Yo yo yo, wrestling fandom. Extreme Rules has certainly sneaked up on us, hasn’t it? I had no idea it was this Sunday, which is probably fitting testament to the build, I guess. So, considering that this is the go-home show, let’s expect great things in the face of experience and cynicism. Onwards!
Pyro, ballyhoo and a cheering crowd open the show, along with WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, who makes his way down to the ring, flanked by Cruiserweight Security. So, we’ve added a third stipulation to his already-stipulation-heavy match, which succeeded in giving away the ending of the match this Sunday and has made my enjoying it even less likely. Which is almost impressive, because the cage and no-RKO rules had already done their good work in that regard.
Seth says isn’t Randy Orton clever. I feel like there’s a good eleven years’ worth of evidence that no, Randy Orton is not clever. The fact that Seth is considered a smart guy relative to the other wrestlers frankly makes WWE seem like an anti-intellectual organisation. Rollins says that, this Sunday, Orton is banned from using the RKO. Seriously, dude: you could have picked any stipulation; you could have made Orton drink a litre of tequila and Rohypnol thirty minutes before the match. You could have made him draw giant veiny penises on his face with a Sharpie. I mean, that second one wouldn’t have given you much of an advantage, but you could have done it.
Rollins says he doesn’t need anyone for anything, especially not that Kane asshole. And, speak of the Devil’s Favourite Demon, and he will waddle awkwardly to the ring. Seriously: look at that walk and call it anything but a waddle. He gets on the microphone and says that, contrary to what Seth thinks, he’s still a monster. He could make Rollins have a very good or a very bad night on Sunday. Rollins counters, stating that, should Kane fuck him over during the title match, he’ll likely be fired. Kane explains that, if Rollins was genuinely smart, he’d be being nice to him right now. But Seth is literally allergic to being nice to people, and says that Kane is a big fat loser that Triple H gives jobs to because he feels sorry for him. Yeah, the soulless, dead-eyed bastard that is Triple H feels sorry for people and Rollins is a smart guy.
Kane says that, if they’re going to act like adults now, he feels that Rollins should return the favour from two weeks ago, and Seth should lay down for him. Well, this is either going to be really sexy or something other than what I think this is. And what I’m thinking involves pretty graphic nudity, so it’s probably not that. Rollins says that he doesn’t lay down for anyone (I’m going to pretend that this is still a sex thing), but Kane says that he will lay down for the man in charge of his future this Sunday. He gets a referee down there, and screams at Cruiserweight Security to leave the ring.
Rollins stays on the microphone even as the bell rings, because Sheamus has started something of a trend, I guess. He says he won’t do it, and Kane says that Triple H isn’t here, so he’s in charge. He gets pissed off and starts making growly threats involving throats and guts, and Rollins looks terrified. Jesus, that’s our World Champion; he took the title from Brock ‘Space Viking Psychopath’ Lesnar and he’s scared of Kane? He actually lays down, and would it have been to much to ask to have a badass heel champion who wasn’t Lesnar? But Kane was just messing with him, and laughs at Rollins. Kick his ass, Seth.
But Kane has another opponent for Rollins, and Seth still thinks that’s a joke, because he’s such a smart guy. And Rollins will be facing Dean Ambrose, who shows up to the ring, immediately tailed by Luke Harper, who follows him down to the ring. Ambrose makes the executive decision to attack Seth Rollins, which I’m beginning to think is his own personal Prime Directive. Cruiserweight Security get involved, and everything spills out of the ring, and then back into the ring, with everyone beating the shit out of Ambrose.
Suddenly, Reigns shows up, beating down both Rollins and Harper. Rollins ducks a Superman Punch; Harper almost powerbombs Reigns, but Ambrose clocks him, and Roman Superman Punches Harper.
I Think This Match Technically Counts As Imperialism
Dolph Ziggler comes out to the ring, ready for a tag team match with Neville, up against Bad News Barrett and Sheamus. Meanwhile, a match has been made which pits Reigns and Ambrose against Rollins and Harper. Ziggler gave an interview earlier where he says he’s going to make Sheamus kiss his own arse. Seriously, I doubt Sheamus is that flexible. I just tried, and I can’t do that.
Don’t you fucking judge me.
Also, Neville’s Geordie accent is all over the goddamn shop. And I speak as the least-Geordie-sounding Geordie ever (I’ve got a plaque and everything). Bad News Barrett and Sheamus show up, and I have to say again how much I freaking love Sheamus’ new music. He chats with Barrett about how much he hates small people. Man, he’s so focused on someone kissing him on the bottom. I mean, I’ve just re-watched the first two series of Spartacus, which isn’t exactly lacking in the gay sex or graphic dude nudity department (yeah, Game of Thrones, some shows have equality nudity), and Sheamus still might as well be wearing a suit with arses embroidered on them. Plus, all this stipulation does is remind me of this.
