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 2019
Date: July 14, 2019
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Michael Cole, Renee Young
We’re finally wrapping up a long stretch with what feels like a show from one company or another every week for months. This is a show built around violence and a full three matches out of the twelve have some form of gimmick that includes violence. The card doesn’t look bad though and hopefully it works out. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Intercontinental Title: Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura is challenging and this is a bonus match. Balor starts fast with a running dropkick but gets laid over the top rope for a running knee to the ribs. A middle rope knee to the head is broken up though and Nakamura falls out to the floor. That means the running flip dive but Nakamura is right back with an armbar back inside.
Balor is in the ropes in a hurry but has to fight out of a dragon sleeper. A running dropkick takes Nakamura down by the knee and we go to a split screen. Back with Balor hitting the shotgun dropkick in the corner but the Coup de Grace misses. Nakamura hits the running knee to the back of the head, followed by Kinshasa for the pin and the title at 7:03.
Rating: C. Well ok then. Nakamura winning the title is probably the right move as Balor wasn’t doing anything with it, but that’s going to present the same problem: is Nakamura going to do anything with it? Recent history would suggest no, but at least it’s better than Nakamura sitting around doing nothing all day.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak
Gulak, the hometown boy, is defending. They go straight at it to start with Nese taking him down for some left hands. A leg sweep gives Nese one and a running clothesline puts Gulak on the floor. Gulak gets in his own clothesline on the outside though and they’re both down. We go split screen again and come back with Nese hitting a pumphandle powerslam for two.
Nese sends Gulak to the apron and ties him in the ropes for a middle rope moonsault (that’s a new one). Back in and Nese’s 450 goes a little far, meaning his knees go into Gulak’s chest for two. The sunset driver is countered into a powerbomb to give Gulak two, followed by the Cyclone Crash to retain the title at 7:28.
Rating: C+. They’re not wasting time with these Kickoff Show matches. In this case that’s for the best as you don’t want to have the matches go long and take away from what is being planned for the main show. These are designed to get the fans going and that is what this one did. Gulak retaining is the only logical choice and a showdown with Oney Lorcan is probably penciled in for Summerslam.
The opening video features a woman who might be Mandy Rose whispering that the rules are changing. We shift into a look at most of the matches, the majority of which are in no way, shape or form extreme.
We recap Shane McMahon/Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns/Undertaker. Shane has had the power go to his head (again) and helped Drew beat Reigns at Stomping Grounds. Undertaker is back to even the odds and take Shane down a few pegs.
Shane McMahon/Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns/Undertaker
No Holds Barred. Undertaker has some slightly different gear as the front of his top covers up the middle of his chest now, as opposed to the lower cut style he has had for years. It’s No Holds Barred, so of course tags are required with Reigns and McIntyre starting. An early belly to belly has Reigns in trouble and it’s off to Shane for the punches in the corner, drawing some nice booing.
Somehow Reigns survives and brings in Undertaker to hammer away, including Old School. Undertaker strikes away in the corner and we get the YOU STILL GOT IT chants. It’s back to Drew so we get a nice looking staredown before the slugout is on. A clothesline puts Undertaker on the floor but he lands on his feet and pulls Drew down. That means the apron legdrop and Reigns comes back in for his own right hands.
Undertaker has had it with Shane interfering and goes for a chair to chase him up the ramp. Reigns is sent into the steps as Shane comes back to watch McIntyre grab an armbar. Back up and Reigns nails the Samoan drop, allowing the tag back to Undertaker. It’s time to load up the announcers’ table but here’s Elias to guitar Undertaker in the back. McIntyre adds the Claymore to Reigns and another one saves Elias from the revived Undertaker.
Shane drops the top rope elbow to put Undertaker through the table and pops up far too fast. Coast to Coast drives a trashcan into Undertaker and McIntyre takes Reigns down. Undertaker sits up (thank goodness….I think) and chokeslams Shane, followed by another to Elias. McIntyre rises up behind him (cool shot) but it’s the spear from Reigns. The Tombstone finishes Shane at 16:56.
