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WWE Extreme Rules 2017 results, recap, reactions: A chaotic mess

So much of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view was about storytelling and how WWE went about it, in some cases completely forgetting it when they needed to remember it most and in others trying to inject it where it wasn't necessary.

Commentary was especially bad. Michael Cole, Booker T, and Corey Graves were a mix of confused and useless, either failing to add to the proceedings or downright taking away from them.

It wasn't all bad, but what wasn't good was awful.

Fatal 5 Way

This match was a perfect example of needing next to no story injected into it. They tried, with some weird "Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe have an uneasy alliance that will probably break down" and that's the kind of thing that takes away from what would ultimately be a totally bonkers, balls-to-the-wall match.

The very design of the match almost dictates avoiding attempts at progressing stories -- the fact that it's a number one contender match, there are five wrestlers involved, they're all fighting at the same time -- and the proof of that was the fact that it really turned up when they just started getting after it.

This is the kind of match where it finally makes sense to spam finishers, to hit big spot after big spot because there are so many bodies flying around.

Such as:


There was so much more too, a kind of controlled chaos that, in its own way, protects every participant within the match. It didn't matter who won because the winner was always going to be a function of timing more than skill.

That's exactly how it played out, as Samoa Joe just so happened to be recovered at the right time to take advantage with his finish after Balor had just delivered his to Reigns and Rollins and Wyatt were still laid out on the outside. It was a perfect capper to a wild match that was a ton of fun.

All the best to all the rest

Kalisto def. Apollo Crews: The story continues to be that Crews is basically inept and O'Neil is even more inept while trying to help him. It's actually great stuff for a lower card program.

The Miz def. Dean Ambrose: This was awful. Sure, the wrestling was fine for what it was, and there was a title change, which is always going to generate some level of excitement, but this gets to a larger question: What makes a wrestling match great? What makes it good, even? To me, when the entire story of the match is supposed to be that Ambrose will lose the title if he's disqualified, I don't want to watch them wrestle a standard match for 15 minutes while waiting for them to go into the obvious finish. Miz should have been trying to get Ambrose DQ'd the entire match. That was the whole point of all of this! The stupidity once they got there was downright insulting to the viewer. Miz commands Maryse to slap him and the referee almost buys it before tossing her, then almost buys that Ambrose hit him for literally no reason at all despite having everything to lose, then distracted Ambrose while trying to decide whether to disqualify him, then counted the pin for Miz when he hit his finish that he only hit because of the ref's indecision. This was god awful.

Swann & Sasha def. Dar & Fox: There's some real chemistry between Swann and Banks, and they were given a bit of a showcase here. It was fine for what it was.

Alexa Bliss def. Bayley: This was a real shame because they told the story they should have but it failed because it's totally inconsistent with the Bayley character we've been presented with on Raw since she was called up. THIS is the Bayley from NXT, who maybe didn't want to be so violent in service of her goals, who wants to do things the right way and couldn't because it didn't feel right. It cost her everything. There's sympathy to be had there. If they had been treating her character like this all along, this would have been perfect. Because they haven't, it fell flat. They have to start somewhere, though, and this could be the beginning of something great.

Cesaro & Sheamus def. The Hardy Men: This was a mixture of the Fatal 5-Way and Miz vs. Ambrose in the sense that the story and some of the psychology of the match was so far off it was painful (as in the latter case) but the action was sometimes so good it didn't matter (as in the former case). Either way, there was some fun to be had if you could get past how poorly put together it was.

Neville def. Austin Aries: The little things were bothersome here, like Aries' ongoing knee injury being a focal point of some offense then being ignored completely, then his using it to throw a submission, then Neville ignoring it in favor of a submission that doesn't target the knee at all. It was good for the other work they did but they didn't tie it all together like they needed to.

Some great fun to be had in here but the storytelling and psychology were way off. For the kind of fan I am, it took me out of it, though you may not have the same qualms.

Grade: D+

Your turn.

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