Extreme Rules is a weird title on paper. You might initially think that the rules were more extreme, meaning there were more of them, but it’s actually the opposite. In professional wrestling, Extreme Rules means there are less rules than normal. Disqualifications are allowed, weapons are encourage, all sorts of shenanigans are bound to happen. Now that we’ve got that laid out, let’s get into it.
Oh, I almost forgot. Kalisto beat Apollo Crews on the pre-show match because Titus O’Neil got in the way. Go figure. None of us really care.
Jeans Ambrose (c) v. The Miz: Intercontinental Championship Match
Of course, the stipulation on this match is that the championship can now change hands on a disqualification, which suits Miz perfectly. Funny how the first match on the Extreme Rules card ACTUALLY has more extreme rules than normally. Fun.
The story told in the beginning of the match was mostly Miz trying to antagonize the champion into disqualifying himself on accident. Ambrose came dangerously close to using a steel chair against his opponent, but the referee was able to talk him out of it. Ambrose keeps trying to pick up steam, but Miz constantly slows him down, bringing it back down to the mat and tiring him out. The challenger goes to the top rope but is knocked to the outside, which Ambrose capitalizes on with a diving elbow on top of him. After beating the count, the champ picks up a lot of momentum, dominating the middle section of offense. Things turn around when Ambrose takes a weird landing off the top rope and tweaks his knee, so the heel takes full advantage of that, working over his knee with targeted strikes and submission maneuvers. During a powerbomb attempt, Miz takes the turnbuckle cover with him, which almost DQ’s Ambrose when he tries to throw Miz into the now-exposed buckle. Miz asks Maryse to slap him so that he can win by DQ, but the ref knows what’s going on and decides to remove her from ringside. While he’s yelling at her though, Miz throws Ambrose into the ref, knocking him out of the ring. Before the ref makes it to the announcer, Miz blindsides the champ and picks up the victory and the heat.
Miz wins the Intercontinental Championship for the seventh time in his career.
Sasha Banks & Rich Swann v. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar: Mixed Tag Match
Dar and Fox enter to his music, while Swann and Banks each get separate music, which is silly. Sasha and Rich are the #1 dancing tag team of my heart. Also, I should that I don’t like mixed tag matches like these where the men fight the men and the women fight the women. It isn’t a tag match, it’s two separate singles matches with breaks in between. These four are all talented wrestlers, and it’s such a shame that they’re saddled with this weak story. I suppose it’s better than being off the card entirely. Anyways, wrestling.
The beginning is mostly what you would expect. The two pairs have pretty good chemistry with each other and they all hit most of their moves. Things get interesting when they start brawling at the same time. Sasha goes to the top rope looking to go after Alicia on the outside. Dar moves Alicia out of the way, but turns around into the double-knee from Banks. He gets back into the ring, but rolls into a top rope phoenix splash from Swann for the three-count. Swann and Banks dance in the ring and that made me feel more than the rest of the match even dreamed of.
Sasha Banks and Rich Swann win.
Alexa Bliss (c) v. Bayley: Raw Women’s Championship- Kendo Stick On A Pole Match
Alexa just might be the best heel working regularly right now, and Bayley seems to be losing a little bit of traction. Also, this match is basically a “stick on a stick”, and I’m convinced that any “on a pole” match has ever been good. Here’s hoping.
Immediately, both women start fighting each other for the kendo stick in the corner of the ring. Bayley is able to pull it down, but they begin fighting outside the ring without it. The challenger grabs the stick and chases Bliss around the ring, but takes too much time and loses her advantage. To contrast, the champion starts attacking with the kendo stick with zero hesitation whatsoever, and Alexa gets vicious with it until a surprise Bayley-To-Belly incapacitates both of them briefly. Bliss gets back up with plenty of aggression and destroyers her challenger with the kendo stick, followed by one fateful DDT and three slaps of the mat. This match was much shorter than I had anticipated. The opening match was literally four times as long, 20 minutes compared to 5. That’s a bit of a letdown.
Alexa Bliss retains her Raw Women’s Championship.
The Hardy Boyz (c) v. Sheamus & Cesaro: Raw Tag Team Championships- Steel Cage Match
Should we call them The Hardy Adultz now? Hard to say.
I hope this isn’t a cage match where the wrestlers constantly just try to walk out through the door. I don’t understand at all. There will be a ref monitoring the door and just opening it for them, meaning there’s no need for him to be there at all. It also just sucks to watch if all they do is try to walk out. There’s innate drama in climbing out, walking out is dumb. Anyways.
The bell rings and the challengers immediately start climbing. After being pulled down, Cesaro walks to the door and it is opened for him by the ref, so I’m already turning against this match less than 20 seconds after it started. There’s some pretty decent cage-based offense, and all four guys look really good in the match, but they keep going for the door and it frustrates me so much.
