Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura def. The New Day (C) – SmackDown Tag Team Championships (Tables Match)
Normally, I’m not a fan of tables matches because your range of creativity is kind of limited. I mean, it’s a tables match. You win by putting someone through a table. There’s not many creative and fun ways to do that unless you do some high, insane spots. So all four men had a bit of a challenge in front of them.
I do have to commend them for keeping up the pace and doing what they could, and it actually turned out to be rock solid. The New Day is always your safe choice if you want a serviceable opener, because they have the formula pretty much down pact now. This was the match that most likely would have had a title change, and I’m glad they pulled the trigger on Cesaro and Nakamura. Solid opener. ***1/4
Bayley (C) def. Nikki Cross – SmackDown Women’s Championship
This match went a lot longer than I had anticipated, but I thought these two did a solid job overall. I never thought Nikki and Bayley had the greatest of chemistry, but there was some good near-falls here, and the finish was clever, protecting Nikki and having Bayley retain the title.
Alexa was also pretty useless here. I mean, how was she not able to see Sasha handing Bayley the weapon. Why else are you out there? Anyways, while the match was a bit long, I actually enjoyed it towards the end. While I never thought Nikki had a chance here, they could have fooled me.
Seth Rollins def. Rey Mysterio – Eye for an Eye Match
Okay, so, um, this was certainly a thing that happened, wasn’t it? Let’s start by addressing the stipulation. We all knew it was ridiculous. There’s no way that someone’s eyeball was going to be extracted from its socket. I mean, it’s one thing for Randy Orton to make Jeff Hardy’s earlobe into spaghetti inside a Hell In a Cell match, but goring someone’s eye would not only be difficult to watch, but difficult to simulate in a wrestling match.
So, before this match it was reported that CGI was going to be used to simulate the event. Did any of you see CGI here, because I sure didn’t? Unless Rey covering his eye and the referee saying “it’s out” is CGI, then I guess they did a good job there.
Let’s address the action first. This match made me a little sad because it made me imagine what these two could have done in a straight up match for twenty minutes. Seeing them move around and about, flipping each other and doing all sorts of crazy moves was too much to ask. Instead, the focus was on making sure who could jab the other’s eye out.
The action itself was serviceable, but the stipulation dragged this down so much for me. In addition to that, the finish, while clever in certain ways, just didn’t make it worth it for me. I also found it hilarious that the referee was constantly looking at both men’s faces all match long to check to see if there eye was still intact. I mean, what exactly constituted winning? The eye completely falling out of the socket? Because even if Seth pressed Rey’s eye against the corner of the steel steps, the only thing it would have done is put it in the same condition it was before. Just badly injured. And the least they could have done is simulate intense bleeding…..although I didn’t need to see Seth throw up.
Overall, I’m not sure where to go with this one. I’d call this more unnecessary than bad, but I wouldn’t watch it again. ***
Sasha Banks def. (???????) Asuka – RAW Women’s Championship
So, I guess regular finishes were too difficult tonight? So we have a bait and switch United States Championship match that doesn’t happen and ends with MVP declaring himself the champion when he’s not officially the champion. And then we have this match which ends with Bayley all of a sudden assuming the role of a referee, counting a pinfall, goading the bellkeeper to ring the bell, the sound people playing Sasha’s music and Sasha roaming around like she…won?
Before we get into that nonsensical finish, let’s first address the match. It’s probably the best match on the card thus far, and will probably be for the night. Sasha and Asuka have such chemistry. We saw it in the tag team match that saw Sasha pin Asuka the other week. The two know each other’s tendencies, and their reversals make things so entertaining.
One thing that I didn’t like, though, was Sasha reversing the top rope German. It reminded me of the top rope spot she did with Charlotte at Summerslam four years ago. That spot is inches from becoming incredible dangerous should something go wrong and I believe it was an unneccessary spot that provided unnecessary risk. What made it riskier for me was the fact that Sasha was on the top rope while Asuka was holding her from the second rope. Usually with spots like that, you have better leverage with both men somewhat on the same level, but Sasha was so much higher. If the timing was off even a little, that’s her neck right there.
