I’m a huge fan of the hardcore-type matches in wrestling. Ladder matches. Tables matches. Falls count anywhere matches. I love them all. So, it’s kind of stunning that this year’s WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view event features a stunning lack of matches with “extreme rules.” But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a ball with the “normal” matches! Let’s see if the WWE can pull off some extreme action and give me an extremely elated reaction… Okay, hopefully, I’m going to stop saying “extreme” from now on.
Match #1: The Usos vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in a Texas Tornado Match
I did find it odd that the Usos, a usually hugely popular tag team, was being booed throughout the entire match. Either the fans started hating on them because of their association with Roman Reigns or the fans just like Anderson and Gallows. It could be a combination of the two? Anyway, the match started pretty quickly with the Usos meeting Anderson and Gallows at the entranceway. It was pretty heated throughout since all four members are legal in a Texas Tornado match. Action was pretty good and brutal and there were a lot of really good spots.
The match ended kind of unexpectedly for me, leaving me rather unsatisfied. It ended with Gallows dragging the bell into the ring but getting taken out by one of the Usos. That Uso then attempted a big splash off the top rope but Gallows rolled out of the way, allowing the Uso to land on the bell. Anderson and Gallows capitalized and hit their finisher, Magic Killer I believe its called, to get the pinfall victory.
It was a pretty good match for the most part but felt a big short. It should’ve been given a little more time so that both teams can really do their stuff. As a result, the match was good but not as spectacular as it could’ve been.
Rating: 7.0 Magic Killers
Match #2: Kalisto vs Rusev (with Lana) for the United States Championship
So, let me get this straight: the competitors for the United States Championship are from Mexico and Bulgaria? Wow, the WWE is outsourcing their matches now? In all seriousness though, the match had a lot of potential. Here we have Rusev, your typical big, unstoppable monster, taking on Kalisto, your typical, kind of injured little man with a lot of heart. I enjoy these kinds of matches even though, in reality, the little guy would get squashed by the bigger man in nothing flat. But it’s your typical “underdog” story match and those are always enjoyable. And this was no different.
As with these monster vs. little man matches, it’s the monster that takes control in the early going. Rusev beat on Kalisto for the majority of the match before the Luchador had his prerequisite comeback. It looked like Kalisto may actually win but The Bulgarian Brute threw the little man to the ring apron and onto his injured back. Rusev then does a few stomps on Kalisto’s spine before locking in a really nasty version of his Accolade submission for the victory.
This was another good match but, honestly, it was the kind of match you could see on Raw because, well, there wasn’t a special stipulation! I do wish Kalisto made a short comeback even after getting slammed onto the apron to make it seem like he could still pull off the victory. Still, I liked it.
Rating: 7.0 backbreaking Accolades
Match #3: The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Xavier Woods is in the match instead of Kofi Kingston? Uh oh, that’s not good. If my memory serves me right, whenever Xavier’s in the match and not just at ringside, The New Day usually loses!
Anyway, The New Day opened up with one of their usual promos but this one was pretty lame and predictable. The match proper, however, was pretty good. The New Day dominated early on and Xavier actually did a Hadoken/Kamehameha on Aiden English for a knock down! There was a lot of back and forth throughout the match with both teams getting to perform some pretty spectacular looking moves.
The ending came when The Vaudevillains hit their Whirling Dervish finisher on Woods for the 1-2… No! Xavier Woods managed to kick out! All hell broke loose and New Day member Kofi Kingston took advantage of the commotion by kicking Simon Gotch in the head, enabling Woods to get the pinfall victory.
I really enjoyed the match more than I should have. Seeing Woods actually kick out of a finisher and getting the pinfall victory was amazing and surprising. The Vaudevillains looked strong as well. I do wish The New Day did a few more antics though. Overall, if you’re a New Day fan (like myself), you’ll have fun with this.
Rating: 7.5 Woods kicking out of a finisher?
Match #4: Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. The Miz (w/ Maryse) in a Fatal Four-War for the Intercontinental Championship
Okay, this was the match I was waiting for. The buildup for this Fatal Four Way bout was spectacular and engrossing. And it looked like anyone could win it! And I wasn’t disappointed!
The action was hot and heavy from the opening bell, with Sami Zayn striking Kevin Owens with a Helluva Kick! Of course, this match followed all of the tropes this match is known for. There were lots of times when two of the four competitors are writhing in pain out on ringside so the other two can show their stuff. There were numerous spots wherein all competitors received some hard hitting maneuvers and dishing them out as well. Lots of near falls and, of course, a lot of high flying action! It was great!
Everyone did a fantastic job showing their stuff. Even Maryse, who didn’t really do much but just badmouth the other wrestlers and get dragged into the ring at one time, made the most of their time in the match. If there was a weak link, it would be The Miz as he didn’t really do anything jaw-dropping. He, however, did get the pinfall victory by pinning the downed Cesaro, who was knocked out by Sami Zayn’s Helluva Kick.
