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AEW Battle of the Belts I was a professional wrestling television special produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The event aired on TNT and took place on January 8, 2022, at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the company's first television special held separate from their weekly television shows, Dynamite and Rampage. It is also AEW's first quarterly Saturday night TNT television special following the company's May 2021 contract renegotiation with WarnerMedia.

As its name implies, all three matches on the card were championship matches. In the main event of the one-hour special, Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. defeated Riho to retain the AEW Women's World Championship. On the undercard, Ricky Starks defeated Matt Sydal to retain the FTW Championship and Sammy Guevara defeated Dustin Rhodes to become the interim AEW TNT Champion; Guevara was originally scheduled to face lineal champion Cody Rhodes for the title, however, Cody was pulled due to COVID-19-related issues.

Production[]

Background[]

In May 2021, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) renegotiated their deal with WarnerMedia which would see AEW's flagship television program, Dynamite, move from TNT to TBS in January 2022, while their other core program, Rampage, would remain on TNT. Also as part of the deal, AEW agreed to produce four quarterly television specials on TNT that would take place on Saturdays. AEW executive and wrestler Cody Rhodes said that these specials would be similar to Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling's Clash of the Champions and WWE's Saturday Night's Main Event shows, calling them super events. Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reported that the quarterly specials would be one-hour shows, but said they were originally planned to be longer, and also that they would feature pay-per-view level cards.

On November 24, 2021, AEW's first quarterly television special for TNT was confirmed as Battle of the Belts. It was scheduled for January 8, 2022, at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The name "Battle of the Belts" comes from a National Wrestling Alliance event held from 1985 to 1987 by the promotion's Florida territory that was operated by Eddie Graham.

AEW President Tony Khan confirmed that due to the show's one-hour length, not all of AEW's championships would be defended at Battle of the Belts, but their goal for the special was to put on great championship matches. On the day of the event, Khan revealed that matches for the January 11 episode of their YouTube show, Dark, were scheduled to be taped before the Battle of the Belts live broadcast, with all other AEW champions participating in these Dark matches.

Storylines[]

Battle of the Belts featured professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Storylines are produced on AEW's weekly shows Dynamite, Rampage, Dark, and Elevation and on The Young Bucks' YouTube series Being The Elite.

During the Black Friday episode of Rampage on November 26, 2021, Riho defeated AEW Women's World Champion Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. in a "Black Friday Deal" match to earn a future match for the championship. On December 17, the title match was scheduled for Battle of the Belts.

During the Holiday Bash episode of Rampage on December 25, 2021, Cody Rhodes defeated Sammy Guevara to win his record third AEW TNT Championship. On January 3, 2022, AEW announced that the two would have a rematch for the championship at Battle of the Belts. However, on the January 7 episode of Rampage, it was revealed that Rhodes was not medically cleared to compete, and instead, Dustin Rhodes would face Guevara at the event to determine an interim TNT Champion. In an update posted to his Instagram, Rhodes said that he had been in contact with family who had tested positive for COVID-19, thus requiring him to quarantine.

On the January 7 episode of Rampage, it was announced that Ricky Starks would defend the FTW Championship against Matt Sydal at Battle of the Belts.

Aftermath[]

After Cody Rhodes was cleared to return, he challenged Sammy Guevara to a ladder match to determine the undisputed TNT Champion. The match occurred during the special Beach Break episode of Dynamite on January 26, 2022, where Guevara defeated Rhodes to become the undisputed champion.

Results[]

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Other on-screen talent[]

Commentators
Ring announcer
Referees

External links[]

All Elite Wrestling Events
2019
Double or NothingFyter FestFight For The FallenAll OutFull Gear
2020
RevolutionDouble or NothingFyter FestAll OutFull Gear
2021
RevolutionDouble or NothingAll OutFull Gear
2022
Battle of the Belts IRevolutionBattle of the Belts IIDouble or NothingAEW-NJPW Forbidden DoorBattle of the Belts IIIAll OutBattle of the Belts IVFull Gear
2023
Battle of the Belts VRevolutionBattle of the Belts VIDouble or NothingAEW-NJPW Forbidden DoorBattle of the Belts VIIAll InAll OutWrestleDreamBattle of the Belts VIIIFull GearWorlds End
2024
Battle of the Belts IXRevolutionBattle of the Belts XDynastyDouble or NothingAEW-NJPW Forbidden Door
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