Extreme Rules, Sunday’s WWE pay-per-view, continued the “New Era” of wrestlers and storylines.
I watched it on its second airing on the WWE Network (for only $9.99). Despite having co-workers who are fans and received real-time results, I ducked and avoided all spoilers.
Days before, I made a bet with a co-worker about the outcome of the AJ Styles – Roman Reigns match. “I would bet that AJ Styles is going to win the belt,” I blurted out.
“I’d take you up on that bet,” my co-worker replied. And the bet was on. Five cents. AJ Styles, the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Dammit, I lost five cents.
Before we get to the main event, let’s talk about the rest of the matches.
The Kickoff Show is, as typical, a whole lot of talk, practically none of which I actually listen to. These pre-shows are akin to that of any sports game. Thankfully, the WWE pre-shows contain matches and in-ring activity.
The Dudley Boys showed up, receiving an “ECW” chant. They talk smack about the “new era” superstars and New Jersey — the location of Extreme Rules — to which Big Cass emerges. This guy work the mic like a pro and gets the crowd behind him. He then dominates the Dudleys in the ring.
The Miz cuts the best promo I’ve ever seen by him. Presented as a heartfelt speech from a movie with inspirational music, he decides to do a second take, this time with more intensity.
Question and Answer with Rusev (and Lana). Rusev is speaking with better English than ever before. Rusev and Lana are a comedy duo. Love it.
A promo for AJ vs Roman Reigns gets me psyched. I am biased toward AJ and “The Club.” I enjoyed the heck out of their time as part of the Bullet Club in New Japan and ROH. My thoughts during this promo are “Please don’t break up The Club tonight.” Everybody knows that it’s going to happen eventually, but it’s too soon and I don’t need the heartbreak.
Dolph Ziggler loses to Baron Corbin. Good. Can Corbin move on to better feuds now? He’s only the winner of this year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Winning said battle royal is supposed to signify a push or elevation.
Hooray! Main show!
Club members Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows face the Usos. I am a mark for the Bullet Club, these dudes in particular. Even when they eventually turn on AJ Styles, I’m still going to mark out for them.
This match is Tornado Rules, meaning all four of them are fighting at the same time. The fans are behind Anderson and Gallows. The athleticism is strong from all of the competitors. Anderson and Gallows win, which is a great start for me. What’s next!
As I expected, Rusev defeats Kalisto to win the United States Championship. During his finisher, the Accolade, Rusev bends Kalisto’s back like he was a rag doll. Does this signal the return of a dominant Rusev?
It’s The New Day, and they remain the W…W…E…World…Tag…Team…Champions! Glad I did not bet on this match, because my expectation was the Vaudevillains winning.
Fatal 4-Way for the Intercontinental Championship. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Cesaro are going to be top driving stars for the WWE five years from now. In the meantime, their athleticism and unique personalities serve to solidify their spots in the company. And The Miz may be the best heel in the business. He is the only true heel in the company: the fans wholesale boo him and he plays up to that reaction. Heck, he’s been “The Miz” since his days on The Real World when he walked around with his own championship belt. Professional heel. I love it.
Blown away by this match. Zayn and Owens continue to establish what will undoubtedly be a career-long feud. They’ll go from being blood enemies to brothers and enemies once again. Ten years from now, we will look back and consider theirs to be one of the best feuds in WWE history.
Cesaro will be Intercontinental Champion in due time. For now, The Miz retains. I can’t wait to hear him gloat on RAW about his victory.
How do you top a Fatal 4-Way? Have an Asylum Match between Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose. This match is in a cage. There are weapons: nunchucks, a kendo stick, a leather strap, a mop, barbed-wire 2×4….and is that the potted plant (“Son of Mitch,” according to JBL)?
There’s a bag of tacks. I cringe as the tacks end up in Jericho’s back. Ambrose then hits Dirty Deeds on Jericho, again onto the tacks, for the pinfall victory. After the match, Jericho continues to sell the pain of having tacks in his back and arm. He’s a pro.
Charlotte, Women’s Champion, faces Natalya. No Ric Flair at ringside. Both women are two of the finest female athletes in the company. Natalya executes a fine Sharpshooter. Just when it looks like Ric Flair is actually coming down to the ring, we find that’s it actually Dana Brook in disguise. This distraction helps Charlotte get the upper hand and lock in the Figure 8 for the victory.
Time for the main event!
AJ! The fans cheer. Roman! The fans still boo the hell out of him. When he loses tonight, he must turn full-fledged heel like he was in NXT.
AJ and Roman trade high-flying maneuvers. They’re fighting in the crowd, all the way to the pre-show set. Phenomenal Forearm!
They’re fighting on the German announce table. AJ springboards from the barricade, but Roman counters with a backdrop through the next table! That spot looked amazing, but fans are chanting, “You still suck” at Roman. He can’t catch a break from the WWE fans.
Roman hits a Razor’s Edge into a Senton Powerbomb on Styles and the fans chant “you still suck” again.
Hurricanrana by Styles! Roman catches Styles and swings him into the LED board on the ring, then the barricade and powerbombs Styles through the Spanish announce table! It’s a great sequence, but the fans are chanting once again…
Reigns tries to spear Styles through the barricade, but AJ moves out of the way. Breather time for both competitors.
Phenomenal Forearm? Superman Punch! Spear outside of the ring! And now Anderson and Gallows are in the ring! Boot of Doom! Styles can’t get the 3-count. Now the Usos are in the ring. They superkick everyone in The Club. Reigns for the cover, but he can’t get the 3-count.
Styles hits the Styles Clash! Still can’t get the 3-count. Styles Clash onto a steel chair! Usos save Reigns from a pinfall. AJ Styles picks up the steel chair and wallops Reigns with it. He strikes the Usos repeatedly. He hits Reigns multiple times. The fans chant “YES” with each impact.
The Bullet Club mark in me is in heaven.
AJ Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm one more time, but is met with a mid-air spear. Pinfall!
Aaaaand I lose five cents.
The winner, and still WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns. Not the outcome I wanted, but this has been an exceptional showing for both men. Styles is a bloody professional. Roman looks great, despite fan reaction.
Wait a minute.
SETH ROLLINS! SETH ROLLINS IS BACK! THE FUTURE HAS RETURNED!
He’s made a statement, laying Roman Reigns out with a pedigree. Seth holds the World Championship up high. The undefeated champion makes his message clear: he had to vacate the title last year due to injury; he was never defeated and is here to Reclaim the title that is rightfully his.
After his injury, Rollins created a mantra for himself: Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. And here he is, back in action earlier than expected.
What an ending to a highly enjoyable PPV. Overall, I enjoyed this one more than most of WrestleMania. Everybody put in their all for this show. I am hyped for Monday’s RAW.