WWE Extreme Rules 2019: Reactions & Review

Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s WWE Extreme Rules 2019!

Finn Bálor (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Reactions: It’s one thing to get an unannounced matchup during a WWE PPV. It’s a whole other thing when that match is pretty damned good and features two of your favorite wrestlers. Extra brownie points to WWE for throwing this match on at the very last minute and gifting both competitors plenty of time to make it worthwhile. There was one major slip up to speak of, but it didn’t take the match down a notch.

I enjoyed this matchup when it went down in NJPW in 2014 and I certainly enjoyed when it took place here. Bálor and Nakamura have developed a nice chemistry with each other and it showed here – the counter game both superstars got into near the end was especially entertaining. The unexpected title change made this match even more of a welcome surprise. Turn this into a ladder match at SummerSlam and put it on the main card, WWE!

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)

Reactions: Things were a bit off between these two tonight. There were a few rough exchanges littered throughout and that awkward pause near the closing moments was too hard to ignore. Even Tony Nese’s Springboard Moonsualt to Drew Gulak across the ring apron looked a bit off. The match wasn’t all the way terrible by any means, but it wasn’t up to par when compared to past Kickoff Show Cruiserweight matches.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon (No Holds Barred Match)

Reactions: I feared that this match would go off the rails due to ‘Taker’s performance at Super Showdown, but it came off a bit better than expected. The added stipulation provided the smoke and mirrors this match clearly needed and kept it from being a total wash. They didn’t overdo it with the announce table and hardcore Shane ‘O Mac antics – it was just enough to please the crowd. ‘Taker came to this match with a mission – wipe the bad taste out of everyone’s mouths who had to sit through his cringefest with Goldberg. Judging by the positive crowd reaction to this bout? Mission accomplished. The other four men who were a part of this match more than held up their end of the bargain, too.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) (c) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: Scott Dawson was on one tonight, boy! His character work led to some hilarious facial expressions and Eddie Guerrero-like spots throughout. To the surprise of no one, both these teams delivered a fun tag team bout. The sloppiness during some of the exchanges seen here was pretty apparent, though. There were two or three instances of miscommunication making things look a bit iffy. Those mistakes stood out like a sore thumb, but I still enjoyed the majority of this bout. The Revival and The Usos are known for delivering quality bouts – this may have been a bit off at points, but it was still worth a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

Reactions: I’m sure everyone knew how good this one would be coming in. Aleister Black has given everyone a reason to check for him based on his excellent run in NXT and main roster partnership with Ricochet. And pitting him against the always reliable Cesaro was the smartest move to make here. The stiff strike exchanges, nasty uppercuts, smart limb selling and smooth mat work delivered by Black and Cesaro wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Evolve show put on the night before. This one got a good amount of time to really build to a conclusive finish. Black’s main roster reintroduction match was a success.

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (2-on-1 Handicap Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Reactions: Whenever Bayley and Alexa Bliss lock up, I tune out. But the added element of Nikki Cross managed to keep me enthralled from the opening bell. Bliss and Cross did a good job of staying on top of the champ with frequent tags and not boring us with painfully long rest holds. Bayley embraced her role as the hardened champion well here – I especially enjoyed watching her pull off that double submission spot. This Handicap match didn’t stick to the same structure that it’s usually known for and that’s why I liked it more than I thought I would.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley (Last Man Standing Match)

Reactions: This was kind of a disappointment. I’m used to witnessing some epic Last Man Standing matches that feature some unique moments that put it over the top. This one was filled with far too many punching exchanges, plus its slow pace took the life out of it the longer it went on. The dull fighting in the crowd wasn’t all that good, plus the final big spot lacked any real impact (audio-wise) to truly put it over. This definitely ranks low amongst the weaker Last Man Standing matches. Hopefully, this feud has finally come to an end.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) (Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: WOW! The New Day is just rackin’ tag team title wins, huh? I thought Heavy Machinery would finally claim the blue belts, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They have nothing to be ashamed of, though – this Triple Threat tag team match was a jam-packed highlight reel. All three teams interacted with each other and got involved in some insane moments. Otis and Tucker further proved why they’re the team to watch with their fine output here. The champs also put in a lot of work along with The New Day and made sure to kick this match into a higher gear near the closing stretch. We got a rambunctious tag-team matchup and a shocking title change here, which obviously works for me.

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE United States Championship)

Reactions: This rematch was clearly the best in the series between both of these agile, indie wrestling greats. The only problem that I noticed didn’t even have anything to do with the match itself – it was the dead crowd. And to be honest, I totally understand why. The extra matches added to this event at the last minute made this card a bit bloated and made the show feel a bit long in the tooth by the time we got to this match.

Even with the tired audience, Ricochet and AJ Styles still produced in-ring excellence. Ricochet flew through the air and bumped like a madman, AJ was his usual “Phenomenal” self, and that top-rope Styles Clash was the perfect match-closer. I didn’t even mind the interference from AJ’s fellow “Good Brothers,” as it played into the ongoing storyline. This is clearly going down again at SummerSlam and I can’t wait to see a crazy stipulation attached to it. Fine work from everyone involved here.

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

Reactions: Kevin Owens thankfully kept this short by following the rules established by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – “Arrive, Stunner, Leave.” Owens vs. Shane McMahon at SummerSlam in a Street Fight sounds like a given at this point.


Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)

Reactions: The fact that I knew Samoa Joe was losing here kept me from being truly invested in this title match. Even though both men presented a perfectly solid contest, it didn’t kick in to second gear and really get going. And just when it was about to seemingly enter that more exciting second stage, it ended on a flat note. The match was good but could have been even better with more time and crowd involvement. Watching Joe or Kofi Kingston work is never a dull moment. But the predictable result and lame “one finisher and it’s already over” ending were pretty deflating.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Champion) and Becky Lynch (WWE Raw Women’s Champion) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans (Last Chance Winner Takes All Mixed Tag Team Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Universal Championship and the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

Reactions: This came off a lot better than I expected! It was a bit strange to see both teams stick to a traditional tag team match set up at first, but the match got a bit more interesting once those rules fell by the wayside. And to be honest, the added Extreme Rules stipulation was the sole reason this turned out be a decent watch. The double table spot was pretty cool and Baron Corbin’s out-of-nowhere End of Days to Becky Lynch was quite the shock. Watching Seth Rollins turn into a pissed off killer and run roughshod over Corbin at the end was a nice touch, too. Brock Lesnar’s MITB cash-in and title win, though? Not so much…

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Match of the Night

Ricochet vs. AJ Styles!

Final Verdict

WWE Extreme Rules 2019 was definitely a mixed bag. It gave the crowd plenty of decent to good matches to come alive for. But the longer it went on, the crowd responded to it with less enthusiasm. Once Paul Heyman announced Brock’s cash-in later in the evening, that’s the only thing the crowd seemed to care about. This show could have cut two or three matches off the card to keep it from feeling overly long and way too full. While still a solid show, Extreme Rules 2019 was hampered by a few lame duck bouts and an overall bloated feel. And the less said about that ending, the better…

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

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