It wasn’t a bad show. It wasn’t a good show. It was a show. Is that joke played out a bit now? Yeah probably, but nevertheless the sentiment is still the same. This years edition of Extreme Rules can hold its head up high and say that it satisfactorily moved the stories along. Did they move in the direction people were hoping? That’s up for debate, so lets look back at what happened when WWE went extreme (I guess?). Also, I’m just doing the pay per view itself so that means no Ziggler and Corbin. WWE doesn’t seem to care about it, so I don’t have to either.
Kicking off the show was The Club vs The Usos for the umpteenth time. Jimmy and Jey are out first to quite a frosty reaction. Extreme Rules is hailing from New Jersey, so we should have definitely expected a vocal fan base. Naturally, Gallows and Anderson received the opposite with a very positive reaction. As for the match itself, I would have cared about it a bit more if we hadn’t seen it multiple times a week, every week for the last 5 weeks! The matches are fine each time and this is no exception. Thankfully they’ve saved their best encounter for pay per view.
The Club get their win back in more vintage 50/50 booking from WWE. The Club needed this win though and the match was fast paced, physical and exciting. The Usos being paired with Roman have caused them to receive similar negative reactions. They’ve been stuck with the same stuff since 2012 and haven’t evolved their character, much like their cousin. But regardless of their reactions, they’ll still always be in the forefront of WWE programming. Oh WWE and your obsession with Anoa’i family nepotism, may you stay forever present. Anyway, you’ll never enjoy anything if you don’t highlight the positives so I’ll just say that the match was good and the right team won.
Moving on the the United States Championship match… Wait, it’s on the actual pay per view? This is the first time since the Royal Rumble that the title hasn’t been defended on the kickoff show. I’m genuinely surprised that Vince didn’t notice as he looked through the card.
Vince McMahon: “Okay, what have we got on tap for tonight… Tag match, US title match? Ew, how did that get in there?”
Anyway, Kalisto defends against Rusev in what ends up being a pretty good match. The crowd again is split as the vocal Jersey crowd are behind Rusev against the plucky underdog. You have to feel sorry for Kalisto, he’s been given no favours in this title reign. He’s consistently been placed on kickoff shows and rarely featured on Raw. Since his win over Del Rio he hasn’t given the audience a reason to care for him or his story… Which he didn’t even have other than “He’s small. Look at him face these big guys.”
Rusev slams Kalisto on the apron (That’s the hardest part of the ring don’t you know?) and slaps on the sickest looking Accolade I’ve ever seen and folks, we’ve got a NEW United States Champion in Ru-Ru!
And Kalisto’s uneventful title reign limps over the finish line like a broken down car.
Back to tag team action, this time the titles are on the line as New Day defends against The Vaudevillians. Xavier is still devastated that Gotch and English destroyed his New Day-Lorean time machine, so to cope with this he put out a request for ladies to send him nude pics, as you do. Woods is competing tonight which is a nice change as well. Another perfectly decent match on Extreme Rules, the in ring content is really delivering so far. The Vaudevillians really rose to the occasion in their first proper main roster pay per view showing and they made me truly believe they had the titles won. But in the end it was the New Day getting the win, with a beautiful Shining Wizard from Xavier Woods.
Now this is the match that many (including myself) were looking forward to the most, a Fatal-4-Way for the Intercontinental Championship as The Miz defends against Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Cesaro. First off can we talk about the video package for the match? Wow that was fantastic, everything from the profiling of the participants and their reasons for wanting the title to the music (‘Fire’ by Pvris, which is a killer track by the way) it was perfect. Now I’ve professed my love for a good package (phrasing) let’s get to the actual match.
The match literally kicks off with Sami Zayn delivering a Helluva Kick to Kevin Owens as the bell rings. What an unexpected start to the match, this is a good sign. I can’t give this match enough praise, all four men (yes, even Miz) gave an incredible performance. The action was fast paced, it was near fall, after near fall, after near fall. But in the end it was The Miz who sneaked through the back door to get the pin on Cesaro despite tapping out earlier to him while the referee was distracted. Best match of 2016 that didn’t come from NXT, without question.
Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho are given the unenviable task of following that match, good luck gents but it’s like being the fruit at the dessert buffet. You’re not going to impress after people have already passed the cakes and ice cream. Yes I’m comparing the IC title match to food because that match was delicious. Ambrose and Jericho are facing each other in an ‘Asylum’ match and the cage lowers to the cheesiest psycho music I’ve ever heard. It’s so camp I love it.
As for the match, uh, it was kind of a mess wasn’t it? It went way too long and it just turned into grabbing a weapon, whacking the other with said weapon, go grab the next weapon and repeat for 25 minutes. The crowd were not into it for the most part as I think I saw most of them staring at their phones. To put it in perspective, Ambrose jumped off the top of the cage and the crowd barely reacted to it. After walking around hitting each other for what feels like an eternity, thumb tacks are brought out to wake up the crowd. Jericho went into the tacks and Ambrose got the win. It was a cool visual, but the match was so dull for the majority of the it and will probably be the most forgotten thumb tack spot in WWE history.
The misfires keep coming as we move on to the Women’s Championship. Charlotte defends against Natalya in a Submission match where if Ric Flair comes down to ringside, Charlotte would be stripped of the championship. We went into this expecting a technical showing and we left in a state of confusion. Sadly, the match wasn’t that great which was quite disappointing. We’ve seen Charlotte and Natalya put on some of the best matches in women’s wrestling, specifically their match at NXT Takeover in May 2014. Unfortunately, they didn’t recreate that magic.
At the end of the match Ric Flair’s music hit and Dana Brooke appeared dressed as the Nature Boy. The distraction cost Natalya the title as Charlotte made her tap out. It just didn’t make any sense at all, why is Dana aligning herself with the Flairs? Is it because they’re all blonde? I can only put it down to Dana Brooke not being ready to be on her own since Emma had to have back surgery. But surely if someone isn’t ready to go it alone in a division that doesn’t have a tag title, you just don’t bring them up from NXT. It’s really not that hard. Just an underwhelming showing and a story that on the surface, makes zero sense.
Main Event time! Roman Reigns defends against AJ Styles under Extreme Rules. How did the match unfold? Re: Payback, three weeks ago. See you next time.
Okay, so there was a bit more to it than that.
The crowd were once again solidly behind AJ Styles, predominately anti Roman Reigns and JBL and Cole still tried their best to explain why every city they go to isn’t behind their hand picked star. How hard is it to tell the truth about why you’re so intent on making Reigns succeed? “He’s pretty, he’s got great hair and he’s sort of (but not really) related to The Rock.” You could write 10,000 words on WWE’s infatuation with Roman Reigns and why he’s not connecting with fans but now is not the time. I must say though if there is one photo that explains my dislike, it’s this cringe worthy screen grab.
What a knob. Anyway…
The match was pretty darn good though, much like last month. Both Styles and Reigns did fantastic jobs of using their surroundings to make this feel like it was ‘Extreme Rules’. The Club and Usos got involved once again, chairs were used and tables were broken. As a main event it’s all you could really ask for. Reigns gets the win with a spear as he barely scrapes away with the title. Night isn’t over though.
Well look who’s back. Seth Rollins is here! After being sidelined for 8 months with a knee injury which forced him to relinquish the WWE Championship, Rollins returns and he wants back the title he never lost. Sadly though, he hasn’t thought of a new move in those 8 months and still uses the pedigree on Reigns. Regardless, bring on Raw! I am psyched for this.
Overall, Extreme Rules 2016 will be mostly remembered for it’s in ring content as only 2 out of the 7 matches on the show missed the mark (those being Jericho/Ambrose and Charlotte/Natalya). It’s always good to come out of a big show with more positives than negatives. The Club got their big debut PPV win, Rusev looks like a monster again as he regains the US title, the tag division is as healthy as it’s ever been and the Fatal-4-Way absolutely stole the show by a long mile.
Obviously the biggest positive to come away from Extreme Rules is that Seth Rollins has finally (FINALLY) returned to WWE and it looks like they’re wasting no time by having him go straight after the champion. We don’t know if he’s now a good guy or if he’s going to be forced to play evil seeing as WWE have zero top heels right now. All I know is I’m excited for Raw tomorrow!
Final Rating: 6/10