Extreme Rules Review
by Kellen Bergeron
First off I’d like to thank everyone for checking out my first review. Just to keep this short and sweet I’ll be scoring the matches on a 1-5 scale then following each up with a brief summary of what happened in the match, my opinion on the match, and how it ended (spoilers for those who haven’t watched the matches). Keep in mind this review is 100% my opinion on the event and should be viewed as such. So with that out of the way, let’s get started.
Pre-Show Match: Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler in a No DQ match.
This match had all the potential to be at the very least a 3-star match possibly even a 4, however, it fell short on two fronts. It didn’t feel like a solid No DQ match and we’ve all seen this exact match end almost the exact way every time. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of feuds lasting a few months and having a good story behind it, but when every match ends in the same fashion and you don’t really know why these guys are going at it in the first place, you just lose it. From the beginning of the match, it was the Baron Corbin show. There were decent spots with Dolph trying to mount a comeback and getting shut down. This went on for a good bit with still no sign of why it was a No DQ match. The only difference so far was the ref not counting when they were outside the ring. Just when it looks as though Dolph may pull this one out with the use of a Fameasser, Baron kicks out at two and begins to yet again destroy Ziggler with a Deep Six followed by an End of Days to finish it off. As I said before, it was overall a simple guy vs guy match that we’ve had the displeasure of seeing week in and week out since Wrestlemania.
First Match of the Main Show: The Club (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs. The Usos
Tornado Tag Rules
This match started off with a bang. The Club didn’t even get to the ring before the Usos had met them half way up the ramp and fists started flying. The fight went on outside for a little bit but went to the ring shortly after. With the match officially started, these two teams commenced to beating the mess out of one another. There were great exchanges back and forth from two teams that normally put on sub-par matches. On one hand, we had the high flying action and super kick centralized offense of the Usos getting the better of The Club while in the ring but as soon as everything moved outside, the momentum started to shift. A solid kick from Karl Anderson, some well-placed chair shots, and big boots from Luke Gallows made life pretty miserable for the Usos. Doing their family proud, the Usos stuck it out for a few CLOSE pin falls, but in the end, a well-placed Magic Killer finisher by The Club put the Usos down for the night.
Now I gave this match a 3.5 simply because it was a good match for what it was meant to do. It furthered the story of our main event which I’ll be covering later. Not only did it accomplish this, but at the same time, drew me in when I didn’t really care too much for either team. In my mind just a slow match to start the night, but after witnessing the match I stand corrected. It was a darn good way to start the night and set the pace for everything else to come.
Second Match: Kalisto vs. Rusev for the United States Title
This match was effectively the same as any other big guy vs little guy match, just with Rusev being one heck of an athletic big guy. Kalisto opened up with a few strong kicks to the legs. When Rusev attempted to deliver one of his own kicks, he kicked over the little luchador’s head. Kalisto then attempted to perform a spring board attack on Rusev only to get clubbed in the face and dropped like a bad habit. At this point the match switches gears to Rusev’s favor with a series of power moves, punches, and stomps to soften up the champion Kalist until the fight moves outside. Kalisto manages to hit a huricanrana on Rusev sending him into the stairs outside. Kalisto gets back in the ring and sets Rusev up for a Selina Del Sol only to be reversed and dropped on his back onto the ring apron. Doctors and refs were brought out to check on Kalisto and hold Rusev at bay until the match could continue. After several attempts to pull Kalisto to the center of the ring and finish him off only to be rejected by the ref, Rusev pushes the ref aside and pulls the injured champion to the center of the ring. Rusev stomps on his lower back several times before delivering the Acolade in a very brutal fashion and ending the match in a submission victory. Now, I gave this match a 4 simply because once again it delivered more than I expected. Granted I could do well with neither of these superstars holding the US title at this point, but it still had enough to it for me to have legit involuntary reactions and that’s what I want from my wrestling. I want to scream obscenities not because I can, but because something happened that made me react that way with little to no control.
Third Match: The Vaudvillians (Simon Gotch and Aiden English) vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E) for the Tag Team Championships
This match had everything a tag team title match should have and the kind of match you would expect from these two teams. In this match, we have the technical and brash style of the Vaudvillians clashing with the high flying, brute force, and unicorn magic of The New Day, (Yes I said Unicorn magic). The match started off with Xavier Woods in against Simon Gotch and it started off with a bang. Both men doing what they do in the first few seconds with Xavier Woods getting a big reaction from the crowd when he lets lose a Haduken like attack knocking Gotch into his corner for a tag.
Now before I go on, if the Haduken and Unicorn magic may have confused some, you should take a few moments to Google or YouTube The New Day. These three guys came together a little over a year ago now and have effectively went from being booed out of the ring to the gold standard when it comes to being the hype in WWE. With that out of the way, the match continued on with some big spots from all four men including a spear through the ropes to the outside on Aiden English by Big E and Xavier Woods kicking out of the Vaudvillians finisher, The Whirling Dervish.
After all was said and done and the dust settled, The New Day retained their titles with a Shining Wizard by Woods followed by the Big Ending by Big E. I gave the match a 4 on the simple fact that it may have been able to go a little longer and I would have liked it to add more to the story, however, it still delivered on a level I never expected.
