Date: July 15, 2018
Venue: PPG Paints Arena (Pittsburgh, PA)
This year’s Extreme Rules features a potential for the biggest RUSEV DAY of all as Rusev challenges AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Also on the show Seth Rollins tries to regain his Intercontinental Championship by taking on Dolph Ziggler in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match, Braun Strowman faces Kevin Owens in a Cage Match, and Team Hell No reunites to challenge The Bludgeon Brothers for the SMACKDOWN Tag Team Championship. All that plus a whole lot more, because this show is probably going 4 hours.
- WWE Champion: ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles
- WWE Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
- WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler
- WWE United States Champion: Jeff Hardy
- RAW Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
- SMACKDOWN Women’s Champion: Carmella
- RAW Tag Team Champions: Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
- SMACKDOWN Tag Team Champions: The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan)
- Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt [c] vs. The B-Team for the RAW Tag Team Championship (**1/2)
- Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin (**1/4)
- Ellsworth in a Shark Cage: Carmella [c] vs. Asuka for the SMACKDOWN Women’s Championship (*3/4)
- Jeff Hardy [c] vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (NR)
- Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (**1/2)
- The Bludgeon Brothers [c] vs. Team Hell No for the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (*)
- Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley (***)
- Extreme Rules: Alexa Bliss [c] vs. Nia Jax for the RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- AJ Styles [c] vs. Rusev for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
- 30 Minute Iron Man Match: Dolph Ziggler [c] vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
-After the usual competent opening video we go live to the crowd…where this is no pyro or ballyhoo. I miss pyro so much. The RAW commentary team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman are on tap for the opening contest.
RAW Tag Team Championship
‘Woken’ Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt [c] vs. The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
Hardy & Wyatt’s team is called ‘Deleters of Worlds’ but that’s stupid so let’s pretend that’s not a thing. I’ll accept it eventually. Dallas and Axel having an actual program is tremendous and I’m happy to see them on PPV, they’re already faring better post-Miz than Damien Sandow ever did. Ronda Rousey and her GIANT MONSTER HUSBAND are shown hanging out front row to pretend to watch the show until the Women’s Championship match.
Hardy takes it to Dallas the bell, a hammer throw to the corner sending Dallas crashing to the mat but only resulting in a one-count. Dallas bails to the floor to get some advice from Axel, the cooler head of the team. Hardy yells at Dallas to FIGHT HIM, Dallas doesn’t seem all that interested so in tags Wyatt. Dallas teases locking up but tags in Axel instead. Wyatt makes him pay with hard kicks in the corner and a short-arm clothesline. He drives a forearm to the back of Axel’s head and dementedly laughs in Dallas’ direction. Wyatt misses a corner splash and Axel follows up with a series of stomps; unfortunately he takes too long to gloat and gets dropped with a clothesline shortly after. Hardy tags in for some ‘DELETE’-a-long buckle shots. Hardy hits a series of corner clotheslines and catches a charging Axel with a boot. Hardy follows up with a middle rope elbowdrop for a two-count.
Axel escapes the Side Effect with a series of elbows and distracts the ref so Dallas can get his licks in as well. Dallas tags in and gets a two-count off a short-arm clothesline, then quickly transitions into a chinlock. Hardy almost escapes so Dallas drives him into the B-Team corner and Axel tags in, getting a near-fall off a DDT. Axel drives a knee into the spine and locks in an armbar. Hardy fights back with a Side Effect, and both dudes are down. Wyatt gets the hot tag and goes HAM on the B-Team. Dallas tries to attack a distracted Wyatt after Axel interferes, but Wyatt catches him and plants him into the mat with a Urinage. Hardy tags in and they go for the double Sister Abigail but Axel climbs the apron to distract them. Wyatt goes after Axel, Dallas sends Hardy into Wyatt (UH-OH), then hits him with a hanging spinning neckbreaker for the 1…2…3! THE B-TEAM DID IT!
