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3 things you need to know ahead of AEW’s Battle of the Belts III

AEW, Battle of the Belts, Battle of the Belts III,ROH World Championship, Claudio Castagnoli, Konosuke Takeshita, Thunder Rosa, Jamie Hayter, Wardlow, Jay Lethal, AEW TNT Championship, AEW Women's World Championship

After AEW Dark Elevation, AEW Dark, AEW Dynamite, AEW Dark Elevation, again, and AEW Rampage, Tony Khan’s week-long tour de wrestling will officially culminate at Battle of the Belts III, an hour-long showcase of three of the promotion’s 60 six titles, 12 if you factor in the ROH World Heavyweight, Television, Pure, Women’s, 6 Man, and Tag Team championships.

That’s right, after watching the debuts of Josh Woods, Mance Warner, and Madison Rayne, the dissolution of the Undisputed Elite, and a literal dumpster match that saw the Ass Boys Gunn Club Kane-d off the stage like they were Zack Ryder, the AEW Galaxy will be afforded three more big-time bouts featuring six of the best performer they have to offer, even if some may quibble ever so slightly with the matches selected – where are the Briscoes? – or the fact the show was technically pre-recorded on Friday, which takes a little bit of fun out of things if you end up getting the card spoiled on Twitter.

And yet, even in a sport like wrestling that is occasionally pre-taped and is (almost) always pre-scripted, the magic isn’t necessarily in the pinfall, but the story told to get there in the ring and the implications of it that linger on after the match comes to an end.

In that regard, squeezing three championship matches into an hour of action with limited commercials breaks is a pretty interesting way to push the promotion’s storytelling along, especially with the promotion’s next Pay-Per-View, All Out, a little under a month away. It tells fans exactly what to expect, gives each match a chance to stand on its own, and ultimately should leave fans wanting more instead of exhausted from a four-hour long blitz to the finish line without so much as an Arby’s advertisement to break things up. Here’s one fact about each match that you (may) need to know about Battle of the Belts III heading into the 8 pm EST start time.

3 important storyline notes ahead of AEW’s Battle of the Belts III.

3. Wardlow vs. Jay Lethal

According to Cagematch, Wardlow made his professional wrestling debut on March 15th, 2014, when he lost a match at BRCW to Nickie Valentino. By that point, Lethal had already won the ROH World Television Championship, the TNA X-Division Championship six times, the TNA Tag Team Championship, the ROH Pure Championship, and about 10 more titles from promotions that may or may not exist anymore.

And yet, heading into their match for the TNT Championship, the momentum is firmly in Wardlow’s sails, even if TK tried to add a little hype to the Lethal train by giving him a win over Orange Cassidy. Lethal lost a big one to Samoa Joe at Death Before Dishonor, lost to Ric Flair at his final match, and will probably lose this one too.

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Jamie Hayter

Thunder Rosa and Jamie Hayter have wrestled on seven occasions in an AEW ring heading into Battle of the Belts III; they went head-to-head during the quarterfinals of the TBS Championship Tournament, took part in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out 2021, and have taken part in five more tag team/trios matches most notably during the pre-show for Full Gear 2021.

And yet, did you know that the duo first shared the ring all the way back in 2017, well before AEW came into existence, when Rosa and Kaitlin Diemond wrestled Hayter and Nina Samuels at BEW Ambition Of The Empire 2? Hayter lost that match, and has lost every match she’s had against Rosa up until the August 3rd bout, where she secured the pin alongside Britt Baker versus ThunderStorm. Can Hayter ride that momentum into another win at BotB III? I guess we will have to see.

1. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita

On paper, this one should be one of the least hotly contested matches on the BotB III card, right? I mean, Konosuke Takeshita isn’t even under an AEW or Ring of Honor contract, and Claudio Castagnoli taking the belt off of Jonathan Gresham was one of the feel-good moments of the greater wrestling world in 2022; there’s no way TK takes the strap off of the “Sweedish Superman” in favor of Kenny Omega’s DDT buddy, right?

Technically speaking, you are correct, but do keep in mind that Takeshita is no slouch and is actually a champion more than a dozen times over in his home country of Japan. A five-time KO-D Openweight Champion, four-time KO-D Tag Team Champion, four-time KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion – as part of a team with Akito and Yuki Ino fittingly called All Out – and a DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Champion, Takeshita has spent 1,706 combined days with one belt or another around his waist. Even if Battle of the Belts III isn’t the day where he becomes a champion once more, it won’t be because he isn’t deserving of the strap.