Extreme Rules 2018 Recap and Reactions

Tonight’s Pay-per-view took place from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Kickoff

Matt and I are going to trade off back and forth on these matches.  One thing we can both agree on was that neither of these matches had the time that it should.

  • Andrade Cien Almas defeated Sin Cara.  It wasn’t quite as good as their match from Smackdown Tuesday night, and in all honesty, should have just been saved for another PPV that didn’t have a billion matches on it already or for an episode of Smackdown down the line.  They need to shit or get off the pot with Almas.  Guy is an absolute main event attraction with Vega by his side.  Now get him to where he belongs, quickly.
  • SAnitY defeated The New Day when Eric Young put Kofi Kingston through a table.  This match was really just two spots:  the one where Kofi got out of a Superplex attempt by stomping/kicking Young and Wolfe and the spot where Kofi went through the table.  I think the only way this or the previous match had an opportunity to be great was if they only had one of them.

The Main Card in the Raw

  • The B-Team become the new Raw Tag Team champions when Bo Dallas hit a top rope draping neckbreaker on Woken Matthew Hardy.  I had low expectations going into this match.  They’ve been routinely cut out of the Hulu edit and I personally never really got into them.  But…I was into this match.  It felt fresh for almost everyone involved.  
    • I loved the moment when the Rotundo brothers faced each other in the ring.  “I’m not afraid of you!” yelled Bo Dallas as he quickly retreated and tagged in Axel with a smirk on his face and boos raining down from the top of the rafters.
    • I also loved that we saw genuine emotion in Dallas and Axel once they clutched their new championships.  In an era with wooden, tightly scripted promos, it’s refreshing to see something real.
  • Kurt Angle revealed that he’s been talking to Brock’s people.  Lesnar needs to show up to Raw the next day, agree to a title defense, or Kurt is going to strip him of the Universal Championship.  This drew louder “Yes” chants than when Daniel Bryan wrestled later that evening.
  • Finn Bálor defeated Constable Corbin with a roll-up.  This didn’t do either of them any favors.  One of them needed to defeat the other definitively.  Having Finn win this way just felt kind of cheap.  It is what it is, I guess.

  • Kevin Owens won the cage match against Braun Strowman when he was thrown from the top fo the cage onto the announce table.  It’s not for a lack of KO trying.  He did try to handcuff Braun on the turnbuckle.  Maybe KO should have gotten sturdier handcuffs.  Braun caught up to KO and threw him with precision onto a table with a more visible airbag than normal.  I expected to be entertained and I was not disappointed.

  • Bob Lashley defeated Roman Reigns with a spear as Roman was going for one of his own.  I’ll be honest, I kind of hated this Pittsburgh crowd.  Roman wasn’t even in the main event!  It’s one thing if they continually put him in the main event, title shot or not.  Anywhere else in the card, just go to the bathroom if you really don’t want to watch it.  That being said, these guys are just ok together.  I haven’t seen a Bob match that I’ve liked yet.  Perhaps he can change my mind down the road.
    • I would be remiss to leave out the attempted murder that Roman pulled on Bob by just throwing him out of the ring.  I’m pretty sure he was supposed to grab onto the ropes but he didn’t.  He bounced off the floor.  That brought a little bit of the crowd back around but most of them were assholes.
  • Alexa Bliss retained the Raw Women’s Championship after getting an assist from a chairshot to Nia from Mickie James.  This match was a mess.  I honestly thought Ronda would be way more involved, but she only jumped the barrier towards the end.  She threw James around like a rag doll before being incapacitated with a simple kendo stick.  Kind of lame if you ask me.
  • Dolph Ziggler retained the Intercontinental Championship with a 5-4 decision against Seth Rollins.  
    • This. Crowd.  Sucks.  They randomly started counting down the minutes like another Royal Rumble entrant was coming out.  At one point they started chanting “Where’s the clock?” when they took it away from the screen.  It just sucked.  What could of been a great match was severely hampered by a shit crowd.
  • Let’s get back to it:
    • Rollins got an early lead with a roll up and again with a Stomp to lead 2-0.  Drew McIntryre got upset and drew a DQ beating down Rollins until he got thrown out.  He made sure he got in a Claymore Kick before leaving though, rattling Rollins.  Ziggler capitalized and was able to quickly even and then overtake the lead getting to 4-3.  Around the 7 minute mark, Seth was able to make it a tie.
    • With 10 seconds left, Rollins hit a stomp but was unable to get to a cover position in time, thus ending the match in the tie.  This is where it should have left and I’m convinced it would if this was not the main event.  However, they wanted to make sure people got a full conclusion.
    • Kurt Angle restarted the match.  Drew McIntyre snuck back in, knocked Rollins, and allowed Ziggler to get the final sudden death pinfall.  It doesn’t make too much sense that Kurt didn’t just immediately come back out and restart the match but…oh well.  It reminds me of what I think was Extreme Rules 2 years ago when Roman and AJ fought.  Shane and Stephanie kept on restarting the match to exert power over each other.  That was excellent.  By comparison, it just makes Angle look foolish.

