Hello everyone. You've landed on Planet Kayfabe and it's the 'night of extreme' here in WWE. I usually write these reviews the Monday morning after a PPV. What a way to start my week having to relive this shit. Ugh... But... There's a lot to get into and I got a lot to say. The theme of this show is "bad booking". There's no other way to describe it. From the layout of the card, to some of the finishes including the main event that had a finish cheaper than some broad who never had both her legs in the same zip code at any given time. If this was meant to be "extreme" you all gotta get your googles checked over in WWE because this mostly felt like an episode of Raw only longer.
As usual I'm breaking down the good and the bad here and I'll sum it up with my grade at the end. Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it's Extreme Rules.
Strowman sacrifices a win to punish Owens some more:
I really had to dig hard, but I found something good to say. The signature spot of the show, perhaps. Something that was too high risk for this shitty event infront of this crowd. Kevin Owens handcuffed Strowman to the ropes, gave him the "suck it" gesture and started to climb the cage while taunting Braun. Obviously Braun would break free and chase Owens up the cage. The two would stand on top of the cage where Braun would grab Owens and Chokeslam him off the cage, through the announcer's table. This means Kevin Owens officially won the match, but Strowman being the monster he is was just happy torturing Owens. It is weird that the "hero" here cares more about killing a bastard than he does winning, but being a monster has gotten him over.
It was quite the spot and even more impressive since Owens was basically falling backwards. However, if this was New Japan the WWE Universe would be blowing up Twitter right now because golly gee that WWE style is just so safe you could throw babies off steel cages if you wanted to.
Bobby Lashley beats Roman Reigns clean:
I actually have somewhat mixed feelings about this because while Roman got his usual boos, the crowd didn't react much to Lashley until he actually won, so maybe they all just assumed that Roman was going to win. This match wasn't really that good, but it picked up at the end and what I liked is that there was a decisive finish.
The only question I have is how are they going to shoehorn Roman Reigns into the SummerSlam main event against Brock? Normally with any other wrestler I'd assume the match is going to just be Lashley vs Lesnar, but this is Roman Reigns. There's no logical way to put him in another title match, but that hasn't stopped them before. Roman has already lost to Brock twice this year in championship matches and now he just lost clean to Bobby Lashley. It's done.
Also, what kind of idiot does Roman look like? Gee, I wonder why no one cheers him. Dude gets rolled up by The Revival and then comes out the next week on Raw to bitch about losing, blaming it on having the "worst partner ever" and then loses to that guy on PPV... CLEAN! What argument does he have now? Nothing. Normally I'd think this guy is going turn heel, but again it's Roman Reigns.
AJ Styles vs Rusev:
I don't have much to say. It was a good match. Probably the best match on this show. The near falls were very good as well. Take notes John Cena and Roman Reigns. This is how to do hot near falls that people bite on. By building to them. Not just by hitting your finish out of nowhere 4 minutes into a match and then being surprised when guys kick out of them. Both guys came out of this match looking good. Rusev was made to look credible as a world title contender for perhaps the first time ever or at least in many years and in the end the champion was kept strong which is one of the few booking decision on this show I liked.
And now... THE BAD:
The card layout and stipulations:
The WWE advertised this as a "night of extreme" and if you tuned in to this PPV at the start of the main card, you didn't see your first "extreme" match until the cage match 5 matches into the card... and no I don't count the shark cage stipulation as "extreme" since it's pretty much just a normal match with a motherf***er hanging from the ceiling. Big f***ing deal.
One of the few extreme style matches on this show was the tag team tables match that took place to close out the pre-show between Sanity and The New Day. Even if they don't want every match to be "extreme" or hardcore or no disqualifications or whatever on this "night of extreme" why did fans have to wait so long for a single match that even resembled anything extreme that they wouldn't normally see on Raw, Smackdown or ANY OTHER PPV?!