Rating: C+. I’m not sure what to think of this one but they were smart to start with this. What matters most for me though is Shane losing like this, marking the first time he’s been pinned since November. It would be great if they were toning down the Shane love, which has caused more problems than almost anything else as of late. Good thing they gave that rub to someone who needed it so badly too.
Undertaker gets to pose on his own because we’re supposed to believe he’s not going to wrestle much longer.
Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins talk about taking a walk through Philadelphia last night and coming up with ideas of how to hurt Lacey Evans and Baron Corbin. Losing is not an option.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Revival
The Usos are challenging with Jimmy and Dawson starting things off. Jimmy’s backslide gets two as Graves and Renee argue about the Revival enjoying the good life. Everything breaks down in a hurry and the Usos hit stereo dives to take the champs out as the fast start continues. Jey stalks Wilder, who suckers him into a clothesline from Dawson to take over.
Back in and Dawson takes over on Jey before picking Wilder up for an assisted legdrop. The waistlock goes on for a bit before Dawson comes back in, only to distract the referee so we don’t get a hot tag. Dawson even throws in some Eddie Guerrero by pretending to be down so the cheating doesn’t come off as so obvious. Jey gets taken up top but a double collision knocks Dawson to the floor and Jey down to the mat. A double tag brings in Jimmy and Wilder as everything breaks down.
Jimmy can’t fight off the numbers though and gets sent into the corner, only to have him come out with a Whisper in the Wind. Dawson grabs a brainbuster for two and it’s an ode to Power and Glory with the PowerPlex. Jey dives in for a save and everyone is down again. The double dives are broken up but so is Wilder’s tornado DDT. That’s fine with the champs as the Shatter Machine finishes Jimmy to retain at 12:34.
Rating: B. This was the usual fast paced and entertaining match between the two teams and that’s why it was put on the show. There is nothing wrong with having two awesome teams go out there and do something entertaining, which is exactly what we got here. The Revival needed this far more than the Usos did too so it’s a good idea all around.
We recap Aleister Black vs. Cesaro. Black wanted someone to pick a fight with him and Cesaro did. Time for a match.
Cesaro vs. Aleister Black
An early Black Mass attempt misses and Cesaro uppercuts him into the corner. The Neutralizer is reversed into a backdrop but Cesaro sticks the landing and sits down, ala Black’s signature pose. Black knocks him to the floor and hits the middle rope moonsault for the first big knockdown. Back in and Black sweeps the leg but gets caught by the springboard uppercut for two. Black fights out of the chinlock in a hurry before switching over to an armbar. A Meteora attempt is caught in the air and Swiss Death gets two to keep Black in trouble.
Cesaro’s springboard uppercut is knocked out of the air with a springboard knee, followed by more kicks to the leg. That means a kneebar but Cesaro turns it over into a Sharpshooter in a sweet counter. Black crawls out so Cesaro switches over into a nasty Crossface. That’s broken up as well so they slug it out with Cesaro loading up the Neutralizer again. Some punches to the leg get Black out and Black Mass is good for the pin at 9:44.
Rating: B. Yeah that was awesome and exactly what it needed to be. Black could go on like this for a long time to come as his striking really is that good. Couple that with an awesome look and the great entrance and how could he not be a success? Maybe by having him sit in a room for months without doing anything but talking?
R-Truth is putting wanted posters everywhere for Drake Maverick, including on his own back. He asks Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross if they’re in the women’s locker room but Carmella drags him away. Bliss gives Cross her own Bliss shirt when the Street Profits come up to say they interrupted a special moment. They think Bayley is going to lose the title but it turns into an argument over stolen shrimp. Nikki screams at them and leaves, though Dawkins seems to approve of her in a certain way.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross
Bliss and Cross are challenging but Bayley has accused Bliss of using Cross. We get an early Sasha Banks reference as Cross tags Bliss in after about ten seconds. Bayley slugs away and drives Cross outside for a ram into the barricade. That’s fine with Bliss, who sends her into the steps to take over.
