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, starting today. 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 2018
Date: July 15, 2018
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman
It’s the extreme pay per view that forgot its extreme. Tonight’s show features ten matches and only a handful have any kind of gimmick attached, including the likely main event of the completely standard Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley. WWE hasn’t done much to make the show feel special but maybe they’ll surprise me. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Sin Cara vs. Andrade Cien Almas
Rematch from Smackdown. Cara starts fast with a headscissors to send Almas outside but the suicide dive reinjures the elbow that kept Almas out for about a month. An elbow to the face puts Cara on the floor again and we get the double pose in the ropes/on the apron from Almas and Zelina Vega. Back from a break with Cara fighting out of an armbar and grabbing a hurricanrana out of the corner. Cara shoves him off the top and hits a frog splash but Vega offers a distraction. Back up and Almas hits a charge in the corner, setting up the running knees. The hammerlock DDT finishes Cara at 7:00.
Rating: C+. Nice cruiserweight style match here with the right ending, though they covered this already on Smackdown. I’m rarely a fan of having a match added to a card for the sake of having a match added to a card and that feels like what we got here. Almas needs to move up to something bigger now though as he has the complete package to really make a run up the ladder.
Kickoff Show: New Day vs. Sanity
Tables match. New Day clears the ring just after the bell and it’s already time to look for a table. Big E. gets double teamed inside until Young hits Wolfe by mistake. The spear through the ropes is broken up and Young drops the top rope elbow. Back from a break with Big E. still getting double teamed until Woods and Kofi send Wolfe and Young to the floor. Stereo suicide dives take them out but Killian Dain hits a dive of his own to crush them against the barricade.
Two more tables are set up on the floor and one is stacked upside down on top of another. Woods and Big E. fight their way out though and it’s a modified Tower of Doom with Kofi hitting a top rope double stomp instead of getting superplexed. Dain comes back in to flatten Woods and Big E. until Trouble in Paradise puts him back on the floor. Kofi and Wolfe fight on the apron above a table until Young comes off the top to drive Kofi through for the win at 7:36.
Rating: C. They moved a lot out there and it was entertaining while it lasted but that wasn’t exactly very long. Much like the other match, the right person won without much trouble, though at least this one was over some more successful opponents. I’m not sure where Sanity goes from here but they’re the kind of act that can go up against anyone and be tailored to make it work.
The opening video looks at a little bit of everything tonight, almost none of which feels like an important match in the slightest.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt vs. B Team
The B Team is challenging. Matt takes Dallas down to start with his zany screaming offense and Bo is already rolling to the floor. Back in and it’s off to Bray for the showdown with Dallas, who immediately tags instead. Bray has no problem pounding Axel down and Matt comes back in for his ten rams into the buckle. Matt gets two off a clothesline but runs into a boot to give the B Team their first opening. It also gives us our first dueling chant of the evening as the fans are split on the challengers.
Dallas whips Hardy into a DDT for two and it’s off to a neck crank. The comeback doesn’t take long and it’s Wyatt coming in to clean house. The release Rock Bottom plants Dallas but Axel breaks up the Kiss of Deletion. Dallas sends the champs together and the hanging swinging neckbreaker is enough to pin Hardy for the titles at 7:58.
Rating: D+. The ending is probably the right call as somehow the comedy team is the best thing that we can get for the titles instead of someone like Revival, who have already shown that they can wrestle a great match against a variety of teams. I’m sure someone finds them hilarious (and they are funny) but my goodness what happened to Hardy and Wyatt? They were a big deal just a few weeks ago and now they’re jobbing clean in an opening match.
The B Team compares this to Stretch Armstrong landing on the moon. Ok maybe I do like these two a bit more.
General Manager Kurt Angle is in the back and talks about how tired he is of Brock Lesnar refusing to defend the title. Therefore, Lesnar needs to show up tomorrow night to set up his next title defense or he’ll be stripped of the belt. I’m not sure what it says to think of that as a big relief.
Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor
Another “I’m better because I’m bigger feud”. Balor starts fast but gets caught in the corner for some running clotheslines. Corbin punches him down for two and stomps on the back while making sure to mention that he’s bigger. It works so well that Corbin breaks up a springboard with another right hand for two more and it’s off to the chinlock.
Balor slugs away for a breather and kicks Corbin down but it’s way too early for the Coup de Grace. Instead it’s a chokebreaker for two and Deep Six is good for the same. A quick double stomp stuns Corbin but Balor can’t follow up. The End of Days are reversed into a small package to give Balor the fast pin at 8:20.
Rating: D. There was no need for this to be on pay per view and there was even less need for Balor to win. I like Balor, but he’s ice cold at the moment while Corbin had been getting a nice boost thanks to the Constable thing. The story was Big Cass warmed over and that’s not exactly something that was worth watching in the first place. These two didn’t have any chemistry together and there’s no reason to see it happen again.