Laying the SmackDown on the Main Card

  • The Bludgeon Brothers retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.  Fairly early in the show, Harper and Rowan are shown beating the hell out of Kane and DB in the back.  Bryan went it alone for most of the match clutching his ribs most of the time, and did an alright job, and Kane hobbled to the ring with his foot in a boot lending to the idea they might actually take the belts, but to no avail.  Now give Harper and Rowan an actual match with an actual build, because Miz was 100% right, this was nostalgia for the sake of it and nothing more.
  • Carmella retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship.  When will they finally just let Becky beat the hell out of Ellsworth?
  • Shinsuke Nakamura is the new United States Champion.  This wasn’t a match.  Jeff Hardy has been nursing a back injury for a while just to get here.  He sold a low blow then ate a wicked Kinshasa.  This match was four seconds long.  After the match, Randy Orton came out to stare down Nakamura and kick Jeff in the dick again.  I don’t know why, I don’t actually care to know why.
  • AJ Styles is still the Phenomenal WWE Champion.  This match wasn’t bad, and they even gave us moments when it looked like Rusev might win, but there was no build to this match as much as Rusev tried.  Rusev was given this shot to shut up the internet marks, but he deserved better, and Styles does too.  No, not 900 more matches with Nakamura, but they need another legitimate contender and they need to work the long game with creative.

Final Thoughts

Matt:  I don’t necessarily know that calling it a WCW show is such a bad thing.  Remember how good WCW shows were when they were good?  Granted, 45 minutes of every 3 hour broadcast was Goldberg’s entrance, but still.  You can’t tell me you didn’t jump off the couch with a “Bang!” every time DDP did it.  You “Wooooooooooooo”ed every time Sting got set to do it.  WWE shows are only occasionally good, so you know exactly what it is like.  This was not a bad show.  How were expectations so high that this one is getting shit all over?  Some of it didn’t matter, like Corbin/Balor, but Strowman threw a 300 pound man off a cage, Rusev got a title shot, and for the love of god, HULK HOGAN’S NAME WAS SAID ON A WWE BROADCAST FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 3 YEARS!  It wasn’t a bad show, I just think they overcrowded it and the potential show stealing kickoff matches got shortchanged.

Jeremy:  So I saw this:

I would agree on certain other shows, but with the exception of a couple of matches and the terrible crowd, I actually liked this show!  Who would have thought?  Sure, neither of the women’s matches were good and the Corbin/Bálor match was unnecessary, but it was fun.

A Run-In By Lance

Hold on!  Lance is here with some reactions too!  I got this email right when I was putting finishing touches on the recap.  I present it here in it’s entirety:

Extreme Rules – love the graphics package.  The lower thirds were fresh.

Destroyer of Worlds v B Team – The B team has come a long way for me.  A comic relief that isn’t so stupid that you can’t fathom them winning (Curt Hawkins).  But they aint going to win. Still think the Delete hand sweep is something that they shouldn’t be doing in this day and age (being a tad too close to a certain salute and all) but it’s grown on me.  Matt Hardy looks like Dio’s Spaceballs stunt double. HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT. I LOVE THIS WHY DO I LOVE THIS. STRECH ARMSTRONG LANDING ON THE MOON. OMG.

