The SmarK Rant for WWE Extreme Rules 2019 – 07.14.19
Live from Philadelphia, PA
Your hosts are the usual.
Intercontinental title: Finn Balor v. Shinsuke Nakamura
Apparently Nakamura is all done with tag teams! Which is weird because I never really knew he was a tag team wrestler to begin with. Finn gets a low dropkick to start and they fight in the corner, where Nakamura gets the knee to the ribs to put him on the apron. Balor puts him on the floor and follows with the dive and runs him into the railing. Back in, they fight for an armbar and Shinsuke wins that one, but Balor makes the ropes. Nakamura with a facelock, but Balor fights out with kicks to put him down for two. And then we get the weird split-screen commercial for the show we’re watching the pre-game for, and come back with Balor dodging a blind charge and going up to finish. Nakamura brings him down with a kind of sliding suplex, but Balor counters the Kinshasa with a double stomp, and then tries the finish with the Coupe de Grace, but it misses. Kinshasa follows and Nakamura wins the IC title at 7:43. Not sure why they’re still bothering with Nakamura, but this was a good little match that should have been on the main show. *** Seriously though, you change the Intercontinental title on the pre-show of a B-show while the crowd is still filing in?
Cruiserweight title: Drew Gulak v. Tony Nese
Nese flips around Gulak and legsweeps him for one, then clotheslines him to the floor, where Gulak suckers him into a clothesline from the apron. Back in, that gets two. And we take a virtual break while we learn about Roman Reigns and how he’s the Big Dog, and return from split screen with Gulak beating on Nese with kicks until Tony suplexes him into the turnbuckles. They fight to the apron and Nese kind of moonsaults him out there and it’s not really effective to say the least. Back in, Nese with the 450 for two. Nearly missed that one, too. They slug it out and Gulak jumps into a nice rollup, and then rolls him into a powerbomb for two. Cyclone Crash finishes at 7:27. Another good pre-show match. ***
Hopefully they bode well for the main show’s quality.
So apparently we SPIN THE WHEEL MAKE THE DEAL tonight according to the intro video. That would explain a lot of booking decisions lately, actually.
Shane McMahon & Drew McIntrye v. Roman Reigns & Undertaker
It makes sense that Undertaker is jerking the curtain, since it’s already an hour past supper being served and he’s likely ready to go home and get to bed. Maybe apply some ointment first. Ask his grandson to fix his universal remote. Have a nice snack of radishes dipped in salt. You know, young people stuff. Anyway, I watch these with headphones on, and you can literally hear the crowd get muted by production two notes into Roman’s entrance. Roman slugs it out with Drew to start, but Drew gets an overhead suplex and brings Shane in for some pugilism while the camera shakes and zooms in and out. Roman shakes it off somehow and drags Shane back to the GRAVEYARD DOGS corner to bring in Undertaker, and he hits Shane with a clothesline. Old school ropewalk as the crowd chants “You still got it”. I mean, weren’t the Saudi shows enough evidence that he DOESN’T still have it? Drew comes in for the slugfest with Taker, and that goes badly for him as Taker hauls him to the apron for the legdrop. Roman comes in with the corner clotheslines and a big boot, but Shane pulls down the top rope to prevent the superman punch and Roman hits the floor. Back in, Drew with a suplex for two and Roman is YOUR juggernaut-in-peril. Drew goes to the armbar and works on that for a bit, but he misses a blind charge and hits the post, and it’s hot tag Undertaker. Snake Eyes and big boot for Shane and he sends Shane to the floor, but Elias runs in and breaks up a powerbomb attempt with a guitar shot. So the Two Man Band put Taker on the announce table and Shane puts him through with the flying elbow. Back in the ring, Shane hits Taker with the Coast to Coast, but Roman wakes up from his nap and Taker wakes up from his. Chokeslam for Shane, chokeslam for Elias, spear for McIntyre, and tombstone finishes the Best in the World at 16:54. Too long, but it was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling and Taker being a hot tag guy is about the best use of him at this point. **3/4
Meanwhile, Becky and Seth showcase their, uh, raw sexual chemistry and do a promo about pigeon crap. And then walk off in different directions. FEEL THE HEAT!
