When I think of an Extreme Rules pay-per-view, I expect the WWE to put on a show that focuses on the, well, the extreme side of wrestling. It doesn’t have to have matches like a Hell in a Cell or even an Elimination Chamber; that ship has sailed since the WWE brass was shortsighted enough to give those matches their own pay-per-view events! I do, however, expect most of the matches to have some kind of stipulation linked to them. Even the ridiculous blindfold match or something-on-a-pole match would be acceptable. But, no. This year’s Extreme Rules lacked the “extreme” as the show, not counting the pre-show matches, only 4 out of the 10 has some kind of match stipulation. That’s less than half!
Well, even if the show won’t live up to the “extreme rules” moniker, I still hope it’ll be a good show… please?
Match #1: “Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt (The Deleter of Worlds) vs. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas (The B-Team) for the RAW Tag Team Championship
Prediction: The B-Team will win. Honestly, I’ve gotten a little tired of the team of “Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt as the RAW Tag Team Champions since they haven’t really done anything lately. The B-Team is hot right now so I think they can do so much more as champions.
Despite this match having some of the more weird characters in the WWE roster today, it was rather a rather standard match for the most part. We did have Matt Hardy chanting the DELETE chants but there weren’t all that many zany antics. Even so, the action was solid but standard. The Deleter of Worlds got the early upper hand but the B-Team managed to switch things around shortly after. Like I said, standard stuff.
The finish came after Bray Wyatt got the hot tag. He started decimating the B-Team, even hitting a wicked uranage on Bo Dallas. The Deleter of Worlds signaled for the finish but, while attempting a double team move on Dallas, Axel distracted Wyatt, allowing Bo Dallas to shove The Woken One into The Eater of Worlds, knocking the latter out of the ring. This gave Dallas enough time to connect with a draping neckbreaker on Hardy for the pinfall and making the B-Team the NEW RAW Tag Team Champions.
While I was entertained by the match, I can’t say I’ll really remember it besides the title change. Like I said, it was a solid match but none of the teams tried to elevate it to the next level. I also was kind of surprised with the lack of zany moments, especially if you consider the two teams involved. Good match but nothing to write home about.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 solid actions
Match #2: Finn Balor vs “Constable” Baron Corbin
As much as I don’t care for the entire “Constable” storyline, I do think the WWE has big plans for Baron Corbin so I think he’s going to win. It certainly doesn’t help that they keep holding Finn Balor down in the upper-mid tier instead of making him a #1 contender. Sheesh! Balor was the first ever RAW Universal Champion, for Chrissake!
I do have to mention that I do like Corbin’s dedication to the “Constable” role, even going all the way to shave his head and even wrestle in a suit! I don’t like the look but I will give him credit to his commitment. As expected, Baron Corbin enforced his will throughout most of the match, using his power and size to dominate the smaller Finn Balor. This was the story the WWE was going for anyway. Balor would get a few licks in but Corbin would put a stop to it.
The finish came after Balor managed to kick out of Corbin’s Deep Six. A frustrated Corbin dragged Balor to his feet and started pummeling him with elbows. Corbin then goes for a powerbomb but Balor reverses it and slams the former to the ground, comboing into a double foot stomp. Balor knocks Corbin into the corner turnbuckle and sets up for the Coup De Grace. Corbin manages to recover and crotches Balor. Corbin then goes for End of Days but Balor manages to reverse it into a small package and gets the pinfall victory!
Like the first match of Extreme Rules, this was a functional match with nothing really wrong going for it. The problem is nothing was really great, either. It was a standard match that we could’ve had on your weekly RAW show and it would have been fine there. Still, there was generally solid action from bell to bell but I don’t see anyone saying this was the match of the night nor say it was the worst one.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 Baron Corbins wrestling in a suit
Match #3: Asuka vs Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Championship (with James Ellsworth suspended above the ring in a shark cage)
Having someone in a shark cage is a very loose definition of a match with “extreme rules.” Anyway, Carmella’s going to retain but lose due to disqualification. I just know that James Ellsworth is going to interfere in some hilarious way. I hope that he falls on Carmella by accident or something while escaping the cage.
Nothing against the entire Carmella shtick about having to perform some underhanded tactics to win. It’s a tried and true wrestling character with some Superstars like Eddie Guerrero and the early run of New Day doing some spectacular stuff with it. Even my favorite WWE performer now, Alexa Bliss, giving the act a good go. The trick is to have enough charisma to pull it off or to be slick and sneaky enough that it seems plausable to get away with cheating. Carmella and James Ellsworth can’t seem to do either. I mean, dropping objects and attempting to spray Asuka in the face in plain view of the referee? It’s fine if you cheat but you gotta hide your cheatingness! Anyway, it didn’t work as Asuka dominated the majority of the match.