The concept of themed PPV's just doesn't work. Take the name away and this was just a normal show. It wasn't any more extreme than Money in the Bank, where Owens also fell off something high. This is WWE in 2018. A PG company that is at least pretending to want to have a safe work environment. There's not a single fan that is expecting ECW style matches or even Attitude Era hardcore style matches so why even brand the show as such? Just call it something generic and do the same shit.
There were 12 matches including the pre-show and only 3 of them could be considered extreme and one of them wasn't even on the main card and I don't even count an Iron Man match as "extreme" because its just a normal match with normal rules only with a f***ing clock that was more over than the damn match was... which I will get to later.
Both women's matches:
Yes, WWE sure has made strides with the women's division, but of course both titles are anchored on the hot blonde chicks who can't wrestle that good but are hot so... they need a belt. Actually Alexa is hot. Carmella is fine... I guess. I don't know. Carmella is the kind of attractive where if she worked at Starbucks I would probably think she's a 10, but on TV she's like a 7.9
Anyway, they used smoke and mirrors to cover up both of them. On the Smackdown match, James Ellsworth comes out pretty suspect looking like the f***ing Michelin Man in his huge hoodie and veteran referee, Mike Chioda, doesn't even check the guy to see if he's clean. He should have because like one minute into the match Ellsworth starts dropping shit into the ring to help his lady. When all else failed, Ellsworth had a key...
Yeah... A key. What a clever way to escape the shark cage...? If your next question is did WWE add any pretext to let the fans think he obtained keys to the lock the answer is no. There was no backstage segment where Ellsworth snuck into the officials' locker room or anything like that. He just so happened to have the keys to this lock. Pretty lazy storytelling. Anyway Asuka lost after Carmella threw her into the cage. I hate this shit. Asuka shouldn't be losing in banana peel fashion in matches like this to people like Carmella, but she is because no one can be special in WWE. Everyone has to be at the same level. Whatever. I say the same shit every moth. It just pisses me off how they've booked Asuka on the main roster this year. Even if she wins the title at SummerSlam its like... so what? She pretty much HAS to win it now or else everyone is going to think she's an over hyped loser. This company f***ing sucks at booking babyfaces. Seriously. The worst I've seen during my time as a fan. Maybe you 50+ plus year olds can sell me on some bullshit during a Crockett down period but I don't care. This is WWE. They should be doing better but HEY stock is up! There's no financial incentive to care with major television networks willing to give these idiots billions of dollars to give to guys like Brock Lesnar who they barely book on the show and are trying to get him over as a heel with "go-away" heat... like WHAT?! Ugh! f***ing dipshits... yeah yeah I know. Where's my world-wide promotion. Please. If another competent company got a deal on a major network tomorrow this f***ing place would burn to the ground if they continued this type of shit.
On the Raw side there was an "Extreme Rules" match and of all the matches that should have had extreme rules on this card, this was not one. It was comical watching Nia and Alexa give each other the weakest shots ever. I mean, it's good to be safe but this match looked so fake and because they can't do head shots most of the weapon hits were this awkward strikes where they would change direction mid-swing to make sure they hit each other in a safe spot. So yeah, both women's title matches were duds in my opinion. The Ronda Rousey run-in, while pretty obsurd in terms of logic was fun. That's really all people were waiting for during this match anyway.
Kane written off with injury:
This isn't so much "the bad" as much as its "the sad". Election day for Glenn Jacobs is in 3 weeks on August 2. Assuming he wins, this could realistically be Kane's last wrestling match. He's 51 years old and while he's had a relatively healthy career all things considering, he is still 51 years old. Assuming Jacobs wins the election, he could be mayor for 4 years or he could be mayor for 24 years. We don't know, but I doubt as a sitting elected official he will put on a mask and wrestle for WWE. There's 3 weeks to election day. I'm not privy to what the current polls are in this election, but if they know its a bygone conclusion that he is going to win, then hopefully WWE sends off Kane in style instead of just a limp and a loss. Not in a match because apparently his injury is legitimate, but in a segment. The guy has done a lot over the years for the company.
