Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Extreme Rules 2015
Date: April 26, 2015
Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, John Bradshaw Layfield
It’s time for the night of Wrestlemania rematches, which often makes for a very entertaining card. The main event will see Seth Rollins defending the World Title against Randy Orton inside a cage with the RKO banned and Kane guarding the door. We also have Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a last man standing match and Rusev vs. Cena III in a Russian chain match. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Bad News Barrett on the pre-show to tell us that Daniel Bryan isn’t here tonight to defend the Intercontinental Title. Since Bryan can’t be here, let’s bring out Neville for a replacement so he can take the Bullhammer destined to go upside Bryan’s head.
Bad News Barrett vs. Neville
The fans are entirely behind Neville as Barrett grabs a headlock to start. Neville takes him to the mat and hooks a nice rollup for two before the front flips have Barrett even more confused. A dropkick sends him to the floor but Barrett trips Neville up to take over. Back from a break with Barrett holding a chinlock before throwing Neville into the air for a kick to the ribs and two. A big boot to the face gets the same on Neville and Barrett follows up with a nice slingshot backbreaker.
The second chinlock doesn’t last as long, allowing Neville to fire off some kicks to the ribs to send Barrett outside, setting up the big spinning dive from Neville. Back in and Barrett catches him going up before planting Neville with Winds of Change for two. Wasteland gets a VERY close two but the Bullhammer misses, allowing Neville to hit an enziguri. The Red Arrow is broken up but Barrett misses another Bullhammer. A second kick to the head sets up the Red Arrow from (Cole: “Adrian”) Neville for the pin at 10:40.
Rating: C+. Well that’s a surprise. Neville getting the win is a big deal as it’s his biggest pin ever, even if everyone and their mother pin Barrett. In theory this sets up a feud between the two of them over who gets the title shot whenever Bryan comes back, if he does at all.
The opening video talks about how this is the most extreme night of the year and focuses on Rusev vs. Cena and Rollins vs. Orton. Again, it makes sense to add gimmicks so it’s not just the same show as last month without the big stage.
Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
Street fight, meaning the fall must take place in the ring. Dean takes over to start and knocks Harper to the floor for a suicide dive. Back in and we get the kendo sticks to Harper’s back, followed by a chair being thrown inside. Dean sits down and licks his lips until Harper comes back and suplexes him through the chair. Luke starts going after the knee with the kendo stick before wedging a chair in the corner.
In a unique spot, Harper LAUNCHES Dean face first into the chair for two as the fans stay behind Ambrose. Back up and a tornado DDT gives Dean a breather as the fans want tables. Luke counters Dirty Deeds and the rebound clothesline before they head back to the floor. Dean’s suicide dive is countered with a shove, so Dean does a kind of 619 and comes back with a clothesline in a cool spot.
They fight to the back with Luke being rammed into various things. Luke goes behind a wall and the camera has to run around to find him. THANK YOU! I can’t remember the last time that happened but it drives me absolutely insane when there’s a camera waiting on them. Harper and Dean get inside a car…….and drive away with the referee in the back. So I’m guessing the match is still going and continues later in the night?
HHH tells Kane to find that car before those two hurt someone. Rollins comes in and tells them to calm down because this is a big night. Kane goes off on Rollins and calls him a punk, but HHH wants things calm head into the main event. Kane better not screw up though. The fans could be heard calling this boring and I can’t say I disagree. Don’t put this stuff on the pay per view. We know the story is boring by now so don’t make it even worse.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
The winner has to kiss the winner’s….uh yeah. Sheamus shoves him away to start but Ziggler comes back with forearms to the face. A dropkick staggers the big man and they fight to the floor. Ziggler is thrown at the steps but jumps on top of them for the slingshot DDT to stun Sheamus even more. Back in and Sheamus hits something like a Brogue Knee to take over. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Dolph fights up with another dropkick, only to get caught in a sitout powerbomb for two more.
Sheamus starts talking trash and follows it up with another devastating, yes DEVASTATING I say, chinlock. It’s not devastating enough to prevent Ziggler from fighting up with right hands and a splash in the corner. The neckbreaker is countered and Sheamus nails a running ax handle, only to walk into a superkick for two. Sheamus plants him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as they’re trading big shots here. The Brogue Kick misses and Ziggler rolls him up for two before a rolling cradle is enough to pin Sheamus at 9:25.
Rating: C+. This was just a TV match with a quick ending but the two worked pretty well together. The idea here was to have Ziggler bounce off Sheamus and make all the power moves look good, which he excels at. Solid enough match here, even if the gimmick was really stupid.
Post match Sheamus takes nearly five minutes to do what he’s supposed to do but of course he hits Ziggler low and gives him a Brogue Kick before making Ziggler kiss up to him like a heel should.