In the back, the Bludgeon Brothers attack HELL NO with Kane taking a mallet shot to the knee.
We recap Asuka vs. Carmella. Asuka got cheated out of the title last month by the returning James Ellsworth (who just had to be cast in the role) so tonight he’s locked in a shark cage to ensure a fair fight.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Carmella
Asuka is challenging and starts kicking away as soon as the shark cage goes up. Ellsworth is already dropping a chain down less than thirty seconds in but Asuka kicks it away. Carmella gets in a few shots so this time Ellsworth drops some mace. That doesn’t work either as the hip attack gets two and the Asuka Lock sends Carmella straight to the ropes.
Ellsworth manages to pick the lock but his pants get caught in the door, leaving him hanging upside down. Asuka beats on him like a punching bag and let’s stop the match so Ellsworth can be put back in the cage. Instead of letting the production people do their jobs, Asuka beats them up and leaves the cage hanging there. Carmella sneaks in, rams her into the cage, and gets the pin to retain at 5:37.
Rating: F. I don’t think this needs an explanation do you? Instead we’ll look at how fast everything is going for the sake of trying to cram all of this into the time limit, which isn’t likely to happen anyway because WWE will manage to over run anyway. This felt like a bad Smackdown angle, but at least Asuka got pinned again.
Asuka beats up Ellsworth to blow off some steam.
Quick recap of tonight’s happenings.
US Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Hardy is defending and gets hit low before the bell. He says he can go so the bell rings and Kinshasa gives Nakamura the pin and the title at 5 seconds. That has to be an injury or something.
Post match Randy Orton is back….to stomp Hardy low as Nakamura is stunned.
We recap Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman. Owens tried to get everyone to go after Strowman in Money in the Bank so Strowman destroyed Owens’ car, then locked him in a portable toilet. The result: a cage match of course.
Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman
Pin, submission or escape. Owens bolts for the cage early on but Strowman pulls him back down. Strowman: “YOU SAY FIGHT OWENS FIGHT! FIGHT ME!” Owens slugs away and actually drops Strowman with a superkick. The frog splash gets two so Owens goes for the door, only to be pulled back in screaming for mercy. Strowman throws him into the cage a few times and stands over Owens as the fans want someone to GET THESE HANDS.
A Stunner of all things gets Owens out of trouble and back to back superkicks put Strowman down on one knee. Owens busts out some handcuffs to attach Strowman to the ropes but hammers away instead of leaving. I really don’t see this ending well. A chokeslam drops Owens again but he rolls away and mocks Strowman before going up. Strowman breaks the handcuffs and runs up the wall to catch Owens, who he chokeslams off the cage onto the announcers’ table (with the crash pad showing), giving Owens the win at 8:50.
Rating: D. Well the crash was great, but I could go for a match actually getting some time tonight. A long stretch of this was spent on the handcuffs bit and that was hardly revolutionary. I hope they don’t try to keep Strowman the face if this feud continues, but for some reason that seems to be the most likely outcome. If nothing else has made him the heel in this thing, this won’t either.
Post match Owens is taken out on a stretcher while Strowman laughs about how Owens won.
We look at the US Title match and Orton’s return.
We recap the Smackdown Tag Team Title match. Bryan annoyed the Bludgeon Brothers so they beat him down a few times. Kane made his return to help his former partner, setting up the title match here. It’s pure nostalgia but it’s been fun.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: HELL NO vs. Bludgeon Brothers
Bryan, with bad ribs, is challenging on his own as Kane is too injured to compete. The rapid fire kicks give Bryan some early hope and Rowan gets knocked outside. A hurricanrana sets up the YES Lock on Harper but Rowan makes a quick save. Rowan gets two off a running splash and rips at Bryan’s face. Harper comes back in and eats some kicks, only to have Rowan catch the Flying Goat. He can’t hold Bryan long enough though and Harper’s suicide dive hits Rowan instead.
Cue Kane with a cast on his foot to limp down the aisle and take a diving tag. A pair of weak chokeslams drop the Brothers but Harper kicks him in the leg. Bryan tags himself back in for a missile dropkick and it’s time for the YES Kicks to Harper. A blind tag brings Rowan in and he spinwheel kicks Bryan down. Rowan whips Bryan into Kane, setting up a powerbomb/top rope clothesline combination to pin Bryan at 8:18.
Rating: C. They were flying through this (just like everything else tonight) but this was actually getting somewhere with Kane’s injury being a nice little story. That being said, Kane doesn’t quite have it in the ring anymore and it’s showing more and more every time. Bryan taking a fall after coming in injured and fighting most of the match on his own doesn’t hurt anything and the Brothers shouldn’t be losing the titles yet anyway. It was short, but this was one of the best things on the show so far.