The B-Team defeated Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt [c] to win the RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Bo Dallas pinned Hardy following a hanging neckbreaker (7:58)
- Eyyyy that’s a cool surprise to start the show. Hardy and Wyatt seem like they were fine champions (I missed a lot of their run), but only a MONSTER wouldn’t be excited to see Dallas and Axel finally get a real goddamn chance and push. Hardy getting knocked into Wyatt is bound to cause some issues going forward, so we may be going down that road again. Be ready. [**1/2]
Charly Caruso catches up with The B-Team on the entrance stage for some post-match comments. Dallas says the B in B-Team stands for ‘BEST’ and does his own ‘B-TEAM!’ chant. I love it.
-After a commercial we go backstage where Renee Young is standing by with RAW GM Kurt Angle. Angle says that their Universal Champion Brock Lesnar has been ducking defending his title in favor of UFC and issues an ultimatum: if Lesnar doesn’t show up tomorrow on RAW or agree to terms on his next championship defense, he will STRIP Lesnar of the Universal Championship. Crowd naturally pops huge at the idea of the latter. About time they do something about that situation.
Finn Balor vs. ‘Constable’ Baron Corbin
Man I stop watching for a few months and Corbin is not only a Constable or some nonsense but also finally shaved his head and embraced his baldness? I feel like I’ve been missing out. Corbin was appointed the Constable of RAW by Stephanie McMahon and has been throwing lots of shade at Balor for being small. Rude. Corbin makes JoJo reintroduce him as ‘Stephanie McMahon’s personally appointed Constable of RAW’ for extra heel heat.
Balor with a waistlock, Corbin backs him into the corner and takes control with a cheapshot elbow to the side of the head. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and connects with a basement dropkick, but Corbin’s size and weight advantage comes into play again with a series of corner clotheslines. He does know Finn Balor is the FIRST Universal Champ, right? Balor manages to escape, sending Corbin to the floor, but Corbin shows off some speed of his own and quickly rolls back in to lay him out with a clothesline. Balor goes for a springboard move, but gets caught with a hard right across the jaw for his troubles, and Corbin pulls him into the ring for a nonchalant cover and a two-count. Balor escapes a chinlock/armbar combo and catches him with a flying forearm. Corbin climbs to the middle buckle, Balor drops him with a step-up enzuigiri. He sets up for the Coup de Grace, but Corbin rebounds by pulling him off the buckles and hitting a chokeslam for the 1…2…Balor barely kicks out. Balor catches Corbin with a sling blade, Corbin responds with a Deep Six for the 1…2…Balor kicks out once more, frustrating the Constable. Corbin goes for a power bomb, Balor escapes and counters with a double stomp followed by a dropkick that drives him into the corner and to the mat. Balor heads to the top for another Coup de Grace attempt but again Corbin knocks him off. Corbin goes for the End of Days, Balor counters with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3!
Finn Balor defeated Baron Corbin via pinfall with an inside cradle (8:19)
- Good big man/little man wrestling match. Weird to see Balor, again a former Universal Champion, have to struggle his way through a match with BARON CORBIN but that’s where we’re at in 2018. Corbin has gotten way better than I remember him though, props to him. I liked his use of his size and even showing off a little speed as he tried to prove his point about Balor’s smallness being a detriment. He just got outsmarted. [**1/4]
-The SmackDown Live crew of Tom Phillips, Graves, and Byron Saxton take over. Their hype for the next match is interrupted by cutting to backstage, where The Bludgeon Brothers are mid-attack on Team Hell No. The Brothers use their COMICALLY OVERSIZED MALLETS to injure Kane’s leg, and now his ability to wrestle later tonight is in question. Dun dun duuuuuun.
SMACKDOWN Women’s Championship
Carmella [c] vs. Asuka
James Ellsworth is suspended above the ring in a shark cage for this one, preventing him from interfering on behalf of Carmella. Theoretically anyway, we’ll see what happens. He is wearing a very bulky hoodie after all.