Back in and Cross gets two off a neckbreaker before tying Bayley up in the ring skirt for a beating. Bliss comes back in for the near falls and it’s time to tie Bayley in the Tree of Woe (Referee: “YOU HAVE TO LET HER GO! Bliss: “I KNOW!”). There’s no Alberto double stomp though as Bliss chokes instead and slams Bayley down by the hair.
Insult to Injury gets two but Bayley pops up with a clothesline and some more aggressive than usual right hands. Cross comes back in so Bayley slams Bliss onto her, followed by a modified Indian Deathlock. Bliss’ save attempt is countered into a Crossface while Cross is caught as well. The rope is finally grabbed and Cross hits a DDT but Twisted Bliss hits raised knees. Bayley knees Cross in the face and drops the top rope elbow to retain at 10:23.
Rating: C. Not bad here and it opens the door for where this is going to go in the future. Cross and Bliss could have an interesting split, but the manipulation could go on a bit further. What matters most is Bayley continuing to build moment, though you know Charlotte is getting the title shot at Summerslam because that’s what always happens. Nice enough match, especially with another nice nod of “Bayley doesn’t need help.”
We recap Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley. They’ve been feuding for awhile now with Strowman winning their previous match, so they crashed through the set and caused a big explosion. Tonight, it’s Last Man Standing.
Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
Last Man Standing and the fight is on before the bell with Strowman running him over. We get the opening bell and Lashley has to roll outside to beat the count. Strowman hits the running shoulder but a second attempt is cut off by the spear. That’s barely even good for a count so Lashley grabs the steps to knock Strowman over the barricade. They go up the steps with Lashley still in control, which is a bit more than I was expecting for him.
Strowman gets knocked into the concourse and they ram into a wall. Back up and Strowman sends him into a merchandise stand with a suplex sending Lashley into the t-shirt stand. That’s enough to bring them back into the arena with Lashley getting knocked down some steps. Strowman runs him over again but Lashley is fine enough to drive him through the barricade to get back to ringside.
A big charge drives Strowman over the table and Lashley turns it on him for a bonus. Strowman gets up again and heads into the crowd again, leaving Lashley frustrated. Lashley follows him out and gets tossed onto the international announcers. That doesn’t even keep him down for a long count and he sends Strowman into another wall.
Strowman gets up and kicks him in the chest so Lashley tells him to bring it, meaning it’s even more knockdowns. They go up the steps again with Lashley throwing a fan at Strowman, who tosses him aside. Strowman catches up to him and they fight on top of a tunnel, with Strowman hitting the powerslam down into the abyss for the win at 17:27.
Rating: B+. This was far better than I was hoping for with both guys beating each other up in a match that felt like two monsters wanting to finish each other. Strowman needs something new and I’m not sure what that is, but I can’t imagine it’s going after the World Title again. At least wait until Brock Lesnar doesn’t have the briefcase again because I can’t take Strowman losing to him again.
AJ Styles says he didn’t reform the Club to win the US Title. He can’t take away Ricochet’s skills but he can take away the title tonight.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Heavy Machinery vs. Daniel Bryan/Rowan
Bryan and Rowan are defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Woods runs the ropes with Bryan to start and slides between his legs to set up a hard rolling elbow. Tucker tags himself in and gets headscissored right into the corner, allowing Rowan to tag himself in. That doesn’t go well for Woods, who gets slammed down, followed by the running corner dropkick from Bryan.
The surfboard goes on with Bryan remembering that it’s No DQ and grabbing Woods by the face. It’s back to Rowan but Bryan suckers Big E. to the floor and sends him into the steps. Woods manages a middle dropkick and tags Otis in instead due to a lack of Big E. Otis gets to clean house and it’s a corner splash to set up the Caterpillar to Bryan. A slingshot into a belly to belly gives Tucker two but Big E. comes back in.
