Whew! It was nice to get my issues regarding the WWE’s monthly pay-per-view schedule off my chest. I just have to admit it because, while I’m usually reserved a slot to review them, there are just some times when I feel like I watching them out of duty for the review. I will put out a review for the shows as much as I can but it probably won’t be a monthly event anymore in the future. Sorry.
This does lead me to this year’s Extreme Rules event, which sort of proves why the WWE is floundering with their pay-per-view shows. Extreme Rules is supposed to be a show filled with matches with special stipulations. This year, it only had one single solitary match which used the Extreme Rules stipulation. Sigh.
Okay, maybe the first match of the night, which had the New Day rejoining forces against Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles and Omos, a little bit different as it was a 3-on-3 tag team bout. I don’t usually like impromptu matches, especially in a pay-per-view. However, as it did have a strong caliber of WWE Superstars in one ring at the same time, I was intrigued.
Maybe it’s because of how much talent was in the ring that the match was actually really good. I really did love the extended beatdown Kofi had to sustain during the middle of the match. I loved how Bobby Lashley really delayed the RAW Heavyweight Champion Big E from getting the tag by clipping him off the apron after he was thrown out of the ring. It did lead to Xavier Woods getting the hot tag, which felt odd but it did let Woods show his stuff, something we rarely get to see.
The finish, unfortunately, was par for the WWE as it was dumb. Bobby Lashley had Big E stunned and was signaling for a spear when AJ Styles tags himself in. Styles then goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but the All Mighty tags himself in as the Phenomenal One leaped off the top rope. Big E dodges the Phenomenal Forearm as well as Lashley’s spear, leading to the spear knocking Styles out of the ring. The New Day member connects with a Big Ending to Lashley to get the pinfall victory.
This match had a lot of really good action. I wanted to see more Omos as he looked strong here but I understand he’s still rather limited in the ring so less is more in this case. The screwball finish with the heels trying to one up each other didn’t sit well with me as we didn’t see Lashley and Styles argue at any point of the match so it came out of nowhere. It’s still a really good match but it did feel more like the main event for RAW than something that needed to be on a pay-per-view.
The next bout saw The Usos defending their Smackdown Tag Team titles against the Street Profits. This was another really spirited match which I really enjoyed. With Montes Ford’s ribs injured by Roman Reigns earlier in the week, this was a tried and true way for The Usos to get the upper hand and get some heel heat in the process. The Street Profits also got to show how good they are with some sweet double team moves as well as some individual signature maneuvers.
The finish came after Ford performed a stunning dive over the corner turnbuckle to take out the Usos who were beating down on Dawkins. Ford then rolled Jey Uso into the ring and connected with a gorgeous frog splash but couldn’t make the cover quick enough due to his injured ribs, allowing Jimmy to break up the pin. Dawkins then shoved Ford out of the way of a double superkick but eats the attack in the process. Ford then tries to roll up Jimmy but only got a 2 count. Ford then eats a kick in the ribs, allowing the Usos to perform a stereo superkick and punctuating it with a double splash to take the pinfall victory. The Usos are still your Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
This was a fantastic match from start to finish. Things really got nice and hectic during the last few minutes. Ford did a great job selling the injured ribs as well as making the surprise run. The finish was still predictable as there was no way the Usos would lose the belts this quickly but the last few minutes did make be doubt my prediction.
The next match had Charlotte defend her RAW Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss. This, unfortunately, was very disappointing. I may like Alexa Bliss but I know she’s not the best wrestler in the women’s division. Charlotte is great in the ring but there just seems like something is off with her as of late. The match basically saw Charlotte controlling the pace until Bliss made her comeback. I do have to commend on the sunset bomb Alexa Bliss can execute. She should really make that her finisher in the future.
The finish was silly but does set things up for a future storyline. Charlotte managed to avoid a pinfall by hanging her foot off the bottom rope. The Queen of the WWE then grabs Lilly, Alexa Bliss’ doll, and tosses at her face, distracting her enough to connect with a running boot. One Natural Selection later and Charlotte gets her hand raised in victory and retains her Smackdown Women’s Championship. After the match, Charlotte destroys Lilly, leaving Bliss a foaming in the mouth distraught mess.
I didn’t care for this match at all. I can’t really fault either Charlotte or Bliss but it just felt like their chemistry in the ring just didn’t work. The X-factor of what makes them great competitors just couldn’t be seen here. I also didn’t like the finish that much but this may just be the gateway to evolve Bliss’ character in the future.