Asuka goes in early with a series of kicks but Carmella counters a slam by using the hair. Ellsworth throws down a chain (I KNEW IT!) but Asuka stops her from using it and connects with a basement kick for a two-count. Carmella drives Asuka to the mat with a couple of boots and tries to use the chain but the ref stops it. The spray can from the lumberjack match gets introduced as well but not used (yet) and Asuka connects with a hip attack for two. Asuka applies the Asuka Lock but Carmella quickly gets her feet on the ropes to break it. Ellsworth STARTS PICKING THE LOCK as Asuka suplexes Carmella on the floor. Ellsworth OPENS THE DOOR and gets his goofy leg bandanas CAUGHT, causing him to hang upside down Asuka takes advantage, using him like a piñata. A host of officials come in and call for the cage to be lowered so they can free him but she scares them all off. Carmella finally resurfaces and sends her FACE-FIRST into the cage for the 1…2…3!
Carmella [c] defeated Asuka via pinfall to retain the SMACKDOWN Women’s Championship (5:15)
- Endearingly dumb. I found the whole thing entertaining but also depressing, because come on man Asuka deserves a little better than THAT. I wonder what’s next in terms of gimmicks for these two? Empty Arena Hell in a Cell match? [*3/4]
An angry Asuka beats up the ring crew, then lays into Ellsworth with German suplexes and a quick Asuka Lock.
-After a commercial for Table for 3 the commentators recap some stuff that’s already happened, including SanitY’s win over The New Day in a Tables Match on the Kickoff show. This is one way to pad the goddamn running time.
WWE United States Championship
Jeff Hardy [c] vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Despite being the champ Hardy is forced to enter first because Nakamura’s entrance/theme is way better. At least that’s how I’m framing it. I don’t think these two have ever wrestled, this could be pretty awesome. At the very least it’s NEW TO ME, DAMMIT.
While the ref is putting away the championship Nakamura LOW BLOWS THE EVERLOVING HELL out of Hardy’s family jewels. Brilliant. The ref asks if he wants to continue, Hardy like a dummy says yes, and as soon as the bell rings Nakamura belts him with the Kinshasa for the 1…2…3! NEW CHAMP!
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy [c] via pinfall with the Kinshasa to win the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (0:06)
- Match of the night. [NR]
Nakamura’s celebration is quickly interrupted by the returning Randy Orton. Nakamura quickly bails to the announce table to have a staredown with The Viper. Hardy gets to his feet, Orton trips him and STOMPS ON THE JEWELS SOME MORE. Anything you can do I can do betterrrrrr or whatever. I laughed but to be honest I’m 50000% uninterested in Orton/Nakamura.
-After the steel cage gets lowered, complete with theme music and MOOD LIGHTING, we cut to a video recapping the feud between Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens. Strowman does bully nonsense like wrecking Owens’ car and spearing him off the RAW stage in a port-o-potty. Who’s the heel in this again?
Steel Cage Match
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
I really don’t like how WWE turned Strowman into a giant toddler, but people seem to dig it so maybe I’m just an idiot. You can win by pinfall, submission, or escape in this one.
Bell rings and Owens immediately tries to escape but keeps getting pulled down. Strowman yells at Owens to fight him and stop being a coward. Owens connects with some rights and dodges a corner splash. Strowman shoves him away, Owens ducks a clothesline and runs into a midsection boot. Strowman hits nothing but steel off a charge, Owens with a cannonball in the corner. Owens follows up with a frog splash for the 1…nope that’s it. Just a one-count. Owens crawls to the door, Strowman pulls him away. Owens begs for mercy then hits a forearm, Strowman no-sells it and sledges Owens with one of his own. Ouch. Strowman bounces Owens’ body off the cage repeatedly as the crowd pops and chants ‘ONE MORE TIME’. Strowman kills time by waiting for Owens to get to his feet, then sets up for the Running Powerslam. Owens escapes and drops Strowman with a STONE COLD STUNNER! Love it. Owens crawls towards the door, once again Strowman grabs the ankle to prevent it then slams the cage door into Owens’ face. Cage matches in WWE are so dull nowadays. Owens sidesteps a corner splash and hits a couple of superkicks to bring him to one knee. Owens grabs HANDCUFFS OUT OF NOWHERE, and cuffs Strowman to the top rope. Instead of escaping right away Owens extract some revenge for all the childish nonsense he’s been the victim of, but Strowman is still a massive dude and drops him with a one-handed chokeslam. Owens tells Strowman to ‘SUCK IT’ and blows him a kiss, Strowman angrily BREAKS THE CUFFS and climbs to the TOP OF THE CAGE. He goozles Owens and TOSSES HIM OFF THE CAGE AND THROUGH A TABLE. AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE’S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF. Owens wins though technically, since he escaped right?
