Welcome to Rapid Reacts: WWE Extreme Rules, a new feature exclusive to WNW Premium Members. In this feature, a select member of the WrestlingNewsWorld.com staff will review a pay-per-view after it airs in text format. The following review of Extreme Rules is by senior staff member and the Queen of WNW, Kendra Bunyon.
The Kickoff show was as expected, nothing fantastic, mostly recaps, other than a few moments. Seeing Ambrose skulking around the panel, then taking over for Byron in the Extreme Rules Kickoff brought his stock up quite a bit, but then not being able to hear him over the "CM Punk!" chants really hurt the panel as a whole. Okay, on top of the chants hurting the panel, Byron did nothing to help things. Renee runs the show beautifully, Booker T brings a mature aspect to it, Corey Graves is so knowledgeable about the industry and is easy on the eyes, but Byron is like a fish out of water. He seems to really be trying, but he's so boring and out of touch that almost everything he says falls flat. For some reason the WWE keeps pushing Byron at us, and we really don't understand why. The role could be filled by any number of people. In fact, I'd love to see Eden on the panel. I think it would show real progress to have two women and two men out there talking wrestling.
Bad News Barrett vs Neville > A
In the middle of this match JBL said that this looked a lot like Regal vs Dynamite Kid. Thinking about it in that moment, I knew that he'd hit the nail on the head. While I'm a huge Regal fan, and have never really liked Barrett, there are lines to be drawn there. Lines between Neville and Dynamite Kid could also be drawn, and I hope that JBL talking about that will bring younger wrestling fans to check out the greatness of the two older wrestlers mentioned, because they are two of the greats.
One of our readers posted that Chicago was fully behind Neville, that while the sound didn't translate to TV, it was VERY loud there for Neville! The sound didn't translate well, but I'm thrilled to know the fans were there supporting Neville, because he's one who needs to be watched.
Rather than following the pattern of normal matches, where certain things happen certain ways, Neville started this with three really unique moves, and so we spent the rest of this match waiting to see what else Neville might throw at us. The pattern was thrown out the window, and it honestly didn't matter what Barrett did, even though he worked the match hard. They made almost everything look beautiful, and very much their own for the Chicago fans, and what more could they ask? Well, they could ask for Neville to win, and he did, so that's gravy! Right now it's all about Neville and what he can do. As long as they don't push him too hard and fast, Neville could continue to break barriers that Punk, Bryan and Rollins started breaking down.
Winner – Neville (10:38)
Backstage Segment > B+
Kane stomping off makes him more relevant than he was going into that segment. Great way to build up a legendary wrestler to a point we haven't seen him in a longtime.
Chicago Street Fight > B
Chairs and kendo sticks. Ambrose sells well, but not really a hardcore match, or street fight like I grew up on. These two can both be hardcore, or work clean, but I know how dirty both can get, and sometimes wish WWE would let them go there, go all out. At least let these guys go, as they are used to it. They hit some beautiful moves early in the match, but honestly what stands out in my mind was Ambrose spinning on the apron into clothesline. That's not what I should be remembering from the first part of the match.
I was glad to see them go backstage, where did they go? When they left Harper was driving, when they returned, Ambrose was driving. The one thing we missed is that we didn't get to see them do anything while they were 'gone' from the arena. Since they didn't have a camera with them, all we knew was they left. Even when Stone Cold Steve Austin went after Booker T, chasing him all over, there were breaks were we saw what was going down. When Rowdy Roddy Piper was driving after Goldust, we saw some of what was happening. As fans, we wanted to see what they were doing periodically, and have the match last the majority of the show. Yes, it's nostalgia, but sometimes those things are worth bringing back every five years or so. They broke the ring for a second time, why not have an all PPV match?
I really thought we'd see more work from them, then they'd leave again, but no, they ended the match in the ring in less than an hour. Yes, I had a bit of an ECW moment with all the chairs flying into the ring, but cringed when Harper slammed Ambrose down so hard onto that chair. The same when Harper landed on them as well, but that wasn't enough to make this match into something both of those men could have delivered if it had been booked correctly. It felt as though they booked them to go part way, not really trusting that they could pull it off, or that the fans would want it, but from everyone I talked to, we wanted them to take this all the way. The end half of the match was better and more hardcore than the first part, and the chants of "ECW" and "We want tables!" showed that the fans were more into it – and all the chairs were a great touch – but they didn't didn't go all the way and give us the great match we were expecting, because we know they're capable of it.
Winner – Ambrose (57:02)
Backstage Segment > B
We expected these issues in The Authority, but won't know what will really happen until the main event, or even later. Because of that, this felt really flat, and a bit boring.
Kiss My Arse Match – Sheamus vs Dolph Ziggler > B+
From the start of this match, I was bored. There were some solid moves, and Sheamus' powerbomb looked solid, and the fans in Chicago were heavily behind Ziggler, but it didn't look like a PPV match from the bell. Sheamus worked hard to bring the match up by yelling and pushing his character and the storyline, but it did little help me care – and I'm a huge Ziggler fan! They brought it back with the cloverleafs, and Ziggler fighting back in such a flurry, but then it went right back to nothing fantastic.
I know I'm in a minority as CJ Blaze really enjoyed the fast paced work, and the Extreme Rules Open Thread was quite quiet through much of the match, which always means the readers are enthralled with the match, but I just didn't see it. Because CJ is so respected within WNW, I upped the grade a bit more than I'd have given it if it was only my personal point of view.
I know I shouldn't have expected anything less than what happened after this match, but I was still annoyed. I would have rather seen Sheamus playing more of a wormy heel. He's running on his 'only big guys in the WWE' ego, so I'd think a textbook wimpy, Triple H-esque type of heel would be best, because it's such a dichotomy. With that we could have had Ziggler chasing Sheamus all over the place until he was actually forced to fulfill the stipulation of his loss. While we may still see that, Ziggler taking that post-match beating could make Ziggler a bit of a meaner face than I'd hope to see from him going forward. Edgy is good, but a mean and pissed off face might not go over as well. All that being said, I cannot wait for the "Pucker up!" chants to follow Sheamus around for a long time!
Winner – Ziggler (9:17)
Tag Team Championship Match – Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (c) vs New Day > A-
From the start, I couldn't keep my eyes off Cesaro. He threw everything at New Day in this match, and showed us all why he really is a top star holding a secondary belt. Not everyone who's good enough are always in the main event, but it's time Cesaro is recognized for the wrestler he is. The fans see it, and love it, now it's time for the WWE to recognize it and run with it. The same has been said about Kidd for years, and it's great to finally see him on TV, doing something other than jobbing, and holding a strap. It's interesting how perspective works.
These four wrestlers did everything to make this match something to remember, and they did just that! Cesaro catching Big E, landing on Big E's chest with both feet, then pinning the way he did was awe inspiring. That man is getting great exposure in this team, and hopefully will translate to later success. While Kidd did a lot of work, this match was mostly carried by Cesaro in that ring. Hitting a superplex on Kofi, from Kofi standing on the apron, that should be impossible, but Cesaro did it like it was nothing! His strength is unreal! Then there's Big E looked with his spear on Kidd through the ropes and out, followed by that huge body drop on Cesaro outside – he was on point! Kofi cheating to win was fantastic, and his high flying was only rivaled by Kidd's work.
Readers called this match epic, and they were right. Nattie and Woods helped, but those four were sick in that ring! This is a match to be remembered, and I'm sure a lot will come from it in the coming weeks as #Truth come back for their dirty penny Tag Team Championship belts.
Winners – New Day (9:36)
Backstage Segment > B-
New Day with Renee were great, but that much better when Ambrose flew into them and took them out. It was a great time to bring Ambrose and Harper back in, but did little for New Day – a team who more than needs more than a little!
Russian Chain US Championship Match – John Cena (c) vs Rusev > C-
The lights on the corners and the ref calling off the momentum were a change of pace for me, but I've watched so much WWE Network this past year that the many Texas Bull Rope Matches and Chain Matches have clouded my mind to the growth and changes through the years.
While slow, there was much creativity with the chain, mostly from Rusev early on, but it added a nice dimension to the match as Rusev has been played out as too much of a Goldberg, and where does he go from here? The thing is that we've seen glimmers of how great Rusev can be in the ring, and he can carry his career in the ring the way Goldberg never could because he wasn't trained well before being tossed into the ring as unstoppable. Regal has spoken about trying to pull an eight minute match out of Goldberg and how virtually impossible it was because of how green Goldberg was. Goldberg had the look, the physique, and attitude, so he was unstoppable. The problem was that he thought it meant he was a good wrestler, which he wasn't. That's where Rusev is leaps and bounds above Goldberg's ring work – ever!
