Honestly, going into Extreme Rules, I couldn't think of anything that I was excited to watch, or was excitedly waiting for. Few of the matches even came to mind before I turned on the show. Then I was reminded of the Ambrose Asylum, the Women's Championship Match, and the Fatal Four Way. Beyond that, I went into this show will little to no interest. Hopefully it will be better than I expect, but I'm not holding my breath.
Extreme Rules Kick Off
Women's Championship Panel > A-
Having Becky Lynch and Paige spend some time on the panel and talk about Charlotte and Nattie was fantastic! Paige was solid, but Becky was downright great! She's had little bits where she can show off her personality, but here she showed solid personality and knowledge of the industry. She really impressed me here. This is the Becky they really need to be showing the fans.
In Ring Segment > B+
Dudleys were solid here, even though their schtick is so old I was almost in tears. I know that's not only their fault, it's creative, and they can only do so much with the same crap. But then there was Cass was is so great on mic, so refreshing, so different, and so on point! Not only did he destroy the Dudleys on mic, he did it in the ring as well and looked great doing it. SAWFT!
Lana & Rusev Interview > B
Lana's attitude here was so spot on. Her little laughing noises, smirks, calling out lazy people for not using Google and asking stupid questions. Rusev was decent, but Lana made this segment worth watching. He's getting better, but she's still the one who shines.
No DQ Match – Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin > D
Other than Ziggler looking like he's trying to channel AJ Lee with his new ring tights, he started off solid in this match, wanted to take it to Corbin hard and fast, but, as per usual with Corbin, that didn't last long. Corbin fought back a bit, then I was bored. This appeared to be the same match we've seen from these two a number of times, almost every one of Corbin's WWE matches so far. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. I don't care if this is the rubber match, it's No DQ, yet there was no sign of any DQ through much of the match. They just kept moving slowly around the ring, hitting the same moves, doing the same things, and none of it very exciting. Closed fists and low blows don't give the fans much of a No DQ Match. This was not the way to get the fans interested in Extreme Rules, and it seems as though the fans in the arena had little interest in the match as well. They were mostly dead, and for very good reason. It's time for these two to give us an entertaining match, or go look for others who will work with them who can.
Winner – Baron Corbin
Extreme Rules Starts!
Tornado Tag Team Match – Usos vs The Club > B
Running forearms from both Usos into Gallows' face in a corner was a solid way to start the in-ring action. Finally I'm interested and care about Extreme Rules! Finally I'm actually a bit interested in the Usos, and this feud! Not saying the Usos aren't great in the ring, because they really are, but as I keeps saying in the RIB, they have no characters other than being Rikishi's twin sons and Reigns' cousins. That's not character, that's boring!
Anderson and Gallows really went out there to work, but I'm not sure they know any other way. I'm new to Anderson, but Gallows always has given his all, so I'm thrilled to see him back in the WWE. He deserves the time and the push, though I'm still not sure that their first feud should have been with the Usos, but that's how the cards fell.
Finally Gallows came in with the ring bell, exactly what I was expecting from the last match. When there's no DQs, the fans want to see more than a lot blow, and the ring bell is a great weapon. I expected more from Gallows and Anderson, but they used the weapon in a creative way – booked, if not actually swung – and won the match for it. I cannot say it was a great and exciting way to start Extreme Rules, but it was better than what we saw between Ziggler and Corbin. I expected a lot more from Gallows and Anderson, especially over the Usos, but at least they got their win in the end.
Winners – Anderson & Gallows
US Title Match – Kalisto (c) vs Rusev > B-
Going into this match I look at how mismatched they are, but Rey was mismatched with almost everyone he faced in the WWE and he held some great belts and made his matches look liable. Kalisto also has that talent of making his matches look viable against almost anyone, and it really is a talent. Rusev has struggled since losing to Cena, and then losing Lana. But now that he and Lana are to the ring together again, he's more believable and the fans are more interested in him – if only to see Lana. All that being said, I'm still not sure how I feel about these two facing off in the ring for the strap, and the match has been going on for a couple minutes. It appears that the fans feel the same way as I've heard dispersed chants for Punk.
While these two worked the ring hard, it didn't feel as though the match was booked to be interesting. Yes, they've worked to their strengths, but it's not been the excitement I hoped for going into Extreme Rules, and really not the excitement needed to get the fans interested enough to chant for the match and not for whatever catches their fancy. Lana hasn't been involved at all, and while Kalisto has taken Rusev down some, hit some bigger moves, they're not the BIG moves I expected from both these Superstars. Kalisto is a fast wrestler and should be allowed to get some speed into the match, even though he's working with slower muscle.
After seeing how Rusev put the accolade on Kalisto recently, I did expect Rusev to get the win with the accolade, but that was the most beautiful accolade I've seen. Kalisto is flexible and they found a way to make Rusev look that much more interesting with the finisher. Bravo for ending this one in an interesting way and making this a bit more exciting at the end.
Winner & new US Champion – Rusev
Tag Team Championship Match – New Day vs Vaudevillains > B
New Day, as always, was solid on mic here, though there did seem to be a few issues between them and a bit of crankiness. Wonder if that's the start of them crumbling a bit. That was a lovely little tease of possible things to come, but that was the first really interesting thing that jumped out at me so far since Extreme Rules started.
I know little about Vaudevillains, other than the bits of NXT I've seen, and what they've done since being called up to the WWE. I will say that English sells really well, but doesn't HBK it, the way Ziggler can. They're a solid team that really knows how to work as a team. I have to say that they do a great job of staying in character as they work the ring. Their moves are more old fashioned and artistically different, but they work well with a 'modern' team like New Day. It's great fun to watch the differences between the teams, and has made this match more entertaining. I will admit I miss Wood on Francesca outside the ring, and don't know why Kofi is on the outside rather than in this match. Wood avoiding a suplex to the outside, and Big E diving through the ropes taking English down looked great! Of course Kofi got involved, but that's how the work, and they did a great job of it.
My biggest worry from that match is Big E. When they were back in the ring Big E wasn't using his right arm, keeping it close to his body, and flexing his hand as well as shaking it. Looks as though he did something in that dive. Hopefully it's just a stinger, but I know WNW will get you any and all info about it as soon as it becomes available. I will just continue to hope it's nothing, as New Day doesn't need an injury at the top of their run.
Winners – New Day
Backstage Segment > B
AJ's mic skills have been better and better lately, at least backstage. I love how he stated it's already been addressed, then went directly into The Club's locker room. That's a great way to leave so many questions for the main event.
IC Championship Fatal Four Way Match – Miz (c) vs Kevin Owens vs Cesaro vs Sami Zayn > A
Holy crap, Sami started this match with such a sudden impact, and it was so unexpected! That's how you start a match! How exciting and unusual was that? Actually, the entire start of this match was great, especially watching Sami and Cesaro work the ring one on one as we didn't get to see them work on Raw! Finally the fans got into Extreme Rules, and it was all for Sami over Cesaro. The fans love Cesaro, but chanting for Sami is so much fun! Their work was beautiful to see, even when Miz got involved. Sami flying is always fun, and having two – Cesaro and Miz – to catch him is that much safer. Honestly, everything so far in this match has been spot on and leaving me wanting more!
I honestly thought it would take KO longer to get involved in this match, but he's so great in all he does that I'm not at all complaining. The back and forth between all four, making all four look strong in their own rights, yet still taken down by others, is what makes for a great Fatal Four Way Match. These four are perfectly matched for this, and hopefully work together again in the MITB, because they could make it something we will be talking about for years. These three have helped bring Miz back, let him work the ring with skills I sure didn't think he had, and made him look like a viable Superstar again. The other three are the future, the now, of the WWE, and deserve to win straps and be in main events. Some might say Sami isn't ready, but he's getting there working with Cesaro and KO.
This is a MoTY, and the match hasn't even ended. These four are getting "This is awesome!" chants and more than deserve them. This was bound to be a classic, and these four delivered. This easily could have ended the show and sent the fans home happy, because I'm not sure the WWE WHC will be able to be half as entertaining. I can honestly say that I don't remember fans being this wild for a WWE PPV match in a very long time, especially at a B level show! There's only so much greatness I can say about this match, just go watch it if you haven't already!
Winner – Miz
Asylum Match – Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho > B
They were daft putting this match on after the Fatal Four Way. The fans need to cool down after something like that, and I'd hoped that this would be the other huge match of the night. And as this match goes along, the match is really solid, even the mop to Jericho's ear, and the fans are struggling to stay in it because they're so drained from the last match. But then, it seems as though Jericho is drained from whatever it is that's been draining him lately. He's not been very good this time around, and this match would be so much better if it was someone else in there with Ambrose. Though, I have to say that Jericho knows how to work the fans with his yelling, screaming, and show-boating.
Ambrose with those nun-chucks was great! He knew how to use them, and it goes back to what I always say about Ambrose going above and beyond the call of duty, no matter what he needs to do in the WWE. The problem is that he's working the match with someone who has never been the true hardcore type, and is at least ten years out of when he should have been in hardcore matches. Ambrose is pushing the envelope, but Jericho just isn't there. I will give Jericho props for not totally pussing out when he took the leather strap to the face.
Again, Ambrose gave his all, but his opponent just isn't up to a match like this, and I have to say the gimmick for the match wasn't wonderfully thought through. Lastly, this match just went on for way too long. I was yawning until Ambrose throw Foley's tacks on the mat, then I was back and ready for it. They teased that Jericho would land in those tacks without a shirt, but they kept staying away from that corner. If the tacks are coming out, they need to be used, and in a way that's as safe as possible. But then things slowed right down again and the boredom set in. I love Ambrose, but he had to go at Jericho's pace in this match, and in doing that, he's lost a lot of his curb appeal. I honestly didn't think they'd use the tacks until Jericho landed in them. Ambrose landed in them a bit when he hit dirty deeds, but nothing he cannot handle.
Jericho has a lot of tacks stuck to his back and elbow, but unlike Foley, there was a lot of yawn that led up to someone landing in the tacks. I will give Jericho props for doing it, but that comes off me wondering if he really should be working at this point in his life. This, no matter how hard Ambrose tried, was not a strong match. Jericho and the booking of such a terribly long match destroyed what could have been so much fun and a memorable match for Ambrose. The hardcore spots were great, but everything between was terribly boring. Sadly I'm worried this match will be remembered for many bad reasons.
Winner – Ambrose
Women's Championship Submission Match – Charlotte (c) vs Nattie > C+
Charlotte really does have the look of a Champion. She's tall, blonde, and built like few real women in this world. She worked hard, and continues to work hard to get to where she wants to be in the WWE, the problem being (kayfabe) is her father. I know he's been booked to be out there for a reason, and much of it is so he can earn some extra money to pay all those alimony payments. Trip supports his good friend all he can, but now the fans are so sick of seeing Flair that they are trashing Charlotte as hard. Yes, it's storyline that Charlotte can't do this without Flair, but in reality, it's making her look as though she cannot handle the success without her father by her side. I'm glad they're letting this storyline play out, but it should have happened months ago.
I cannot say that this was the best female Superstar match we've seen – we will leave that to Sasha and Bayley – but it was decent until Flair's music hit. That Charlotte, Flair and Dana Brooke screwed Nattie the way they did is just more of the lame screwiness. I'm not at all impressed by this, and had hoped they would be getting rid of Flair now, but I guess we are not that lucky. Further, this was supposed to be a revolution, but the same lame stupidity is plaguing the Women's Division and it hurts to see these smart, talented women get put in the lamest storylines! This was downright disgusting. Seems as though the Fatal Four Way was the height of Extreme Rules and the rest is just chaff.
Winner – Charlotte
WWE WHC Extreme Rules Match – Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles > A/F
This started off as a heavy hitting match, weapons coming about early, even if they really weren't used right off the bat. They took it to each other, worked through the fans, and actually made it look more like an Extreme Rules Match than anything else we've seen during this PPV – other than the Asylum Match. I like that they worked on the Kick Off panel set, it shows that nothing is safe, and that they're trying to be creative with the new sets.
They went back and forth, the fans involved in the match, but mostly to trash Reigns and wonder where Rollins was. Reigns really seemed to be taking in what the fans were chanting and letting the negativity get to him more than he should. Yet, it still only briefly felt like I was back to watching a gimmick-free match, and that's the last thing anyone wants from an Extreme Rules PPV! Some of the moves were great, but others made me wonder if Reigns wasn't just being dangerous, not extreme. AJ's head to the apron seemed rather dangerous to me, but I'm sure AJ has taken worse bumps. Actually, most of the big bumps in this match were taken by AJ and I'm all for that if it means no one gets hurt, but too many were unprotected. The fans finally got into the groove, chanting for both Reigns and AJ, but I worry about the many unprotected moves AJ took in this match. He's not as young as he used to be. I hope AJ is okay after he comes down from the high of this match.
I was impressed at how long it took Gallows and Anderson to get involved in this match, with the Usos not far behind, as to be expected, even though I'd rather see this with a clean win. I knew going into this that Reigns would retain the WWE WHC, but truly questions all I know about the WWE when I saw the Styles clash. And then a Styles clash on the chair. When Reigns kicked out, AJ looked about to cry. It must be hard going to the ring and leaving every bit of yourself out there, all the time knowing that you're not going to actually win the match, win the big one that you've driven for your entire life. Yet that's exactly what AJ did in this match, selling every tiny bit of himself, a lot more than Reigns did, all for the fans.
The grade is for leaving it all out there, but also for how dangerous a lot of the bumps were. There could have been a lot more protection there.
Winner – Reigns
In Ring Segment > A+
Rollins is what the fans wanted, and one of the two guys we hoped to see through the entire show, and he did exactly what we needed him to do – destroy Reigns and show that he's coming back to the fans who have been waiting for him to be healthy. I hope he's really ready to come back, because the WWE really needs Rollins right now!
Well, I cannot say that was the best PPV the WWE has given us recently, but I'm not sure it's the worst either. Miz, Cesaro, KO and Sami basically stole the show, and while there were other moments and moves that were great, nothing was really very good, and really didn't impress upon me that Creative gave a flying fig about any of the storylines, the matches, the Superstars, or the fans. This seemed to be a lesson in futility. This PPV was nothing to write home about, and nothing I ever really care to watch again. This was sometimes painful to watch, and much of the time terribly boring. There was so many terrible moves and ideas throughout the three hours of Extreme Rules that one Fatal Four Way match and Rollins return for the last two minutes doesn't make up for all the rest of the crap they fed us.
I said to everyone in the Extreme Rules Open Thread Discussion that I would be tough but fair in writing this. Maybe I've been too fair, but these were all my off the cuff reactions and I hope you enjoyed them. What do you think about Extreme Rules?
Queen of WNW