Extreme Rules is the one night of the year that WWE goes to the extreme.
Well, that was until Paul Heyman was brought on as an Executive Director. Extreme Rules matches are the WWE-branded hardcore affairs that are saved for some of the most intense feuds they have. There have been Extreme Rules pay-per-views and matches since 2009. We’ve rounded up five underrated extreme rules matchups you should check out ahead of Extreme Rules this weekend.
1. Tommy Dreamer vs Christian vs Jack Swagger – Extreme Rules 2009
The proliferation of the extreme rules name came from the WWE ECW brand. On the first Extreme Rules event, the ECW Heavyweight Championship was on the line in a triple threat. It featured Christian as the defending champion, Jack Swagger as the former champion, and ECW original Tommy Dreamer. If Dreamer didn’t win the match, he would no longer wrestle for ECW.
What followed wasn’t the most technically gifted match, but it was fun. Sometimes hardcore matches just need to be car wrecks that are good fun. Dreamer’s win was a feel-good moment on the show.
2. CM Punk vs Chris Jericho – Extreme Rules 2012
The battle of the two Best in the World. Sorry, not sorry, Shane-o-Mac. In a rematch of their Wrestlemania 28 clash, Chris Jericho attempted once again to get the WWE Championship and title of “Best in the World” from CM Punk. The feud was a heated one, with Jericho mocking Punk’s straight edge lifestyle and pouring alcohol on him.
This all lead to this Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules. While it’s not technically an “extreme rules” match, it was a hardcore match at Extreme Rules. We can bend the rules a little bit. The hometown Punk was very popular, and managed to continue his historic title reign.
3. AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns – Extreme Rules 2016
The WWE Championship match from Extreme Rules 2016 was a great matchup worth another viewing. Yes, Reigns was in his most divisive stage of babyface. Yes, he still got the win over a star who was very popular with internet wrestling fans. However, this match is one that people can point to if anyone ever says Reigns is a bad wrestler.
He and Styles put on a great show. The two destroyed ringside and the commentary tables leaving a ton of destruction. When The Club attempted to interfere, Reigns’ cousins the Usos were there to even the odds. After the match, the surprise return of Seth Rollins to attack Reigns made for a memorable moment as well.
4. Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor vs Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins – Extreme Rules 2017
Calling this match “underrated” may be a stretch. Dave Meltzer did give the match 4.5 stars, and it was only two years ago. No other match on this list has the pure carnage and excitement that this match has. Five of the best wrestlers on the roster went at it for the chance to face Brock Lesnar for his Universal Championship.
Samoa Joe got the big rub winning the match, but all the wrestlers looked like main eventers throughout the match. Joe and Wyatt were both wrecking balls in the match, causing tons of destruction. Fans could believe any of the men would win before Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch on Balor for the win.
5. Aleister Black vs Adam Cole – NXT: TakeOver Philadelphia
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia is rightfully known for the first five-star WWE match since CM Punk-John Cena in 2011. That match was the main event between Johnny Gargano and Andrade Cien Almas. However, the semi-main event between Aleister Black and Adam Cole was an incredibly vicious affair. Both men had problems with the other after costing one another shots at the NXT Championship.
The match had tables, ladders, chairs, and general destruction. Cole’s Undisputed Era brethren tried to interfere, but were run off by Sanity. Black eventually won the match with a Black Mass kick, but both men were worse for wear after the match
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @EvanGomes_. Thanks for reading!