Kevin Owens defeated Braun Strowman by technically escaping the cage (8:08)
- Honestly who cares about the rest of the match when we got a COOL ASS SPOT like that to end it? WHAT DID OWENS DO TO MAKE TODDLER BRAUN SO MAD?!? He steal his milk and cookies or something? Jeeeez. Props to WWE for doing that spot in the same city as Foley’s original King of the Ring 1998 spots though. Match was whatever until the end, though Owens and Strowman did their best to keep it sorta entertaining. [**1/2]
Strowman thinks it’s super funny and walks off, then EMTs carry Owens away on a stretcher. Again who’s supposed to be the heel here?
SMACKDOWN Tag Team Championship
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) [c] vs. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane)
Daniel Bryan enters by himself following the attack on The Bludgeon Brothers earlier in the show. Looks like he’s going it alone. Like the plucky babyface he is Bryan doesn’t back down from the challenge, trying to use his speed to get the advantage but The Bludgeon Brothers are too big and too angry. THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and whatnot. Bryan dropkicks Rowan out to the floor and takes Harper down with a flying hurricanrana. Bryan locks in the YES! LOCK, Rowan pulls him out to the floor. Rowan sends Bryan into the steps and ROWAN SLAMS HARPER ON TOP OF HIM. Daniel Bryan is a pancake. Back in the ring Rowan splashes Bryan but only gets a two-count. The Bludgeon Brothers continue the 2-on-1 assault but Bryan keeps kicking out of their pinfall attempts, keeping the hope alive. Bryan sends Rowan to the floor and tries for a tope sucida but gets caught. Harper goes for one of his own, Bryan dodges and Harper hits his own partner.
Kane’s music hits and out he comes wearing a medical boot on his left leg. Bryan kicks Harper away and Kane gets the hot tag. Chokeslams to both Brothers of Bludgeon. Kane goes for a Tombstone but his leg gives out and Harper adds insult to injury by kicking it. Bryan tags in and drops Harper with a missile dropkick. Commence the YES! KICKS, but Rowan manages to get the tag behind Bryan’s back. He charges at Harper, Rowan catches him, sends him into Kane, then hits a standing spinkick. Harper gets the tag and hit their flying clothesline finisher for the 1…2…3.
The Bludgeon Brothers [c] defeated Team Hell No when Harper pinned Daniel Bryan following a top rope clothesline (8:17)
- It’s hard to see Daniel Bryan do stuff like this and not get irrationally angry at WWE for ONCE AGAIN squandering what they have in him. Bryan showed great babyface fire, as he always does, but I just wasn’t into this one. I wanted to care, I really did. [*]
-Roman Reigns gets a surprise pep-talk from The B-Team, who says he can be part of their team too if he beats Bobby. Reigns just stares at them instead of accepting the offer of friendship, and walks off because he’s too SERIOUS BUSINESS to hang with fun people right now. Reigns/Lashley is next! I guess them there dirtsheets were wrong about what was going on last.
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
These two hate each other because they’re both BIG DOGS who want to own a YARD or some nonsense. I don’t really have any stake in this one, I just hope it doesn’t suck. This PPV is all pretty much C-level matches at best so far and I’ve probably been generous since I haven’t watched a PPV in a minute.
First lock-up ends in a stalemate and ref separation. Reigns grabs a waistlock, Lashley reverses and throws him to the mat in a show of power. Lashley with a wristlock into another waistlock throw, showing off his amateur skillz. Lashley leapfrogs Reigns, Reigns responds with a right hand of his own. Reigns continues the offense with basic stuff, gets a two-count. Reigns goes full-heel by choking Lashley on the middle rope then follows up with a Drive By for a two-count. Reigns with a chinlock, Lashley tries to fight out and gets tossed to the floor for his troubles. Crowd shows their excitement by chanting ‘RUSEV DAY’. Lashley catches Reigns with a kick, Reigns tries to whip him into the steps but Lashley jumps on top so he belts him in the back with a forearm instead. Noice. Smort. Into the steps for real goes Lashley as Reigns continues stalking his prey. Graves thought this would have been more a fight. Dude, same. Reigns tries to use the steps, Lashley powers them out of his hands and connects with a clothesline. WHERE DID LASHLEY’S SUPER COOL AND NOT LAME AT ALL HEADBAND GO? Lashley mounts some offense but runs into a big boot and Reigns follows up with a leaping clothesline. Reigns charges, Lashley counters with a powerslam for the 1…2…Reigns kicks out. Reigns with a series of forearms to the side of the head, Lashley hits him out of nowhere with a crossbody and immediately heads to the top. Lashley measures Reigns and connects with a flying double axhandle. AND THE CROWD GOES MILD.
Reigns picks Lashley up in a fireman’s carry, Lashley grabs the top rope so he fireman carry slams him out to the floor instead. YIIIIIKES. Dude’s body bounced against the concrete and everything.
Lashley beats the count but eats a legdrop on his way back in and Reigns covers for the 1…2…nope. Lashley catches Reigns with a spinebuster followed by a delayed vertical suplex to show off his power for the 1…2…Reigns gets his shoulder up just in time. Lashley gets in a 3-point stance and charges, Reigns belts him with a surprise SUPERMAN PUNCH for the 1…the 2…the LASHLEY KICKS OUT and immediately rolls to the floor to create separation. Lashley leans against the announce table, Reigns runs around to spear him but Lashley catches him and throws him into and over the German announce table with a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Lashley rolls Reigns in and heads to the top but gets SUPERMAN PUNCHED off. Reigns jaws about it being HIS YARD and charges for a spear, LASHLEY CATCHES HIM WITH HIS OWN SPEAR for the 1…2…3!
Bobby Lashley defeated Roman Reigns via pinfall with a spear (14:54)
- Oh snap, I thought Reigns was going to get the nod heading into SummerSlam. Is Lashley going to get the shot at Lesnar instead? That would be…fine. This match was a little slow but had some fun spots, and I like Lashley beating Reigns with the latter’s own finishing move. That was cool. Does this make up for the dumb crap Lashley was doing with Sami Zayn like a month prior? Ehhhhh we’ll see. [***]
RAW Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss [w/ Mickie James] [c] vs. Nia Jax [w/ Natalya]
These two have been feuding for like fifteen years, but they work well together so I’m over it. Most of the focus is on Ronda Rousey anyway, who was shown at ringside before they launched into the feud recap video just in case you forgot. Natalya looks RIDICULOUS tonight and I love it.
James has a kendo stick and tries to give it to Bliss but Jax blocks the path. Jax chases Bliss around the outside of the ring, Bliss hits her with the stick but Jax no-sells it and breaks it across her knee. Bliss keeps introducing weapons, Jax keeps snatching them and throwing them into the ring. Bliss goes running again, Jax catches up and bodychecks her former best friend. Back in the ring Jax throws Bliss onto a chair, missing the trash can which I think was the attempt. Bliss tries to hit her with the chair, Jax rips it from her hands and drops her with a headbutt. Jax sets up a trash can and gorilla presses Bliss stomach-first onto the aluminum. Bliss bails from the ring, Jax kicks James away and rolls her opponent back into the ring. Bliss beats Jax down with a trash can lid as well as the dented can she became quite intimate with a minute ago. Bliss wedges a chair in the corner then hits Jax with a dropkick, getting a two-count that she protests. Jax responds to some trash talk with a hard forearm, the chair getting repositioned to the bottom buckle. Jax charges and SURPRISE SURPRISE hits said chair when Bliss sidesteps her. James climbs the apron to give her a trash can lid but Natalya pulls her off and a brawl ensues. Bliss attacks Natalya from behind and sends her in the barricade. Ronda Rousey can’t take it anymore and attacks James, sending her into the German announce table. Rousey stops Bliss from running off but gets hit from behind with a kendo stick from a suddenly awake James. Jax catches Bliss’ crossbody attempt and sets up for a Samoan Drop, but James hits her from behind with a chair. Bliss DDTs Jax on another chair for the 1…2…3.