The finish came with Asuka taking Carmella to the outside while James Ellsworth unlocking the shark cage (because he had a key all this time?). Anyway, Ellsworth gets his… I’ll pretend it’s his shoelace (but it’s actually a harness) gets caught in the cage. This allows Asuka to nail Ellsworth with a flurry of kicks. Other officials rush in to… save Ellsworth, I guess, but Asuka takes those guys out and continues to wail kicks on Ellsworth. This distraction allowed Carmella to sneak behind Asuka and slam The Empress of Tomorrow’s skull into the shark cage. 3 seconds later and Carmella is still your Smackdown Women’s Champion.
This was dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I don’t care if Asuka got to beat down on Ellsworth after the match, she has no one to blame but herself. This match didn’t give Asuka any favors and it didn’t make Carmella look like a capable champ. Oh, and the action was really lame. I can applaud the stunt and creative finish but it was still dumb.
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 hanging James Ellsworths
Match #4: Jeff Hardy vs Shinusuke Nakamura for the WWE United States Championship
After losing to AJ Styles so many times, I’m betting Shinusuke Nakamura manages to pull off a win and get the United States Championship. He deserves it because his heel turn is great and a man of his caliber needs a championship, even if it is the United States Championship.
Actually, there’s nothing much to talk about here. Before the match starts, Nakamura does a low blow on Jeff Hardy, keeling over the United States Champion. Hardy still wants the match to start so, right after the bell is rung to officially start, The King of Strong Style immediately nails a Kinshasha to get the pinfall victory and become the NEW United States Champion. But the story isn’t over yet. While Nakamura is basking in his recent win, Randy Orton marches into the ring and stares down The Artist. However, The Viper stomps on the downed Hardy. For what reason? I guess we’ll find out in Smackdown.
Not really sure how to rate this match as there was practically none to speak of. I kind of liked it as the shock of the match ending immediately was interesting but I also didn’t like it for the same reason as I wanted to see Nakamura and Hardy go at it. The re-emergence of Orton is a good twist but, at the same time, it was unnecessary. Like I said, I’m not sure so I’ll just say it was average. Oh, and poor Hardy’s genitals!
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 crushed Hardy genitals
Match #5: Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens in a Steel Cage Match
Braun has to win this one. The WWE is pushing this guy to the moon, after all. However, I would still be okay with Owens sneaking in a win somehow…
This match was pretty much what everyone expected. Braun Strowman simply overpowering Owens from practically the entire match. They hinted that Owens would get some offense in and even, maybe, escape the cage early. But of course, the Monster in the Bank wouldn’t let KO do so, as he would cut Owens’ every escape attempt and then continue the beatdown. It was just The Monster Among Men flinging Owens to various parts of the cage with Owens trying in futility to escape. Fun stuff.
The finish was actually both dumb and excellent. Owens managed to sneak in some handcuffs and got them on Strowman. Too bad he handcuffed him right next to the steel cage door! Owens did take the opportunity to try to get some licks in but even a one armed Strowman was just too much. Owens then decided to escape but not before taunting Strowman, which wasn’t a good idea! The Monster Among Men broke the cuffs and climbed after Owens. After getting his hands on Owens, Strowman performed a massive chokeslam on Owens from the top of the cage and to the announcer’s table! But, since Owens feet did touch the floor, he was declared the winner!
There’s not really a whole lot to say about this match. It was just Strowman beating down on Owens but the two managed to make it look entertaining. The finish was awesome to look at but rather dumb as Strowman must’ve figured out that, by tossing him to the outside, Owens would be declared the winner. Then again, Strowman doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s all that concerned about winning or losing; as long as he gets to beat on someone, he’s a happy camper. Even with the dumb ending, I really enjoyed it.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 chokeslams from the top of the steel cage
Match #6: Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) vs The Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
As much as I like Team Hell No, I don’t think the WWE will drop the titles to them, especially with Glenn Jacobs AKA Kane leaving to run for political office or something. The Bludgeon Brothers will manage to eke out a win somehow.
Before the match even started, The Bludgeon Brothers already assaulted both Daniel Bryan and Kane, even taking out the Big Red Monster by wedging his leg in between a couple of doors and walloping the door with a sledgehammer. This led to Bryan starting the match all by himself. While Bryan tried valiantly to take out the Bludgeon Brothers, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions would prove to be too much for Bryan alone.
