Philadelphia played host to this year’s Extreme Rules PPV and our King Of The Ring, Andy Spoors, caught all of the key action…
With some tantalising match ups and a swathe of titles on the line, the WWE Universe could be forgiven for feeling a corner may have been turned when it comes to storylines and quality broadcasting that had become somewhat stale and repetitive in recent weeks.
For the largest part of the night, this was true. Once again, however, a sour end note would leave fans scratching their heads.
Billed as ‘the one night a year that WWE gets extreme’, the night got off to a flier. A couple of last minute additions to the card saw a hastily arranged Intercontinental Championship match between champion Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura. Until last week Nakamura had been absent from television, but here he managed to capture the gold in relatively straightforward fashion. The fact the title changed hands on the preshow added a layer of intrigue to proceedings: that corridor of uncertainty, which in the sports entertainment industry equates to ‘anything can happen’.
It’s a plane of existence that WWE needs not only to exist in but thrive in. The company has never had issues with reinventing their product. Right now, they need to generate some momentum more than ever.
One thing that can’t be disputed is the talent of the Superstars currently on the roster. Every single one of them is fully capable of putting on a great match. At Extreme Rules fans were treated to solid matches from Ricochet vs AJ Styles, Aleister Black vs Cesaro and The Usos vs The Revival. Every competitor showed exactly why they are in the world’s leading company in its field. Each match was the result of a logical slow build.
It was a great night for The New Day as Big E and Xavier Woods reminded everyone just how good they are in the ring and on the mic. The sight of Big E becoming angered at some stiff looking kicks from Daniel Bryan, just a glimpse of the potential he has always shown. With their third member Kofi overcoming the ever dangerous Samoa Joe, the team finds themselves at the top of WWE. It feels as though it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys, who are the ultimate in hard working professionals.
The aforementioned bitter taste would arrive at the close of the show. Following an impressive Extreme Rules match that carried little expectations, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch retained their titles against Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans.
Most notably, the final stages saw Corbin deliver his finisher, the end of days to Lynch. In this PG era of WWE, male and female Superstars have never really faced off against each other. After Nia Jax entered herself into the Royal Rumble earlier in the year, WWE doesn’t seem to be enforcing that particular rule too much in 2019. The visual of Becky taking one of the coolest looking finishers was fantastic. Seth’s pissed off expression, as a result, even more so.
So all’s well that ends well, right? Unfortunately not. Mr Money In The Bank Brock Lesnar made his way to the ring, laying out the already fatigued Rollins and cashing in his Championship opportunity at the most opportune moment. Seeing Brock Lesnar lifting the Universal Championship above his head, once again just feels galling and a lazy option in 2019. The repetitive nature of his matches and title reigns are, in a word, boring. Just as it was when he captured the Money In The Bank briefcase, the Universe is pissed. Not because we didn’t see it coming. But because we did.
We mentioned earlier, the company simply has to strive for the unexpected. An absentee champion isn’t unexpected, but it certainly is underwhelming.
PPV Theme Song: When I’m Gone – Dirty Honey (No real link to the PPV, but a fantastic hard rock and Aerosmith-esque track. If you haven’t checked out the LA rockers, what are you waiting for!? Having already supported The Who and G’n’R on tour, expect big things).
ROR Prediction Results: