Last night the WWE was in New Jersey for this year’s version of Extreme Rules. There’s a special place in my heart these days for this PPV. A couple of years ago, my youngest son was born on the day of this event and I got to watch it from our hospital room that evening.
Normally Mark and I get together to watch the shows but he called an audible to catch up on some much needed sleep. We’ll be together again for the next event in June, Money in the Bank. I watched at home (starting very late after I put the kids to bed) so it was a late night for me. I was thrilled with the WWE Network last night – not a single glitch the entire night.
In general I have to say that Extreme Rules was not a great event. There were a couple of stand out matches and moments but I’d say if you were going to pass on a show this may be a good candidate. With that said, let’s get on with the review.
(All photos courtesy WWE.com)
Baron Corbin Defeated Dolph Ziggler – No DQ
This kickoff match is a repeat from last month where Ziggler got the win. In my mind it didn’t make sense for Ziggler to get the win there so it stands to reason that Corbin would get the W here. Sadly, this has gone the route of standard 50/50 WWE booking with Corbin going over in an underwhelming feud. This one wasn’t “extreme” with the exception of a nut shot. I can only hope that we don’t get another match between these two at next month’s Money in the Bank cause let’s be honest this is a match up that really no one wants to see. Ziggler continues to be a pre-show darling and now he’s losing as well. He’s not long for the WWE in my opinion which is a sad thing.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows Defeated The Usos – Tornado Tag Match
I refuse to call the team of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows “The Club” cause that’s just stupid. The Club, for those my age, is an anti theft device that you put on your car’s steering wheel. That said, this was a decent match to officially kick off the PPV even though it felt a bit short at just over eight minutes. Good to see Anderson and Gallows being able to play the beasts. I’ve never been a huge fan of tag team wrestling but I appreciate the Tornado rules (where all four guys are in the ring at once). Booking here made sense as there’s no reason for the Usos to get the win over the new team in the company, especially based on their involvement in the main event picture. Everyone in the building knew that this wasn’t the last we’d seen of these four men (more on that later).
Rusev Defeated Kalisto To Win The US Championship
For the first time in forever, Kalisto is on the main show (and not wrestling Ryback who’s left the company). I was a big fan of Rusev’s run with the US title when he was booked as a monster heel. It appears that we’re headed back in that direction as he pretty much decimates Kalisto here. In a “real” match there would be no way that Kalisto would stand a chance against Rusev and that came across here. The end of the match looked brutal as Kalisto was slammed on the hard part of the apron and then was put into a nasty looking version of Rusev’s finisher (though if you look at it in slow motion it isn’t nearly as bad as it seemed as Kalisto is essentially on his knees). I do have to say that while I’m still a fan of Lana (what guy isn’t?) I much prefer her in the business suit that she wore during Rusev’s last run.
The New Day Defeated The Vaudevillains To Retain The Tag Team Championship
For all the talk of how awesome New Day is as a tag team, this is the first time since the Royal Rumble they’ve defended their titles on a PPV. That’s sort of ridiculous. Here we get Xavier Woods and Big E defending the titles in a decent, yet super short match lasting just over six minutes. It makes sense for New Day to hold onto the titles here for a couple of reasons. First, while this was the best the Vaudevillains have looked on the main roster, they’re not nearly in the same league as New Day in popularity. Second, New Day is clearly headed toward a match up with Enzo and Cass when Enzo is ready. The heat there between those two teams is going to be off the charts.
The Miz Defeated Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn To Retain The Intercontinental Championship
This was tremendous. Plain and simple. Miz gets a bad rap but he plays the smarmy heel better than anyone right now. As he continues to hold onto his title he’s building heat similar to the way he did during his WWE Championship run. All four guys worked really hard here and they did some innovative stuff starting right out of the gate with a huge kick from Zayn to Owens taking him out of commission for a while. Cesaro got rid of Miz and we got some one on one action between Cesaro and Zayn to begin. These four-way matches are difficult to keep up with as there’s so much action and this was a clever way to allow the viewer to keep up. The bad blood between Zayn and Owens continues and I’ll echo what I said last month: that program is going to go all the way to WrestleMania 33. For the second month in a row, Cesaro gets Miz to tap only to have the ref distracted by Maryse. My money would be on some sort of stipulation match between Cesaro and Miz next month but any match up that has these four guys in it would be a good thing.
