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Battle of the Belts III preview: There will be bangers, but any new champions?

Battle of the Belts III is upon us Saturday night at 8 pm ET from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The card contains three championship contests:

  • ROH World Championship: Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs. Konosuke Takeshita
  • AEW Women’s World Championship: Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Jamie Hayter
  • TNT Championship: Wardlow (c) vs. Jay Lethal

AEW put together interview packages to hype the show.

Takeshita was granted a ROH title shot against Claudio out of thin air. No story there. Claudio views the ROH World Championship as a representation of the best wrestler in the world. He has a chip on his shoulder to defend that legacy. Takeshita has been a champion many times in Japan but never in the US. He learned a lot from his match against Jon Moxley, and that’s why he believes the time is now for his first big win in AEW.

Thunder Rosa has deep history with Dr. Britt Baker DMD, thus she also has beef with Baker’s cohort. Jamie Hayter was granted the title shot for the AEW Women’s World Championship after pinning Toni Storm in tag team action to hand defeat to ThunderStorm. Rosa is 100% confident that she is going to retain the gold. It doesn’t matter what the people think or say about her. Thunder Rosa is a warrior, and they know it.

Jay Lethal finessed his way into Wardlow’s world by strong-arming Orange Cassidy. Wardlow grew respect for OC in their match against one another, so he came out to aid the juice man when Lethal crossed the line. Challenge made for the TNT Championship, challenge accepted. Lethal has a list of accolades a mile long. Wardlow may think his strength makes him the favorite, but this isn’t a powerlifting competition. Wardlow is a hell of a wrestler, however, he doesn’t hold a candle to Lethal in professional wrestling. And that’s the name of the game, professional wrestling.

It is a pretty straightforward card on paper. The tough part is figuring out odds for any title changes. Out of the first two previous Battle of the Belts events, there has been one outright title change in five contests. Sammy Guevara holds that lone honor by winning the TNT Championship from Scorpio Sky. The sixth match of the bunch was an Interim TNT Championship, so I’m not sure how that would be classified in terms of a title change. Sammy also holds that honor of victory when Dustin Rhodes replaced Cody Rhodes.

That means there is a 20% chance of a title change. When adding Sammy’s interim triumph, that makes the odds increase to one new champion per show. Being that there are no intense feuds on Battle of the Belts III, I’d say there is a 141 & 2/3 chance that all champions retain on this evening. I wish Samoa Joe was on this card, so it would make doing Steiner math a little easier.

Despite what appears to be predictable outcomes, the show should still rock. Every match has potential to be a banger. Claudio and Takeshita can tear the house down with technical skill. Thunder and Hayter are going to rip each other apart with intensity. Wardlow is keen on mangling Lethal with a powerbomb symphony, however, Lethal’s veteran experience should bring a trick or two up his sleeve to provide drama.

What are your predictions for Battle of the Belts III?