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Cook’s WWE Extreme Rules 2018 Report Card

July 15, 2018 | Posted by Steve Cook
AJ Styles Extreme Rules

Hi, hello & welcome to the Extreme Rules 2018 Report Card! We got twelve matches to sort through tonight, so there’s no time for hooting & hollering. They even throw it to the first pre-show match fifteen minutes in, before Booker T can say anything too hilarious.

I missed most of the non-match portion of the Kickoff Show, but Happy Belated Birthday to Charly Caruso! She’s a big 411 fan in my dreams.

SmackDown announcers Tom Phillips, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton call both Kickoff Show matches.

Kickoff Show Singles Match: Sin Cara vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega)

Almas hasn’t been up to a heck of a lot since getting called up. It’s seemed like a waste so far, but he’s got an opponent he works well with now. Cara with some funkadelic ring attire that makes him more interesting to me. Diving elbow-first into the barricade doesn’t seem like the smartest thing for a guy coming off an injury, but what do I know? I know Almas is dominating early & being all Tranquillo. Looks like the crowd’s filling in pretty well early, except a couple of rows right in front of the hard camera. I’m a little surprised that head scissor piledriver Cara uses is legal in WWE. Almas gets pushed off the turnbuckles & hits his back on the apron, then Cara headscissors Almas to the floor off the apron! Well, kinda. Frog splash leads to a distraction from Zelina, and the knees in the corner by Almas. Hammerlock DDT ends it.

Decent little match here. They took the opportunity to do some crazyish stuff that would feel more at home on an indy show. I don’t think this was really the place for Almas to be taking an apron bump off the top rope, but he likely feels he needs to do something to get noticed by the brass.

Grades
Cara: C
Almas: B-

Kickoff Show Tables Match: The New Day vs. Sanity

Our theme of “people WWE called up from NXT & promptly forgot about” continues. Big E doing most of the work early for New Day. Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston do suicide dives onto Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe, then Killian Dain does one onto them. Sanity places a table on top og s table, but not in the proper way. They’ll probably fix that at some point. New Day with some fun offense, then Dain decides to start killing people. He’ll either get a monster push or he’ll be like Luke Harper & we’ll wonder forever when he’ll get his push. Young is napping on the table, but gets up when Wolfe & Kofi tease a table bump. Young drops the elbow onto Kofi & they crash through the table. Sanity wins because it’s not an elimination match. Kind of a shame. As I always say, the more tables broken the better.

Sanity needed a win over anybody, and this should help their cause. New Day is one of those acts where the wins & losses actually don’t matter.

Grades
New Day: B-
Sanity: B-

I saw somebody on Twitter say that these six should have gotten twenty minutes on the main show. OK, but I’d rather go to bed sometime before 2 AM than give every match at least twenty. People don’t realize these things when they throw platitudes out there.

Graves joins the Raw announce team of Michael Cole & Jonathan Coachman for the Raw matches.

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Deleters of Worlds (c) vs. The B-Team

The B-Team theme probably isn’t by Skillet, but it sounds like their kind of stuff & I’m digging it. Ronda Rousey is sitting front row because she Bo-lieves in the B-Team. The crowd chants “Ronda Rousey” because she’s the star in this match. Hardy handles Dallas early as you would expect. Bray tags in, so of course Bo tags out. Curtis Axel gets mounted by Bray like he’s a ring announcer or something. Matt’s unorthodox offense is certainly something. Axel’s orthodox offense isn’t bad, but it isn’t interesting either. Bray gets the hot tag & gets to beat Bo up a little bit. Matt tags back in when Bray does his corner pose & they set up their finisher, but a mis-communication sends Bray outside. Bo hits the Ego Trip on Matt and we have new Raw Tag Team Champions! Good for them. Charly interviews them on the stage. Axel makes a Stretch Armstrong reference & Dallas leads a B-Team chant.

Hardy & Wyatt have been lacking interesting things to do lately, and Axel & Dallas have worked hard for this moment. It’s the right call.