The creative chain work, the Alabama slam from Rusev didn't do enough to make this match into something I really cared to watch. Honestly, if Rusev had been in there with anyone but Cena, I think the match would have been booked better, and we'd have heard more than mostly heat. Rusev is supposed to be the heel here, but the only major heat he really received was for sending Lana to the back – and that was just a needed continuation of the issues that Lana and Rusev started over a month ago! It was great storyline work in the middle of the match, but the whole match would have worked better if it wasn't basically heel versus heel.
Winner – John Cena (13:31)
Backstage Segment > B
Reigns is growing on mic each week. He's really growing into this character, and it feels right. No, he's not Rocky, but no one but Rocky is Rocky, and he wasn't even Rocky right out of gorilla! It's time people stop comparing Reigns to Rocky, even when they're not openly comparing, but simply saying he doesn't have it.
Divas Championship Match – Nikki Bella (c) vs Naomi > A-
Talking about heels in black leather! Naomi coming out in black leather set her up to be as much of a heel as she possibly could be, but that didn't mean that the Bellas are automatically face. Turns don't always work that way, and the fans are not ready to accept the Bellas as faces just because Naomi is heel. So, basically, the WWE put two heel versus heel matches in a row in the middle of a PPV.
Naomi's shoes were fantastic. My only complaint is that it looked as though only one was changing colors, until the very end of the match, and that distracted from what they were actually doing in the ring. They were both harder hitting than we've seen from the Divas, or had seen from the Divas until recently. The Divas, or a couple specific Divas, are really working that ring hard and showing her that the Divas really can do what we expect of them in the ring, including the Bellas! I love to bash the Bellas as much as anyone, they do seem to have charmed lives, but that doesn't mean they haven't been working their arses off to better their ring work. Personally, I'm quite impressed with how they are both willing to put their bodies on the line and work that ring hard! There were some issues in this match, some missed moves, a couple of minor botches, but nothing that really took away from how hard they worked the ring. They both hit unexpected moves, and were not afraid to work that ring hard.
Then there's Naomi. That woman is the total package, and knows how to work the ring better than the Total Package ever could. She's athletic, understands how to work the ring, hits moves than no other Diva would, and possibly could, ever hit, and to top it off she's beautiful with a most envious body. McMahon seemed to think that all the WWE 'Universe' wanted was to see bikini models prance around the ring, but Naomi has curves that won't quit, and much junk in her trunk, and along with Nattie, she's one of the most talked about Divas by the men I talk to – and I'm talking about the WNW Open Thread Discussions. Naomi is a rising star, and I think turning heel will only help her future.
With Brie helping Nikki win, there will be a lot of yelling by Naomi on Raw, and they will be facing off again. This isn't the end of it between Nikki and Naomi for the Divas Championship. Personally, I thought it was Naomi's time, but hopefully this is just the start of a huge feud, and that someone steps up to join Naomi and neutralize Brie.
Winner – Nikki (7:18)
Last Man Standing Match – Roman Reigns vs Big Show > B
I'm not sure I've ever seen someone put a table back under the ring before. Big Show's best move possibly could have been catching Reigns as he flew off the top, but he was humorous in how he tried to remove all the weapons from the match. Reigns, on the other hand, worked the weapons hard, and kept throwing them at Big Show at every turn – until Big Show decided to get into it with tables himself. Actually, I thought the use of weapons, especially tables, was quite good in this match, but feel they should have been better used in the Chicago Street Fight. I know this is the Extreme Rules PPV, but you'd think a Street Fight of any sort would use more and creative weapons than a Last Man Standing Match. It might just me looking back at the best parts of the AE, but that's the type of continuity I expect from the WWE at this point.
I will say that I think Reigns needs more creativity in his ring work, because using his usual Samoan drop on Big Show through the table told the fans that it absolutely wasn't the end of the match. The way a spear wouldn't end the match, or a single KO or superman punch. So, I guess both Reigns and Big Show are too predictable in the ring, but Big Show is also nearing the end of his career, while Reigns is just starting out. While it's true that some of the biggest and best Superstars were not the best in the ring – Hogan, Rocky, Cena – but that doesn't mean that Reigns shouldn't work hard to add more moves to his repertoire, and shock us with interesting moves at PPVs, especially when he's facing someone like Big Show, someone who won't be adding more moves to their repertoire.