The live audience in Pittsburgh, specifically the main event:
All night long the crowd was not that hot, which I don't blame them for. Actually I'm usually very "pro-fan" I guess you could say when it comes to crowd reactions. If WWE does a shit build to a PPV they deserve what they get. In Chicago for MITB Charles Robinson went on Twitter to bitch about the fans shitting on Roman Reigns and my response was, considering the 6 week build to MITB had some of the worst shows all year, the WWE should be bending over in front of Chicago screaming "thank you" after getting a much hotter crowd than they deserved.
However, my bone to pick here was after Bobby Lashley vs Roman Reigns was heavily rumored to close the show, the WWE decided, probably last minute to put the Iron Man match between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler on last. Did these fans just want something to shit on to entertain themselves or did they want a good main event? It came off as the former more than the latter here when the fans all match long were paying attention to clock counting down from 30 minutes. Every f***ing minute the fans counted down the final 10 seconds of each minute like it was the Royal Rumble and made a buzz sound. It was cute at first, but it went on the whole match and was pretty distracting. The guys in the ring seemed annoyed and it probably affected their work. There's no way to know for sure but I wouldn't be shocked if they decided to just walk through the match half way through since nothing they did prior stopped the fans from pay more attention to the f***ing clock than the guys in the ring.
I get its a long show and people get bored and this is what you get when fans sit through a 5 hour (pre-show included) show that was not very good, but this countdown bullshit wasn't so much fans protesting a segment or booing on a guy they don't like. They were just trolling for the sake of trolling. So, if anyone wants to complain about why guys like this aren't in the main event, there was a great opportunity here for a major city to rally behind this match and send WWE a message, but instead they wanted to entertain themselves like a bunch of children so much so that WWE had to take the clock away from the children which in true whiny brat child fashion the fans just kicked and screamed louder and did random count downs anyway and one of the biggest pops of the night came when the match reached the last 10 minutes and WWE put the clock back on the screen. What a load of shit.
Here's where I defend the fans a bit though... This show was rife with lame finishes intended to piss off the crowd. Its 5 hours long. Modern crowds don't take to Iron Man matches. What do you expect? They get bored easily and only pay attention in the final 5 minutes tops because they know that's where all the key action is going to happen. So, in a way I can't blame them for turning on what was an amazing effort by WWE to turn their hottest current feud that is supplying them their best main roster matches of the year into a boring fukkfest. I'm guessing this will be the last Iron Man match we will see for a long time unless WWE wants to kill another great program.
The finish of the main event:
If fans shit on this though, I can't complain. As I said earlier, I hated the layout and much of the booking on this show. The Intercontinental Championship match was no different. The match saw the heel rallying to make a comeback using heel tactics which is just shit psychology. Seth Rollins gained the first fall of the match on a clean Magistral Cradle 4 minutes into the match. He gained his 2 fall about 3 and a half minutes later. So, in the first 8 minutes of this match the babyface showed that he can beat the current champion twice. Now its up for the heel to come back. Oh the drama. Drew McIntyre gets involved and sacrifices a fall by disqualification to weaken Seth Rollins, so if you're keeping track at home the heel with "EVIL" in big letters on his trunks has to overcome a 0-3 deficit.
Drew McIntyre was then ejected from the arena even though he won a match to ensure that he could accompany Ziggler to the ring. The fans continue to entertain themselves and the match ends in a 4-4 draw that looked pretty bad. It was clear Seth Rollins didn't want to pull a Bob Holly and cover too early, but he hit his move and he took the slowest, most tedious 10 seconds ever to go for a pin and before the referee could even hit the mat to start a count the buzzer sounded and time was up.