Match starts, and it’s Sheamus kicking it odd against Neville. Sheamus uses the power to dominate, until Neville comes in with his kicks, playing the avoidance game. He hurricanranas Sheamus out of the ring, then low-bridges Barrett out as well, before leaping out onto the two of them as we go to break.
When we come back, Barrett has Neville in a headlock. Neville tries to get away, but Wade tags Sheamus in, who gets into a slap-fight with Ziggler for some reason, before delivering a couple of his ‘whatever the fuck that was’ suplexes. Oh my God, Tom Philips just mentioned Florida Georgia Line: get the fuck out, Tom; I was repressing that SummerSlam match. Neville tags in Ziggler; Sheamus tags in Barrett, and Wade takes a neckbreaker, then an elbow. Fameasser misses, but the DDT don’t, almost securing the pin.
Sheamus tries to interfere on the apron, and gets clobbered, but the distraction causes Ziggler to walk right into Waste Land for two. Barrett wants the Bull Hammer, which Ziggler ducks; Dolph tries for a superkick, which Barrett avoids. Wade tries for the Winds of Change, but it gets turned into a Crucifix Pin for two. Dolph tags in Neville, hits the Zig-Zag and gets pulled out of the ring by Sheamus, who he superkicks. Neville hits the Red Baron for three!
Really good match. In another world, I’d love to see these guys be a tag team, but it’s definitely a singles run for these two. So much fun. 3 Stars.
Apparently everyone’s excited about Tough Enough. Oddly enough, I’d probably be more likely to watch it if Bill ‘Fuckhead’ DeMott was a televised part of it. I’m just not all that at home with reality TV, or much of what the WWE thinks is stuff I should be watching.
Wow, I really should have gotten drunk and sent in a submission video. I used to do a bit of wrestling, until the amount of injuries which happened during our classes mounted up to a fairly worrying number and I sort of fell deeply in love with writing.
Okay, InsidePulse crew: we all have to do one of these videos and send in a compilation of them. Come on, guys, we have a rare opportunity to make fools of ourselves on television: don’t ruin this for me.
Oh yay, another cryptic video from Bray Wyatt. Seriously, until I know who you’re talking about, I have no emotional involvement in this thing. Even if it was El Torito you were addressing, I’d rather know than not. Actually, I’d watch the shit out of a Bray Wyatt/El Torito match, so that’s a bad example.
A Number One Contender To The Divas Title Who Isn’t Called ‘Paige’ Or ‘AJ’
Here’s Natalya Neidhart, and she’s going to be facing…oh, hell yes, Naomi. I like this whole heel turn thing, considering that most people are still behind her because she’s nowhere near as grating as the Bellas. Or Cameron. And I know that Cameron’s not even in this feud, but that’s how annoying Cameron is.
Naomi and Natalya lock up, and Naomi hits a knee. Natalya reverses a hip toss into one of her own, then hits a snapmare before choking Naomi on the ropes. The ref interferes, giving Naomi time to pull Nat face-first into the turnbuckle, before catapulting her throat-first into the ropes for a two.
Sleeper applied to Natalya, who works her way up to her feet, but gets bodyslammed by Naomi. Naomi then misses with a leg drop, and gets kinda-atomic dropped before taking a dropkick to the face. Natalya dumps Naomi onto the apron, but takes a roundhouse kick to the side of the head, gets sunset flipped and tries to reverse it into a Sharpshooter. Naomi catches her by surprise with a big slap, hits the Rear View, and that’s all she wrote.
Interesting levels of aggression from Naomi. Looking forward to the return match with Paige, who gets pretty pissed off herself at times. Good match. 2.5 Stars.
Naomi beats on Natalya after the match a little, because she’s eeeeeeevil.
Prime Time are backstage, talking some smack about teams better than them. Also, they seem to be trying to get a face reaction by being dumbasses. I’d make a joke about ‘lowest common denominator’ here, but I don’t want to explain what fractions are to the kind of people who find this sort of thing amusing or endearing.
I’m Calling It Right Now: Rusev’s Going To Use The Chain And Get DQ’d
When we come back, Lana and Rusev are in the ring. Rusev is wearing a chain around his neck, which is probably a hint to the kind of terrible things Lana does to him when they’re alone; look into those eyes and you can see a terrified man wanting to run for his life. They’re really making a big thing about this being a Russian chain. Is an American chain weak and constantly giving tax cuts to billionaires? Anyway, Lana gives her ‘that creepy-looking woman from Rocky IV‘ promo and then hands Rusev the mic. God, I miss his attorney. Or whoever the hell that was.
Rusev talks about how the chain is a weapon and a tool to him: there’s that damned efficient industrial spirit. No mercy will be shown, to John Cena or Ryback. Ryback shows up and, damn it, he should have been the one to end Rusev’s win-streak. You realise he’s never held a title? Rusev’s still wearing the chain, like it’s a BDSM-themed boa, but he takes it off, because that’s Junkyard Dog’s thing.
