Tonight was the annual Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View for the WWE. I am not going to lie to loyal readers and say I was excited going into this show. I don’t know how they could call it Extreme Rules when there was 11 total matches and only four of them have stipulations. Only one of them had NO D’Q and No Count-Out rules to them. I was excited for maybe two or three matches and that’s not something to brag about. What happen to the days of being excited for all the matches or at least most of them. Before I begin with my thought on the show here are the results.
-Pre-show: Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Sin Cara
-Sanity defeated New Day in a Tables Match
-The B-Team defeated The Deleters of Worlds to become the new Raw Tag Team Champions.
-Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin
-Carmella defeated Asuka to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
-Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy to become the new United States Champion
-Kevin Owens defeated Braun Strowman in a Steel Cage Match
-Bludgeon Brothers defeated Team Hell No to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
-Bobby Lashley defeated Roman Reigns
-Alexa Bliss defeated Nia Jax to retain the Raw Women’s Championships in an Extreme Rules Match
-AJ Styles defeated Rusev to retain the WWE Championship
-Dolph Ziggler defeated Seth Rollins to retain the Intercontinental Championship after the 30 Minute Iron Match went into Sudden Death Overtime.
I usually don’t write about the pre-show but I have to ask the question and that is what the hell is WWE doing? You want guys to make an impact, but then you put your four newest call-ups on the pre-show. Almas and Sin Cara have had a great little feud going and their story has more build to it then most of the matches on the Main Card. Then there is Sanity who were a lot of fun to watch in NXT but WWE is really unsure what to do with them. I though pairing with them the Bludgeon Brothers this last week was a smart thing because of the similar personalities. I am not sure if what the future holds for Sanity but I do feel the Almas has a very bright future. I feel like he could pull of a shocking upset against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship like he did with Drew McIntyre and the NXT Championship. In terms of great matches and stories the possibilities are endless with Almas and Vega.
The opening match of the show was for the Raw Tag Team Championships as the Deleters of Worlds took on the B-Team. I love the fact that no one in WWE acknowledges that Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt are brothers which might not be a bad thing. It adds to the mystique of both stars and it leaves for an interesting tension in the ring. Anyone who follows my work knows that I love Matt Hardy, but I am very happy for the Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. They both are Third Generation Superstars who have a ton of ability, charisma and it’s in their bloodline. Speaking of a guy with a ton of ability I am very intrigued by Finn Balor these days. I am not sure where they are going with him and Baron Corbin, but if it leads him back to the Universal Championship then I am all for it. I still firmly believe that Balor and Kevin Owens are due rematches for that title. Balor never lost it and Owens never got a rematch after losing to old man Goldberg. With Kurt Angle giving Brock Lesnar an ultimatum tonight about the Universal Championship hopefully we will see guys like Balor, Owens, Rollins, Ziggler and McIntyre compete for that Championship.
Ever since her loss to Charlotte at Wrestlemania I really feel like Asuka has lost a lot of momentum. I understood the loss at Wrestlemania because Charlotte is one hell of a competitor but she should not be losing to Carmella under any circumstance. I like Carmella but she has a lot of catching up to do in terms of in-ring ability and being a leader in the ring. This whole thing with Asuka losing in stupid situations with James Ellsworth is not doing anything for her career. As much as I didn’t like her not dropping the NXT Women’s Championship I want to see the Asuka that NXT again. That Asuka was dominant, destructive and wouldn’t let a goof like Ellsworth get the best of her. When it comes to goofs and jokes I have to say what a joke of match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy. This match could have been a classic with the styles and personalities but, Hardy is either injured or in trouble again. That is the only logical explanation for why this match was so short and why Randy Orton came out to attack him after the match. I am happy for Nakamura because I feel like his heel turn was originally wasted by not winning the WWE Championship from AJ Styles. Tonight he finally got some validation.
