Liam Hoofe reviews WWE Extreme Rules…
Last night, WWE presented their annual Extreme Rules event. The show has suffered from a poor build in recent weeks and fan excitement was fairly low for the event. Could the WWE surprise everyone and deliver a great show? Let’s take a look at last night’s action and find out.
The B Team defeated The Deleters of Worlds
This seemed like an odd choice to open the night but it turned out to be a fairly entertaining encounter. The in-ring action was fairly average but the crowd got into the match and seeing Bray and Bo square up was a fun moment. The B-Team’s victory was a nice surprise to kick off the night and is probably the right decision. The titles have become totally irrelevant over the last few months and this should give the division a slight shot of adrenaline until The Authors of Pain are ready to get involved.
Rating: ** 3/4
Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin
The booking of this match has been fairly poor, and as a result, neither man got too much of a reaction during this bout. This was a fairly quick encounter and wouldn’t have been out of place on an episode of Raw. Balor picking up the victory with the roll-up means that this feud will likely continue on Raw tonight.
Rating: ** 1/2
Carmella defeated Asuka
Sigh. This was another farce. Asuka has been booked to look awful over the last two months and this match was just a comedy bout, basically. The finish, at least, didn’t make Asuka look as weak as last month- there is no way anyone would be getting up from that. I’m really not sure why the WWE has seemingly gone so far out of their way to make Asuka look stupid since Mania. She will likely pick up the belt in their next bout, but this was awful, once again.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy
So while this wasn’t really much of a match, it was really well booked and one of the night’s more enjoyable spots. Naks hitting the low blow before the match on Jeff was a smart heel move and made a lot of sense and Orton’s return, and subsequent heel turn was a pleasant surprise. The US division has been limping for the last few months, so this was a nice injection of life into it.
Kevin Owens defeated Braun Strowman
As predicted, this was a fairly fun encounter which just saw Kevin Owens sell like a pro for Strowman. Say what you want about KO but he is willing to give it his all, no matter how weak he is being made to look. The closing spot was excellent, and easily the most memorable moment of the night and it was a smart way to give Owens the victory while still making Braun look like an absolute monster. He has to take the belt from Brock at SummerSlam.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Team Hell No
The backstage attack was a nice way of writing Kane out of the match due to his injury and it got the crowd behind Bryan even more at the opening bell. The match itself was so-so, and never really got the best out of Bryan. Kane’s arrival late in the match got a decent pop from the crowd, but Bryan eating the pinfall, despite the fact that Kane was injured, made little sense. The WWE has booked Bryan quite poorly since his return, with the former World Heavyweight Champion eating pinfalls on a fairly regular basis at the moment.
Rating: ** 1/2
Bobby Lashley defeated Roman Reigns
Unsurprisingly, the crowd were out to get Roman from the opening bell here, which meant that Lashley got virtually no reaction. In fairness, this was the match of the night up until this point, and easily Lashley’s finest since his return to the WWE. It was a hard-hitting big man match, which featured some solid back and forth action and didn’t outstay its welcome. Lashley is solid between the ropes and this was a nice reminder of that. If they can sort out his character, then maybe he can enter into the Universal title scene fairly soon. This was a big victory for him, but it was no doubt just to play into the much bigger Roman narrative.
Rating: *** 1/2
Alexa Bliss defeated Nia Jax
While the Rousey stuff got a decent pop from the crowd and was fairly enjoyable, this was an overbooked mess which basically existed so Nia could lose her rematch clause and Rousey could position herself as the next challenger for Bliss. There was too much going on here but I guessed it did what it had to do.
Rating: * 3/4
AJ Styles defeated Rusev
This was easily the match of the night and the crowd clearly felt the same way. The reactions for both men were great and the in-ring work was excellent, especially considering how predictable the outcome of the match was. Rusev looked great here and proved that he is more than capable of hanging around in the main event scene on SmackDown, which we all knew anyway. AJ’s title run has been great and it was nice to see him mix it up with someone who isn’t Shinsuke Nakamura again. AJ picked up the victory with the phenomenal forearm but hopefully, Rusev did enough to grab the attention of those backstage.
Rating: *** 3/4
Booking an iron-man match can be extremely difficult and that clearly proved to be the case in last night’s main event. Ziggler and Rollins have had a series of fantastic matches over the course of the last month and this should have easily been the match of the night. Instead, there had been five falls within fifteen minutes and the crowd had clearly lost all interest. The final stretch was excellent though, with Rollins desperately trying to first, level the score and then, pick up the decisive victory. It wasn’t to be though, and even the ending, with Angle restarting the match, felt unnecessary. The two men still put on an enjoyable match but a lot of the action felt forced. They should have just been given 30 minutes to show the world what they could do. On the plus side, Drew McIntyre looks better every time I see him and I can’t wait for him to be let off his leash.
Verdict: After a very average build, Extreme Rules delivered an extremely average show on Sunday night. While there were some enjoyable moments, very few of the matches did anything to inspire and there was very little storyline advancement, considering their second biggest show of the Summer takes place next month. If you’re going to watch- check out the Owens spot, the Lashley match and the WWE title bout.
Photo credits: WWE