It’s that time of year again for the ironically quite tame PPV, Extreme Rules. After building up who will finally face Brock Lesnar at “Great Balls of Fire” (sigh) we would finally get our answer in the main event in an Extreme Rules Fatal 5 Way. How did the PPV hold up? Let’s take a look.
KICKOFF SHOW – APOLLO CREWS VS KALISTO (WINNER)
Now you may be wondering, James. Why the hell are you talking about a pre-show match? Barely anyone watches those. You’re right, but when you’re live tweeting the event you have to make sure you get all the juicy moments to the public as swift as you can. I’m basically doing a public service. So when I sat down to just passively watch Crews take on Kalisto in a hastily put together match, imagine my shock when this turned out to be genuinely very fun.
I was just surprised that three of RAW’s afterthoughts managed to come out, advance their characters, and leave the audience excited for the main show. Arguably making other matches on the card look weak in comparison.
THE MIZ (WINNER) VS DEAN AMBROSE – INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Speaking of weak, here’s a set up for a match where there is no Champions advantage and anyone can be DQ’d… at a PPV titled Extreme Rules. The stipulation painted the match in a bad light, when if it was set up as a standard match on RAW, it would actually be quite entertaining. Even though Dean and Miz put in a lot of work to make the match look good, it ultimately fell short thanks to shenanigans you could see coming from a mile away. The Miz is champ once again, now hopefully both of them can move on to better things.
RICH SWANN & SASHA BANKS (WINNER) VS NOAM DAR & ALICIA FOX
Sadly, things don’t really pick up in this match either. I wish Sasha had been given more to do than occasionally beat up Noam, and then for them both to dance around the ring for what feels like the 20th time. But worst of all with Alicia Fox & Sasha Banks clawing at each other, all I could hear in my head was Joey Styles shouting “CAT FIGHT”. A bit step back in terms of progression in the women’s revolution.
ALEXA BLISS (WINNER) VS BAYLEY – WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – KENDO STICK ON A POLE MATCH
This only felt disappointing because it had the potential to be really good. Bayley and Alexa have good chemistry but it fell really flat in what felt like a two-minute brawl. It was like the “This Is Your Life” segment had somehow leaked its awfulness into this match and overall left a bad taste in my mouth. Worse though, Bayley’s original push now feels like she’s getting thrown overboard as she failed to get an advantage in the build up to this rematch. Alexa came out fine as she’s still champ, but Bayley’s character just feels downtrodden.
THE HARDY BOYZ VS CESARO & SHEAMUS (WINNER) – RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – STEEL CAGE MATCH
They’ve been on the posters, they’re the hottest thing in the WWE right now. So you bet that they put some effort into making this an entertaining match. What started off as an even matched fight turned into a fight to escape, with many close calls and some enjoyable moments of people throwing themselves from great heights. While no, we didn’t get a fully Broken Matt Hardy, but for what we did get to see. I was perfectly happy with how it turned out. The Hardyz may have lost, but they’ll be back up and ready for more.
NEVILLE (WINNER) VS AUSTIN ARIES – CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – SUBMISSION MATCH
As the penultimate match before the main event, this was pretty great, to say the least. Neville and Aries rarely fail to put on a good show and after all they had been through, this truly felt like a war. If you ever needed a reason to watch 205 Live, then you’ve already had 2 times. Stop being greedy. Anyway, Neville won in his usual devastating way and retains his title. Honestly, I thought this was the end of his reign. Apparently, you can’t hinder the KENG OF THA CRUISERWEIGHTS.
FATAL 5 WAY – FINN BALOR, ROMAN REIGNS, SAMOA JOE (WINNER), BRAY WYATT, SETH ROLLINS
What started off as a slow-paced PPV, turned into quite an amazing and fast paced ending. It had your standard moments of everyone getting a slight advantage. But! When Roman speared both Balor and Joe through the barricade, and Rollins delivered a frog splash through a table to Wyatt. The crowd were on their feet, my jaw dropped, this could be great! Turned out this match had one final surprise left in store for us, Samoa Joe winning and becoming the challenger for Brock’s Universal Championship. Holy Shit.
It may be unlikely that Joe could beat Lesnar, but I still want the idea of Joe winning to be a reality. Plus this just sounds like a brawl to end all brawls… Great Brawls of Fire! Feel free to take that Vince.