Grades
Deleters: C
B-Team: C

Kurt Angle finally grows some balls and says he’ll strip Brock Lesnar of the Universal Championship if he doesn’t show up tomorrow night on Raw or agree on terms for a title match. Even the ultimatiums have loopholes. This got the biggest pop of the night though.

Finn Balor vs. Constable Corbin

Corbin’s entrance no longer fits his character at all, and I’m not sure about him wrestling in his nightclub attire, but at least he gets to use Stephanie to get some heat. He reminds us that Balor is small while working through his offense. Corbin lands some big shots, but his arrogance keeps him from finishing the deal. Finn Balor takes all the punishment that Constable Corbin can think to dish out. It’s an inside cradle that eventually finishes things for Balor.

I had a hard time paying attention during this one. They’re trying to make us care about the Constable, but there’s still something missing there. Balor did well making him look good & the match was fine, but it wasn’t something I particularly cared about.

Grades
Balor: C
Corbin: C-

The Bludgeon Brothers attack Team Hell No backstage, & Kane’s ankle gets smashed in a door with one of the sledgehammers. That probably doesn’t bode well for his appearance later.

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match with James Ellsworth in a Shark Cage: Carmella (c) vs. Asuka

All the international announcers doing a pose or catchphrase at the end of their spiel is totally awesome. Ellsworth drops a chain out of the shark cage & Carmella tries to use it. The ref gets rid of it, but Ellsworth drops something else out. The spray bottle doesn’t play a factor either. Asuka locks in the Asuka Lock too close to the ropes. Ellsworth manages to get out of the cage, but he ends up hanging from it & Asuka kicks him repeatedly. There’s a lot of stuff going on here. The crew tries to get Ellsworth back in the cage, but Asuka kicks them out. That’s not very nice. Oh, and it leads to Carmella pushing Asuka face first into the cage to get the win. What a dummy that Asuka is. What’s with these Japanese wrestling icons getting all this buzz heading to WWE, running through NXT like it’s nothing, then choking on the main roster? The parallels between Asuka & Nakamura grow stronger by the day.

She’s also a sore loser, attacking the crew members again & beating Ellsworth up for no reason. This won’t be the last PPV meeting between these two, but it really is time for Carmella to move on to another challenger. Becky Lynch, Naomi, somebody that might actually pose a challenge. Give Carmella credit, she plays her character well & gets the job done.

Grades
Carmella: B
Asuka: C-

WWE United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Nakamura hits the low blow while the referee is handing the belt off! Hardy tells the referee he can wrestle, but this is a bad idea as Nakamura hits the Kinshasa & wins the US title in a bit under ten seconds. Nice. We don’t grade matches going under a minute, but Nakamura deserves an A-oh wait a minute, here comes Randy Orton in his wrestling attire. This might not end well…for Jeff Hardy! Orton stomps him in the testicles! Nakamura seems confused.

Hardy’s been dealing with a bad back recently, so this was expected. Nakamura’s weirdness & Orton’s weirdness could make for an interesting feud. I’m unsure how well they’ll mesh together in the ring, but it’s worth a shot.

Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Owens is smart enough to know he should escape the cage, and he tries immediately. Strowman wants @FightOwensFight to fight him. Owens obliges, gets some offense & everybody loses their minds. Strowman kicks out at one after the frog splash & goes back on offense. The fans want him to keep throwing Owens into the cage, so he keeps doing it. Owens does a Stunner, of all things. He’s also doing the “use superkicks as strikes” thing that I hate. Braun gets handcuffed to the top rope. KO does the crotch chop & begins climbing the cage. He takes a little too long though, as Braun breaks the cuffs & now they’re both on top of the cage. Well, Kevin Owens won by getting chokeslammed off the top of the cage through the English announce table. Pittsburgh hasn’t seen anything like this in twenty years.

Well you gotta give Owens an A for effort, right? He’ll end up a babyface if he keeps doing crazy stuff like this. Braun seemed like a bit of a psychopath as he yelled that Owens was the winner, but that’s nothing new for him.

