The SmarK Rant for WWE EXTREME RULEZ 2021 – 09.26.21
So of course I bought myself an Xbox Series S for my birthday last month and I’ve been using it to play Portal for the millionth time. At least it loads really fast.
Live from Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the usual gang of idiots.
The New Day v. AJ Styles, Omas & Bobby Lashley
OMG six-man tags are EXTREME! It’s like ECW all over again! I mean really, it’s supposed to be EXTREME RULES, right there in the name of the show, and they’re not even pretending to pay lip service to the concept of the show. Xavier beats on AJ to start, but AJ rolls him into the calf crusher and Xavier makes the ropes. Over to Kofi, but Styles clips him and chases him off, demanding Big E instead. So E wants Bobby Lashley, who comes in and beats on Big E while the camera zooms and cuts. The New Day gets Lashley in the corner and they all stomp him as the camera work is particularly vomit-inducing tonight for some reason. Everyone has a showdown on the floor, while Bobby takes over on Kofi in the ring and biels him into the corner. “Upside down, high on his shoulders and neck!” notes Corey as the replay shows Kofi clearly landing on his ass. Omas comes in and Kofi tries to fight him off and gets nowhere with it. Omas with a front suplex for two and AJ comes in with a chinlock but goes after the New Day and gets caught with a knee from Kofi. That looked weird, with the ref getting in the way and screwing up the timing. Lashley cuts off the tag and sends Woods and E into the railing outside, and then slams Kofi for two in the ring. Kofi escapes the Dominator but gets beaten down in the corner again and then manages to make the hot tag to Xavier. He tries a DDT and gets blocked, but goes to the apron and does a tornado DDT instead for two. But then Lashley powerslams him for two. Woods fights back with a missile dropkick and makes the hot tag to Big E, who runs wild with suplexes on Styles but AJ hits the Pele to come back. E catches him with a uranage out of the corner for two, but AJ blocks the apron spear and rolls him up for two. Kofi gets the blind tag and comes in with a flying knee on AJ for two, but Lashley saves and drags AJ back to the corner for the tag. Yakusoba cutter on Kofi gets two. Kofi dumps Lashley and dives, but Omas remembers that he’s still in the match and cuts him off in mid-air. Back in, Lashley takes out Big E, but AJ decides to tag himself in and Lashley spears him by mistake. This sets up the Big Ending on Lashley, and that finishes for the New Day at 18:12. An OK opener that didn’t really have any drama and didn’t really go anywhere. **1/2 But it filled 20 minutes of airtime and that’s the current WWE philosophy! It’s also getting really glaring how they avoid having Omas do literally anything in these matches in order to protect him.
Smackdown tag team titles: The Usos v. The Street Profits
Apparently on Smackdown there was an angle with tables and chairs involved in a beatdown of Montez Ford. Not here, of course. Dawkins gets a dropkick on Jimmy for two, so it’s over to Jey, and the Profits double-team him and dump the Usos to the floor. The crowd wants smoke, apparently unfamiliar with the non-smoking laws for indoor public places that have been in the books for decades. The Usos work on Ford’s injured ribs and suplex him onto the top rope. Cole: “Pat, you’ve probably had a lot of rib injuries in your career as a football player over the years!” Pat: “Nah, I was just a punter so I never had any injuries thank god. But I had FRIENDS with rib injuries!” Really selling it there. Jey goes to a bearhug on the mat, but Ford fights out and can’t quite get the tag. Jey charges and hits the corner and it’s hot tag Dawkins and he runs wild. He fights off a pair of diving Usos and sends Jey into the railing, but Jimmy goes up and Dawkins cuts him off with a superplex and a neckbreaker for two. Montez comes in for the Street Sweeper and that gets two on Jimmy. Dawkins comes in again and the Usos hit a double spinebuster for two. Jey gets a corner splash on Dawkins, but Ford makes a blind tag and gets the flying splash on Jey for two. Back to Dawkins for another Street Sweeper, but Jey escapes and superkicks Dawkins, and Jimmy gets the flying splash for two. Usos drag Dawkins out for a beatdown on the floor, but Ford dives onto them and then back in with the flying splash on Jey for two, as Jimmy makes the save. Usos double-team Ford, but Ford rolls up Jimmy for two, only for the Usos to regroup with a double superkick and Double Uce to retain at 13:43. They worked hard and it was a fine TV match. ***
Meanwhile, Bobby Lashley swears like a sailor on TNT and challenges Big E to a rematch tomorrow night on RAW.
RAW Women’s title: Charlotte Flair v. Alexa Bliss
Alexa gets a tilt-a-whirl to take her down and chases her to the floor for a senton off the apron. Back in, Charlotte chokes her out on the ropes and at this point the weird piped-in crowd noise gets really noticeable. Charlotte with a backbreaker for two. Charlotte goes to a surfboard and then wraps her up in a Gory Special, but Alexa powers up and takes Charlotte into the corner with a rana. Charlotte goes up and Alexa pulls her down, but she tries a rana off the apron and Charlotte runs her into the railing and back in for two. Bliss with a small package for two, but Charlotte clotheslines her down again. Charlotte goes up with an Andrade double moonsault, but Alexa no-sells Natural Selection and gets a senton for two. Charlotte powerbombs her for two and goes up again, but the moonsault misses and Alexa gets a Code Red for two. Alexa goes up and misses Twisted Bliss and Charlotte goes for the figure-four, but Bliss cradles for two. DDT gets two. Charlotte distracts her with the doll and boots her in the face to take over again, then hits Natural Selection to retain at 11:00. Charlotte seemed distracted after taking that bump into the bottom turnbuckle for the rest of the match, messing with her nose the whole time. And then she tears up the stupid doll afterwards, saying what we’re all thinking. *** And yes, Bliss is of course from Columbus and so does a clean job in the title match and has her gimmick destroyed by the heel afterwards before getting left laying. And of course, who’s the one person on the entire roster who gets all the heat for destroying the doll? Charlotte.