Balor v Stephanie McMahan’s personally appointed Constable of Raw Baron Corbin – Corbin has reached an interesting place. He isn’t going for belts but is becoming the new evil face of the company and it’s perfect for him. You want him to both win and lose. If he wins you can hate on it without shame. If he loses then the man is getting it stuck to him. If Balor loses then I’m starting to see how they are shaping up the story going forward. Almost like this is the season premiere and we are past the summer tv lull that’s existed since pre-backlash (forwardlash?) Especially if combined with The B Teams victory.  But it’s Balor and the crowd would riot if he loses. Balor wins! Great quick match. Hopefully this pays off on Raw. Corbin gets some heat from Stephanie? Look at me using the terms correctly.

How fucking big can Graves’ watch be? Wait what’s this bludgeon bros aside? I do not like Paige’s shoes.

Carmella v Asuka – Elsworth has a lot to live up to. Last time I saw a shark cage it had Enzo in it. I suspect Asuka will champion soonish if not tonight. But Elsworth enormous coat is probably not just decorative.  And right away he pulls something out. BTW once again I got disappointed at the lack of a shark. There’s no reason for a live shark but I held out hope.  Elsworth is incredible. He pairs perfectly with Carmella. He is the best.  He should hook up with the b team and call themselves yesterday and always lose to New Day. I’d like to see Carmella truly defend the title and outright win it against someone.  She could win a crowd over I think.

The first hour has been so much fun it’s made me dislike the last 2 months more lol. I get people go on vacation but damn.

Hardy v Nakamura – The low blow stuff is getting old. Is that the only illegal maneuver? I hope he doesn’t pull that. He pulled it. Well at least it was at the beginning? WHAT THE FUCK. Legit surprised that there wasn’t a match. Maybe Nak is still healing? Well Randy Orton is healed. But what is his purpose? Besides slow walking. The man really bilks his entrance. Was it at last Summerslam it went on for like 9 minutes? WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS. I half expected the copyright to pop up.

Strowman v Owens – Based on experience Strowman would survive the infinity gauntlet.  It’s almost like what’s the point? If he can’t be defeated even by 10 men it’s kind of boring. Hopefully Owns finds a new unknown weakness and exploits it. What if he destroys the whole ring?  At the end of the match when Braun is on top of the cage watching the scene below he looks like an idle animation from a fighting game. Doesn’t this story feel like a retread of Owens v Shane?

Bludgeon Bros v Team Hell No – Bludgeon Bros need something for me. Maybe something more hardcore? Like tables? They just should seem and be more violent for me.  I know nothing about Team Hell no. No Kane? Does he appear from below the ring? The bros are kind of like Strowmans mini-bosses in an old TMNT game.  THEY ARE BEPOP AND ROCKSTEADY. I now immediately like them more.  The thing about Brian’s return is that it’s built upon so much nostalgia for his old days. Days that I never saw. Instead of showing me the newish fan why he’s great they’ve done so many retreads. This match without Kane while still being nostalgia for a bygone era was a decent showcase for him. But what’s next for him?

Reigns v Lashley – Only watching in case Hogan shows up. He won’t. This is just to make Lashley legit and I’m like, who is this guy? The chants of Rusev Day sums up the entire match.

Nia v Bliss – I’m just waiting for Ronda to jump out of the stands and help out. It’s been teased John Cena style all night. There she goes. Best thing about this match was Graves saying they keep kendo sticks under the apron because of ninjas. I mean that man gets me on an emotional level. The match was kind of so-so. Sort of just ended.

Rusev v not-Rusev. Rusev won’t win tonight. But he will win soon.  He’s getting leaner and everyone loves him. I have high hopes for this match for some reason. Been rewatching Happy Endings lately and Styles looks a lot like Dave from that show (ed. note.  OMG, you’re right!). Nice match. Will Rusev or Lana blame English for the loss?

Ziggler v Rollins – Not very extreme. What no sudden death overtime? That’s fucking lame. Fuck that. IT WAS POINTLESS. Oh here comes Kurt. Decided on Raw? Hope not. So dumb if so.  Yes! Overtime! What the fuck did I just watch?