The finish came soon after Kane hobbled down to the ring and got the hot tag from Bryan. Kane went on the offensive but when he tried to hoist Harper up for a Tombstone piledriver, his injured leg stopped him. Harper then targeted the leg, forcing Kane to tag back to Bryan. Daniel Bryan came in with struck Harper with a flurry of Yes Kicks. Rowan got the tag from Harper unbeknownst to Bryan, enabling Rowan to shove Bryan into Kane, who was lying inside the ring. Rowan then performed a spin kick to Bryan and then got Harper into the act as the duo performed a Doomsday Device for the pinfall victory and retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
While the Bryan stuff was enjoyable, I don’t like what they did with Kane as he didn’t really do anything. Okay, he’s injured but he hardly did anything besides give Bryan a 2 minute reprieve before becoming a non-factor. This just wasn’t a high-caliber match that I would expect from a pay-per-view. If it was on Smackdown, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more but as it’s on Extreme Rules, my expectations are much higher.
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 hobbling Kanes
Match #7: Roman Reigns vs Bobby Lashley
Roman Reigns. I expect this to be a close match with both Reigns and Lashley showing respect towards each other at the end… to the boos of the crowd because no one like Roman Reigns.
I normally don’t like “big man” matches but these aren’t the typical slow, plodding powerhouses. Both Reigns and Lashley can move around so this moved along at a nice pace. Also, their styles are generally different, with Reigns being more of a striker while Lashley better at grappling. The contrast made for some interesting spots. The biggest issue was, while the pacing was brisk, the match was “spotty.” They would do a sequence of moves, then walk around and lollygag for a bit, then attack each other again. Generally, there were short bursts of action. The gaps weren’t too long but they were noticeable.
The finish came soon after Lashley suplexed Reigns into an announcer’s table. Lashley tossed the leader of the Roman Empire into the ring. Lashley, dripping with sweat (I mean really dripping with sweat) climbed the top turnbuckle but the The Big Dog landed a superman punch on Lashley. Reigns signaled for a spear but Lashley recovered enough to deliver spear himself. Lashley covers Reigns and gets the 3 count for the clean victory!
This was a much better match than I expected. There was a general intensity that permeated throughout the action and I will commend the WWE for taking a risk and allowing their golden boy Roman Reigns losing cleanly to Lashley. Overall an enjoyable match.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 dripping Lashleys
Match #8: Nia Jax (with Natalya and surprise guest Ronda Rousey) vs. Alexa Bliss (with Mickie James) for the RAW Women’s Championship in an Extreme Rules Match
It doesn’t make sense for Nia Jax to win, especially with the WWE strongly hinting at Ronda Rousey going after Alexa Bliss for costing her the RAW Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank. So, Alexa Bliss will retain.
I never understood why they always say that the smaller/weaker person in an Extreme Rules stipulation or any match that doesn’t have disqualifications is at the disadvantage. The mere fact that the smaller wrestler can cheat automatically gives her the upper hand against the bigger opponent! This is definitely true for this match. Although Nia Jax did dominate in the early going, Alexa Bliss managed to reverse things thanks to the liberal use of various weapons. By the way, kudos to both Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss for actually using foreign objects! They didn’t look like the hits hurt all that much but it’s the thought that counts!
I forgot to mention that Ronda Rousey was in the front row as she paid a ticket to get in. This is important as it’ll factor into the finish. The really crazy finish. Anyway, the finish came after Little Miss Bliss dodged a charging Jax, which led to The Irresistible Force slamming her shoulder into a chair. Mickie climbed up to hand Bliss a trash can lid but Natalya pulled her off the apron. Natalya pummeled Mickie but Bliss got involved and Five Feet of Fury and Mickie James then double teamed Nattie. This infuriated Rousey who jumped the barricade and attacked Mickie. The former MMA star then turned her attention to Bliss.
Rousey managed to chase after and put her hands on the RAW Women’s Champion but Mickie jumped in with a kendo stick. I did find it odd that it only took 2 strikes with the kendo stick to take Rousey out. Anyway, Bliss turned her attention back to Jax. The Goddess tried to nail a crossbody on Jax but was caught in mid-air. Jax set Bliss up for a samoan drop but Mickie jumped in and struck Jax with a steel chair. Bliss then walloped Jax with a couple more chairshots before slamming Jax into a chair with a DDT. Alexa Bliss gets the pinfall victory soon after to retain her RAW Women’s Championship.
I really liked this match. The action did seem a little lackluster as they went to using the foreign objects too predominately throughout. There were also too many people in the mix. I get the entire Ronda Rousey thing and why she jumped in to save her “best friend” Natalya but I think the match could’ve been worked around a little better with just Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss; no need for Natalya and Mickie James. Still, I liked the weapons play for the most part and the ending was just insane enough to work for me.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 unnecessary wrestlers
Match #9: AJ Styles vs Rusev (DAY) (with Aiden English) for the Smackdown Heavyweight Championship
As much as I love the entire Rusev (DAY) gimmick, there’s no way he’s going to win over AJ Styles. But then again, no one expected Jinder Mahal to win over Orton as well. Anything can happen in the WWE… as long as there’s money involved! And Rusev (DAY) can be a cash cow if promoted right… nah! AJ Styles will still win.
