Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at their latest DVD release Extreme Rules 2022.
Coming on the heels of rumours that Triple H is going to use his new power to get rid of most of the “gimmick” LE’s 2022’s version of Extreme Rules at least had a full card of “gimmicks”. There was a problem that half of them were essentially the same match type (more of that later) but at least there was some variation and most of the matches warranted the stipulations in terms of the feuds.
We kicked off with Imperium and the Brawling Brutes clashing in a “Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook” which to me and you is a streetfight with some weapons at ringside. You can’t complain about living up to the billing as there was no real attempt to do any “wrestling” in this one. They just knocked seven shades out of each other for nearly twenty minutes and it never once got boring. They certainly didn’t hold back.
Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan had no chance of following that. That it was an “Extreme Rules” match meant that essentially it was the same anything goes streetfight stipulation as the opener, which did it even fewer favours. Feud wise there was justification for the stipulation, if only because we’d seen more than enough of these two going at it under “normal” circumstances. Even for wrestling, where anyone can beat anyone because, well you know, it’s a work the idea that Liv could take Ronda in a fight is preposterous. And so it proved. This match had no real drama and whilst you can’t fault the effort it just didn’t come together.
Karrion Kross and Drew McIntyre were up next and this was a strap match. Again the problem was that whilst this had the strap tying the two together it was essentially the same “anything goes” stip as the first two matches. They brawled into the crowd before they were strapped up and once tied together there were some brutal shots. The pepper spray ending was perhaps a decent way of giving Kross the win he needed without McIntyre losing too much face but whilst, again, the effort was there this one didn’t really click with the live crowd.
At least with Bianca Belair and Bayley we had an appreciably different stipulation, as the Raw Women’s Title was on the line in a ladder match. The law of diminishing returns perhaps applies to Ladder matches these days as we’ve simply seen so many of them but this was another good effort with some creative spots. Whether or not the booking of Belair as an indestructible monster does more harm than good on a roster that lacks star power at the moment is a different question.
Finn Balor and Edge clashed in an “I Quit” match next. This was the longest match of the night, at nearly half an hour, and was probably ten minutes too long. Not for the first time tonight the effort was certainly there and both men suffered for their art. As with the Kross/McIntyre match earlier the creative ending with Beth Phoenix was perhaps the best way out, with Balor needing a win but not really wanting Edge to just “quit” because he was beaten up.
We finished with the “Fight Pit” match between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle. The feud between the two certainly had gotten personal enough for the stipulation but whilst it looked cool it probably didn’t achieve much beyond what a normal steel cage match would have done. It was decent enough without ever really getting white hot, but at least offered something appreciably different from the rest of the card.
Post main-event saw the return of Bray Wyatt. The reaction was very loud and the WWE were probably wise to limit what Bray actually did here. The return and the pop was enough for night one.
Extreme Rules was a good show, although there is no getting away from the fact that loading all the similar stipulations on the first half of the card made a negative impact on the show as a whole. Just tweaking the match order might have meant Kross/McIntyre being received better. That said, from top to bottom there was certainly full effort from everyone concerned even if it didn’t always quite come off.
7 out of 10.
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of Extreme Rules 2022 which is out Monday 28 November on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.