RAW tag team titles: The Revival v. The Usos
Renee is OFFENDED that the Revival are throwing money around on social media, because god forbid everyone isn’t destitute and in debt to the McMahons for their very jobs. Seriously, everyone on commentary just needs to shut up. Usos double-team Wilder and the Revival bails to escape, and they manage to block an Uso dive, but not a second one. They manage to send Jey into the stairs and take over on him in the ring, however. Dash with a catapult under the ropes for two while Renee and Corey have an increasingly irritating argument on commentary. Jey backdrops Dawson and gets the false tag to Jimmy, even though the ref CLEARLY saw it, and Jey gets brought back to the Revival corner for more abuse. The ref needs to be a special kind of blind, where he can distinguish between the Usos but can’t see the tag, so that’s pretty impressive. Dawson fights with Jey on the top and they both tumble to the floor, which allows Jey to make the hot tag to Jimmy. Wilder hits a powerbomb for two. Usos with a double-team samoan drop for two on Dawson. Dawson comes back with a brainbuster for two and they hit Jey with a PowerPlex for two, but Jimmy breaks it up with his own flying splash for two. Dawson breaks up a double Uso dive and the Shatter Machine finishes at 12:34. Kinda long and dull, but another Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling match. Crowd was scary dead for it, though. **3/4
Aleister Black v. Cesaro
They trade strikes to start and Cesaro hits him with a suplex, but Black flips out of the Neutralizer and Cesaro steals his taunt. So Black puts him on the floor and follows with a moonsault. Back in, Black with a Meteora and high kick for two. Black goes for a quebrada and Cesaro dumps him to the floor. Back in, he gets a springboard uppercut for two. Clothesline gets two. Gutwrench gets two. Cesaro with a double stomp for two. He lays in more forearms with some mustard, but Black fights back out of the corner and tries a Meteora, so Cesaro CATCHES HIM, and tosses him up for the Swiss uppercut for two. Black gets a backslide for two and fires away with kicks, then blocks a springboard from Cesaro with a knee strike for two. Cesaro tries a slam and Black reverses to a cradle for two, and takes him down with a kneebar. Cesaro incredibly powers him into a Sharpshooter, however and then switches to a crossface. Black rolls him over for two and hits another knee strike, and then they trade some OUCHIE forearms. Black wins that battle with the Black Mass out of nowhere at 9:48, however. This was quite the hard-hitting fight! ***3/4
Meanwhile, Truth is desperately seeking his title and annoys Alexa in the process. She gives Nikki Cross her own Bliss t-shirt so they can be matching, and then the Street Profits interrupt for some wacky comedy. Vince is going to “cool dad” these two.
So now they have to spit up the introduction of all the announce teams into two segments because there’s so many, although after binging through OverSimplified on YouTube today I’m just waiting for the German announce team to annex the French one.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bayley v. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
Bayley works the arm on Bliss to start, and gets a low clothesline on Cross for two after some botchery. Bayley heads to the apron and Bliss knocks her down into the stairs. Back in, the heels work Bayley over in the corner and Cross gets a neckbreaker for two and goes to the chinlock. Bayley escapes and dumps her, but gets caught in the apron like a goober and Bliss abuses her out there. Back in, that gets two. Bliss chokes out Bayley in the corner as this drags on, but Cross tags herself in and Bayley suddenly makes her own comeback with slams on them. Bayley gets some kind of leglock on Cross and then catches Bliss in a crossface at the same time. Why doesn’t Nikki Cross use a crossface submission, by the way? Bliss tries the Twisted Bliss and misses, and Bayley hits Cross with the flying elbow and pins her to retain at 10:34. Poor Nikki jobs again. *1/2, mostly for Graves burning Saxton with “Who pays the rent for your apartment on Sesame Street?”
