follow it up even bigger! The excitement begins at 10pm ET/9pm CT with RAMPAGE, immediately to be followed by BATTLE OF THE BELTS V, and it all goes down on TNT, as well as at AEWPlus.com! The TBS Championship, the AEW World Tag Team Championship, and the All-Atlantic Championship will all be on the line during BOTB V, while RAMPAGE sees The BCC versus Top Flight, “The Killer and The Pillar” in tag team action, and Preston Vance in competition! So be sure to head over to the official AEW YouTube channel to get ready for the fights with DYNAMITE highlights, plus the latest episodes of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO..., and the CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone!