It was tough to review tonight’s PPV, especially after my Sens were eliminated from the playoffs, but the WWE found a way to cheer me up. As we saw at WWE’s TLC PPV, gimmick matches don’t always mean a good show, but this year’s Extreme Rules proved otherwise. There wasn’t any exceptional “technical” wrestling, but the superstars found ways to make the show fun.
Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper
This bout started off quickly, as it needed to. I’m glad they began using weapons right away, instead of waiting, it adds to match and makes it what it is. After watching the suplex on to the chair in slow motion, I realized how well it was executed, Ambrose sold it very well. In fact, most spots looked very much real in this match, especially the corner chair spot. Dean was able to demonstrate a lot of strength with his scoop slam. I usually enjoy Ambrose’s larriot, but Harper’s big boot counter looked devastating. The car spot was very reminiscent of the Piper-Goldust match from the 90s, and we knew it had to continue once they left.
The two men continued with the excitement, and got the crowd excited. Like I said in my predictions, this match easily stole the show. I enjoyed exactly how they paced this put into two different matches. That chair spot was amazing, but I cringed for how much it could have hurt Harper. Overall, great match, they surpassed all expectations I had.
Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus
For a match that hasn’t been well built, the two men properly sold their hatred for one another. I didn’t expect Sheamus to take early control in the match, because I thought it would have been better to build Ziggler as a threat. While I didn’t enjoy this Sheamus beatdown, Ziggler sold it very well, and that made it more entertaining. There were moments when I thought Ziggler would turn the momentum around, but I was completely wrong. Dolph picked up a surprising win, but I was sure Sheamus wasn’t going to kiss his “arse”. Obviously they had to let the Celtic Warrior leave looking strong, and I felt the low blow was a smart way to do so.
The New Day vs Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The New Day was garnering nuclear heat by this Chicago crowd, but it only helped their image. I feel Cesaro always has Big E’s number when they wrestle, I was disappointed they didn’t turn that around in this match. There was definitely a subtle babyface turn for Kidd & Cesaro, because they weren’t wrestling like heels in this contest. It was great to see them in that role. This might have been the first match where I felt Kingston and Big E looked good together as a team. Their tag team work was very fluid. The spot of this match was easily Cesaro’s many uppercuts in on the turnbuckle, I got dizzy just watching that. The near falls at the end made this very exciting. I just wish the champs were pinned by the use of a finisher. I was extremely shocked that the New Day won, but enjoyed every part.
John Cena vs Rusev
I really did enjoy the opening montage for this match; I loved the use of the PPV theme song in it. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen quite a few split crowds on Cena, but this Chicago crowd was easily the most split. The start of the match was quite exciting, probably because we haven’t seen this type of match in a while. John was able to an awesome job at selling this Rusev beatdown. The use of the chain could have been tricky in this contest, but they both managed to work around it. When Cena locked in the STF, I honestly felt as if he could have used the chain, it would have looked much more effective. The contest ended exact how I expected, and because it was so exciting, I felt it went by very quick. Overall, I enjoyed this bout.
Nikki Bella vs Naomi
I don’t know what to think of Naomi’s entrance, it just felt confusing. For some reason, Nikki felt like the babyface in this match. The pace of this moved very slowly, and it didn’t help that JBL was talking about the Sheamus-Ziggler match. I could tell the two were trying but for some reason, they could capture my attention. There were no particular spots that stood out, and they definitely needed one for how slow this match was going. Nikki’s top rope kick was probably the best moment in this match. I found it odd that Bella had to cheat to win, especially because they weren’t being boked that way. This contest was overall confusing and slow.
Roman Reigns vs Big Show
After the first few minutes, I could tell this match was going to have a lot of rest spots. Even when the match made its way outside, it continued to be slow. I don’t think it made sense that Big Show would break the table, it didn’t accomplish anything. The match slightly picked up once Roman got the kendo stick. The table spot was very well done, I really liked how Roman countered the chokeslam and landed a Samoan Drop. While that spot was great, the chokeslam into the two tables was much better, and unpredictable because I thought Roman would put Show through those exact tables. The match still continued at a slow pace, but they found a great way of making it work. It was going from massive spot, to rest spot, but I couldn’t complain because it was extremely entertaining. Overall, this match wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but its matches like this that make pro wrestling fun to watch. After the Ambrose-Harper match, this was probably my favorite.
Seth Rollins vs Randy Orton
Rollins did a great job early on at looking like a weasel; by doing his best at every moment to win in cheap fashion. I found this had a slow pace, with both stars taking their time by using small maneuvers. It gets tricky with cage matches, because fans want to see more than a traditional masterpiece, but it’s tough because the two are confined to only using four extra walls. I was happy Kane didn’t become a factor early in the match, which could have easily made things feel over booked. Everything only began to pick up once Rollins made a near escape and J&J showed up. After that, everything felt much more on edge. The pedigree was an awesome touch to this match, and it was a great replacement to the RKO. I think they chose a good time to have Kane get involved, and his time in the match was kept to a solid minimum. We all knew Rollins would eventually win this match, but I would have never guessed Rollins would use the RKO to win. Overall, I didn’t begin to enjoy this match until the middle, but they did put on a decent main event.
I truly enjoyed this PPV, much more than I thought I would. Every match felt fun and entertaining. At the end of the day, this show reminded me why I love pro wrestling so much, and it’s because they can have matches that don’t look so fluid, but still tear down the house. Just about every match delivered, and this show has me looking forward to tonight’s Raw. Overall, I give this show a 7.4/10.