Last Man Standing: Braun Strowman v. Bobby Lashley
Braun immediately tosses Lashley to the floor and follows with the running shoulderblock, which gets a 5 count. Another one is blocked with a spear by Lashley, and he runs Braun into the stairs and knocks him into the crowd. BOOM, RIGHT IN THE INJURED SPLEEN! If there’s one thing Jessica Jones has taught me, it’s that the spleen is a shockingly important organ. So they walk up the stairs and back into the concourse, where the crowd is helpfully held back by security in advance of them getting there. Lashley slowly wanders around, but Strowman throws him into the t-shirt stand, which is helpfully padded in case anyone else was going to be thrown into it, and they slowly walk back down to the crowd area again at the pre-determined time. HITTING YOUR TIME CUES IS EXTREME! Strowman beats him up for the 8 count, but Lashley spears him through the railing. Bobby helpfully lets him recover and then shoulderblocks him over the German table and dumps it on top of him. Dammit, Strowman has no lebensraum now! But Braun shrugs the table off and throws Lashley into the international announcers. Poor Funaki is retired and he’s still doing jobs. Lashley throws some stuff at Braun and gets an 8 count, but he comes back and they walk up more stairs, which is like their big highspot of the match thus far. And then Braun powerslams him from a high place through a crash pad and Braun emerges by smashing through the wreckage first to win at 17:31. Waaaaaaaay too long, finish was cute, whatever, it was fine. **1/2
Smackdown tag team titles: Daniel Bryan & Rowan v. The New Day v. Heavy Machinery
Bryan starts with Xavier and gets taken down and frustrated, so Tucker tags himself in and overpowers Woods. Rowan pulls Tucker out and comes in with a splash on Xavier for two, and it’s over to Bryan for the surfboard while he pulls on Xavier’s face. Bryan: “Oh, that’s right, no DQs!” Rowan beats on Xavier in the corner, but he comes back with a missile dropkick and brings Otis in. Otis with a spinning slam on Bryan and he follows with an avalanche to set up the Caterpillar. Tucker gets two off that. Big E tags himself in for the first time, however, and tries the big splash on Tucker, but it hits knee. Heavy Machinery hit him with a Rockerplex for two, but Rowan saves and cleans house. Everyone hits the floor the trainwreck spot, and Otis decides that doing a dive is a great idea, but then changes his mind and comes off the apron instead. And then Tucker does his own dive, leaving them alone with Big E in the ring. Compactor gets two on him. Woods saves and he gets beat up as a result, and then they double-team Rowan and we get the giant Tower of Doom spot out of that. Big E gets a superplex on Rowan, but Bryan sneaks in with the diving headbutt and wraps him up with a wacky submission. Big E makes the ropes, but there’s no DQ and so E has to escape on his own. Bryan throws the Yes kicks, but Big E gets all fired up and destroys him with a lariat. Bryan tries a desperation moonsault, but E catches him and The Midnight Hour wins the tag titles at 14:00. Match of the night thus far and HUGELY improved over the Stomping Grounds match. **** I don’t know why they haven’t booked Big E to do the big hulk up spot before now, though.
Paul Heyman joins us after stealing the New Day’s microphone, and he takes credit for being Extreme and PROMISES us that TONIGHT IN THIS VERY RING, Brock Lesnar is going to cash in his damn briefcase. Or he might be lying.
US title: Ricochet v. AJ Styles
The Club attacks Ricochet before the bell and beats him down, but Ricochet fights back on AJ and dropkicks him to the apron. Back in, Ricochet with the armdrags and a corner clothesline, and another dropkick puts AJ on the floor. Ric follows with a shooting star off the apron, but he stops to jaw at Gallows and AJ nails him from behind. Back in, he whips Ricochet into the corner and slugs away, then goes to the chinlock. Ricochet comes back with an enzuigiri after running and jumping off AJ’s chest, and then he stops to hit the Good Brothers with a dive. Back in, lionsault gets two. AJ tries the springboard DDT, but Ricochet counters with a suplex for two. Ric goes up and lands on an ushigoroshi from Styles (or as Renee calls it, “OOOH!”), however, and AJ takes over. Suplex into the corner gets two. Styles tries the forearm and Ricochet dodges him, so AJ slams him for two instead. Styles Clash is reversed by Ric into a rollup for two. They slug it out and trade enzuigiris, but AJ gets a brainbuster for two. To the top, where Ric knocks him down and then necks him on the top rope to set up a shooting star press for two. Luckily Karl Anderson is there to point out AJ’s foot on the ropes because the idiot ref didn’t see it. Ricochet goes up to finish, but Karl takes the ref and Gallows crotches Ric, which sets up a bonkers top rope Styles Clash to win the title at 16:30. Crowd was dead but this was pretty fantastic and you can tell the Club are having a blast as heels again. ****1/4
Dolph Ziggler v. Kevin Owens
Without even seeing the match I can guarantee it didn’t need to be on PPV. But they had a TWITTER WAR so it’s a WWE version of a hot feud in 2019. And then Dolph attacks, so KO hits the stunner and pins him at 0:17. THANK GOD. MILLION BILLION STARS. And then Corey annoys the fuck out of me again by noting that Owens is going to get fired for disrespecting Shane and end up on the street broke and homeless, because WWE is the only place to make money and they’re all beholden to the almighty McMahons for their living.