Long video on what’s coming on the Network.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro
Kidd/Cesaro are defending and are the default heels here. Cole says that it’s Kofi and Big E. Langston for the New Day. Kofi takes Kidd to the mat to start but Tyson wraps the arm around the ropes to take over. Off to Big E. vs. Cesaro with Cesaro catching Big E.’s leapfrog in midair and throwing him into the corner. It’s back to Kidd as the champions stomp Big E. to the tune of New Day Sucks in an awesome moment. Tyson sends both challengers to the floor for a suicide cannonball dive on Kofi, only to have Big E. clothesline him down. Fans: “NEW DAY! SUCKS!” Woods: “WHAT DID WE DO??? WE’RE WINNING!”
Back in and Kofi hits a basement dropkick in the corner before we hit the chinlock. Big E. misses the splash and gets low bridged to the floor, allowing for the hot tag to Cesaro. The Swing is teased but it’s a catapult into the corner, where Kofi jumps to the top for a spinning cross body, but Cesaro catches him in mid air for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Cesaro’s apron superplex sets up the springboard elbow from Kidd for two, only to have Big E. dive through the ropes to spear Kidd down.
Back in and the Midnight Hour gets two on Kidd with Cesaro making the save. Kofi gets caught in the Sharpshooter and this time it’s E.’s turn to make the save. There’s the Swing into the dropkick but Woods gets on the apron for a distraction, only to be taken out by Natalya. Kofi uses the distraction to slide in with a rollup and a handful of trunks for the pin and the titles at 9:37.
Rating: B+. I had a really good time with this as Cesaro and Kidd are one of the most polished teams for such a short amount of time together as you’ll ever see. Hopefully these teams have several more matches together as they’ve got great chemistry and work together really well. Awesome match here and I’d love to see more of it.
The pre-show panel chats for a bit and talks about Neville vs. Barrett.
New Day celebrates their win as Ambrose and Harper return. They fight back to the arena and throw a bunch of weapons into the ring. Harper hits a quick powerbomb onto the chairs for two but takes too long putting Dean under the chairs, allowing Ambrose to toss him onto the steel. Dirty Deeds connects for the pin at somewhere around 59:00.
Rating: D+. So uh….what the heck was the point of this? If they had done something like Mankind vs. HHH at In Your House XVI where they kept fighting all throughout the night this would have been fun but instead it was three fourths of a match, then a 50 minute break, then a quick finish. Were they just five minutes short or something?
Long recap of Cena vs. Rusev. They traded wins at the previous two pay per views but tonight Cena is defending the US Title in a Russian chain match.
US Title: John Cena vs. Rusev
Russian chain match of the four corners variety, meaning forward momentum has to be maintained or your streak of corners is erased. They start with a tug of war and Cena gets three quick buckles, followed by Rusev getting two of his own. Rusev sends him to the floor and suplexes him over the ropes for two buckles but Cena hits him with the chain to break it up. They head outside with Rusev being pulled into the post, knocking him half silly in the process.
Cena gets two buckles but Rusev wraps his legs around the ropes for the save. Rusev scores with the spinwheel kick and chains Cena in the back a few times but can only get two buckles. For some reason Rusev goes up top, only to get pulled down onto the chain. Cena starts his finishing sequence but gets caught in the fall away slam, setting up the jumping superkick. The fans want Lana so she gets on the apron, only to be ejected by Rusev. Cena hits his usual stuff but the AA is countered into the Alabama Slam.
The Accolade is reversed into the STF and the rope Rusev grabs means nothing. Rusev pulls him down and hooks the Accolade so Cena gets to his feet and drives Rusev into two corners. He collapses from the hold though and Rusev hits the third, only to walk into the AA to break the streak. Back up and they both quickly get three, setting up a tug of war over the fourth. Rusev rushes for it but Cena pulls him into the AA and slaps the fourth to retain at 13:35.
Rating: C. I’m actually surprised but they did find a different way to end the thing. That being said, these matches can only be so good as the gimmick gets in the way of the match. Other than the match being called a Russian chain match, there’s no distinct advantage here for Rusev and it makes for a pretty average match. Not bad or anything, but I’ll never want to watch this again.
Roman Reigns talks about how he’ll keep getting up and win the last man standing match tonight.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Naomi
Nikki is defending and Naomi got the shot after attacking Paige, who had won a battle royal to earn the title match. Naomi has new music, stupid looking glasses and shoes that light up. Nikki puts on an armbar to start but gets suplexed down for two. The shoes are already really distracting as Naomi hooks a chinlock. Back up and Nikki avoids the Rear View but Naomi stops to dance a bit.
Naomi charges into an elbow in the corner and the Alabama Slam gets two. Back up and Naomi gets the same off a falling reverse DDT. A quick Bubba Bomb into a rollup gets the same but Nikki comes back with something like a Beautiful Disaster from the middle rope for two. Brie gets in a cheap shot on Naomi, setting up the Rack Attack to retain the title at 7:17. Those are our new heroes?
Rating: C. The Bellas (they’re a collective entity in my mind at this point) are acceptable in the ring and improving, but they’re far too annoying to make me ever care about/like them, especially with the one not in the match shouting COME ON *insert other sister’s name here* a dozen times a match. It also doesn’t help that they might be the worst written characters I’ve seen in years with the stories starting and stopping and them suddenly being faces with no reason given. Also their Total Divas personas haven’t done them any favors. Somehow this is going to wind up as the Funkadactyls vs. Bellas isn’t it?
Rusev yells at Lana and storms off. Lana hangs her head and walks into the Authority’s locker room. That’s something I guess and the fans gasped when they saw whose room it was.
We recap Reigns vs. Big Show, which exists to prove that there is a devil and his name is Vince McMahon.
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
Last man standing. They slug it out to start and Reigns knocks Show to the floor before getting an early table. Big Show shoves it back under the ring so Reigns posts him, setting up the apron kick for five. The table reappears and is set up at ringside but Big Show breaks it with his fists so Reigns can’t put him through it.
Reigns opts for a kendo stick and nails Show with it a few times, only to have Show break it apart, saying he’s a giant. Thanks for pointing that out. Show goes into his slow offense and the fans chant BORING, so Reigns gets a chair and blasts Show about ten times to put him down. A DDT on the chair stuns Show and allows Reigns to get two tables. The delay lets Show get back up for the KO Punch though, sending Reigns down for eight.
Show is annoyed so Roman hits a Samoan drop through the table. Back up and Big Show hits a spear, followed by the most polite, least impactful Vader Bomb you’ll ever see. Reigns gets to his feet so Show goes up, only to get slammed down for almost no reaction. Two Superman Punches connect but Show catches the third and chokeslams Roman over the top and through the two tables Reigns set up earlier.
Naturally it only gets nine so Big Show leaves Reigns alone as he sets up the announcers’ table. In a funny bit, Show sees the announcers’ notes that say he needs to lose weight and yells at JBL. Back in and Reigns avoids a charge through a table in the corner, setting up a spear for eight.
Show rolls outside so Reigns spears him through the barricade for a spot we’ve seen before. It doesn’t help that Show was motionless at seven and on his feet at nine. Show loads up a chokeslam on the table but Reigns escapes and runs the tables to spear Show through the Spanish table for eight. Reigns finally buries Show under the table for the win at 19:43.
Rating: C+. The worst part? The match wasn’t really even that bad. Just too long though and the ending didn’t do what they were hoping. Why did they need to have the table cover him when they could have done the spear for the win? In other words, it was a table that kept Show down instead of Reigns. Great way to make your next big star look awesome there guys. This could have been WAY worse, but the lack of crowd interest had them dead on arrival.
Randy Orton tells Kane that the Authority will turn on him.
We look at some Tough Enough applications.
Here’s Bo Dallas, who wants to know why Chicago is the Second City when they’re clearly #1! That would be #1 at rejecting someone trying to make their lives better. The people here shouldn’t worry about how extreme the rules get because they should be worrying about bo-lieving. Cue Ryback and the obvious happens.
Rusev is annoyed about the loss when Lana comes in and says it’s done. There will be one more match between Cena and Rusev at Payback and it’s I Quit.
WWE World Title: Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
In a cage with Rollins defending, the RKO banned and Kane guarding the cage door. Pinfall, submission or escape to win. Rollins goes for the cage twice early and Randy pulls him down on the second attempt. A third attempt goes just as badly so Rollins climbs one more time and sends Orton into the cage to take over for a change. Seth gets reversed into the cage again and the chase is on up the cage wall with Orton making a save.
Rollins almost escapes again and this time the Stooges come out to help, only to have Orton superplex him off the top for a big crash and two. Kane yells at the Stooges as Orton can’t follow up. To change up the pace of the escape counters, Orton crotches him on the top rope instead. The Elevated DDT plants Rollins and Lawler is already proclaiming Orton the next champion.
Orton loads up the RKO but opts for a decent looking Pedigree for two instead. The fans chant YES as Orton loads up the Punt but Rollins ducks to the side and hits a quick enziguri. Kane is told to open the door and obeys the champ but Randy is right there with the backbreaker to stop Rollins again.
The door stays open so Orton stops to think about it, but the threat of Kane sends him back. That threat proves to be well founded a Kane slams the door when Orton tries to leave. Randy does the smart thing by kicking the door at Kane before it turns into a fight to escape. Kane slams the door on both men and takes off his jacket, so the Stooges send Kane into the cage. The monster chokeslams both guys and loads up a tombstone on Orton, only to have Randy escape and RKO Kane. Seth uses the distraction to RKO Orton, allowing him to escape and retain at 20:50.
Rating: C. This wasn’t terrible but it took longer than it should have and ended with a pretty lame surprise. They were treating the RKO from Rollins like Austin siding with Vince when it was really just a technicality. The match was good enough but the gimmick continues to drag things down. Some of the early escape attempts were good though.
Overall Rating: C+. I liked this more than I thought I would but it still wasn’t a blow away show. Unfortunately we seem to be heading for round 3 of multiple feuds at Payback, despite there being very little left for these people to fight over. Definitely a watchable show, but can we please get some fresh ideas on top? Like, even adding someone else to Orton vs. Rollins and no Kane doesn’t count. Better than I was expecting but still not great.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!