Fourth Match: Kevin Owens vs. The Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayne Fatal 4 Way for the Intercontinental Title
This match started off in high gear and stayed that way the entire time. As soon as the bell rings, Sami Zayne sprints across the ring to Kevin Owens corner and catches him with a solid Heluva Kick. This not only puts Owns out for at least 3-5 minutes, but sets the tone for the entire rest of the match. I won’t have much of a summary on this match for two reasons: first, the entire match was a highlight so there is absolutely no way for me to find moments to focus on more than others; and secondly, if I could manage to pick high points in the match, the words I put on the screen won’t do them justice. Know that this is a match-of-the-year candidate and I’m ridiculously excited that not only three of my top wrestlers, but a title I believe deserves to have some prestige to it, the Intercontinental title were all involved. Now I will say The Miz ends up walking out retaining his title, but it was well earned this time and he proved to me (not that he had to) that he still has it. Everybody in that match left everything in that ring for the fans like myself and most of you reading this. It’s because of that fact that I consider this to be a match worth of a 5-5 rating.
Fifth Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho in an Asylum match.
So before I go into my rant about how terrible this match was, allow me to explain an Asylum match and what you should expect. An Asylum match is a brand new type of cage match in WWE were a cage is lowered around the superstars and weapons are hung from the top of said cage. The goal of the match is to beat your opponent with the weapons until they submit or are too weak to kick out of a pin. That being said, here is why this match got a 1 instead of a zero. Please believe at some point a match will get a zero, I just didn’t review matches until now. Tell me why when you are supposed to be some crazy men in a blood feud, its takes a good five minutes before a weapon is even touched. Now, before I continue, I don’t want to see these two beaten to the point of retirement or just destroyed beyond the ability of normal function, however, if you tell me a match is dangerous and can produce either of those outcomes, when the match is happening I better believe it. Instead I get the same generic spots of kendo sticks to the back and other everyday 2016 hardcore weapons. But, with all of that, there was a slight silver lining. Towards the end of the match a bucket was removed from the top of the cage and revealed to have a bag of thumbtacks in it. Ambrose spread these in the corner of the ring but then he and Jericho began to, what seemed like an eternity, avoided the tacks until at the very last possible minute. Jericho was dropped into the tacks and then hit with Dirty Deeds by Dean Ambrose and the match finally came to an end. This match was low on my hype list from the start and putting that Fatal Four Way before it didn’t help. Here’s hoping the next Ambrose feud or any possible Asylum match manages to deliver.
Sixth Match: Charlotte vs. Natalya in a Submission Match for the Women’s Championship
(Ric Flair banned from Ringside)
I feel this match should have been first on the card. I understand why it was the Co-Main Event but it just didn’t have that big match feel to it. Maybe it was the promos leading up to it, maybe it was the lack of interest in the match in general, or maybe I was still bummed out about the disappointment that was the Asylum Match. Either way this match did have its moments. I’m very biased and critical when it comes to the women’s division and I’m sure it’ll show in this review.
This match had some pretty decent story behind it and a moderate amount of buildup. If Ric Flair makes it to ringside, Charlotte would not only lose the match but would be forced to surrender the title to Natalya. That stipulation along with it being a submission match made this out to be a pretty decent match, if you had people to talk to while the match was on. The screaming by both competitors no matter if they were applying a hold or having the hold applied to them was out of control. Combine that with usual terrible commentary and you have a formula for Winter Soldier level mind control. Both women put in work and I will give them that. Then, about three quarters of the way through the match, Ric Flair’s music hits. Natalya, in typical baby face fashion, thinks she’s won the match and the title and releases her submission hold. Instead the robed figure coming to the ring is NXT women’s superstar Dana Brooke. This distraction is enough to cause Natalya to get caught up in the Figure 8 by Charlotte and lose her second chance at the title.
Seventh Match: AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns for the World Heavyweight Championship in and Extreme Rules Match
This is the match that ties into the first match of the night. First of all, you have AJ Styles. A high flying, technical nightmare who’s been all around the world and who fans have wanted here forever. Then you have Roman Reigns, a powerhouse Samoan from the legendary Samoan family. Both men are ridiculous athletes and have delivered before, so going into a match where anything goes, I expected no less. Needless to say once again these two and the ungodly amount of chemistry they have in the squared circle not only swayed naysayers, but captivated everyone in the arena and around the world. From the first exchange of blows to the interference by both The Usos and The Club to the chair shots and even the missed moves, everything told a story, everything was intense, and everything was off the charts crazy good. The crowd was almost fully behind AJ to win from the bell but slowly became more split as each of these athletes gave us their all. With the multitude of near falls in the forms of Superman Punches, Phenomenal Forearms, Spears, and Styles Clashes, this match actually managed to top their match from Payback last month. In the end, even after being jumped by the club, hit with two Styles Clashes, and destroyed with a chair, Roman Reigns managed to retain his title by tossing AJ through one announce table, Powerbombing him through another, and ending it all with a vicious spear to reverse what could have been a match ending Phenomenal Forearm. A perfect end to an incredible match, until the Reigns celebration was ended by a returning former champion who never lost his title.
Final Moment: Return of Seth Rollins
It’s not an official match but the arena and everyone in earshot lost all of their minds when Seth Rollins jumped Reigns from behind during his celebration. It didn’t matter if you knew it was going to happen because of spoilers, just blindly hoped it would happen, or were caught 100% off guard. This is what a vast majority of the fans have been wanting and we got it.
Overall Extreme Rules was a pay-per-view that delivered on all fronts and everything went pretty much exactly as predicted. The arena crowd poured their hearts into everything, which is the major goal of any event. The matches I thought were going to be good were good, the ones I thought would be great were great, and the ones I thought would flop, flopped. There were no meaningless promos or no needlessly long video packages before the matches, and most importantly, no injuries that I know of as of yet.
Well with all that being said, I hope everyone enjoys reading this review as much as I did putting it together for you. My next review will be for Money in the Bank, which is always exciting in some way shape or form and sets up the potential for a surprise “cash in” on our champion. Until then, keep an eye out for all our game related reviews and tons of other content.
Kellen aka KB Kronic, OUT!