The one night a year where WWE goes extreme, we saw a horrifying fall for Kevin Owens, a dream reunion denied and a controversial but unbelievable main event. But how did it stack up?
Andrade Cien Almas vs Sin Cara
Result: Almas wins via pinfall
Thoughts: These two guys have incredible chemistry and I have no real idea why this didn’t open the PPV in general. Whilst there seemed to be a notable botch that, I believe, Sin Cara instigated with a move to the outside, it’s clear that these two could have a great rivalry and is a sound reminder that WWE could do so much win Sin Cara in general; especially if they threw him over on 205 Live. A nice start to the pre-show with my only issue being; this is not how you should have Andrade Cien Almas making his ‘debut’ at a PPV- he should be on the main show.
New Day vs Sanity- Tables Match
Result: Sanity win with Young putting Kofi through a table
Thoughts: Well this was amazing. This ABSOLUTELY should have been on the main show as, when looking at the caliber of competitors involved and the stipulation, it was never not going to deliver. But even then- they ensured that the match didn’t go like a usual tables match where usually a table isn’t actually introduced until around 10 minutes in. Right from the get go; tables were brought in and used in almost every single big spot of the bout. Sanity winning was, of course, the absolutely correct decision and allows them to build up momentum to hopefully challenge for the Smackdown Tag Titles. New Day, almost surprisingly, continue to be hilarious together and, not surprisingly at all, continue to create absolute magic in the ring.
Del-eater’s of Worlds (c) vs B-Team- RAW Tag Team Championship Match
Result: Dallas pins Hardy to win the Raw Tag Team Titles
Thoughts: Before I start my review of this match; I can’t imagine how awesome it must have been for the Rotunda brothers to be competing against each other for the first time on a WWE PPV. Really cool. In regards to the match itself; THE B-TEAM ACTUALLY WON?!?!?!?! That was such a genuine surprise and it felt absolutely awesome. A fantastic way to kick off the show. My grade may appear to be higher than it should be however; a lot of it is the shock. The match wasn’t anything actually special but it was all about the result. The finish seems to hint at the fact that Bray and Matt could be splitting up soon which…as long as they do it correctly it could be alright. But still- B TEAM WON…I do have a feeling that there will be a couple of Authors of Pain awaiting them however.
Finn Balor vs Constable Corbin
Result: Finn wins via roll up
Thoughts: This just felt like it was on RAW. Nothing that we haven’t seen before and nothing special. It was perfectly serviceable- there was nothing wrong with it; it was just absolutely pointless. The one major positive of this however was a showcase of how much Baron Corbin has improved over the past 6-8 months. He’s incredibly fluid and really fun to watch.
Carmella (c) vs Asuka- WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match (James Ellsworth is suspended in a shark cage)
Result: Carmella retains via pinfall after Asuka thrown into the shark cage
Thoughts: God this was not good. Asuka lost after she was pushed into a cage. Something that happens to people within wrestling and WWE specifically multiple times in specific match types. The faster Asuka leaves this feud, the better. Carmella winning dirty makes complete sense for her character it just…the match itself was really poor as well which didn’t help. The one positive is that James Ellsworth is seriously amazing. He had essentially every weapon in the world under his hoodie and then he dangled from the shark cage for around five minutes. That was fun. The rest wasn’t. Asuka used to be undefeated and felt like the biggest deal in the world…I miss those times.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura- United States Championship Match
Result: Nakamura wins the United States title after a pre-match blow and a Kinshasa
Thoughts: As I write this, I was just stopped from seeing my favourite wrestler of all time, Jeff Hardy, wrestle. Therefore- I’m not happy. Yeah it was a moment and stuff but after two incredibly sub-par matches in a row, I needed a pick me up. And I didn’t get it. The one positive is that Nakamura is US Champ and it allows Jeff some time off to heal up. The Orton return does absolutely nothing for me and I didn’t even realise he was gone to be honest. At least he’s heel now from the looks of it.
Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens- Steel Cage Match
Result: Owens wins after being chokeslammed off of the cage
Thoughts: This was absolutely insane mental goodness. Yeah it wasn’t a technical masterpiece but it was just complete stupid fun. The story of Owens being forced to actually take it to Braun but just absolutely nothing working, Braun completely rag-dolling Owens around the place and just…so much more. The best moment however was how fast Owens went from cocky douche as Braun was handcuffed to genuine fear as Braun chased him. Then the coup de grace was the chokeslam off of the top of the cage; Owens you mad bastard. So, so good.
