AEW News

First Match Revealed for AEW Battle of The Belts III

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The first match for the AEW Battle of The Belts III special has been confirmed.

It was announced during Friday’s Fight for The Fallen edition of AEW Rampage that ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli will defend the title against Konosuke Takeshita at Battle of The Belts III.

This will be Castagnoli’s first title defense since winning the title from Jonathan Gresham in the opener of the ROH Death Before Dishonor XIX pay-per-view on Sunday, July 23. This will be Takeshita’s first ROH match. After debuting for AEW and working three matches in April 2021, the DDT Pro Wrestling star returned in April of this year. Since then he has Elevation and Dark wins over Brandon Cutler, Rhett Titus, Ryan Nemeth, Nick Comoroto, Anthony Henry, and JD Drake. Takeshita came up short against Jay Lethal on the May 6 Rampage, then took a loss to Adam Page during the Wild Card Wednesday Dynamite show on May 18, was defeated by Eddie Kingston on the July 8 Rampage show, and then took a World Title Eliminator loss to Interim AEW World Champion Jon Moxley on the Fyter Fest Night 1 edition of Dynamite on July 13. His last match was the Elevation win over Drake at the July 20 taping, which aired this past Monday.

Battle of The Belts III will be taped next Friday, August 5 from the Van Del Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The one-hour special will then air the following night, Saturday, August 6 at 8pm ET.

AEW will also air a live Rampage episode while at the Van Del Arena next Friday night. Tickets for AEW’s Grand Rapids debut are still on sale.

AEW and TNT are airing four Battle of The Belts specials per year, so there should be just one more left after next week’s show. The inaugural Battle of The Belts event aired on January 8 from Charlotte, NC, and featured Sammy Guevara defeating Dustin Rhodes to win the Interim AEW TNT Title, Ricky Starks retaining the FTW Title over Matt Sydal, and Britt Baker retaining the AEW Women’s World Title over Riho. Battle of The Belts II aired on April 16 from Garland, TX, and featured Guevara capturing the AEW TNT Title from Scorpio Sky, Jonathan Gresham retaining the ROH World Title over Dalton Castle, and current AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa retaining over Nyla Rose.

The rest of the Battle of The Belts III card will be announced on Wednesday’s Dynamite. You can click here for the current line-up for Wednesday’s show from Columbus, Ohio.

Below is the announcement on Takeshita vs. Castagnoli, along with a response from Takeshita:

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