Alexa Bliss [c] defeated Nia Jax via pinfall following a DDT on a chair to retain the RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (7:23)
- Bliss rocked here as usual, playing the chickenshit heel better than most folks do nowadays in any wrestling company. The Rousey involvement was inevitable, but fun as well. She’s straight money for WWE and the women’s division as a whole. I liked this one, even if Jax was pretty much an afterthought. [***]
-The SmackDown crew are back out for the next match, so it looks like the Iron Man match will be closing the show. Interesting turn of events. Phillips announces that Hardy/Nakamura will meet once again on this Tuesday’s episode. Maybe it’ll last longer than 6 seconds. Maybe not. Wrestling is crazy like that. Anyway ONTO THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH.
‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles [c] vs. ‘The Bulgarian Brute’ Rusev [w/ Aiden English]
HELL YEAH. Too bad this isn’t the proper main event but I’m still jazzed Rusev is finally getting a real World Title match. Since Cesaro will NEVER GET THE SHOT HE DESERVES it’s a nice backup prize.
Styles targets the leg in the opening, looking to weaken it for the Calf Crusher. Rusev catches a kick and clubs Styles to the mat for a one-count. Styles goes back to the limb-based kicks as the crowd does the dueling chant thing. Styles charges, Rusev dumps him on the mat and covers for another one-count. Rusev connects with a pair of snap suplexes followed by an elbowdrop but still only gets a one-count. Styles dodges a second elbowdrop and once more we get the kicks to the leg, but Rusev puts the stops to that with a high-elevation backdrop. Rusev does some targeting of his own, burying forearms into Styles’ back to weaken it for the Accolade. Rusev finally upgrades to a two-count following a belly-to-back suplex, so he’s making progress. And now it’s time for a BEARHUG, so go grab a snack we’ll be here awhile. Styles escapes and gets a knee to the gut for his troubles. Rusev seats Styles on the top turnbuckle, but Styles escapes a superplex attempt and sends him out to the floor with a kick to the leg. Styles waits for Rusev to get his bearings, then takes them away with a slingshot Phenomenal Forearm. Styles connects with a reverse DDT for the 1…2…Rusev ain’t done yet. Styles goes for the Calf Crusher, Rusev hangs onto the ropes to block it then seats him on the top buckle and sends him crashing to the apron with a hard right. Rusev boots Styles to the floor and goes for a tope suicida but Styles stops it with a forearm.
Styles rolls through a springboard 450 but runs into a right hand. Rusev escapes a Calf Crusher, Styles escapes the Accolade, Styles gets hit with a kick during a basement forearm attempt. Styles goes for the Calf Crusher once again, and this time he gets it! Rusev fights through the pain and English pushes the bottom rope closer so Rusev can grab it and force a break. Styles chases after English and runs into an overhead belly-to-belly from Rusev! Rusev rolls Styles into the ring and hits the MACHKA KICK for the 1…2…STYLES KICKS OUT. Rusev is both devastated and still favoring his left leg. Rusev is one of the best at selling injuries. Styles dodges a second Machka Kick and connects with a Pele kick of his own. Styles charges, Rusev with a SUPERKICK for the 1…2…STYLES KICKS OUT AGAIN so Rusev tries for the Accolade but can’t due to his hurt leg. Rusev tries to fight through and manages a half-Accolade but Styles gets to the ropes to force a break. While the ref is distracted English rips off the top turnbuckle, exposing the steel. Rusev fires himself up and tries another Accolade, Styles slips out and dodges a splash, Rusev sending himself into the STEEL. Styles follows up with a springboard 450 for the 1…2…RUSEV KICKS OUT. Styles belts English with a baseball slide then blasts Rusev with the Phenomenal Forearm for the 1…2…3!
