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WWE ‘Extreme Rules’ Report Card

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There were some highs, a few lows and in the end, the WWE proved once again that they can’t get out of their way. Let’s recap.

Finn Balor (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – Intercontinental Title

First things first, the WWE decided to put this match on their pre-show, which is a head-scratcher. They have unbelievable talent in this match and it should have been featured on the main card and given some additional time to play out.

The match was entertaining, as you might imagine and in the end, Nakamura won the IC Title defeating Balor, who seems a bit lost of late. I have no issues with Nakamura getting the belt, but they could be doing more interesting things with the criminally underutilized Balor.

I gave the match a solid B. It deserved more time, and would have benefitted from another 10 minutes.

Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese – WWE Cruiserweight Title

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these two battle, and I’m assuming it won’t be the last. These guys can go. They put their agility, strength, and heart on full display tonight. It was a heck of a match, and proof positive that the 205 Live guys deserve a brighter spotlight. More Gulak and Nese and less Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley, please. Oh, and no more Shane McMahon.

Drew took a wicked 450 splash and it looked like he might be beaten, but he managed to survive and defend his title hitting the incredible Cyclone Crash for the victory. I was all in for this one, and it didn’t disappoint.

I gave the match a very solid B+ and the 205 Live guys deserve a ton of attention. Night in and night out, they steal the show.

The Undertaker and Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre

This match wasn’t for me guys and gals. I don’t like The Undertaker. I hate the Shane McMahon in-ring character and honestly, I’m lukewarm on Reigns and McIntyre. Well, let me rephrase that. I like them both, but I hate how they’ve been utilized. Not more Undertaker and NO MORE SHANE MCMAHON, please. Pretty please?

If you didn’t know that this one was going to end via Undertaker hitting his Tombstone on Shane-o-mac, you’re bananas. It’s what was expected and in true WWE form, it’s what they delivered. Elias interfered as expected. On a side note, I’d love to see a tag team run by Elias and Drew. What a dream team. Drew McIntyre has ALL THE TOOLS but he has a 50-year-old albatross around his neck. Drop Shane and reach for the stars.

Honestly, the match had some decent spots and delivered in moments. I hated the match coming into and felt ok about it when it ended. The Undertaker looked much better than he did versus Goldberg.

I gave the match a C+ as it didn’t provide a ton of anything, but it was better than I had expected. I hope this is the beginning of the end of McSmackdown.

The Usos vs. The Revival (c) – RAW Tag Team Championship

I enjoy the work from both of these teams so I was amped heading into the match. I think The Revival is underrated, despite their tag team titles. The Usos have been a great team for years and can be counted on for a solid match anywhere on the card.

This match showcased what both teams are best at and it held my attention throughout. I thought The Usos might get the win here, but in the end, The Revival held onto their belts and looked very solid in doing so. Good match, great teams.

I gave the match a B+. I wanted to go A, but it didn’t deliver the jaw-dropping moment I’d hoped it would.

Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

I was beyond excited for this clash and was in no way let down. What a great match between two elite talents. These guys deserve main event status but sadly the roster is jam-packed and not everyone can be a top guy at once. I will say this however, I firmly believe Cesaro is one of the most talented professional wrestlers on the planet and has what it takes to take the next step. Dude’s a star.

This match was expected to be exciting and physical and it was both in spades. Both men displayed incredible power, speed, and stamina in the match and there were plenty of great spots throughout the clash. This match had a feel to it that most WWE matches don’t have. It’s like a great NXT match where they play to a smaller crowd and it felt like that to me. I would have been happy to see this in NXT, WWE, or anywhere else. Just top-notch.

Aleister Black got the victory and that’s just fine with me. Whoever wins or loses this wasn’t important. It was just about two talented wrestlers going for it. Slow clap.

I gave the match an A. I loved it and would watch it week in and week out. Cesaro is a star and Black can flat out get the job done.

Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross – 2 on 1 Smackdown Women’s Title

I will be the first to admit, I haven’t bought into the buildup for this match. I was lukewarm at best regarding it and I honestly tried to watch it with an objective eye. Bliss and Cross did a good job early on at making quick tags and keeping Bayley at odds. They worked well and hurt Bayley, slowing her down and nearly getting the victory.

The high spot for me was a cool little spot where Bayley had both Cross and Bliss tied up in simultaneous submission holds. It was good stuff, but she couldn’t force the tap from either lady and the match continued. It seems as if this match was built simply to rally support for Bayley and see the babyface rally against all odds to keep the title. Well, if that was the objective, it was accomplished in fine fashion.

Bayley will able to get the pin and keep her belt. Evil was vanquished and the righteous remained so. Hip-hip-hooray!

I gave the match a C+. It was awkward at times based on the stipulations but they told the story they wanted to tell and did so in a solid manner, if not spectacular.

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley – Extreme Rules

I don’t know …. There’s just something wrong about an Extreme Rules match, in Philly, under Paul Heyman between these two behemoths. I wanted ECW and I got a blurred version of the Attitude Era and PG Era. Don’t get me wrong, this was a big, violent clash where the two treated each other like crash test dummies. It was fun to watch some spots, but by and large, my biggest pet peeve in wrestling is when I know what’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen and then it happens.

I know Braun is over, and fans like him. I just don’t. I don’t see him as a big star, I see him as a gimmick. I still see him as Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds. I can’t help it, he’s just not my cup of tea. I will admit, this match had some cheap thrills, and I enjoyed them. In the end, though, it was what I thought it would be.

The end came when the two men crashed down through a wooden box and Braun tore through the side of it to get to his feet while Lashley was still out. That was it, Lashley was down for the count and Braun not surprisingly won the spot-fest.

I wanted to see blood, cheese graters, barbed wire, and the like. I settled for tables, a wooden box and tons of pretty fun spots. I didn’t love it, certainly didn’t hate it. I gave the match a B- for violent fun.

The New Day vs. Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery – Smackdown Tag Titles

Boom! This match had it all. All three times are loaded with talent and I thought heading into that Heavy Machinery was going to get the belts. The WWE did a good job building this match and I firmly believe Daniel Bryan is one of the sport’s top story-tellers both inside and outside of the ring. This one did not disappoint.

The match saw a ton of great spots, and all teams involved showcased their skills with awe-inspiring creativity and style. I have always felt that Xavier Woods was the best in the New Day and this match did nothing to move me off of that notion.

I would LOVE to see Xavier and Daniel Bryan work together down the road as I think they’d put on some absolute classics. They are both so good at selling and putting you inside the ring with them. Such a rare gift. Heavy Machinery doesn’t have the prototypical WWE look, but they have more than enough talent to carry a division. They continued to put their best foot forward here, but it wasn’t enough to take home the titles. Their time will undoubtedly come through.

The New Day ended up winning the titles when Daniel Bryan was caught by Big E and Woods hit him with The Midnight Hour for the pin and the tag-team titles. The New Day now own three belts and they deserve it.

I gave the match an A. It was solid from beginning to end and I took the ride with them. Great work and excellent storytelling with nonstop action.

AJ Styles vs. Ricochet (c) – WWE US Title

This was another match I saw as a can’t miss clash. These guys are the best at what they do and you knew it was going to blow the roof off the building. They had some great moments but I felt the match could have gained more momentum had Gallows and Anderson not involved themselves.

We get that The Club are heels, but AJ doesn’t need interference to have amazing matches and win. He’s in my opinion, the most talented wrestler on the roster. Both guys showed their skills but in the end, AJ Styles earned the victory and the title with a Styles Clash from the second turnbuckle after interference from the outside.

I would have much rather seen these two allowed to perform without the interference and I hope they run it back at Summerslam in a cage where it would simply be the two of them. The fans deserve it. They’re both that good.

I gave this match a B. I can’t give it an A in good faith because of the interference. It does help Ricochet look strong in defeat because he couldn’t be pinned clean, but we deserve to see them go one on one.