Roman Reigns is walking in the back when he runs into the still celebrating B Team. He can be part of the team tonight if he Beats Lashley and they can all celebrate together. Roman walks away and the booing intensifies.
We recap Reigns vs. Lashley (which actually isn’t main eventing). It was about the #1 contendership but Lesnar wasn’t feeling that so it became the two bickering about who should fight Lesnar. Reigns called Lashley out for leaving and Lashley bragged about being awesome. They had a huge brawl on Raw which went very well but other than that, it feels like two kids arguing about beating up the bigger kid who would probably flatten them.
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
Reigns powers him into the corner to start and shrugs off the first suplex. The apron dropkick sets up an early chinlock as they’re going fast but not really at a high pace if that makes sense. Reigns takes it outside again and they fight over the steps with Lashley (minus the headband) getting the better of it.
Back in and the fans call this boring as Lashley hits a belly to belly suplex but charges into a boot in the corner. Reigns is favoring his ribs as he hits the corner clotheslines so Lashley grabs a powerslam to hurt the ribs even worse. An ax handle from the top puts Reigns down again but he’s back up with something like an AA to put Lashley on the floor in a big crash. Back in and a legdrop gives Reigns two, followed by Lashley’s vertical suplex for the same.
Lashley’s spear is cut off by a Superman Punch, sending him rolling to the floor. Reigns tries a charge but gets caught in a belly to belly onto (not through) the announcers’ table. That doesn’t have much of an effect though as he Superman Punches Lashley off the top. The spear is loaded up but Lashley spears him down instead for the pin at 14:54.
Rating: C+. Well that’s certainly a thing that happened. Lashley winning was the only logical call as he needed something to energize his return, especially after that horrible Sami Zayn feud. I still expect the possibility of Reigns getting to beat Lesnar somehow, but at least they gave Lashley the win he needed here.
We recap Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss. Jax was defending against Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank when Bliss cashed in her briefcase. Rousey snapped and attacked Bliss, earning herself a suspension. Therefore, tonight Rousey is in the front row instead of being in the ring but it might not matter as Bliss is defending in an Extreme Rules match.
Raw Women’s Title: Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss
Bliss is defending, anything goes, and Natalya and Mickie James are the seconds. Nia goes into stalking mode to start so it’s time for weapons, all of which Nia throws away without much effort. Bliss’ chair is pulled out of her hands and a gorilla press drop puts her onto a trashcan. Some trashcan shots have Nia down and Bliss wedges a chair in the corner.
Mickie and Natalya get in a fight on the floor with Bliss heading outside to send Natalya into the barricade. Rousey jumps the barricade and sends Mickie inside for a twisting Samoan drop (not bad). James gets sent over the announcers’ table and Rousey runs Bliss down but James is back up with a kendo stick. Back in and James hits Jax in the back to break up a Samoan drop. Bliss chairs Nia down and DDTs her on the chair to retain at 7:21.
Rating: D. This show is feeling more and more like a Vince Russo show every match. They flew through this again and the Rousey stuff was the focus (as it should have been) but it felt like it could have been a big TV angle instead of a pay per view match. It was as much as you were going to get out of hitting each other with weapons for a few minutes until the angle started and that’s all you really could have expected here.
You might know this woman:
We recap AJ Styles vs. Rusev because the Intercontinental Title match really is main eventing. Rusev Day has become one of the hottest things in the company but Styles is still the Phenomenal One. It’s Rusev’s first ever singles match for the title and he’s ready to make the most of it.
Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Rusev
Rusev is challenging and has Aiden English singing him to the ring. AJ starts fast with some kicks to the leg but gets kneed in the ribs to cut him off. A backdrop puts him down and a belly to back suplex works on the ribs a bit more to start the setup for the Accolade. We hit the bearhug for a few moments until Rusev puts him on top. You don’t do that to AJ though as he slips between Rusev’s legs and kicks him to the floor with Rusev holding his leg.
Back in and a running seated forearm has Rusev in trouble, followed by a reverse DDT for two. AJ gets sent to the apron but doesn’t seem to mind as he snaps off a kick to the head. The springboard 450 misses and neither submission hold can go on. Instead AJ kicks him down but the running forearm is countered by a kick to the head from the mat (that’s kind of impressive).
A belly to belly on the floor sets up the Machka Kick for two and the roundhouse kick to the head gets the same. Rusev loads up the Accolade but the leg gives out from earlier. The one legged version of the Accolade doesn’t work very well so Aiden English rips off a turnbuckle pad. AJ slips out of another Accolade attempt and Rusev charges into the buckle. The springboard 450 gets two so Styles decks English and hits the Phenomenal Forearm to retain at 15:35.
Rating: B. Easily the best thing on the show so far, mainly because they didn’t rush through the thing. Rusev gets to save a little bit of face thanks to the messy ending too and that’s a good sign for his future. AJ wasn’t really in a lot of danger here and now he can move on to the biggest threat of all, which should be Samoa Joe.