The Warrior splash hits knees though and it’s an Otis suplex with Tucker adding a high crossbody for two. Rowan kicks Otis in the face and runs Woods over on the floor, leaving Big E. to spear Bryan through the ropes. Otis teases a dive, goes to the apron, and jumps off instead. Tucker adds a dive off the top and it’s the Compactor to Big E. Woods dives in for the save with Rowan following. Heavy Machinery hits a bunch of splashes in the corner but can’t double superplex Rowan.
Bryan tags himself in as Big E. superplexes Rowan but gets caught in the LeBell Lock. That’s switched into the Rings of Saturn with a leg grab but Big E. manages to pull him other leg over….until he realizes there are no rope breaks so he has to crawl to the floor to get Bryan to let go. Bryan fires off the kicks and slaps to Big E., who tells him to bring it. The backflip out of the corner is caught on Big E.’s shoulder and UpUpDownDown gives New Day the titles back at 14:00. Woods: “WE GOT ALL OF THEM!”
Rating: B-. Another good and fast paced match with a lot of action to keep the fans going. New Day winning the titles back isn’t the most interesting change but it feels similar to Balor losing the Intercontinental Title. What’s the point in keeping it on him if they’re not going to do anything with him? At least New Day will be on the show every week.
Kofi Kingston is celebrating with New Day in the back when Paul Heyman walks by. Heyman comes to the stage and says he is the advocate for the future Universal or WWE Champion. He is Philadelphia and the entire concept of extreme. Tonight, Lesnar is cashing in Money in the Bank and that is a spoiler. To tell you that in advance would make him stupid, so maybe he’s lying. Is he telling you the truth or is he Paul Heyman?
US Title: Ricochet vs. AJ Styles
Ricochet is defending and this is their rubber match. AJ has the Good Brothers with him and gets in a cheap shot before the bell with Ricochet saying he’s good to go. Ricochet is back up with a dropkick and a running chop in the corner as the pace stays fast to start. They head outside with AJ taking over and yelling at the referee as a bonus.
Back in and Ricochet gets whipped hard into the corner as the announcers actually explain the idea of AJ not wanting to be a mentor and put out to pasture just yet. The chinlock goes on for a bit until Ricochet flips out and hits an enziguri. A running hurricanrana sends AJ into the corner but Ricochet stops to go after the Good Brothers. That means a moonsault only gets two, followed by the rolling northern lights suplexes for the same.
Another springboard is countered into the fireman’s carry backbreaker but AJ can’t follow up. AJ suplexes him into the corner for two and a reverse DDT gets two more. The Styles Clash is countered with a hurricanrana and they’re both down again. It’s AJ up first with a Pele and a brainbuster for two more. Ricochet goes up top and knocks AJ down but Karl Anderson offers a distraction, allowing Gallows to get in a crotching. That means the Super Styles Clash (with Ricochet’s face bouncing off the mat) gives AJ the title back at 16:30.
Rating: B. This show is on a roll and I can live with Styles winning the title back. There wasn’t a terrible ending around here so it worked as well as anything they could have done. Ricochet can come back and win the title back in the big match at Summerslam, though I wouldn’t have done two matches in the first place to set this up. Do something else and keep things a bit more fresh.
We recap Kevin Owens coming after Shane McMahon earlier this week. Kevin complained that Shane was on the show and he wasn’t so Dolph Ziggler called him out. A match is made.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
Trash talk, Stunner, Owens get the pin in 19 seconds. Ok I can go with this.
Post match Kevin says that since Shane got Tombstoned, there’s no one to cut his mic. Owens says that Shane’s time is coming up and there’s something he can kiss.
We recap Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe for the Smackdown World Title. Like everyone else, Joe doesn’t believe in Kingston but you can believe that he’s the next champion.
Samoa Joe says he’s here to end Kofi’s unremarkable dream. New Day has all the titles right now and it’s time to begin the nightmare.
Smackdown World Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe
Kofi is defending and hits a running dropkick into the corner to start. Joe clotheslines him right back down though and it’s time to slug it out. A spinning kick to the leg has Kofi’s knee bending backwards and Joe runs him over again. Joe tells him to stay down and takes Kofi outside to crush his fingers in the steps. Back in and Kofi chops away, setting up the jumping clothesline to rock Joe.