AJ Styles [c] defeated Rusev via pinfall with the Phenomenal Forearm to retain the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP (15:34)
- I hope Rusev gets more shots like this because this match was, pun intended?, PHENOMENAL. A great back and forth contest that had me on the edge of my seat. In my brain I knew they probably wouldn’t end Styles’ reign on a non-big 5 PPV but I got caught up in the drama. Styles is a MASTER at the last-second kickout. Rusev looked tremendous here, only losing because of some miscalculations, I just hope he doesn’t turn on Aiden English because of this. Stuff happens, stay friends forever. This is almost worth the fact this took place 3034340930323 hours into the show. [***1/4]
-Charly Caruso proves to be the queen of jerks by breaking Seth Rollins’ concentration leading into the main event for a promo. Unnecessary words leading into the match but hey whatever.
30 Minute Iron Man Match
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler[c] [w/ Drew McIntyre] vs. Seth Rollins
I think this is only the second time an Intercontinental Championship match has closed out a PPV, the first happening back at SummerSlam 1992. Crazy. Speaks a lot to how well the Ziggler/Rollins feud has been going though; they made a secondary championship matter so much that it’s headlining a show as opposed to being a Kickoff show afterthought.
Chain wrestling to start, Ziggler slows it down by forcing rope breaks. Rollins with a roll-up but Ziggler kicks out at one. Ziggler tries a roll-up, Rollins slides through and rolls him back up with a backslide for another one-count. Rollins continues trying to get quick pins with various roll-ups but Ziggler keeps kicking out until he finally bails to the floor to put a stop to it. Rollins gets sent to the apron and jumps over Ziggler but gets caught with a right hand. Rollins escapes a neckbreaker and counters with a Buckle Bomb into a cradle for the 1…2…3! Rollins: 1 Ziggler: 0
Rollins connects with a belly-to-back suplex and heads to the top, Ziggler rolls to the floor so Rollins switches gears and hits a slingshot plancha instead. OH NO THE CROWD IS CHANTING ALONG TO THE LAST TEN SECONDS IN THE MINUTE AND PRETENDING IT’S THE ROYAL RUMBLE. Kill me now. Rollins gets distracted for a moment with McIntyre and Ziggler takes advantage to go on the offensive. Rollins escapes a suplex and catches Ziggler with a pair of chops. Rollins dodges a Fameasses and they roll one another up to no avail. Ziggler escapes a buckle bomb but eats a CURB STOMP for the 1…2…3. Rollins: 2 Ziggler: 0
Rollins jokingly sets up for a Superkick to throw shade at Ziggler and gets attacked by McIntyre, leading to another fall for Seth! Rollins: 3 Ziggler: 0
McIntyre continues the assault, beating the hell out of Rollins until the ref kicks him out from the ringside area. McIntyre agrees…after he hits a Claymore. McIntyre leaves, telling Ziggler to finish this and Ziggler covers for the 1…2…3. Rollins: 3 Ziggler: 1
Ziggler measures Rollins and hits a SUPERKICK for the 1…2…3. Rollins: 3 Ziggler: 2
Ziggler once again measures Rollins, tuning up the band, but Rollins counters with a roll-up for the 1…2…Ziggler kicks out and throws Rollins into the post followed by a ZIG ZAG for the 1…2…3. Rollins: 3 Ziggler: 3
Crowd chants about a ball or something I think because Pennsylvania is the worst, and Rollins leaps over Ziggler before catching him with a sling blade. Rollins clotheslines Ziggler to the floor. Rollins teases a tope suicida, Ziggler catches him with a forearm then rolls him up with his feet on the ropes for the 1…2…3! Ziggler: 4 Rollins: 3
Ziggler keeps an eye on the clock, locking Rollins in an armbar to kill some time and wear his opponent down. Rollins escapes so Ziggler transitions into a front chancery. THIS PITTSBURGH CROWD IS STILL DOING THE STUPID ROYAL RUMBLE THING. I hate wrestling fans. Rollins fights out, Ziggler flips out of a suplex and applies a backpack sleeper, bringing Rollins to the mat. Rollins gets to his feet and tries to force a break with a corner splash but Ziggler quickly jumps back on. Rollins drives Ziggler into the corner and finally the hold is broken. Rollins sends Ziggler to the floor and this time his tope suicida is successful. Rollins rolls Ziggler into the ring, Ziggler quickly rolls out like the smart man he is, only to eat a second tope suicida. WORTH IT THOUGH. Back in the ring Rollins finally gets a lateral press but Ziggler kicks out just in time. TEN MINUTES REMAINING IN THE MATCH, TEN MINUTES.