I remember Rusev:
Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
Thirty minute Iron Man match with Ziggler defending and Drew McIntyre in his corner. Feeling out process start with Rollins taking it to the mat and working on a hammerlock. That goes nowhere so Rollins tries a rollup for two instead. Ziggler takes him to the mat as well but Rollins pops back up with a Buckle Bomb. La majistral gives Rollins the first fall at 4:35.
Rollins hits a slingshot dive to the floor as Coach talks about John Cena and Shawn Michaels having an Iron Man match (wrong). The fans have a new annoying idea: counting down the time like the Royal Rumble clock, but on every minute. Back in and Ziggler hits an elbow but Rollins slips out of a suplex, setting up Stomp for the second fall at 7:57.
Ziggler is rocked so McIntyre comes in to jump Rollins for the DQ at 8:45.
McIntyre beats on him even more and gets ejected but there’s no second DQ, not even after a Claymore to Rollins as we hit ten minutes. Ziggler covers to get a fall back at 10:28.
A superkick gives Ziggler another fall at 11:09.
The fans aren’t happy that the clock has been taken off the Titantron (I’ll be happy for them) so Ziggler hits a Zig Zag to tie things up at 12:09, hopefully getting their attention back.
We get a WHERE’S THE CLOCK chant because fans don’t understand the concept of having something taken away from you if you abuse it. Therefore, they just start randomly counting down, even if it doesn’t match the clock on the screen. Rollins sends him outside but the suicide dive hits a forearm, allowing Ziggler to get a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 14:07.
Ziggler grabs an armbar as we’re halfway through. With Rollins running out of time, Ziggler grabs a long sleeper with a grapevine to eat up a few minutes. Rollins fights up and sends him outside for a suicide dive and a springboard clothesline gets two as we have ten minutes left. The clock comes back on so we get a YES chant as Ziggler dropkicks Rollins off the top. Normally a big bump like that would get a reaction, but the fans were too busy counting down again.
They fight to the corner and on top until Rollins headbutts him back down. The frog splash gets two on the champ so Ziggler gets smart by grabbing the bottom rope. Rollins kicks him free and loads Ziggler up for the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for two with four minutes left. Ziggler breaks up the Stomp but gets sunset flipped to tie it up at 26:51.
Rollins wastes no time in pulling him down into a Sharpshooter and then a Crossface. With that not working, Rollins misses a Stomp and Ziggler rolls outside with a minute left. Back in and a quick Fameasser gets two to put them both down. Ziggler tunes up the band but walks into a superkick, setting up the Stomp but time expires on Seth at 30:10 (not sure how they messed that up) and it’s a draw.
Rating: B. REALLY annoying crowd aside (“We came up with something clever! Let’s do it thirty times in a row!”), this was a rather good match that never felt long in the slightest. I did like the idea of doing that many falls at the beginning as it gave the match a hot start and took away some of the dragging that comes with Iron Man matches. Better than I was expecting here so that’s a nice surprise.
Actually hang on a second here as Kurt Angle comes out to say we’re going to overtime.
Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins
McIntyre runs in for a distraction and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag to retain at 14 seconds.
They beat each other up for a long time:
The show felt so rushed and while I REALLY appreciate them being out at a more reasonable time (show ended at 10:42), they needed to trim things down a good bit. Not everyone belongs on pay per view and that couldn’t have been more true here. I really would have been fine without some of these matches and the show would have had a lot more breathing room if they weren’t slapped on there.
As for what we did get….I’ve seen better. I know I’ve harped on this already but the lack of time for a lot of the matches really hurt things as it felt like they were flying through it instead of letting the matches go somewhere. The booking wasn’t exactly great either with Strowman looking like a jerk, Asuka failing again and the Intercontinental Title closing a show because…I have no idea. I didn’t know Iron Man matches were extreme, but the only extreme thing here was the extremely annoying crowd in the main event.
Lesnar and the title being back will help a lot though as we now have a target for Summerslam. It’s not the worst show in the world, but they would have been in some serious trouble had the last few matches not completely bailed them out. Just cut down on some of this stuff and it would be a lot better.
B Team b. Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt – Hanging swinging neckbreaker to Hardy
Finn Balor b. Baron Corbin – Small package
Carmella b. Asuka – Carmella rammed her into the cage
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Jeff Hardy – Kinshasa
Kevin Owens b. Braun Strowman – Owens escaped the cage
Bludgeon Brothers b. HELL NO – Powerbomb/Top rope clothesline combination to Bryan
Bobby Lashley b. Roman Reigns – Spear
AJ Styles b. Rusev – Phenomenal Forearm
Dolph Ziggler b. Seth Rollins 5-4
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 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the History Of In Your House.
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