Meanwhile, Paul Heyman’s phone call is interrupted by Kayla and he’s pretty defensive about it.
US title: Damian Priest v. Jeff Hardy v. Sheamus
Everyone fights to the floor as Sheamus hits Jeff with a Brogue Kick right away, but Jeff comes back with a dive off the apron and takes out Sheamus. Priest does his own dive and basically falls on Jeff’s neck in a bit of an ugly spot. Back in, Priest gets corner elbows on both and a falcon arrow on Hardy for two. Sheamus runs Priest into the post and goes after Hardy in the ring with the backbreaker. Tilt a whirl slam for Hardy and he delivers the forearms on Priest. So then Priest reverses out, but slips and falls on his ass. Whoops. Hardy makes the comeback on Sheamus with his usual stuff but Priest saves. Hardy gets the Whisper on both of them and that gets two on Sheamus. Sheamus with an Alabama Slam for two and he gets the Cloverleaf, but Hardy makes the ropes, although there’s no rope breaks anyway. So Priest saves and he goes after Sheamus’s nose, but Hardy breaks it up. So Priest tries the Reckoning and Hardy sort of reverses out and that gets botched, and then Sheamus goes up with a flying knee on Priest for two. Sheamus misses the Brogue, but goes up again and Priest chokeslams him for two, with Hardy making the save with a swanton as everyone is out. Hardy makes the comeback on Priest and slugs away, but Priest takes a Brogue and Hardy gets two. Hardy with a sunset flip on Sheamus for two, and then Priest rolls up Sheamus with a schoolboy for the pin to retain at 13:14. Bad finish. Also I don’t know what was up with Priest here but he was missing stuff all over the place. Hardy did a hell of a job here, working a one-man match against Sheamus while Priest was off in whatever world he was in. ***1/4
Smackdown Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Bianca Belair
They both try the finishers to start and Becky runs away. Back in, Bianca with a headlock as the crowd is split and something finally has some heat tonight. Bianca whips Becky around and gets a splash for two. Becky puts the boots to her in the corner, selling and working like a cowardly heel, but the crowd insists on cheering her anyway. Becky runs away again and comes back in with a Perfect necksnap for two before putting the boots to her again. Becky misses a buttdrop and sells like Honky Tonk Man, but yanks the hair for two. This heel Becky thing is just not working. I just don’t understand the rationale behind it. It’s not like a Steve Austin situation where he was stale as a babyface and needed a change. She was gone for a year and at the peak of her popularity already. More importantly, people don’t want to see her working half-speed like JBL and begging off after every move. Bexploder gets two. Becky with a chinlock, but Bianca suplexes out of it and they’re both down. Bianca with a delayed suplex for two and a spinebuster for two. Fallaway slam gets two and Becky bails to the apron and comes back with a rollup into the Disarmer. Bianca quickly makes the ropes. They fight to the floor and Bianca tries the glam slam, but Becky reverses her into the stairs and back in for the flying legdrop, which gets two. Becky with a guillotine legdrop on the ropes for two. Bianca fights back with a powerbomb to escape another armbar attempt, and that gets two. They trade rollups and Becky gets another shot at the Disarmer, but Bianca reverses to the KOD and Sasha runs in for the DQ at 17:35. Wow what a finish. We’ve still never even established where Sasha was for the past two months. This Becky thing is not conducive to good matches either, as it was mostly Becky running away and never got going. **1/2
Universal title, EXTREME RULES: Roman Reigns v. Finn Balor
This doesn’t feel like a PPV main event but I guess it’s something else for Roman to do. They slug it out to start and Demon goes for the leg with kicks, but Roman takes him down with a samoan drop for two. Snap suplex gets two. Roman goes for a kendo stick, so Balor finds a bundle of sticks and beats on Roman with those. Roman tosses him and advises the crowd that they’re not getting any tables tonight, but Balor gets the kicks from the apron to put Roman down again. He goes for a table, but Roman cuts him off and then shoves the table back under the ring again. He gets a chair instead and beats on Balor with that, but Finn takes him to the floor and runs him into the stairs. They fight into the crowd and over to the pre-show table, where Balor gets a crossbody onto a table. Back to the ring, that table finally gets brought into the ring, but Roman slams him through for two and gets a superman punch for two. Balor blocks the spear and comes back with the sling blade, but Roman gets another spear for two. Balor goes low while kicking out and dropkicks Roman to the floor, following with a dive, and back in for the coup de grace for two. And of course the Usos run out and double-team Balor, but he fights them off on the floor, only for Roman to spear him through the railing as everyone is out. But then the lights go red and Demon’s music plays, resulting him in making the comeback and throwing Roman into the ring to finish. But then the ropes spontaneously break because of…magic? And Balor falls down, before Roman spears him for the pin to retain at 19:43. Yes, it was the literal deus ex machina finish, rarely seen in wrestling because usually God has better things to do. A pretty good brawl up until the fucking stupid ending completely ruined it. ***1/2
Well that was certainly three hours of my life that I could have been doing something else with, because there was NOTHING memorable on this show. Also only one match actually had a stipulation on a show that was supposed to be all extreme matches, so there’s that too. Was it actively bad if you bothered to watch? No, but I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time on it.