There’s an impressive spot Jeff Hardy gets most of the way down but Cesaro is carrying his full weight on one arm, but Hardy eventually makes it out. Unfortunately, this means that Matt Hardy is trapped with two beefy boys inside of a cage with no help. Jeff tries to open the door, but receives a Brogue Kick for his troubles. Cesaro starts to climb out, and Matt goes after him instead of just walking through the open door. THEN, Matt begins to climb instead of walking through the open door. Explain why this makes sense, please?
Sheamus delivers a White Noise from the top rope to Matt. Meanwhile, Jeff climbs back up to the top and dives onto the two challengers, which is the spot we’ve all been waiting for. The challengers start climbing while Matt physically drags Jeff towards the door. Unfortunately for him, Cesaro & Sheamus hit the ground a mere second before Jeff does.
Sheamus & Cesaro reclaim the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Neville (c) v. Austin Aries: Cruiserweight Championship- Submission Match
It sure is weird putting two high-flying cruisers in a match that needs them to spend a lot of time on the mat in order to win, but they’re both super talented so I’m not worried.
We’ve seen so many times already that Neville and Aries have great chemistry, but this match felt off compared to the other two. I’m not sure exactly why, but there were several confusing botches in important segments, and the pacing never really seemed to mesh. Aries was able to make Neville tap out, but it didn’t matter since they were outside the ring when it happened. You’d think that would mean he’d have the advantage when they got back in the ring, but it wasn’t so. Neville landed the Red Arrow followed by the Rings Of Saturn, forcing his challenger to admit defeat yet again.
Neville retained his Cruiserweight Championship once more, ensuring his place at the top of the division.
Roman Reigns v. Seth Rollins v. Finn Balor v. Samoa Joe v. Bray Wyatt: Fatal Five-Way Match to be the #1 Contender for the Universal Championship
The hype is real. I appreciate them saving Finn’s paint so that when he goes full demon, it’s really special. Also, all five of these men came through NXT, just to prove a point about how great the developmental system has been for them. I know that Finn, Seth, and Joe (all former NXT champions as well) were well established on indies, but NXT was still crucial to their adaptation to a WWE career.
Finn and Bray fight on one side, Joe and Seth on the other, and Roman just kinda hangs out for a minute. Then, one by one, someone gets in the ring and attacks Roman, only to be thrown out of the ring. The matchups are constantly changing, and no substantial blows are dealt just yet. Bray and Joe team up and begin absolutely destroying Roman, using the barricade and the stairs in addition to their brute strength. They move on to Finn, but Seth is able to break up the alliance for just a moment. Roman comes back in the ring and tears apart all three of the men present, as Seth is still on the outside. The crowd gets broken up again, and Seth takes down Joe and Bray with a double blockbuster. Seth goes to dive on the both of them but Bray shoves Joe into the way, effectively dissolving their truce. Bray is the first to land a finisher, as he catches Rollins with the Sister Abigail. Unfortunately for him, a very angry Samoa Joe breaks up the pin and rampages. Just as Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch, Balor shows back up with a chair for revenge. He runs around the ring, taking out each and every competitor, and reminding me just how good of a heel he can be. The day he turns for the first time in WWE will shake the wrestling world, mark my words.
Balor sets up Bray on an announce table, but Joe pulls him away. In a very extended pop, Roman spears Joe and Finn through the barricade, and Seth frog splashes to send Bray through the announce table. Then we get into a segment where Seth lands big move after big move onto Roman but he continues to kick out without showing too much of the effects, which is a thing Roman has been doing for a while now. He shakes off all the rust and spears Bray, endures more offense and wrecks Seth, and then hits Finn with a Superman Punch as if he had never been hurt. Luckily, Finn is able to counter with a combo of sling blade, shotgun dropkick, and Coup de Grace. As he goes for the pin, Joe picks him up and locks in his submission move, forcing Balor to pass out.
Samoa Joe wins in a devastating match, becoming the new #1 contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship.
I can’t understand the decision of making Finn take the submission in the main event. If anything, you should be making Finn look like an absolute all-star, only to be screwed out of the finish. Losing to Samoa Joe doesn’t make someone look weak necessarily, but Finn should not be taking so many clean losses at this point.
Overall, I wouldn’t say it was a bad PPV, but I’m just not sure there are any matches that I’ll be going back to as time passes. Nothing on the card felt inherently bad, but even the best matches were fairly forgettable. To be fair, my biggest problem with the main event had to do with booking decisions and not performances, which is silly considering I don’t know where this will lead them in several months. It’s hard to fully rate things when I don’t have the context that hasn’t been revealed yet, but that’s where we find ourselves.
What did you think about Extreme Rules this year? Did I get a match super wrong? Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments down below!