The two big men lock up, driving each other around the ring, until Rusev hits a knee to the gut. Chinlock’s applied, but Ryback back suplexes his way out of it. Shoulders to Rusev in the corner, but he fights his way out, sending Ryback into the corner instead, but Ryback explodes out of it, shoulder-tackling Rusev to the ground.
Ryback begins working the arm, with Rusev trying to counter with a suplex, but Ryback turns that into a suplex of his own. Rusev rolls out of the ring; Ryback sends him back in and charges at him in the corner, but Rusev dodges, letting Ryback blast the post with his shoulder. The Bulgarian smells blood in the water, and drives Ryback’s spine into the steel post as he go to a break.
Back to the action, and Rusev has matters firmly in hand with a bear hug. The Big Guy headbutts out of it, dodging a Stinger Splash from Rusev, then booting him in the face. Ryback starts to build momentum, throwing hands and shoulders before hitting a belly-to-belly! Ryback wants a splash, but he hits the raised knees of Rusev, getting staggered. He still boots Rusev in the face and hits a running bodyslam!
Ryback winds up for the Meathook; Rusev dodges. Rusev tries for a kick; Ryback catches it and hits a spinebuster! The Big Guy’s all fired up, looking for another Meathook, and this time he hits it for a near-fall. Ryback wants to FINISH IT, and the effect is only slightly ruined by the commentators saying things like ‘this would be so awesome’ and ‘can you imagine the embarrassment…’ It’s called ‘suspension of disbelief’ you worthless, fucking hacks.
Ryback slides out of it, as the commentary team telegraph it like a fucking semaphore, and Rusev uses the chain to avoid the WWE making any face look weak or any heel looking like anything but a cowardly cheat. How does morality work in America?
Ah, that was a fun match: too bad the ending was so obvious that it could literally be seen from space. Seriously, guys working on the space station glanced down at the beauty and majesty that is the planet Earth and said, ‘fuck, Rusev’s going to hit him with the chain, isn’t he?’ 2 Stars.
Meanwhile, Seth and Cruiserweight Security are backstage, apparently trying to find where the Shield, the Wyatts, CM Punk and, occasionally, Daniel Bryan used to hang out. God, I miss being able to make that joke. Basically, Rollins wants to get on the same page as Luke Harper, and then Jamie uses up the show’s entire comedy budget with his spiel about how he’s related to Harper via hillbilly inbreeding. I swear, they have to let J and J talk more: it’s golden.
Anyway, they run into Harper, and Jamie tries to talk to him. That doesn’t work, because Harper ignores him, and then ignores Seth. Rollins gets pissed, and does that thing where he talks smack about people he really shouldn’t do that to. Joey then taps Harper and manages to use sign language to…almost get Harper to rip his head off. Okay, this shouldn’t even be funny, but it somehow is. Anyway, Harper’s seemingly psyched up for this, and tells Rollins not to get in his way. Another proud moment for the guy we all wanted as our champion.
I Swear, This Entrance Music Is Like A PTSD Trigger For Me
Oh, for fuck’s sake. It’s a New Day, yes it is. Well, it’s Kofi in action, so it has to be of a certain level at least. Big E says that there’s a plague in the WWE universe. I’m waiting for him to call it racism, but he’s just referring to a lack of clapping. Maybe because, when the New Day clap, they look like they’ve escaped from some sort of assisted care facility. Also, Xavier Woods looks like he’s prematurely aged by about thirty years: that’s disturbing. Kofi talks about them being Tag Team Champions, and you shut your whore mouth, Kingston.
You know, I have to hand it to the WWE with this gimmick, if they planned for it to go heel like this. What could be more annoying than three overly-cheerful and constantly-positive guys? I mean…I’m genuinely trying to think of it, and I can’t.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro come out, and it’s a mark of a good tag team that I don’t know which one of them’s going to be wrestling and realise that I’m totally fine with it being either of them. It’s Cesaro, by the way, but Kidd would have been great too. Holy crap, do they have an animated graphic on the ring apron? How the hell long has that been there?
Kingston goes for a quick pin, then a dropkick. He sends Cesaro off the ropes, gets caught and takes a backbreaker from Cesaro. He kicks the Swiss Superman in the head in the corner before wailing on him…but gets caught in the Cesaro Swing! Xavier Woods gets up on the apron, but Tyson Kidd pulls him off, and then gets belly-to-bellied by Langston. Cesaro kicks Big E in the back of the head, and then takes a Trouble In Paradise for the loss.
Man, is this because I refused to review that one New Day-featured match last week? Has this become like the movie Click and now the WWE just fast-forwards through these matches now? Am I reading to much into this? The answer to all of the above is: possibly. Hey, I’d have liked to have seen more: it’s Kofi and Cesaro. 2 Stars.