Dean Ambrose Defeated Chris Jericho – Asylum Match
This was… not good. Both guys worked hard and put in a great effort but coming on the heels of an outstanding IC title match this was a huge, slow letdown. I’ve never been a fan of Jericho and as he continues to stick around longer and longer I’m becoming less of a fan. The fact that he was pitted against my current fav in Ambrose doesn’t help matters either. I’m hoping that my feelings for Jericho aren’t clouding my judgement on this match but I sort of doubt it. I haven’t read any reviews of the show yet but I’d sort of be shocked if this one got high praise. I’m not sure if the audio was coming through correctly either but it sounded like the crowd was dead here. There’s two guys killing each other and no one cares? That’s no bueno. The end came when Jericho takes a backdrop into a bag of thumbtacks followed by Dirty Deeds. I don’t care how “fake” wrestling is… turning yourself into a human pin cushion has to hurt. Too bad the spot was in this stinker of a match.
Charlotte Defeated Natalya To Retain The Women’s Championship – Submission Match
This is really starting to piss me off. I’m not one to rip on WWE creative (there’s plenty of that out there) but the story telling here sucks. Ric Flair was banned from ringside which was a good thing. I was really hoping we’d get some resolution to this feud without some silly gimmick and hopefully with Natty winning the title. Instead what we got was Dana Brooke coming to the ring dressed as Flair, distracting Natalya long enough to be put into Charlotte’s finish for the win. No, no, no, no, no. No. This started out as a solid match until the creative got in the way. Maybe I’m over reacting but this put me in a really bad mood going into the main event. Why does the Hart family get shit on continually? Is just because of bitter old Bret? If so he should learn to shut his trap cause his niece is getting the short end of the stick.
Roman Reigns Defeated AJ Styles To Retain The WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Extreme Rules
For as bad as the last two matches have been, this was outstanding. Reigns and Styles followed up their “phenomenal” match at Payback with an even better match here. Reigns is really coming into his own as champ and I’m loving the, “I’m not a good guy, I’m not a bad guy, I’m THE guy” tagline. The fact that the crowd was chanting, “You can’t wrestle!” and “Roman sucks!” just goes to show you how stupid many wrestling fans are. Dude is a workhorse and I’ve got the utmost respect for him even if he’s not my favorite. AJ more than held up his end of the match here doing what he’s done in every match since arriving in the WWE – delivering phenomenal matches. We got the run in that everyone knew was coming with Anderson, Gallows and the Usos making their way to the ring. I knew it was coming but would have preferred they stay away. After all those distractions Styles goes absolutely berserk raining chair shots on both Usos and Reigns and hit the Styles Clash multiple times (once on a chair). He then had Reigns set up for his Phenomenal Forearm but a nice looking Reigns spear “out of nowhere” ended the match. I’m happy to say that this didn’t have the “What The Fuck?!?!” feeling that his victories in the past have had.
Seth Rollins Returns
After the match as Roman Reigns was struggling to get to his feet and celebrate, Seth Rollins returns to the ring and lays out his former SHIELD team mate with a Pedigree much to the delight of the crowd. It was only a matter of time before Rollins returned and whether he was playing a heel or not he was going to get cheered. I’m guessing this marks the end of the Roman Reigns & AJ Styles program at least for the time being as they re-insert Rollins into the title picture.
Extreme Rules was a show of two matches: The Intercontinental title match and the main event World Title match. Those were both outstanding matches and were easily head and shoulders above the rest of the card. It makes me happy to see the most “important” matches be the best – your title matches SHOULD be great. It makes me sad that the rest of the card fell so flat.
I had really high hopes for a great Women’s Championship match but was let down big time by the overbooked Dusty finish. Ambrose and Jericho was just too boring especially coming after the IC title match that was absolutely stellar. I enjoyed seeing Miz retain and seeing the heat between Owens & Zayn is always enjoyable as is watching Cesaro put on a clinic. Rusev is a stud again now that the League of Nations is no more which I appreciate and his was clearly the third best match on the card. That said, it was basically a glorified squash match that if it weren’t for the title would have been a mid hour one RAW match. Both of the tag matches were short garnering less than 15 minutes of combined ring time between the two. Tag team wrestling in today’s WWE seems to be less about the in ring action and more about the characters. That trend isn’t going to help overcome my anti tag team bias any time soon.
Roman Reigns and AJ Styles continue to elevate their game and are proving that they belong on the top of the card. I’m really hoping that many Internet wrestling fans will start to shut the hell up when it comes to how bad they think Reigns is, but I don’t have high hopes. After all, they’re wrestling fans. We bitch. It’s what we do. Seeing Rollins was a welcome touch. He’ll have a week to be the lone returning Superstar before John Cena returns next Monday. The next main roster PPV event, Money in the Bank, takes place on June 19th.
Did you watch Extreme Rules? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!