This was a little more than the typical power guy vs technical/quick wrestler. Sure, Styles focused on Rusev (DAY)’s leg to try to cut him down to size while the Bulgarian Brute used his superior strength to counter it. But the flow and the switching of who was in control. The pace started out slow and methodical but picked up little by little. While things never really got too intense or out of hand, the action was really fantastic. The chain wrestling of reversal after reversal and believable near falls kept things interesting.
The finisher came after Rusev (DAY) tried to lock the Accolade on Styles but his leg gave way. Aiden English tried to help his friend by removing the padding from the corner turnbuckle. The Bulgarian Brute tried to lock in the Accolade once more but Styles escaped. Rusev (DAY) charged at Styles but the Phenomenal One leaped away at the last moment, sending Rusev (DAY) head first into the exposed turnbuckle. Styles nails the springboard 450 splash but Rusev (DAY) kicked out. Styles then took out English with a dropkick then connected with a Phenomenal Forearm on Rusev (DAY) for the pinfall victory and to retain his Smackdown WWE Heavyweight Championship.
Easily the best match of the night so far. The chemistry between the two were great and having English be the accidental cause of Rusev (DAY)’s loss moves their storyline forward, possibly leading to them splitting up in the future. The Bulgarian Brute looked good and kicking out of the springboard 450 splash after clocking himself on the exposed turnbuckle made him look strong. AJ Styles definitely held his own with some sensational moves as well. Good, good match.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 exposed turnbuckles
Match #10: Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler (with Drew McIntyre) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a 30-minute Iron Man Match
It’s a toss up for me. I’ll go with my gut and say that Dolph Ziggler will retain just because he has Drew McIntyre with him and can interfere to allow his partner to get the final and deciding pinfall victory.
Anyway, it started out slow with Rollins and Ziggler feeling each other out. Soon after, Rollins just got off the starting block and earned 2 quick pinfall wins over the Intercontinental Champ. Just when you think The Kingslayer would get another pinfall to extend his lead, in come McIntyre. Drew then lays out Rollins and, while this does earn Rollins another point and McIntyre sent to the back, this allows the Showoff to start getting some quick pinfalls. Ziggler even manages to get the lead, 4 points to Rollins 3. This eventually led to Rollins chasing after Ziggler, attempting to tie the score before the 30-minutes are up. But whatever he tried, it looked like Ziggler was just too resilient as he kept on kicking out.
The Kingslayer did manage to get one more pinfall after a catapulting Ziggler into the turnbuckles and comboing it into a rollup, tying the score 4-4. As the clock winded down, it seemed like Rollins was going to get one more pinfall after a curb stomp but time ran out! It looks like Ziggler was going to keep the title thanks to the Champion’s Advantage but Kurt Angle ordered the match to go into sudden death. Unfortunately for Rollins, just as the match was restarted, Drew McIntyre came out, distracting him long enough for Ziggler to nail a Zigzag to get the pinfall victory and retain as Intercontinental Championship.
I understand Iron Man matches are really hard to make good. You gotta fill in 30 or 60 minutes of wrestling because of the stipulation and eventually you’ll need the wrestlers to slow things down since they can’t keep up a breakneck pace for that amount of time consistently. Rollins and Ziggler did their best but there were definitely some slow moments. It certainly didn’t help that the live audience kept on counting down the clock as if it was the Royal Rumble. The first few times I thought it was funny but it lost a lot of its appeal by around the 17th time they did it. Sometimes, they did the countdown not in tune with the clock, the schmucks!
I still think it was good match overall. I do like they really busted their asses during the final minutes of the match and that mad rush of Rollins was exciting. If the live audience weren’t jerks, I would’ve liked this match a whole lot more but they ruined a lot of it.
Rating: 6.5 of 10.0 idiot wrestling fans who can’t read a clock
Overall rating for WWE’s Extreme Rules (2018)
While most of the matches were average or just above average and the only dud was the Carmella vs. Asuka match, I can’t really give Extreme Rules a higher rating than just okay. A lot of it stems from the fact there were only a few “extreme” matches and most of them just being “regular” matches. I get that a Hell in a Cell pay-per-view won’t just be all Hell in a Cell matches but Extreme Rules should definitely be more “extreme” in my opinion.
Also, none of the matches actually made this a “must watch” show. Probably the only thing I’ll remember from this Extreme Rules is Braun Strowman tossing Kevin Owens from the top of the steel cage and into the announcer’s table. The rest will simply fade from my memory. The sum is less than its parts, I say.
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 not so extreme pay-per-views
What did you think of this year’s WWE Extreme Rules show? Let me know in the comments section below!