Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

By Don Murphy, Contributor (@DonThePredictor)

AEW Battle of the Belts VIII
Memphis, Tennessee at FedExForum
Aired live October 21, 2023 on TNT

The show started where Collision ended with FTR and the Blackpool Combat Club standing in the ring…. Tony Schiavone, Kevin Kelly. and Nigel McGuiness remained on commentary…

1. Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver (w/Alex Reynolds) for the AEW International Title. On the way to the ring, Cassidy got into a brief shoving match with Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli who were walking up the aisle to the back. The sides had to be separated by officials.

After being taunted by Silver, Cassidy dove onto Reynolds on the floor and took back his sunglasses which Reynolds had taken. Silver hit a big beal out of the corner.

Cassidy took over and rammed Silver into the top turnbuckle ten times. Silver rebounded and held Cassidy for a prolonged period of time before hitting a superplex for a near fall. Both men made their way out onto the apron and exchanged blows. As the show went to a picture-in-picture break, Silver press slammed Cassidy off the apron and hit him with another beal on the floor.

Coming out of the break, Silver was kicking Cassidy, Cassidy ducked a kick and dropkicked Silver. Cassidy hit a “tiger driver” for a near fall. He then started light kicks to Silver’s chest but eventually picked up the intensity.

Cassidy hit the Slumdog Millionaire followed by his Beach Break finisher for a near fall. He went for the Orange Punch but was distracted by Reynolds who was on the apron. Reynolds hit Cassidy with the International Title while Silver distracted the referee. Silver rolled up Cassidy for a near fall.

Silver followed up with several near falls and the announcers pointed out Cassidy’s heart in kicking out. Cassidy tripped Silver running into the corner and hit the Orange Punch for the win.

Orange Cassidy defeated John Silver in about 10:00 to retain the AEW International Title.

Don’s Take: While the outcome was never in doubt, this match had good action. I’m not expecting Cassidy to have the title as long this time, but the company continues to do a good job booking him as the babyface who perseveres no matter what.

Backstage, Lexy Nair interviewed Andrade El Idolo. Nair asked him how he felt after his match with Bryan Danielson earlier tonight. As he was about to answer, CJ Perry entered. She said with a little guidance, he could become the biggest, the best and according to some, the most handsome wrestling star in the world. Andrade was confused but when Nair informed him that Perry might want to manage him, he looked intrigued.

“Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese were in the ring. Sterling proclaimed Nese as the next ROH Television Champion. Nese heeled on the Memphis crowd and started to do his “group training” gimmick that he does before every match as of late. He was interrupted by Samoa Joe’s entrance.

2. Samoa Joe vs. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling) for the ROH World Television Championship. Other than a few quick moves, this was a complete mauling by Joe who won with his Muscle Buster finisher.

Samoa defeated Tony Nese to retain the ROH World Television Championship in 2:00.

After the match, Joe grabbed the microphone and addressed MJF. He said he was giving MJF the gift of foresight in that he’s coming for the AEW title. He said MJF could use this gift to either give him what he wants or Joe could put Max in a situation where MJF is forced to give him what he wants.

Don’s Take: Simple and effective way o tell the story of “hungry” Joe, re-ascending the ladder. And I like that while MJF is preparing for Jay White, they are building other challengers like Joe and Wardlow in the background.

3. Kris Statlander vs. Willow Nightingale for the TBS Championship. An exchange of arm bars to start followed by a series of chain wrestling moves. Statlander nearly botched a leap frog but took Nightingale down with a shoulder block for a one count.

Statlander hit a springboard elbow which prompted Nightingale to roll to the outside. Statlander dove onto her but Nightingale recovered and hit a cannonball splash onto Statlander who was propped up against the steps.

Nightingale stayed on the offense throughout the commercial as the announcers noted her more aggressive side. Coming out of the break, the two exchanged blows in center ring. Statlander hit a running knee followed by a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall.

Nightingale hit the “pounce” on Statlander who recovered and hit a spinning DDT for another near fall. Nightingale hit a Death Valley Driver from the second rope for a near fall followed by her choking Statlander and smiling. The announcers once again addressed this more aggressive side.

Nightingale climbed the ropes but was caught by Statlander who powerbombed her and hit the 450 splash for the win.

Kris Statlander defeated Willow Nightingale to retain the TBS Championship in about 10:00.

After the match, the two were about to shake hands but Skye Blue came out and prevented it. Willow went ahead and did it anyway with Blue looking angered.

Don’s Take: It didn’t happen tonight but given her aggression in this match, I fully expect Nightingale to turn heel with Blue. I’m not a fan of this move because as good as Nightingale may be as a heel, her sweet spot is her babyface character.

Lexy Nair interviewed Orange Cassidy. He said Silver kicks very hard and mentioned the altercation with the Blackpool Combat Club earlier tonight. He challenged Danielson and Castagnoli to a tag team match on Dynamite against himself and…..Kazuchika Okada.

Don’s Take: Burying an upcoming Okada appearance on Dynamite in the third hour of their Saturday night show is simply mind blowing, I’m not saying this could move huge numbers but this is arguably the biggest star in New Japan. This deserved better.

4. Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Daniel Garcia (w/Anna Jay) for the AEW Trios Championship. Max’s rap included local Memphis references, Parker not being allowed in a school zone and Travis Kelce. Billy Gunn scissored the Memphis Grizzlies mascot while Tony plugged the upcoming NBA season on TNT (nice way to work in a plug).

Caster and Garcia chain wrestle to start. Garcia went to dance but was stopped by Menard. The fans chanted for the dance but Jay entered the ring to talk Garcia down but was ejected from the match.

Menard took over on Bowens who recovered and got the best of Menard and Parker. Eventually, the heels took over on offense on Caster as went to our final picture-in picture break.

Coming out of the break, the heels are now working over Bowens who eventually made the hot tag to Billy Gunn. After cleaning house, the baby faces hit “Scissor Me Timbers” on Menard for a near fall. They attempted to scissor mid match but were attacked by Garcia and Parker.

Everyone is brawling on the floor with Caster and Garcia in the ring. Garcia went to dance again but Caster rolled him up for a near fall. Garcia got his second win and took over on offense. He stopped in the middle of the barrage and successfully danced. This enabled Caster to recover and Gunn to hit the “Fame Asser.” Bowens and Caster then hit their double team finisher for the win.

“The Acclaimed” Max Caster, Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn defeated Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Daniel Garcia to retain the AEW Trios Championship in about 10:00.

After the match, the babyfaces celebrated while the heels looked frustrated as the show went off the air.

Don’s Take: This was fine for what it was. I’m all for Garcia breaking off as a babyface which appears to be the path we are on. And I’m fine with the dancing as long as he shows a serious side when the situation calls for it. My fear is that he’s going to be relegated to a comedy role and he has too much talent for that.

So, it was a good albeit long night of wrestling. And I get the Battle of the Belts attempting to harken back to the WCW Clash of the Champions days, but would love to see this on its own night with a bit more build. They were all title matches but they just didn’t feel all that important. In any event, until next week!

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The post AEW Battle of the Belts VIII results (10/21): Murphy’s review of Kris Statlander vs. Willow Nightingale for the TBS Title, Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver for the AEW International Title – Pro Wrestling Dot Net appeared first on WorldNewsEra.


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