Another month, another WWE show…
To be fair, I’m not dreading Extreme Rules, I do think there is some potentially good matches here…I just think there are some dodgy looking matches too. Let’s give it a chance and see how it goes…
The opener for the Raw Tag Team Championship between Deleters of Worlds and The B-Team wasn’t exactly the hot opener I was hoping for. (2/5) This was a basic, TV level tag match that shouldn’t really have been on a PPV (Pay Per Stream?) and I found my self wondering if this really is the best use of the RAW Tag Titles with The Revival on RAW. I think the answer is no…still, let’s try and be positive. I think babyface Bray Wyatt shows a lot of fire and he was easily the best thing about this match.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin wasn’t one I was looking forward to – I’m not really a fan of either man. I have no connection to Balor, he’s good in ring, but I’ve never been given any motivation to care about his matches or his feuds. Corbin is…Corbin. He’s great at bullying people and has some good power moves. I think his haircut was a good idea too, but why is he a ‘constable?’ Surely enforcer is a cooler word? Did the writing team pick constable solely because of the alliteration with Corbin? To be honest, he just comes across like Corporate Kane Jr. Anyway…the match was OK, though long Corbin periods of control made my interest wane quickly. I’ll go 2.5/5…
Carmella (c) vs. Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship with James Ellsworth suspended in a shark cage (I guess they are still selling those toy sets!) was…something (2.5/5). I have really mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, I enjoy Carmella and Ellsworth’s sneakiness and thought the end was a pretty creative way to have Carmella win. On the flipside, I can’t believe they are doing this to Asuka…she’s gone from unbeatable to being outwitted by Carmella and Ellsworth every week. It’s a waste of someone who is great in ring and had an aura, that the crowd believed in. If this had been Becky Lynch or Naomi, I think I would have enjoyed this match more, but in my eyes Asuka should be on top of the Women’s Division, having dream matches with Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch…not trying to get her heat back by beating up Ellsworth after losing.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for United States Championship was an utter waste of time. I think Jeff is injured, but still…this was ridiculous. I can’t believe Nakamura has gone from a respected main eventer to a man known for his low blows…he’s basically turning into Toru Yano, but not as entertaining. The Orton return too…I’m not a big Jeff Hardy fan but I felt really sorry for him after this…he had to put all that facepaint on, just to get hit in the nuts twice? Overall, this match was too short to rate, but not too short to hate.
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens in a Steel Cage Match was a good effort and I liked the big Hell In A Cell 98 inspired finish (3/5) That said, I think both wrestlers are being misused. Braun is spinning his wheels until Lesnar shows up again and Owens deserves better than being cowardly comedic heel of the month.
Another case of misuse of talent was Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. Team Hell No for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. (2.5/5) I can’t believe that we’ve finally got Daniel Bryan back in the ring and he’s stuck in tag action with Kane. I know Bryan hasn’t signed a new contract yet, so I’m not expecting him to win the World Title, but at the very least just let him put over Styles/Nakamura/Rusev until the situation is sorted. A pre match beatdown to Kane saw Bryan go up against the champs on his own and dare I say it, the action was decent…then Kane limped out in a plastic foot cast and my suspension of disbelief left the room. Team Hell No lost, with Bryan taking the pin…surely part timer Kane could have taken the loss, considering he couldn’t walk? I went 2.5/5 for Bryan really…even his bare minimum is decent. Part of me just wonders why he came back from retirement if this is what WWE wanted to do with him. I kinda worry that WWE would push Bryan as a tag wrestler even if he did sign a new contract…we all kinda know they don’t see him as a star….
I found Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley kinda dull to be honest. (2/5) I know this is probably Vince McMahon’s dream match, but I just thought this match consisted of slow clubbering and power moves…though admittedly there some crazy reckless moves in this one. I winced at Reigns giving Lashley a fireman carry slam from the ring to the floor, the landing looked like agony for Lashley. To be honest, it was the only moment of the match that grabbed me. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this match again unfortunately…
The Extreme Rules match between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss (c) for the RAW’s Women’s Title was a free for all, with Natalya, Mickie James and Ronda Rousey involved. (2.5/5) It was a sloppy brawl, but never dull. I did groan at the return of wrestling’s most dangerous move though…Alexa Bliss’ DDT. Does anyone ever kick out of that?
AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev was the match I was looking forward to most. I wish it had been five minutes or so longer as I was starting to get into the match. Styles is great against most wrestlers, but Rusev is underrated and this was a good, even match that ended far too soon for me. A 3.5/5 that could have got to 4/5 with more time.
I was surprised that the Intercontinental Championship Iron Man Match between Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins went on last, but it was a good move. I do like Iron Man Matches (though I dislike the most famous one, Hart vs Michaels at Wrestlemania 12) and I thought this was a good one, one that built to a good finish. The problem with Iron Man matches (bar the crowd counting down every minute….what was the deal with that?) is they all have a formula, namely the face trying to catch up with the heel until the inevitable draw and overtime. No change with this match, but this was a fine example of how to do an Iron Man Match. 3.5/5 from me and probably match of the night.
Overall – I feel like I’ve been on a rollercoaster in terms of quality, a very long one too. My initial optimism was unfounded – this show had some poor matches on. The last two matches were good, but you could live without seeing the rest of the card. I wish WWE had cut/changed the rest of the card – this show would have improved dramatically in that case. Overall rating for Extreme Rules is 2.66/5.00, which is just over the average mark and easily the worse show I’ve seen this year. To be fair to Extreme Rules, I was far too lenient to Backlash (I read my report for Backlash back the next day and was wondering if I watched a different show to everyone else) so maybe it’s not the absolute worst…but it’s definitely a weak show. With the talent on the roster, there is no way WWE shows should be getting this low….
Summerslam next…I’m actually away that weekend so expect a report towards the end of August. I just hope I can dodge spoilers for that long!