Regardless of such, the match was beautiful to watch. Unfortunately, it was heavily bogged down by the awful finish, which we can address now. This has Vince’s booking written all over it, but I just don’t know if it’s Vince McMahon or Vince Russo. Regardless of such, it’s stupid. First of all, what’s the problem in doing a regular finish here? Seriously. Is it really that hard just to have a decisive winner?
The entire concept is also just nonsensical. I mean, I’ve heard of Stone Cold knocking Triple H and Shane McMahon out and forcing Shane’s hand to count to 3 to have Vince win the WWF Championship from Triple H, but it’s another to have someone’s tag team partner get special powers just by putting on a referee outfit. Worst of all, we don’t even know if the result is official and it will probably end up getting overturned or contested.
I don’t want to take away anything from these two women, but this match would have been so much better if not for that shitty outcome. ****
Drew McIntyre (C) def. Dolph Ziggler – WWE Championship (Extreme Rules For Ziggler Only)
Before I analyze the match, I’d like to give some credit to Dolph Ziggler. Finally, a heel who is smart with the stipulation that they get to pick. For that matter, anyone who gets to pick a stipulation always picks a stipulation that both men can use to their advantage. Instead of Dolph just saying it’s an Extreme Rules match, he says it’s Extreme Rules but only for him. Drew has to play this out as if it was a regular match while Dolph gives himself an unfair advantage. You know, like a heel. While we all knew nothing Dolph would do would defeat Drew, it was actually great to see a heel act like a heel.
The match itself was solid, nothing amazing. As soon as Dolph announced the stipulation, we knew that Drew would take a lot of punishment only for him to overcome everything and have him defeat him. I don’t have much to say outside of that. Dolph was always just a sideshow and a bump in the road for Drew’s probable clash with Orton at Summerslam. This was a fun little something for the time being. ***
Braun Strowman (C) def. Bray Wyatt – Universal Championship (Swamp Fight)
What the hell was this? I’ve given WWE credit for the cinematic performances that they’ve put on during the pandemic era of professional wrestling, but this was just not it. Let’s address many of the problems here. First of all, this was a Swamp FIGHT. How much fighting did you see in this? Half of this entire spiel was basically Bray interrogating Braun and cutting a promo. This all could have been done to build up to the actual thing.
In addition, it wasn’t made clear how this match was to be won. Did Braun win by swampification? I assumed Braun won because when he kicked Bray into the swamp, he said it’s over and the credits showed on the lower right hand of the screen. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known who won the match. In addition to that, is Braun, like, dead? Bray got him back in and met with The Fiend, which was what Braun was precisely trying to avoid to begin with. So what’s the deal?
There was a proper way to do this, but because it was so unorganized and without direction, it made it an unengaging and boring mess. This match would get a DUD, but I’ll give it a quarter of a star because of the Alexa Bliss bit. I never thought horny Braun Strowman would be part of a Swamp Fight, but I do give WWE props for playing upon their past relationship in the Mixed Tag Team Tournament. Bliss reminded me of the sirens in The Odyseey. I’m convinced that’s exactly what it was. But anyways, this was just not good at all. We could have easily skipped this from the Money In The Bank match and just go straight to the match with The Fiend at Summerslam. This added nothing and proved to be a monotonous way to lead to the predictable end of The Fiend returning. Bad, bad, bad. 1/4*
Unfortunately, The Horror Show at Extreme Rules was a horror show, but not in a good way. It’s a shame because the in-ring stuff was actually mostly solid throughout the night, but there’s more to enjoying a PPV than just what you see in the ring. Poor booking decisions, bait and switches, unnecessary filler and that horrible Swamp Fight segment all makes for arguably WWE’s worst PPV showing of the year.
I can’t in good conscious recommend this show. The Sasha/Asuka match was reaching awesome levels, but the finish left a sour taste in my mouth. We leave this PPV with two unofficial champions (MVP/Sasha Banks) declaring themselves champions, not knowing if the Universal Champion is dead or just somehow randomly survived the encounter and just nothing worthwhile. So with that, The Horror Show at Extreme Rules is a DUD of a PPV and gets a thumbs down. Rollins throwing up is a perfect way to describe the show.