The next match had Damien Priest defending his United States Championship against Sheamus and Jeff Hardy in a Triple Threat match. This was basically your standard Triple Threat match if you boil it down to its main components. It’s basically a weird 1-on-1 match until the other competitor comes in and replaces one of the other combatants. Priest did botch a few moves, like slipping off the ring apron when reversing Sheamus’ Beats Of The Bodhran clubbing blows and losing his footing when Jeff Hardy reversed the Reckoning into a Twist of Fate.
Although the match was mundane, the finish wasn’t. Jeff Hardy did a swanton bomb to break up a pinning predicament. Priest and Hardy were left duking it out in the middle of the ring. Priest then tried a disaster kick but Sheamus did a Brough Kick on him instead. Hardy tried to capitalize but couldn’t pin Priest. Sheamus then got rolled up by Hardy but The Celtic Warrior kicked out and retaliated with a Brough Kick. Priest then snuck behind Sheamus and rolled him up for the pinfall victory and retain his United States Championship.
This match was average but really got good during the final moments. I’m still not totally sold on Damien Priest as a big name yet so mixing him up with Sheamus and Jeff Hardy, a couple of industry veterans, is a good idea. I usually don’t like finishes that end with a rollup but, because of how crazy things got by this time, I’ll let it slide.
The penultimate match of the night saw Becky Lynch defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against the former champion, Bianca Belair. This was my predicted match of the night… so I just knew the WWE would try to screw it up at the end. The match was extremely good, with both Lynch and Belair showing great chemistry in the ring together. Belair was really impressive as she displayed both her power and dexterity throughout the match. I do wish Belair’s opponents would stop using her braid against her. It’s just getting old now.
As I expected, the finish was a screwjob. After a multiple pinning sequence, The Man managed to set the EST of the WWE into a Disarm Her predicament. Belair, however, lifted Lynch up and set her up for a KOD. This didn’t happen as a returning Sasha Banks rushed the ring and took Belair out, giving Lynch the DQ victory. The Boss assaulted Belair and looked like she was teaming up with Lynch but she backstabbed her fellow Four Horsewomen member as well.
I get why they did this screwjob finish. It kept both Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair safe. It also allowed the returning Sasha Banks to make an impact and insert her into the title hunt immediately. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. I just like matches with clean finishes, especially in a pay-per-view. This was a fantastic match but the run in just messed it up for me.
Speaking of bad finishes, oh boy, do I have a problem with the last match of the night! This was the sole Extreme Rules match and it had Roman Reigns defending his WWE Universal Championship against Finn Balor in his “The Demon” persona. Now, I like the idea of “The Demon.” It’s Balor’s darker side… but I don’t think he’s supposed to have supernatural powers! I’m getting ahead of myself. The match started out great, with “The Demon” making a really good run against the Head of the Table. There were indeed moments when I thought “The Demon” could’ve won the belt. There were also nice little moments, like “The Demon” taking out a monstrous bundle of kendo sticks, the Head of the Table declaring he wouldn’t use a table in the match (ironic?) and Roman Reigns putting on a face mask when the action spilled to the crowd.
The finish came after “The Demon” manage to fend off the Usos, even powerbombing Jey Uso through the announcer’s table! This distracted “The Demon” enough to allow Reigns to spear him through the barricade, laying everyone out.
This is when things start to go bonkers.
All of a sudden, the lights became red and you could hear a heartbeat… “The Demon’s” heartbeat, apparently. “The Demon” convulsed for a while before springing to his feet. Finn Balor’s music started playing as he laid waste to Reigns, even (finally) putting him through a table. “The Demon” then set Reigns up for a Coup de Grace but… the ring ropes broke. The fall hurt “The Demon” and allowed Reigns to recover enough to deliver a spear to get the pinfall victory and retain his WWE Universal Championship.
I loved the match leading up to the finish. The finish was terrible, though. There was no rhyme or reason why Balor’s Demon personal would have mystical abilities like what you would see with The Undertaker, Kane, The Fiend of even the Boogeyman! Balor is still just a person! Also, while WWE might think it’s creative for the ropes to give out like that, it just comes off as stupid. It was a way to protect “The Demon” and a way for Reigns to keep his title even with the Extreme Rules stipulation. Man, I really hate this finish.
In a nutshell, Extreme Rules should have been much better than it is. With several dumb finishes to some really great matches, I have to say the entire show was just above average. The finishes don’t entirely ruin what happened during the show but the WWE should really just try to ease up on trying to surprise audiences and just concentrate on making a good show.
What did you think of this year’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view event? Let me know in the comments section below!