The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs Team Hell No- WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match
Result: Bludgeon Brothers retain via pinfall
Thoughts: The dynamic of Bryan going it alone for most of the match was an interesting one; it helped showcase the resiliency and underdog attitude of Daniel Bryan and, in parallel, the brutality and dominance of The Bludgeon Brothers. I assume that Kane was taken out of most of the match due to his age and inability to work full matches now but it can be argued why he was given a title match on a PPV if WWE were aware of this? Additionally; his involvement in the match was so minimal it was almost pointless. I still however can’t complain seeing Daniel Bryan vs Harper in a WWE ring so, it was still fun!
Roman Reigns vs Bobby Lashley
Result: Lashley wins via pinfall
Thoughts: The last five minutes were easily the best of the match. Up until that point, it was entirely too slow and far too methodical. The shock decision of Lashley winning is really big but I honestly just wish Roman had won. I personally see absolutely nothing in Bobby Lashley; I find him the dullest man ever. Roman continues to showcase his fantastic in ring work but particularly, the ability he has to work a crowd; he had them in his hand the entire time. Really good to see and interested to see where Reigns goes from here though; Brock?
Alexa Bliss (c) vs Nia Jax- WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Result: Bliss retains via pinfall
Thoughts: This was, perhaps surprisingly, a really fun, chaotic match. They knew what they had to do; just do loads of weapons based offense and the crowd will enjoy it. If you add to that a mental Ronda Rousey attacking anything that moves; you’ve got yourself a pretty great group! Alexa retaining is of course the right decision and it looks like it’s going to be her vs Rousey at SummerSlam which could also be really great. Nia seems to be in almost freefall right now so for fans of the dominant woman will be worried.
AJ Styles (c) vs Rusev- WWE Championship Match
Result: Styles retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Before this match, many people argued that Rusev didn’t have one stand out match in WWE even though he is absolutely fantastic. He has now. Everyone, I think, knew that Rusev wasn’t going to win this but he absolutely smashed it with the oppourtunity he was given. The near falls, from both men, made me believe a few times that the match was over prematurely. Styles’ reign continues to be fantastic and I feel Joe is on the horizon for him at Summerslam. Where does Rusev go from here? Not sure, but I hope his push is continued. He absolutely bloody deserves it because let’s be honest; EVERY DAY IS RUSEV DAY.
Dolph Ziggler (c) w/ Drew McIntyre vs Seth Rollins- 30 IronMan match for the Intercontinental Championship
Result: Ziggler wins 5-4 in sudden death overtime
Thoughts: Before I get started; I hate wrestling fans sometimes. You have Dolph Ziggler vs Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship in a 30 minute Iron-man match in the main event of a PPV and you’re chanting for them to ‘Fix The Clock’ and mimicking the Royal Rumble buzzer? Seriously? It’s times like this where I will always understand Vince wanting to do things his way and no other way because what’s the point? He gives us as fans this fantastic main event and those in house completely ruin it. Why wouldn’t he then just put Roman in every main event regardless of feud, importance, title- anything? He has nothing to lose. The match itself from a technical aspect was brilliant as well which is almost sad. The fantastic storytelling of Drew costing Dolph one fall, doing the damage which then allows Dolph to go into the lead. Seth fighting back pushed his underdog attitude and made you genuinely care. The decision to go into overtime was smart; it sold the fact that these guys are perfectly matched for each other and just can’t get over that line in normal time. And then with Drew coming out to help Dolph shows that Ziggler NEEDS Drew to win. Fantastic, fantastic match and both competitors deserved so much more from the crowd.
Overall Thoughts: In my opinion, Extreme Rules was filled with a perfect mix of either poor/terrible matches or fantastic matches so I feel the show was a success overall. Owens/Strowman, Styles/Rusev and Ziggler/Rollins were all must see, Reigns vs Lesnar picked up at the end and the B-Team got a shock win. The other stuff on the show was really poor but, thankfully, it was saved. As previously mentioned; the crowd did not deserve matches of the quality that they received and I hope Vince and co realise that you can main event a PPV with great technical wrestling. That’s the biggest takeaway from tonight.