Byron says ‘it’s called “getting a big hug from Lady Momentum”‘. No, Byron, it’s not. Nobody calls it that. Nobody has ever used that expression. You think about that.
I Don’t Care How, But I Want A Shield Re-Union Match
Main event time, as the three guys make their way down to the ring. Kane also comes out, sitting at ringside, and we’re underway. Harper and Ambrose kick things off, wrestling around the ring. Luke gets his leg caught by Dean, and takes a dragon screw. Ambrose wrenches back on the nose, then hits a dropkick to the knee of Harper. Reigns tags in, starting to beat Harper down in the corner, then levelling him with a clothesline.
Ambrose tags back in, throwing some hands to Harper and hitting an elbow before Harper fires back. Rollins tags in, and how weird is it to see the WWE World Heavyweight Champion on SmackDown, by the way? I feel like I should have tarted myself up a bit. Seth gets a headlock on Ambrose, who struggles to his feet. Back suplex to Rollins, and Ambrose beats on him for a while before making the tag to Roman, holding Rollins’ arms so Reigns can smack him one.
Roman wrenches the arm, but then runs into a boot by a cornered Seth. Rollins immediately goes on the attack, raining punches down on Roman before locking in a front facelock. Reigns finally just throws Rollins the fuck off him, tagging in Ambrose so he can recover. Dean comes in hard and fast, looking for a running bulldog on Rollins. Seth reverses it; Ambrose tries to create some distance and go for a moonsault, but Seth takes him out at the legs and shoves him out of the ring. J and J Security pound on Ambrose, then Harper takes him out with a big boot; we head to a commercial.
As we come back, Rollins hits some kind of modified Zig-Zag to Ambrose, then gets him in a sleeper hold, scissoring the waist. Dean tries to work his way out of it, managing to throw Rollins face-first into the turnbuckle, but Harper gets the tag, only to take a tornado DDT from Ambrose! Both Reigns and Rollins want the tag; Harper’s electing to go after Ambrose rather than to tag out, and he gets him. Tag to Rollins, who lays some strikes down on Ambrose, stalking him around the ring. Ambrose gets in a good shot, and that just makes Rollins mad, taking Dean right back down with some clotheslines. Suddenly, both men collide in mid-air with crossbodies, and Harper and Roman get the tag!
Reigns comes in, taking Harper out left, right and centre. Clotheslines in the corner; he misses a flying clothesline, but hits the Samoan Drop! Bodyslam to Rollins, then an amateur wrestling throw to Harper. He wants a Superman Punch, and then hits one to both J and J on the apron, then another to Harper! Rollins tries to get involved, but takes a flying standing elbow from Ambrose! He low-bridges Harper and hurls himself out onto him, but Harper shoves him away, then throws him into the timekeeper’s area!
Roman floors Harper with a clothesline, sending him back inside the ring and measuring him for the Spear! Rollins gets involved, and Roman smacks him off the apron, but then runs into not one, but two superkicks from Harper! Harper goes for the pin, and it’s almost three! Harper tags Rollins in, and Seth heads up to the top, hitting the flying knee for another near-fall.
Seth calls Harper into the ring, setting Reigns up for a powerbomb; Harper tags himself in during the manoeuvre, and Rollins powerbombs Reigns into the corner. Discus Clothesline takes Roman down as he staggers out of the corner, but Ambrose breaks up the pin out of nowhere! Ambrose wants the tag now, and both he and Seth tag in! Ambrose leaps over Seth, gets kicked in the stomach and face, but hits his Pendulum Clothesline! Dean low-bridges Harper; he elevates Rollins over the top rope, and then leaps off the top rope to take out Rollins, Harper and Cruiserweight Security with an elbow!
The crowd’s chanting ‘This Is Awesome’ as everyone’s down, but Kane gets up, hurling Rollins back into the ring – maybe to beat the count? Ambrose dashes back in too, tagging in Reigns, who spears Rollins for the victory!
What a great match. The crowd had it right: it was awesome. Neither Ambrose nor Harper played second fiddle here, and it was altogether an exciting fight. 3.5 Stars.
Altogether a pretty decent SmackDown tonight, and a good taster for Extreme Rules. I’m not typically high on this upcoming PPV, considering it exists typically to reinforce the status quo. The only matches I see having any kind of doubt over the results are Ambrose/Harper and Ziggler/Sheamus. Still, the matches themselves might be pretty decent, so I’ll be watching that. Good show, earning tonight an eight.
Tags: Bad News Barrett, Bray Wyatt, byron saxton, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, extreme rules, Jamie Noble, Jerry Lawler, joey mercury, Kane, Lana, Luke Harper, naomi, Natalya, Neville, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Tom Philips, tough enough