WWE title: Kofi Kingston v. Samoa Joe
Kofi charges in with a dropkick, but Joe nails him with a lariat and beats him down in the corner. Kofi fights back and runs into an elbow, and Joe goes to a chinlock. Joe with the enzuigiri in the corner for two, but Kofi fights back again and dropkicks Joe to the floor. Kofi tries a dive and gets forearmed for two. Joe with the SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION as he bends Kofi’s fingers and puts his hand under the stairs before stomping it. That’s his pancake flipping hand, you maniac! Back in, Kofi keeps fighting back with a top rope bodypress for two, but Joe powerbombs him into the STF. Kofi makes the ropes and manages to hit the SOS, but walks into the choke and Joe drops the senton on him for two. Crowd starts a “We want Lesnar / No we don’t” chant at this point, and Kofi fights back again with Trouble in Paradise to abruptly retain at 9:48. This was OK, I had no beef with it. **1/2
Winner Takes All: Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch v. Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
Becky and Seth now have matching gear to show how much…uh….hot sexual chemistry they have. REAL LIFE RELATIONSHIP. It’s EXTREME RULES, but men and women can’t interact and you have to make tags to your partner. I’ve heard less disclaimers on drug commercials. Corbin quickly grabs a kendo stick, but Rollins slugs it away from him and hits the sling blade. So Lacey goes after Seth with the stick, but that just ENRAGES Becky, because they’re totally dating in real life and she’s upset about someone else touching her totally real boyfriend. The real life boyfriend and girlfriend clean house and hit the heels with stereo dives. And now Renee lampshades the lack of chemistry by noting “some people online” have been questioning it. Yes, people with EYES. Corbin grabs a chair, hopefully after the people at his table have finished their meal, and beats Rollins down for two. He sets up a pair of chairs, but Seth escapes a chokeslam, so Corbin DDTs him onto a chair for two as Cole sounds like he’s fighting off a yawn on commentary. Thankfully they tag out to the women because it can’t get any worse, and Becky beats on Lacey with a chair outside and runs her into the railing. Back in, more chairshots and an exploder onto the chair gets two. Becky goes up and Corbin tries to run interference, so Rollins clotheslines him to the floor. Meanwhile, Lacey hits a slingshot elbow and follows with a moonsault for two. Becky with a DDT and Seth comes back in and decides that it’s table time. So they set up a bunch of tables, which Corbin is very well versed at doing, because he works at Olive Garden. That kind of grinds the match to a halt and the heels come back, as Corbin pulls out the ENDLESS KENDO STICKS for a beatdown. Dammit, save room for the wedding soup! We get a double chokeslam, but both babyfaces kick out. Whew. That was close. Fans almost bought these geeks as legitimate challengers! So they head to the floor and we get a double suplex from Seth and Becky before putting them on tables and then splashing both of them through. Back in, Seth tries the stomp and gets reversed into the Deep Six by Corbin, for two. And then he hits the End of Days on Becky, which has Rollins getting all EMO with chairshots, and he delivers three curbstomps to finish at 19:55. Better than last month but still way too long. **1/2
And then Brock shows up to cash in, and this time he means it. So he delivers a pair of suplexes and finally cashes in for real.
Universal title: Seth Rollins v. Brock Lesnar
F5 and he wins the title.
So yeah, after they booked Seth strong here and got him all fired up, Brock immediately squashes him and we’re right back where we started before Wrestlemania.
Overall, better show than AEW, and the main event being better than a complete disaster makes it a solid thumbs up show. On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, it’s a solid WATCH IT and a shockingly good show to win the weekend battle.