The match was officially a draw and the crowd was pretty much dead. Dead until Pittsburgh's own Kurt Angle came out to say draws are bullshit so I'm re-starting this match even though it was a fair finish despite it being a dull one. So, the match re-started with sudden-death overtime rules meaning the first guy to gain a fall wins the match. Normally when you have a dull finish and go through all the fanfare of having the babyface authority figure come out to fix and injustice (even though nothing was unjust, the draw was fully legal) that means the babyface in the match is going to send the fans home happy and.... Oh Rollins got distracted by a returning McIntyre and ate a Zig-Zag for the 1-2-3 in about 15 seconds.
What the hell was that? I mean, both finishes sucked, but I'd almost rather them just stick with the draw because that just felt like they were stretching to kill time. This was not a great match. It wasn't bad, but it was not very good at all on top of the crowd killing it anyway. Last night on NoDQ Live someone asked Aaron Rift what the worst Iron Man match is. I think this one has to be in the conversation. I don't know the quality of every major promotion's Iron Man matches off the top of my head right now, but I can't think of one worse than this. If you can, leave a comment below. If I was using the 5 star scale, I'd rate this match about a 2.75/5 which means it was just average but as far as PPV main events go it was below average.
To wrap up this show once and for all here's some additional thoughts. I don't know what's up with the Hardy's but this has not been a great month or so for them in their respective roles. The word is Jeff Hardy is really beat up to the point where he's not even doing his signature Swanton Bomb at house shows, so he'll probably be taking time off. As for this US title rematch? It's probably just going to be another angle segment like this was. Its not like Shinsuke is going to drop the title after 2 days to a guy that's beat up. It sucks for Jeff because the fans are still into him and he was just out with an injury, but he's 40 years old and has worked this youthful high-flying style his entire career.
Matt Hardy ate the fall to lose the Raw Tag-Team Championships after a month of losing singles matches to the B-Team. After the match I wondered where Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt could go from here, but it seems like the team could be splitting up. WWE has done some cool things with the "Woken" gimmick but its nothing like it used to be nor are they reaching its full potential with the Wyatt pairing. They have this opportunity to do all this wild and crazy shit they normally don't do and instead they just give us foggy pre-taped promos and laughing. Well, the joke is old so it's probably better they both move on.
As I've said before in this piece and multiple times on Twitter over @PlanetKayfabe this was hardly a "night of extreme" as WWE advertised. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting blood, barbed wire and thumbtacks all show, but I do expect more than 3 f***ing matches on a 12 match card to had no-disqualification style stipulations and one of those 3 was on the pre-show and the other one was Alexa and Nia which is the one match that had no business being a hardcore match.
The show is also noted for a Randy Orton heel turn. At least it seems like that. It's not unlike Randy Orton as a babyface to attack babyfaces but he usually does it with the RKO, which is one of the most over moves in the company and poses to the crowd. Here he hit super babyface Jeff Hardy in the dick and just gave him the cold stare. There's a rumor that Randy is facing Nakamura at SummerSlam which means Randy is either an asshole tweener or they're going to give us one of those boring ass heel vs heel matches that always suck.
That's it for this show. On a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 4.5. For reference I gave Blacklash a 2/10 so this show wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good at all. In a vacuum it was a normal B-PPV but considering it is called "Extreme Rules" and advertised as a "night of extreme" there was very little as I noted throughout this review that was really that extreme. The match of the night for me was the WWE Championship match which in hindsight should have been the main event for multiple reasons. First being its the f***ing only world title on this show. Other reasons like it had a clean babyface finish and instead they chose to close the show with a f*** heel finish that everyone thought was the drizzling shits. I'd give it an even 4 stars. The worst match for me was Alexa vs Nia which which was all about the Ronda angle anyway but still it would get 1 star from me.
Thanks for reading this Extreme Rules edition of Planet Kayfabe. That's it for me, I'm K.C. here for NoDQ once again reminding you that even in the dark days of WWE you have a light to turn to here on Planet Kayfabe before going through the cycle all over again... Here's to better days, people. See you next time right here on NoDQ.