WWE Extreme Rules – May 22nd 2016
Prudential Centre: Newark, NJ.
Extreme Rules was typical of the WWE product lately. We got two really great matches, with the IC title four-way and the main event, however the rest of the show ranged from insignificant to painfully boring, with the usual pinch of moronic booking thrown in for good measure. The big news was the return of Seth Rollins after Roman Reigns retained the WWE title over AJ Styles in a great main event. Rollins laid out Reigns and held up the title and the fans went crazy. Miz retained the IC title in an excellently booked four-way that advanced the Owens/Zayn story and set Cesaro up for a potential rematch.
As good as those two matches were, the rest of the show was almost equally bad. The Club & The Usos didn’t even get 9 minutes to do their match. Nobody cared about Rusev/Kalisto. The Vaudevillains lost to the New Day in 6:25 – that’ll get them over. Ambrose & Jericho bored the crowd to tears with a 26 minute snorer that would have fit right in on the TNA PPV of your choice. Charlotte & Natalya were again shafted on time and given an atrocious finish which resulted in another disappointing match.
The Dudley Boyz came out and cut a heel promo about killing off ECW. Big Cass showed up and made fun off them for being fat. They got into a brawl and Cass fought off both Dudleyz; Cass stood tall and called them SAWFT. Rusev & Lana did the AMA segment in the Social Media lounge and they were great. Baron Corbin pinned Dolph Ziggler in a nothing No DQ match at 7:07 (**). The only reason the No DQ stip was in place was so Corbin could use a low-blow before hitting his finish for the win.
Texas Tornado Match: The Usos vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. – Anderson & Gallows over in 8:37. Match was fun while it lasted but felt very rushed and could have done with another 5 minutes or-so. Crowd hated the Usos. Everybody fought everywhere. The Club hit the Boot of Doom off the apron early on. Usos hit some Superkicks; Jimmy gave Anderson a running hip attack into the barricade but Gallows tossed Jimmy into the crowd. Finish saw Gallows try to use the bell, but Jey cut him off and went for the Superfly Splash. Gallows moved and the Club pinned Jey with the Magic Killer. – A much needed win for the Club and they created a story for the main event with the Usos being carried out by some referees. The announcers sold the idea that the Club would have the numbers advantage with the Usos being carried out. (***)
US Championship: Kalisto (C) vs. Rusev w/Lana. – Rusev became the new champ at 9:40. They basically had a RAW match. Rusev worked over the back; fans weren’t into Kalisto at all and chanted for Lana. Kalisto made his comeback and landed at dive to the floor. Finish saw Rusev slam Kalisto on the apron and Kalisto sold like he was paralysed. The doctor checked on Kalisto and the referee held Rusev back from killing him some more. JBL tried to sell the idea that Rusev would be DQ’d and wouldn’t win the title, but Cole pointed out that a ref stoppage would in fact give Rusev the title. Rusev grabbed Kalisto and put him in a brutal Accolade and Kalisto tapped like crazy; it was a really great visual to be fair. – The finish was a weird deal, but the Accolade looked tremendous. It’s great that they have actually made an effort to heat Rusev up again, however he once again seems destined to be vanquished by John Cena on Memorial Day just like he was in 2015. (**)
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) w/Kofi Kingston (C) vs. The Vaudevillains. – New Day retained in 6:25. New Day did a promo beforehand and were super over. Xavier was upset about his time machine being destroyed and encouraged women to DM him pictures and videos. Big E had some hoes and said since they were in the Garden State they were going to put a couple of hoes in the ground. Match was nothing; heat on Xavier, Big E made the comeback. Vaudevillains nailed Kofi on the floor then hit the Whirling Dervish but Xavier kicked out. Big E speared English off the apron and nearly killed himself again. Kofi gave Gotch a receipt with a kick and Xavier pinned him with a Shining Wizard. – I don’t know where the Vaudevillains go from here, but they probably made the right decision by not putting the titles on them. (**)
IC Championship Fatal Four-Way: Miz w/Maryse (C) vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens. – Miz retained in 18:16. Excellent match. Zayn smashed Owens with a Yakuza kick immediately after the bell then Cesaro took out Miz with a running European Uppercut. Cesaro & Sami did some stuff and it was great. Sami landed a dive onto Miz & Cesaro; Owens came back and worked over Sami. They did a Tower of Doom and an awesome spot that saw Cesaro German Suplex Owens while Owens gave Sami a high cradle Exploder. Owens went nuts with Cannonballs on everyone; Cesaro kicked out of the Skull Crushing Finale then tapped out Miz with the Sharpshooter but the ref was distracted by Maryse. Sami caught Cesaro with a beautiful Sunset Powerbomb for a great near-fall. Owens drilled Sami with a Superkick and hit Cesaro with the Pop-up Powerbomb. Miz hit Owens with the Skull Crushing Finale for a quadruple-down and the fans gave them a standing ovation. Finish saw Sami hit Cesaro with the Yakuza kick but Owens pulled him out of the ring and Miz slid in to steal the win. – I wasn’t really expecting this match to be so great, however with three amazing workers in Owens, Zayn & Cesaro, it would have been almost impossible for this to be anything but great; even Miz held up his end of the deal. The Owens/Zayn feud was kept alive by Owens costing Sami the title and you would think that both of them will end up in the Money in the Bank match. Cesaro got the visual tap-out, so he has a ready made rematch if they want to go that route. A really great, well laid out, match. (****)