Grades
Strowman: B+
Owens: A

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. Team Hell No

Bryan favors his ribs on his way to the ring, somewhat limiting his ability to lead the Yes chants. Kane is nowhere to be seen, so Bryan’s chances don’t look good. This doesn’t really matter to Bryan, of course. He temporarily gets the upper hand but it’s only temporary. I like how Harper & Rowan are so rough with each other. Neither dive goes well, and Kane comes out in a walking boot. I’m guessing he’s not going to do a dive. He does tag in & punches Harper around. Chokeslams for both Bludgeons. His attempt at a Tombstone doesn’t go well, and Bryan tags back in. Lots of Yes Kicks to Harper. He even lands the last one, so it’s a special occasion. Bryan gets pushed into Kane in the corner, which could be a problem. The Bludgeons hit their top rope clothesline powerbomb gimmick that should have a name & get the win over Bryan. I thought there might be some post-match shenanigans, but not so much.

Grades
Bludgeons: B-
Hell No: B-

The B Team encourages Roman Reigns. Or tries to anyway. I feel like Roman playing along with their silliness, or at least giving them a nod instead of a brush off, would have gotten big cheers.

Roman Reigns vs. Bob Lashley

Cole mentions how Lashley beat Vince McMahon in a street fight at his last “Extreme Rules” appearance. Vince is gonna get some revenge tonight, by gum. Or maybe not, as it’s Bob with the upper hand early. Reigns rocks Lashley with an elbow & begins the offensive onslaught. The fans want somebody. Reigns is slowing it down with a chinlock. He’s working the heel role in the match, which should make people happy. Rusev Day chant. Lashley’s doing a great job selling the idea he has a concussion. Reigns’ attempt to use the steps is blocked, & Lashley gets back into things. That crossbody was pretty cool, and now Lashley’s on the top rope. Double axehandle. I had no idea what he was going to do there. Reigns pretty much Attitude Adjusts Lashley over the top rope. Lashley sets up the spear, but Reigns meets it with a Superman punch. Reigns gets suplexed over the German announce table. Lashley goes back up top…nope, Reigns punches him off. Reigns does his pose, runs off the ropes into a Lashley spear, and Bob gets the win!

Lashley needed the win here to justify the buzz he got upon his return & got it. Reigns got him to a pretty good match here, I’d say. The fans definitely popped for his losing.

Grades
Reigns: B+
Lashley: B

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Extreme Rules Match: Alexa Bliss (c) (w/Mickie James) vs. Nia Jax (w/Ronda Rousey’s Friend Natalya)

Mickie should be at ringside for every match. Alexa’s attempts at using various objects isn’t going too well. Nia deposits them in the ring, along with her. Alexa gets gorilla pressed on top of a trash can, much to the delight of Ronda Rousey. Alexa finds some success with the trash can lid. Nia then runs into the steel chair propped up in the corner. Nattie attacks Mickie for no real reason. They drive her into the barricade, and that’s enough for Ronda! She attacks Mickie & chases Alexa around. Mickie recovers in time to knock Rousey down with the kendo stick. Not only that, she breaks up the Samoan Drop attempt with a chair. A few more shots & a DDT into the chair get Alexa the win.

As far as Extreme Rules matches go, it wasn’t particularly extreme. OK match though, continuing the story of Alexa being on top until Ronda destroys her. Adding her certainly adds life to the proceedings.

