WWE Extreme Rules 2018: Reactions & Review

Here’s my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s WWE Extreme Rules 2018!

Sin Cara vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Reactions: Almas and Cara have developed quite the in-ring chemistry with each other. Both men have added a bit of freshness to the roster with their lucha Libre infused matches. This rematch had the added benefit of more time added to it and some smart counters. Watching Cara dodge Almas’ double foot stomp was a nice touch. The action was decent enough (had to knock off a point for that botched Hurricanrana from Cara to Almas on the ring apron, though). Almas picked up another win on his way to (hopefully) something more beneficial for his main roster run.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain) (Tables Match)

Reactions: Here’s a case of a match making its way towards being great…and ending right at that sweet spot. All six men put on a fast-paced contest full of innovative spots, especially The New Day’s Double Powerbomb/Double Foot Stomp moment. I enjoyed all the wild action taking place all the while.

I figured this one was going to get even crazier and end up taking early Match of the Night honors…then it just ended on a flat note. SAnitY finally managed to get a big win during the early stages of their main roster run. It’s just disappointing to see them get that victory from a match that ended before it really got going.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

“Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt (c) vs. The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: What a shocking result! I figured there was more gas left in the tank for the odd couple tag team champions. But in reality, I should have seen this big win coming from a mile away. They’ve been enjoying their most successful push these past few weeks, so it made all the sense in the world for them to cap it off with a tag team title win.

As for the match itself, it was your standard Monday Night Raw tag team match fare. There was nothing extraordinarily bad about this match, but it wasn’t amazing by any means either. It was average at best. I’m still pretty surprised to see the B-Team leave as the new Raw Tag Team Champions.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Finn Bálor vs. “Constable” Baron Corbin

Reactions: This one had a hot moment here and there. But it wasn’t anything special and worth revisiting. When Corbin’s in control, I tend to not care as much about what’s happening onscreen. Don’t get me wrong – I still like the guy, but he tends to be a bit on the boring side when he’s dominating his opponent.

Things picked up as expected once Finn began running wild. His comeback didn’t last too long, however. Finn snuck away with the victory after quickly rolling up Corbin. With that finish in mind, I get the feeling that this feud is far from over. But with the type of match quality delivered here, I kind of wish it was.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Carmella (c) vs. Asuka (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match with James Ellsworth Suspended Above the Ring in a Shark Cage)

Reactions: Fact – Carmella’s incapable of putting on a good match. Fact – the only way Carmella’s even remotely interesting is when match gimmicks are involved. Fact – James Ellsworth adds nothing to the product. Final fact – this match sucked. Moving on…

Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE United States Championship)

Reactions: WELL DAMN! Shinsuke “The Con Artist” Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy in mere seconds! Rumors of Jeff being less than 100-percent have been circulating lately. And those claims seemed pretty valid if you watched Jeff’s less risky performances as of late. He still provided us with his signature moves, but it was easy to notice that the man had lost a step.

I figured he’d take a much needed hiatus after one last in-ring hurrah against Nakamura. But it seemed like his injuries were even more severe than we previously thought. One low blow and Kinshasa was all it took for Nakamura to gain the US Championship. And due to the post-match proceedings, it seems like Orton will be the one who’ll try to “out-heel” Nakamura at SummerSlam.

Rating: SHOCK & AWE!

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Steel Cage Match)

Reactions: Call me crazy, but I got a kick out of this one. It was less of a match and more of a spectacle. Owens is a complete madman – he’s been taking some outlandish bumps this year and two of his most recent ones came at the (massive) hands of Strowman. Owens played his role well as the scared rival who relied on quick strikes and handcuffs against the big man. And Strowman played his part well as the dominating monster who played around with his prey.

Everything that took place within the Steel Cage was fun to watch – Owens’ hilarious taunts, Strowman’s continued torture session, and Strowman getting free of his handcuffs were chief among them. But the close of this match is what sent it over the top – Owens pulled off his best Mick Foley impression as he got sent from the top of the cage by Strowman right into the announce table below. Owens won, but left the arena as a broken man while Strowman walked tall as the beast he’s always been.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) (c) vs. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: So this was pretty much a glorified Handicap Match from the start of the bout up until its middle portion. Daniel provided those watching with a bit of hope when he pulled off some hyperactive comeback offense against Harper and Rowan. But that was all for naught once The Bludgeon Brothers finally got their paws on their smaller rival.

The action that transpired during this part of the match was fine for what it was. Once Kane’s music hit, I finally woke up from my mid-match slumber. We got two Chokeslams from the big man, some stiff kicks from Daniel, and then a double-team finish from the tag team champs. What we ultimately got here was a passable tag team match that had few redeeming moments. But hey, at least those moments were there.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley

Reactions: While this marquee matchup started out slow, the action picked up and transformed this whole affair into an entertaining battle. The crowd did this bout no favors during the starting portion of it, but Reigns and Lashley eventually brought the crowd back with some intense offense. I’m sure everyone in attendance and at home winced in pain when Reigns dropped Lashley flat on his back on the outside. After that “OMG!” moment transpired, the crowd began to care and this match finally kicked into a higher gear.

Reigns and Lashley brutalized each other and actually made me hop out of my seat during their near-fall’s. Lashley ate a severe Superman Punch during his attempt at landing a Spear, but Reigns got punished just as badly when he got launched with a Belly to Belly Suplex onto the announce table. All that big man madness met its conclusion once Lashley put an end to Reigns with his patented Spear. Both men managed to save their match from a disapproving crowd and make them react positively as it rose in intensity. Pretty good match here. So…Lashley vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam has to be next, right?

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax (Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

Reactions: I’m glad the decision was made to add some “hardware” to this championship match. It only made sense that Bliss and Jax’s rematch took place under more relaxed rules. What took place here was a decent Extreme Rules outing that had plenty of outside distractions. The trash can lid shots, assisted steel chair offense, and Kendo Stick strikes provided your typical hardcore gimmick action.

But what made this match just a bit more interesting was Ronda Rousey’s run-in. As far as distractions go, this was the one that mattered the most. It’s quite obvious that this match and everything that happened during it is a catalyst for Bliss vs. Rousey at SummerSlam. And guess what? Mission accomplished! This was fine for what it was.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev (WWE Championship)

Reactions: Unlike Carmella, AJ Styles is simply incapable of putting on a lackluster performance. And Rusev has always stood out to me as one of the more underrated performers inside and outside the ring. AJ knowS how to work with opponents both big and small, so I had a good feeling that he and Rusev would put on one of the better matches of the night. Thankfully, I was correct! AJ made sure to focus his assorted strikes and submissions on Rusev’s weakened ankle, while Rusev relied on his brute strength to overpower the WWE Champion.

#RusevDay remained in top form for most of the match, but his injured limb prevented him from fighting at his best. AJ took note of that and pulled everything out of his repertoire to ground the “Bulgarian Brute.” The crowd gave this title bout even more life as their two favorites clobbered each other relentlessly. I won’t lie – I definitely got pretty excited when it looked as if Rusev would finally win the big one. But sadly, Rusev proved to be the lesser man against AJ. A Springboard 450 Splash and a Phenomenal Elbow put Rusev on his back for the 1-2-3. This match was as just as good as I expected it to be. Kudos to Rusev for proving his worth to the WWE brass and props goes to AJ for maintaining his reputation as WWE’s current GOAT.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins (30-Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Reactions: You might be shocked to hear this, but I wasn’t all that enthralled by this main event. Maybe I set my expectations too high considering the two Superstars involved here. Plus I thought there previous match on Raw was one of the few highlights of the summer. But this match was hampered by a slow and plodding beginning, interference from Drew McIntyre, and follow-up action that involved restholds and more uninteresting offense. Ziggler and Rollins are usually capable of putting on amazing matches, but this one fell short in my eyes.

The last five minutes or so were meant to ratchet up the action and get everyone excited. It might have worked on the live crowd (who were hilarious for creating that awesome Royal Rumble countdown chant!), but it didn’t get me more involved. The final moment that saw the match end during a Sudden Death sequence due to McIntyre’s repeated involvement on behalf of Ziggler was just deflating. As far as Iron Man matches go, this one lies near the bottom of the list. It wasn’t terrible, but it fell far too short of what I’m used to seeing from Ziggler and Rollins.

Rating: 2 & Half out of 5 Stars

Match of the Night

AJ Styles vs. Rusev!

Final Verdict

If it weren’t for AJ, Rusev, Reigns, and Lashley’s spirited performances, Extreme Rules 2018 would join Backlash 2018 in the Worst Wrestling Shows of 2018 trash heap. But even with those matches in place, the PPV as a whole ended up being passable at best. I enjoyed the Steel Cage match between Strowman and Owens more for their character work and the big match ending moment.

But I’m sure everyone else feels differently about that one. Everything else that took place here ranged from horrible (THANKS, CARMELLA!) to good. It really won’t take much from SummerSlam 2018 to top this one. Watch AJ vs. Rusev and Reigns vs. Lashley. Skip the rest (and yes, you even need to bypass Ziggler for Rollins. The crowd was better than the match, IMO).

Final Score: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

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