Asylum Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho. – Ambrose over in 26:21. Match was purgatory. Why it had t go 26 minutes is beyond me, especially considering how short some of the undercard matches were. Maybe a segment got cut, but still this was way too long. They couldn’t follow the four-way. Story of the match was both men going up to get the weapons and then using them – it was about as exciting as it reads. Crowd got bored and chanted “We want Rollins.” Ambrose dove off the cage to very little reaction and it wasn’t even the finish. Ambrose had a bag of tacks hidden in a bucket and they teased going into them. Jericho eventually took a nasty bump into the tacks and Ambrose pinned him with Dirty Deeds. – Many people made WCW/TNA jokes when they booked this match and funnily enough it actually turned out like a WCW match from 2000 or every TNA garbage match ever. (* ¼)
WWE Women’s Championship Submission Match: Charlotte (C) vs. Natalya. – Charlotte retained in 9:50. Once again these girls didn’t get much time and were lumbered with a terrible finish. They both went for submissions; it wasn’t very exciting. Charlotte hit a big Moonsault but Nattie got her in the Sharpshooter. Ric Flair’s music played and Dana Brooke came out dressed as Flair. Nattie was of course distracted like an idiot and Charlotte tapped her out with the Figure Eight. Afterwards, Flair showed up and did the strut with Dana and they all celebrated together. – Natalya & Charlotte have never been able to recreate the chemistry they had in NXT on the main roster, probably because they were able to do whatever they wanted in NXT and are severely hindered by asinine booking and agenting on the main roster. They clearly love Dana Brooke and putting her with Charlotte is a big step up from Emma. I personally don’t think she is ready, but we’ll see how she does in the role. (*¾).
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. AJ Styles. – Reigns retained in 22:12. Tremendous main event with all kinds of big spots. Reigns was of course despised and JBL regurgitated the same garbage we’ve heard for a decade about John Cena. They did the late 90’s walk-and-brawl through the crowd early and ended up over at the Pre-show set. Styles hit a forearm off the table and they brawled back towards ringside. Styles removed the mats and went for Styles Clash on the floor, but Reigns countered. Styles went for another Clash on the German announce table and Reigns gave him a huge backdrop through the English table. Reigns hit a nice Black Tiger Bomb for a near-fall. Styles countered the Spear with a Chop-block and Reigns sold his knee. They ended up back on the floor and Reigns slammed Styles into the LED board on the apron then Powerbombed him through the Spanish table. Styles avoided a Spear on the floor and Reigns crashed through the barricade. Anderson & Gallows hit the ring and gave Reigns the Boot of Doom then put Styles on top of Reigns, who kicked out for a nice near-fall. The Usos showed up, completely no-selling the beating they took earlier, and cleared the Club with Superkicks. They Superkicked Styles and hit the Superfly Splash then put Reigns on top of Styles, but AJ kicked out. Anderson & Gallows took out the Usos at ringside, however Reigns fought them off with Superman Punches. Reigns kicked out of the Styles Clash, so AJ hit another Clash onto a chair. One of the Uso grabbed AJ’s foot, which bought Reigns just enough time to kick out. Styles went crazy and destroyed the Usos & Reigns with chair shots. Finish saw Styles go for the Phenomenal Forearm and Reigns countered in mid-air with the Spear to get the win. Afterwards, Seth Rollins made his return and attacked Reigns during his celebration. Rollins was the most over guy on the show by far and he laid Reigns out with a Pedigree. Fans chanted, “Thank you Rollins” and the show went off the air with Rollins holding up the WWE title. – Styles worked his ass off here and took an amazing amount of punishment to deliver a great main event. Clearly Rollins is going to take the main event spot against Reigns, so who knows where they go with Styles & the Club now. Hopefully they will keep them strong until whatever happens when Balor shows up and don’t go with a Club vs. Wyatts feud or something equally as lame in the meantime. Rollins is supposed to be the heel, however the crowd treated him like a hero and it will probably be the same story in most cities. The worst thing about Vince’s utter pig-headedness about going with Reigns is that we have to listen to the same, “love him or hate him, the fans are passionate about him,” tripe we have been subjected to for over a decade now with Cena. I for one am not looking forwards for ten more years of the fans booing Reigns and the commentators telling us it doesn’t matter. (****¼)