Grades
Bliss: B
Jax: C

WWE Championship Machka: AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English)

Rusev tore his shirt off, brother! AJ targets Rusev’s leg early, which highlights one of Rusev’s strengths. Dude knows how to sell a body part. He gets the advantage but still runs into issues like being knocked out of the ring. AJ trying to lift Rusev doesn’t go well. Nor does the Styles Clash. Rusev kicks Styles outside, then thought about a dive. Fortunately for him, AJ forearms him before he can actually do it. AJ tries the Calf Crusher & Rusev tries the Accolade. Styles finally locks the Crusher in, but Rusev reaches the rope with some help from English. Styles chases after English & runs into a Rusev belly to belly on the floor. MACHKA KICK gets two & a half! Rusev misses a second one & Styles hits the Pele! Another kick by Rusev gets two, he tries the Accolade but he can’t plant the leg! A half Accolade doesn’t prove as effective. The turnbuckle pad randomly falls off on the other side of the ring. Rusev tries to fire himself up, but runs face-first into that exposed turnbuckle! Springboard 450 gets 2.9! Phenomenal Forearm finishes the deal for Styles.

We’re reaching the point of the evening where being up since 4:30 AM Eastern comes back to haunt me. It took awhile for Styles & Rusev to get me into it, but towards the end I got there. It wasn’t a G1 classic or anything like that, but it was a good, solid championship match.

Grades
Styles: B+
Rusev: B+

Seth Rollins tells Charly it’s time to burn it down.

WWE Intercontinental Championship 30-Minute Iron Man Match: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins

A thirty minute rule with the time being where it is makes me think we’re going to OT. Pretty amazing that Ziggler has never gone thirty minutes in a singles match. Rollins gets the first fall with a rollup at 25:22 left. I’m pretty sure that Cena/Michaels match wasn’t an Iron Man match, but you can correct me if I’m wrong. The fans are counting down at the end of every minute. The stomp gives Seth the second fall with 22:03 left. The face going up 2-0 doesn’t happen too often. Drew McIntyre gets in the ring & attacks Rollins, leading to Rollins getting another fall via DQ with 21 minutes left. Drew doesn’t seem too concerned by this, as the attack continues. The referee kicks Drew out, but not before Drew lays Seth out. It’s 3-1 with 19:36 left. Superkick makes it 3-2 with 18:51 left. The Zig Zag ties the match at 17:51 left. Ziggler takes the lead at 15:50 left with his feet on the ropes. It’s resthold time as the clock has been turned off for the live crowd. Now they’re just counting down when the hell ever. Rollins’ series of dives might be something to wake up the crowd. They must have put the clock back on the screen, as the fans erupt with a Yes chant. Sure enough, that happened. Rollins goes on the offensive for awhile, but no falls. He finally ties it at 3:08. They should have timed that for when the clock struck 3:00. Rollins locks in the Scorpion Deathlock that he learned from Sting! Then he locks in the Crossface that he learned from Triple H! Ziggler tries to run out but Rollins catches him. A Famouser by Ziggler gets two. Ziggler tunes up the band but it’s Rollins who hits the superkick & stomp. He covers Ziggler with zero seconds left & regulation ends at 4-4. JoJo announces that in the case of a tie, the champion retains his title, but we all know where this is going. Kurt Angle comes out & announces overtime. That lasts less than a minute due to a Drew McIntyre distraction & a Zig Zag. So there’s that. Any other ideas? No? Cool.

I’m not as high on Iron Man matches as many of my fellow writers are. You know when the match is ending, so you tend to check out for most of the time until the last couple of minutes or so. At least, I do. There was a huge dead spot in this match that I tuned out during & the fans decided to count during. You can tell when wrestlers are just killing time, and Iron Man matches end up having a lot of time to kill. Rollins & Ziggler tried, but the format hampered it & the booking did them absolutely no favors.

Grades
Ziggler: B-
Rollins: B

Final Thought

Extreme Rules wasn’t very extreme, which you have to dock it some points for. False advertising is never great. The show was a lot tighter, which I love, but they booked way too much stuff. 12 matches is a bit much over any length of time. The choice of main event was one of the more interesting aspects of the show, which is rarely a good sign on a lesser PPV. The booking as far as the winners went was good for the most part. The Iron Man stuff leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth. Definitely a show of ups & downs, with nothing too mind-blowingly awesome.

My favorite part of this show? I can post this before 11 PM.

article topics :

Extreme Rules, WWE, Steve Cook

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