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AEW Battle of the Belts VII recap & reactions (July 15, 2023): Night of cheap finishes

AEW Battle of the Belts VII (July 15, 2023) emanated from Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. The show featured three championship matches with Orange Cassidy, Toni Storm, and Luchasaurus in action.

AEW aired a three-hour live block of wrestling with Collision and Battle of the Belts VII back to back. Get caught up on all the details from both shows with top-notch play-by-play from Geno Mrosko. The Collision recap is presented in it’s own separate post.

Let’s break down the championship matches from Battle of the Belts VII.

AEW International Championship

Orange Cassidy opened the show to defend the AEW International Championship against Lance Archer. Jake “The Snake” Roberts mulled around ringside. Cassidy didn’t play any games to start the match. He realized the potential for danger that the Murderhawk Monster could cause. Archer went for the Blackout finisher early, but Cassidy countered for a sleeper. Archer flung OC off his back to get free.

Cassidy did find time to do the shin kick routine to Roberts. He even put his hands in his pockets as a double insult. Archer broke it up by mauling Cassidy. The Murderhawk Monster caught a hurricanrana to swing Cassidy into the barricade.

Archer raged on to beat up random security guards. Cassidy came back with dropkicks and slammed one of the guards onto Archer.

The match progressed with a superman punch from Cassidy, but Archer caught his fist to counter with clubbing blows and a helicopter sideslam.

When Cassidy was on the outside again, Roberts was ready to slap a DDT on the floor. Archer stopped Roberts. I think Archer didn’t want to risk a disqualification. I’m not sure. Whatever the case, Cassidy countered the position to DDT Archer on the floor right in front of Roberts.

Archer was not down for long. He rose up to the apron with a laugh saying, “That shit ain’t working.” Archer and Cassidy tussled for position on the apron as the referee was making the ten-count in the background. Cassidy punched Archer down at 9 and entered to beat the count. Cassidy was awarded the win. That punch did major damage though as physicians checked for a broken hand after the match.

That was a fun match with Cassidy trying to survive a monster mash and the silliness with Roberts. I have a split reaction about the finish. On one hand, it fits well in the story of Cassidy finding a way to win once again. The count-out was also a smart method to protect Archer as a giant with his ass-kicking aura intact. On the other hand, the finish wasn’t very satisfying to watch as a viewer. I can excuse it if this is the start of a feud or leads to bigger things for Archer elsewhere. When Cassidy finally loses, it will likely be because his body broke down beyond repair. The Murderhawk Monster is exactly the type of wrestler who could make that happen in a rematch. In that sense, this result did leave me curious for round two.

AEW Women’s World Championship

Toni Storm walked into enemy territory to defend the AEW Women’s World Championship against Taya Valkyire. La Wera Loca was wrestling in her Canadian home (Calgary) away from home (Victoria). The match started strong with rugged action. Unfortunately, bad weather caused the satellites to lose the feed. We missed the entire second half of the match. A replay of the finish aired before the show went off the air. Ruby Soho hit Taya in illegal interference, and Storm planted her with a piledriver to win.

There’s not much to say about this match since we couldn’t watch. Might as well give them a rematch for next week to make up for it. Make it even better and give them a 20-minute spotlight PPV style. I believe Storm and Taya would step up to to deliver strong. Heck, add some kind of hardcore stipulation to counteract the Outcasts. Let Taya show why she is called La Wera Loca.

TNT Championship

Shawn Spears had a shot at gold in wrestling Luchasaurus to compete for Christian Cage’s TNT Championship. Spears was introduced as the Chairman, so he brought a chair to the ring. Spears’ even had spooky contact lenses to make his eyes white. None of this special presentation would matter if Spears couldn’t get the job done.

Luchasaurus roughed up Spears in the early going. Christian scored some cheap shots on the outside. Spears rallied with clotheslines. He eyed Christian up to no good and gave chase. They lapped the ring, and the dino was waiting to goozle Spears for a chokeslam over the barricade.

Luchasaurus dragged Spears into the ring for a second chokeslam. Spears escaped to counter for a roll-up. Luchasaurus kicked out then pounded that chokeslam. 1, 2, Spears showed heart to kick out. Christian set up Spears’ chair between the turnbuckles, and that inadvertently helped the Chairman. Luchasaurus crashed into the steel chair when Spears dodged an attack. Spears went for a roll-up. Kick out. Spears lifted Luchasaurus for the C4 finisher. Christian hopped onto the apron, and Spears took the bait. He let go of the dino to confront Christian. Luchasaurus whacked Spears from behind with a lariat to win.

Okay match with entertaining action. Luchasaurus came across like a monster, and the barricade chokeslam popped as violent. Add Christian trifling on the outside, and that duo will be tough to beat for anyone. The finish was stupid. Christian was so far away from Spears that it didn’t make sense for him to abandon his chance at victory. Hit the move and react later if Christian enters the ring.

Next on deck appears to be Scorpio Sky. He was shown backstage watching the TNT title match on a monitor.

Notes: The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn accepted the challenge from QTV for Rampage. They will also be getting a trios title rematch against the House of Black next week on Collision.

Martha Hart presented the Owen Hart tournament trophies and title belts to winners Ricky Starks and Willow Nightingale. Their victories took place earlier in the evening during Collsion. Check out the Collision recap to read about Willow overcoming Ruby Soho’s efforts at cheating and Starks shocking the world to beat CM Punk.

Grade: C+

Battle of the Belts VII suffered from cheap finishes. The count-out for Orange Cassidy made smart sense, even though, it just kind of happened without any thrills. The Outcasts interference looked to be typical copy and paste for AEW heel groups. It’s tough to judge for sure, since we didn’t get to see the full sequence. The TNT title finish was lackluster. On the positive side, the overall action had plenty of fun moments through the show.

Share your thoughts about Battle of the Belts VII. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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