Biggest pop of the night was when Kurt Angle said he was going to strip Brock Lesnar of the championship. Ain’t that a thing?
Ladies and gentlemen, Extreme Rules taught me one thing: we all need a Drew McIntyre in our lives.
Dolph Ziggler said it on the pre-show; he has a psychopath in his corner who means far more to him than the adulation of the crowd ever did. That crowd made him seem very wise, by the way. While they were amusing themselves by counting down the clock all match, McIntyre was doing the heavy lifting.
Seth Rollins picked up two quick victories in his Ironman Match to regain his Intercontinental Championship when McIntyre snapped. Stepping in from the outside, McIntyre laid waste to Rollins and battered him so badly that the referee gave Rollins another victory via disqualification. He also ejected McIntyre for his barrage.
McIntyre hit a Claymore before he left. And because of his actions, Ziggler was able to pick up three pin falls in short order to tie up the score with 18 minutes to go.
Ziggler got his forth pin fall by putting his feet on the top rope and he spent the rest of the match trying to slow Rollins down. With three minutes remaining, Rollins was able to get a roll up of his own to tie the match. He was able to hit a Stomp right at the end as well but couldn’t secure the pin fall before the clock ran out. Tie goes to the Champion. Ziggler retains.
Or does he? General Manager Kurt Angle appeared and declared that a tie wasn’t a fitting end to a pay-per-view. He would restart the match in sudden death.
And guess who would appear? McIntyre. His distraction allowed Ziggler to pick up a fifth fall and put this away for good.
This was a fun match and a great way to put over all three guys. Rollins leapt ahead and clearly would have won a fair contest...but that McIntyre, though.
(Also, WWE. Maybe make the clock count upwards next time to keep the crowd from being dumb? I don’t know.)
The fact that Rusev is cast as a heel - STILL! - is absolutely absurd.
Rusev’s been cheered by crowds for months, so let’s get that out of the way. Not only that, but he was so incredibly deserving of sympathy during this match. For starters, he fought through a leg injury all match long; Styles targeted his hamstring right from the get go.
Secondly, Aiden English was trying to cheat for him, but Rusev never did any of it himself. All he did was try to fight for his first major title in WWE. When his leg failed him during the Accolade, anguish was written all over his face. It was absolutely heart-breaking.
He stood up and started shouting, slapping at his leg. I relate to that, man. I can’t count how many times I’ve internally shouted at myself personally, demanding more from myself than I can actually give.
And in the end, English’s attempts to “help” cost Rusev. He collided with an exposed turnbuckle, kicked out of a Springboard 450 before finally succumbing to a Phenomenal Forearm.
This crowd was split between Styles and Rusev. That should tell you something, WWE. We like Rusev. We want to cheer him. Give him more big matches like this, please.
Alexa Bliss cowers, wins
This was dumb.
Both women’s title matches at Extreme Rules stunk, but this one had Ronda Rousey in it so let’s talk about it. Every criticism that Bliss gets was on display during this match. Her cowardice gets old, her antics get stale, and her ring work isn’t impressive enough to make any of it worth it for long periods of time.
Nia Jax looks like an idiot for catching weapons that Bliss tried to hit her with and throwing them away. Natalya looks ridiculous for being next to no help in keeping Mickie James at bay. And Rousey? She’s the only star involved in this angle. No one in the crowd cared one lick until she hopped the barricade.
But of course, even that didn’t go well. Rousey slammed James around and chased Bliss down before getting hit with a kendo stick. And in what was essentially a 3-on-2, the babyfaces failed and Bliss got away.
Rest of the Card:
SAnitY def. New Day – This was a fun pre-show match between two teams that really ought to be on the main show. SAnitY won when Alexander Wolfe bit Kofi Kingston, allowing Eric Young the opportunity to drive Kingston through a table.
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Sin Cara – Why is Almas on pre-shows? Seriously. That’s not okay. Never again, okay WWE?
B Team def. Deleters of Worlds for Raw Tag Team Championships – Well this was surprising. I enjoyed the Bray Wyatt/Bo Dallas dynamics early in the match. Wyatt wanted to match up against Dallas and Bo was doing everything he could to avoid him.
The match was fine. It was on par with the tag matches you see every Monday night. It looked like the Deleters of Worlds were gearing up to win but Dallas threw Matt Hardy into Wyatt and capitalized to win the titles. They got a pop for the surprise, but the crowd was pretty much behind split for their interview afterwards.
Finn Balor def. Constable Corbin – Okay, I have to admit that the irony of Balor winning with a small package was funny, considering Cobin’s derision for his size. But man, look how far Balor’s fallen. He went from being the Universal Champion to getting in only a few hits on Baron frickin’ Corbin in a lower card match of a pay-per-view. I’d blame it on the fact that he hasn’t changed or developed as a character at all since his injury, but that’s for another time.
This was clearly the first stop in this feud and I’ve got to be honest, I’m not really looking forward to more. Up until now it’s been a pretty tame feud, one that probably doesn’t warrant being on the main card of a PPV. They need to heat this one up in a hurry or move on.
Carmella def. Asuka – I am so completely over everything related to Carmella and James Ellsworth. This match happened exactly how you thought it would. Ellsworth did dumb stuff, got caught, got punished for it, and then the babyface gets beaten anyway.
Best part was grown men running from Asuka when she wanted to beat up Ellsworth.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship – Dong shots, dude. They work 4-4-4-4-4-4 life – except on AJ Styles.
Also, Randy Orton came out to level Hardy with a stomp to the dong of his own. Yup. You’ll have to tune in Tuesday to see if that was a heel turn or just Randy Orton doing Randy Orton thangs.
The Bludgeon Brothers def. Team Hell No – Friendship means going out in a walking boot to chokeslam your friend’s enemies. Unfortunately, the Bludgeon Brothers have no time for friendship. Daniel Bryan did his best in an essential handicap match, but Harper and Rowan proved to be too much. This was one of my favorite matches on the card.
Kevin Owens wins...technically - Thoughts and prayers for Owens, man. Angle locked him in a cage with a brute and he was able to restrain Braun Strowman for a short time before Strowman snapped a pair of handcuffs and threw Owens off the top of the cage and into a table below.
WWE may struggle with stories and anything with depth, but that’s probably why they like Strowman so much. They just have him go out there and do wacky stuff and it works every time.
Bobby Lashley def. Roman Reigns – Good on WWE for realizing that this match shouldn’t have main evented the show. You can blame the debacle of a Universal Championship situation that we have for that.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh still didn’t have much patience for this one. You know - beach ball chants. Rusev Day chants. The usual.
Despite all of that, this was a fun match. Very physical contest in which Reigns’ hubris once again cost him. As a story, that’s pretty good. The issue, of course, still is the fact that this match was essentially built on a pissing contest.
...Did this feel like a regular weekday show to anyone else? On one hand, I enjoyed the WWE Championship match and the Ironman Match. But most of the rest of the card felt so...useless. Unimportant. Even Strowman’s assault has no tangible meaning.
The two matches on the pre-show were better than most of the main card. Probably not ideal.
SummerSlam will most assuredly be better, right?