Very awesome match overall. I do wish The Miz took a few more risks but his character isn’t a tough guy. But that’s the only issue I have with this match.
Rating: 9.0 Helluva Kicks
Match #5: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho in an Asylum Match
Wow! This is the debut of the Asylum match. Essentially, it’s a cage match with weapons hanging overhead. There was a lot of potential here but it just didn’t meet my expectations for the match.
I guess the biggest problem is that the match relied too heavily on weapons. Even in most hardcore matches, the wrestlers would have to tear into each other without the use of any tools and implements. There were a few fun spots, such as Ambrose showing off his nunchuku skills and Jericho yelling was entertaining. Unfortunately, there were a lot of poor thought out sequences, such as the entire straightjacket thing.
The ending was actually pretty tense with Ambrose poured a bag of thumbtacks in the ring and both competitors teased who was going to be sent flying into them. Even after being hit by the barbed wire covered 2×4 (!), Ambrose managed to block Jericho’s Codebreaker and slam him into the bed of thumbtacks (!). And, just for good measure, Ambrose hit his Dirty Deeds finisher for the pinfall victory.
The biggest problem of the first every Asylum match was it was just too long and there were a lot of slow points. This could be potentially a mainstay match but I’m not holding my breath in this PG era of the WWE.
Rating: 6.5 Jerichos getting slammed into thumbtacks.
Match #6: Natalya vs. Charlotte (sans Ric Flair) in a Submission Match for the WWE Women’s Championship
Where’s Sasha Banks? No, really. Why are we getting another Natalya vs. Charlotte match when the WWE is not doing anything with the uber-popular Sasha Banks?
Don’t get me wrong. Natalya is a solid performer and Charlotte is one hell of a wrestler. But, after two matches, it just seems like the both of them don’t have the proper chemistry with each other. Even banning Ric Flair from ringside didn’t make me care a whole lot for this feud. There was just no heat. The finish was also incredibly dumb. For some reason, Dana Brooke comes out to Ric Flair’s music and in his robe. Why? How is that different from her just running to ringside and taunting Natalya?
Anyway, Natalya grabbed Dana Brooke and Charlotte took advantage by blasting her opponent from behind. Charlotte locked in the Figure Eight, causing Natalya to tap out.
Like I said, I just didn’t care for this match. And having Dana Brooke come out as Ric Flair was just nonsensical. Now, can we please get Sasha Banks go after the Women’s title, please?
Rating: 4.5 Dana Brooke dressed as Ric Flair
Match #7: Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles in an Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
As much as I dislike Roman Reigns, I will give credit where credit is due: he did good. This match was pretty phenomenal but I think it has to a lot to do with the Phenomenal One, AJ Styles, taking a lot of awesome looking bumps. Unfortunately, the closing moments left a lot to be desired. I guess the WWE got what they wanted as Roman Reigns did look strong for the most part. He took a few decent hits, like smashing himself through the barricade thanks to a mistimed spear, but they all pale in comparison to all of the pain AJ Styles went through. The Phenomenal One got thrown to, not just one, but two announce tables as well as a glass table in the outside! And each time he hit, it looked like it hurt!
The closing moments became a debacle of interference from AJ’s boys, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows and Reign’s cousins, The Usos. AJ Styles hit the Styles Clash on Reigns on top of a chair but the Usos dragged AJ off Reigns, giving the leader of the Roman Empire to recover and kick out. This riled up Syles and started to wait on the Uso with chairshots! Styles tried to connect with the Phenomenal Forearm but Reigns speared him out of the air. Reigns covered Styles for the 1-2-3.
Even though Reigns won, the segment wasn’t over, though! As Reigns celebrated his victory, a returning Seth Rollins rushed into the ring and blindsided his former SHIELD brother, making it known that he’s back for his WWE World title!
It was a pretty good match but I just disagree with Roman Reigns needing help from the Usos to retain the title. If the WWE really want to make Reigns look strong, they have to find a way for him to actually win as cleanly as possible despite the odds. It would’ve been acceptable if The Usos just took out Anderson and Gallows. But having the Usos attack Styles and even blatantly dragging Styles off a pin does the opposite. However, as much as I didn’t like the closing moments of the match, both Styles and Reigns put on a good show. However, it was mostly Styles putting this match over as he took some really sick bumps.
Rating: 8.0 AJ Styles slamming through the announce table
Overall Rating for Extreme Rules (2016):
While there was a notable lack of extreme in this year’s Extreme Rules, practically all matches were good. It’s sad that the worst match just had to be the Divas match. Even if that match was pretty awful, the Fatal Four Way definitely made up for it. One of the WWE’s better ones so far.
Rating: 7.5 returning Seth Rollins
What did you think of this year’s Extreme Rules? Let me know in the comments section below!