The high crossbody gets two but Joe grabs the scoop powerslam for the same. The STF goes on with Joe switching into a Crossface. That’s broken up and Kofi grabs the SOS for two but Joe is right back with the Koquina Clutch. Kofi tries to walk the corner so Joe slams him down, setting up the backsplash for two. Another Clutch attempt is countered and Trouble in Paradise retains the title at 9:50.
Rating: C+. This was slow paced, but Kofi gets another win and is likely heading to 100+ days as champion (he has to make it to Tuesday). That’s a long longer than I was expecting him to make it, but it isn’t exactly going to matter as long as Lesnar is looming over him. I’m not sure where he goes at Summerslam, but I’m still hoping for the New Day triple threat.
We recap the Winners Take All match with Becky Lynch/Seth Rollins facing Baron Corbin/Lacey Evans. This is the third title shot for both of them and believe it or not, the interest isn’t that high. It’s a mixed tag with the personal relationship vs. the business relationship.
Raw World Title/Raw Women’s Title: Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin/Lacey Evans
Corbin and Evans are challenging, it’s Extreme Rules and the winners take all. Lacey has SETH written on the back of her trunks. There are tags again, because Extreme Rules means something very different in WWE. The men start with Corbin grabbing a kendo stick but walking into a Sling Blade. Lacey comes in and grabs the stick before getting rather close to Seth, earning a beating from Becky. She and Seth get in stereo beatdowns with the sticks and stand tall early on.
Back in and Seth has to knee his way out of a suplex attempt but Corbin is smart enough to get in a chair shot. Some chairs are brought in as Lacey points out the writing on the trunks. A DDT sends Seth onto a chair for two but Corbin makes the mistake of wedging a chair in the corner.
Becky has had it and unloads on Lacey with the chair before ramming her face first into one. The Bexploder onto the chairs and a legdrop onto the chair onto Lacey gets two. Lacey is right back with an elbow and a double springboard moonsault. The Woman’s Right misses so Becky grabs a reverse DDT. It’s off to Seth, but Corbin is still down on the floor. Since Rollins can’t go after Lacey, he brings in a table instead.
Becky gives him a hand and they set up a pair of them on the floor, which takes WAY too long. Lacey gets up and sends Becky into the steps, meaning it’s time for the champs to get destroyed with kendo sticks. A double chokeslam gives Corbin and Evans a double two and it’s time to go back outside. Becky saves Seth from a double suplex through a table so it’s a double suplex onto the ramp.
Corbin and Evans are laid on the tables and it’s a legdrop for Lacey and a very high frog splash for Baron in a pair of big crashes. Back in and Corbin is fine enough to hit Deep Six for two on Rollins with Becky making the save. Evans gets tossed outside but Baron gets smart by hitting End of Days on Becky. Corey: “Too far man.” As I roll my eyes, Rollins erupts and beats on Corbin with the chair, followed by the Stomp. Another Stomp sets up a third to retain the titles at 19:53…..and here’s Brock.
Rating: C. So I think I should probably get through this one in a hurry to get to what matters. The match wasn’t too bad but there is only so much that you can get out of Corbin and Evans as challengers. At least they didn’t win the titles, but egads man, I’m hoping Lesnar doesn’t get the title here.
Universal Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
Brock snaps off some German suplexes and Heyman says ring the bell. The bell rings and the F5 gives Lesnar the title at 17 seconds. So yeah, everything from the moment Wrestlemania went on the air in the Universal Title picture? Forget about it.
Overall Rating: A-. I mean, what more can you ask for? There was nothing really close to bad and things certainly happened, though your definition of how good they were could vary. This was the final stopping point to the bad summer before we can get the new direction for Summerslam and it was one of the best shows that they’ve done in a long time. Maybe it was pure exhaustion or having no expectations, but this worked very well and I had roughly a 485% better time than I expected. Oh and it’s done before eleven, putting this at 4:55 instead of over five hours so…..good? Anyway, great show.
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!