I had mentioned Kevin Owens earlier in the night and how he needs to be in the Universal Title scene. Tonight he took on a guy who has an automatic buy-in because Braun Strowman holds the Money in the Bank Briefcase. This was a fun match because Owens has been running from Strowman for weeks, but he couldn’t tonight inside the Steel Cage. Owens is so good at selling, overreacting and playing every angle that a heel can play. Even though the record books will show that Owens won the match but not in the way you would think. Braun Strowman chokeslammed Kevin Owens off a Steel Cage threw the announce table. I felt like two things were accomplished tonight in tonights match. That would be Strowmans solidification as the new monster of WWE and Kevin Owens willingness to do anything for the company. Another couple of monsters in the WWE are the Bludgeon Brothers. Earlier in the night they attacked Team Hell no before their match which left the question if they would be able to compete. Daniel Bryan worked most of the match alone until an “injured” Kane came out and tried to help out. This match was very anticlimactic because I thought something bigger and more shocking was going to happen. I can say I was very letdown by the reunion of Team Hell No.
One thing that wasn’t a let down was the fact Roman Reigns wasn’t in the Main Event. It’s about time a Roman Reigns or John Cena non-title match wasn’t the Main Event of a pay-per-view. However, I was very intrigued by the matchup of Roman Reigns and Bobbly Lashley because it was someone new for Roman to face off against. The one dumb thing that Roman said in this feud is “You left for MMA and how did the work out for you?” I think Roman should have realized Lashley was 15-2 in his MMA career. That is far different from Lesnar’s career and if we are being honest Lashley should have been competing for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship. I really respect Bobby Lashley after this match, because he could have been exactly like Lesnar in terms of his work ethic but he wasn’t. He and Roman had a quality match and Lashley coming out on top saved the show for me. This show was very confusing and unexciting until Lashley got the win. When I look back on 2018 I could easily say that the feud of the year so far has been Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. They have had the best storytelling with bullying and Bliss cashing her in her Money in the Bank Briefcase on Nia. There were some extra added elements in Mickie James, Natalya and Ronda Rousey all at ringside. This match had too much chaos with three women at ringside and again the woman who probably shouldn’t have won the match did. If you’re think reality then Asuka would crush Carmella and Nia Jax would destroy Alexa Bliss. Some times in a logical world you get the illogical result and that seems to be the trend of some of WWE’s booking lately.
When I speak of logical booking the WWE finally got it partly right by finally putting Rusev in the spotlight. Tonight he was in the spotlight with one of the greatest performers of this generation in AJ Styles. The illogical part of this match was the fact that Rusev did not win the WWE Championship. Rusev Day has been the hottest thing in WWE since the original “Yes Movement” by Daniel Bryan. Rusev maybe the hottest commodity but the matches that have been the most on fire are the matches between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship. It’s been so hot that it was the Main Event of tonight’s show which is an impressive feat in it’s own right. The last meaningful Intercontinental Championship Match that was the Main Event of a pay-per-view was in 1992 at Summerslam. The match was between Bret Hart and the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith in front of Bulldogs home country at Wembly Stadium. This match wasn’t exactly the same classic that took place at Wembley, but it was highly entertaining with a lot of fun spots. Ziggler and Rollins are getting the spotlight they deserve and they are also proving the Intercontinental Championship is still the most prestigious belt in the company. I wasn’t sure who would win this match but it was a draw which I didn’t like at the time. The precedent was set in 1996 when Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart went to a draw and it got sent to overtime. Kurt Angle came back out, restarted the match and the overtime lasted a whole ten seconds. I think these two should have went another 10 minutes, but instead we saw interference from McIntyre again that led Ziggler to victory.
I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I felt WWE made Raw’s side of things look really strong and Smackdown’s side look really dumb tonight. The entire Raw side of this show was absolutely phenomenal and showed that they are ready to deliver when they get their Universal Championship back full time. The only thing Raw did wrong is having the Iron Man Match end in the way that it did. I honestly thought Rollins was going to win and that’s how Dean Ambrose was going to return. There two theories that I discussed with someone about Rollins winning and Ambrose returning. Rollins would have won the title and Ambrose would have attacked him after the match, or Rollins would have an issued an Open Challenge and Ambrose would have answered. As I said earlier, the logical things never happen because most of the time WWE is very illogical. At the end of the night, I have to give WWE 6 out of 10 for Extreme Rules. Half of the show was fun to watch while the other made sense at all. Raw was hot, Smackdown needs to heat up but the temperature is about to rise in a month with Summerslam. Hopefully both Raw and Smackdown will just bring it.