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

Yikes, Dolph must have pissed someone off. Dude got squashed. He got shredded on the mic two weeks ago by Owens on the mic. Last week he got beat up in a parking lot and tonight he lost in a squash match. Not a good run by Dolph, who honestly deserves better.

I love Kevin Owens and I think he’s ANOTHER guy who could do more with a bigger platform. He earned the quick pinfall and then took some time to lay into Shane McMahon on the mic again. I don’t love the angle with Owens feuding with McMahon. Kevin deserves to be elevated and let’s face it….Shane isn’t giving anyone the rub. Fans hate him. He isn’t over with mega heat, fans are just sick and tired of seeing him. It’s not good.

I gave the match a C- because it was a quick squash and Owens didn’t say anything too exciting after the fact. Give Owens room to take over. He will not let you down.

Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe – WWE Championship Match

I know a lot of people like Samoa Joe, I’m just not one of them. I don’t like his look or his style and I don’t think he should own a top spot on the roster. That said, he had a chance to walk out of Philly with the WWE Title. I like Kofi but I don’t love Kofi. I think his title run has been fun, but I wouldn’t be too sad to see him drop the belt. I would be sad to see him drop it to Joe.

This was a solid if not spectacular match that managed to surprise me with a clean pin and finish. I’d heard the rumors of Kofi entering the match with an injury and perhaps the WWE would take the belt from him, but he was able to look good in there and walked out as champion after hitting his finisher Trouble in Paradise for a clean victory.

I felt this was a good match but wasn’t on the same level as the top matches on the card.

I graded it a B- and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would heading into it. Kofi, Woods and Big E all have gold now and they will be looking sharp come Tuesday night.

Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans – Winner takes all Titles Match

Um, what can I say about this match other than I hate the idea of it, and I hate the build to it and I hate Baron Corbin being anywhere near the main event. Face it, Baron Corbin has about as much business with the Universal Title as I do. The guy just isn’t a star. Sorry. He was solid in NXT but he just doesn’t ring the bell in the WWE.

Had Corbin and Evans walked out of Philly with all the gold, we very well might have seen a riot. Philly doesn’t play. Naturally, that didn’t happen as Seth and Becky to two hottest talents in the sport fought adversity and walked out with the titles…almost.

I didn’t expect a ton here and these four surprised me with a really hard-hitting weapon-filled classic. I actually dig Lacey Evans but Baron Corbin just doesn’t move the needle. He performed admirably tonight though and these four salvaged what by all rights should have been a mess. I mean the WWE dropped the ball with the booking and stipulations here, but they still managed to put on a fun match.

I graded this match a B. They did the very best they could given a questionable situation. I mean the winner takes all stipulation in a mixed tag match is silly. They did well to keep me interested.

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Bring the Briefcase

Cue the slow ride to hell. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar hit the ring and Lesnar catches Rollins with a couple of mean suplexes grounding the champion. A smug Lesnar laughs as Heyman hands over the briefcase and the referee announces the title match. Lesnar immediately scoops up Rollins and hits him with an F-5 and pins him to become the Universal Champion again. Cue the tears and boos.

WWE just can’t help themselves with Lesnar. The dude DOES NOT NEED THE TITLE to get over. He brings the instant big-fight atmosphere and can be better utilized as a hired gun. He’d make an excellent mercenary with Heyman selling his services to the highest bidder. Instead, they take the belt off of their most popular star and put it back on the part-timer. Yikes.

This was an expected albeit crappy turn of events that soured what was otherwise a really solid show. The wrestlers worked their asses off and the talent shined here tonight. However, people will only be talking about Lesnar tomorrow and him once again holding the most prestigious title in wrestling hostage as he works one day a month heading into Summerslam.

I didn’t grade this segment because dammit, I don’t want to. If I did I’d say it was a C….because it so average and typical of the WWE and how they handle things. Good PPV, horrible ending.

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