The fans were bored. You can always tell when they start chanting for the announcers – they are trying to entertain themselves. I really thought the were screwed, but then they started pulling out more interesting moves, and taking more time getting to their feet. The end of the match brought the fans back to a solid level of excitement. There was so much greatness by announce that brought the end of this match back around, and ended it on a great note. While Big Show was obviously lining himself up for for Reigns, the way Reigns took Big Show down through Spanish announce looked marvelous, and further flipping announce onto Big Show and standing on it sealed the deal. It didn't save the match, but it sure helped it a lot.
I had honestly thought they were going to make this one a draw and continue this feud. I didn't think the WWE could give Reigns a clean win over Big Show in a big gimmick match, but they pulled the trigger and ran with it, and I'm excited to see what they might do with Reigns next.
Winner – Reigns (19:46)
In Ring Segment > B
Bo has really stepped things up on mic. He's showing a harshness and a mean side, something he's not had before, and I think that was part of his problem. His jiggly gut and inability to hit his own finisher were also big issues, but to bring Bo out for segments like this, his new attitude and look helps quite a bit. It doesn't hurt that he looks more like his brother this way.
Ryback has stepped things up, showing that he's having fun out there. The fans love him, he's working more reliably in the ring, and it's time for him to work a solid feud, though I'd rather it be with Bo's brother than with Bo. I have to admit that I missed Richard posting last Tuesday that Ryback is slated to work with Wyatt next, so I'm thrilled that I predicted this feud was coming, all from Wyatt's promos.
Backstage Segment > C-
Already we have Payback scheduled between Rusev and Cena? That explained Lana in The Authority's office, but the segment lacked anything of interest. I think it would have gone over better on Raw than here. That being said, Cena has never lost an I Quit Match, defeating JBL, Batista, Miz, and Orton.
WWE WHC Steel Cage Match - B
The two of them worked that cage hard from the first moments in there. The back and forth between them was tremendous to watch. They left every bit of themselves, including some hair when Orton pulled Reigns back up the cage by his locks. Superplex off the top of the cage, Orton's 'vintage' DDT, but no RKO. Orton's pedigree was lovely! Honestly, Orton looked like he was hurting, but also looked like he was having a blast in that ring.
The excitement outside the ring started to get as interesting as inside when J&J Security arrived and caused Kane to run around and then get involved in the match in the ring. The double chokeslam was great to see from Kane, but even better was chokeslamming Orton to give Rollins a false sense of security, then chokeslamming Rollins to get it out of his system. Then the RKOs to Kane, then Orton! What a comedy of wrongness!
While the work in the ring, and the questions surrounding Kane brought even more to this match, it was so painfully predictable! It's so hard to look at this match clearly because it went down almost exactly how we all expected it would. In the end Kane helped Rollins win, after J&J Security were a mess trying to help. Rollins was all egotistical smiles, and acting as though the WWE WHC was all his, and no one helped him get it – until the yelling starts on Raw.
The RKO, even though it was used on Kane, will bring this match into question. Further, that Rollins used the RKO to beat Orton will bring the match more into question. Was Orton banned from using the RKO, or was the RKO banned from being used in the match? So many questions going forward and pushing toward Payback and Rollins' next match – possibly against Orton?
Winner – Rollins (20:59)
I have to admit that a lot of things predicted by WNW and WWENews writers were brought to fruition in Extreme Rules – Rollins using the RKO on Orton, a car being stolen in the Chicago Street Fight, Neville beating Barrett. And while the grades of most of the matches look solid, the PPV as a whole was too predictable, and not as great as it could have been. I went into this show very hopeful, but in the end, at least half of the matches left me less than excited.
In the end it was the changed match that opened the show – Barrett vs Neville – the Tag Team Championship Match – Cesaro & Kidd vs New Day – and the Divas Title Match – Nikki vs Naomi – that were the best for me. I think most people would find that unexpected looking at a card that had Ambrose in a hardcore match, and Rollins facing Orton in a cage, and in reality, I wasn't thinking much of the Tag Match, and wasn't expecting too terribly much from the Divas, but they both were so much better than the bigger name matches. Honestly, none of us should be shocked that Neville was so impressive to start the show, and I hope the powers that be took notice of his work, and the fan reaction. I also hope that McMahon took notice of how the fans reacted to the Divas working the ring hard.
As always there was the bad with the good, and Raw will be telling, and moving things forward for the storylines and putting together new feuds. This soon after WrestleMania it was hard to throw together a PPV, but they did a solid job of giving us a decent night of ring work, if not stellar.
Queen of WNW