Rollins catches Ziggler with a blockbuster out of nowhere for the 1…2…Ziggler kicks out! The crowd start cheering something not happening in the match and doing ‘YES!’ chants. These poor guys, jesus Christ. Wrestling fans don’t deserve wrestling. Rollins heads to the top, Ziggler dropkicks him off and to the floor. Rollins makes it in before the count and hits a ripchord knee for the 1…the 2…the ZIGGLER KICKS OUT. Ziggler goes for a superplex, Rollins fights him off with a hard headbutt followed by a FROG SPLASH for the 1…2…ZIGGLER KICKS OUT AGAIN with six-plus minutes remaining. Rollins drives Ziggler out of the ring with a baseball slide, then quickly brings him back and seats him on the top turnbuckle. Ziggler fights him off, Rollins quickly jumps back up and hits the suplex, then rolls right into the Falcon Arrow for the 1…2…ZIGGLER KICKS OUT. OH SNAP. Four minutes remain in the match, four minutes.
Ziggler dodges the Curb Stomp and cradles Rollins for the 1…2…kickout. Rollins with a slingshot into the post and a roll-up for the 1…2…3! Rollins: 4 Ziggler: 4
Less than three minutes remain in the contest and Rollins locks in the SHARPSHOOTER. Ziggler struggles and gets close to the ropes so Rollins switches up and goes into the Crossface, moving him away from the ropes. Rollins sees it’s not working and tries for another Curb Stomp but Ziggler dodges and rolls out of the ring. Ziggler tries to leave the ring altogether (which would cause him to LOSE), Rollins rolls him in and Ziggler hits the Fameasser for the 1…2…ROLLINS KICKS OUT. 40 seconds remain. Rollins counters a superkick with one of his own followed by the Curb Stomp for the 1…TIME’S UP. Rollins: 4 Ziggler: 4
Dolph Ziggler [c] and Seth Rollins fought to a draw; Ziggler retains the WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (30:00)
Ziggler tries to leave but is interrupted by GM Kurt Angle, who announces that we’re going into SUDDEN DEATH.
Sudden Death Overtime
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler [c] vs. Seth Rollins
Ziggler rolls into the ring, Drew McIntyre shows up and distracts Rollins, and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for the 1…2…3! I LOVE IT!
Dolph Ziggler [c] defeated Seth Rollins 5 falls to 4 to retain the WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (30:13)
- Truly awful and embarrassing crowd aside, this was a tremendous match and a great way to cap off the night. I like they filled it full of falls as opposed to doing the 1-0 thing from WrestleMania XII and having McIntyre beat up Rollins early so Ziggler could catch up was brilliant. The Sudden Death ending ruled as well, with Ziggler stealing the win in hilarious HILARIOUS fashion. If you watch it on mute it’ll be worth your time. [***1/2]
Sadboy Rollins makes sadboy faces as the show concludes.
Overall Thoughts: These PPVs are way too overstuffed and overlong, so while Extreme Rules overall was watchable it was marred by the feeling that it just was NEVER going to end. Luckily it picked up towards the end with the final three matches being good to great, and not even a crappy crowd could kill that buzz. Overall I think it’s a solid show but make liberal ass use of that fast forward button and the mute button once the main event starts.
- Match of the Night: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
- Moment of the Night: Kevin Owens does his best Mick Foley circa King of the Ring 1998 impression