The SmarK Rant for WWE Extreme Rules 2022 – 10.08.22
WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL, BLUE JAYS?!?
Live from Philly
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Corey Graves
Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match: Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland v. Gunther & Imperium
Oh man, that wascally white wabbit interrupts the Brutes’ entrance, in 8 bit video form. The ringside area comes pre-equipped with barrels, presumably of beer, and a bar. And Corey even gives us the etymology of “Donnybrook” for those aren’t students of wrestling and Irish history, such as myself. Kaiser is quickly double-teamed by Butch and Ridge, and they hang him in the tree of woe for a dropkick from Butch. They should call that one “Kissing the Blarney stone” to go along with all the other Irish-sounding names for Sheamus’s moves. Gunther handles things himself and clears the ring, but then goes and smashes the photo of Grampa Sheamus on the bar and that triggers a brawl. Imperium wins that battle and sends Sheamus into the stairs to take over. Butch, who is basically just Pete Dunne again at this point, comes in for the save, but gets sent through the LED board railing and into the crowd. So Gunther just beats the hell out of Sheamus’s chest with chops on the bar and then drops him onto the oak to take him out for a while. Back in the ring, Imperium puts the boots to Ridge and Butch. But Ridge slams Vinci and Kaiser at the same time, until Gunther has to handle this shit himself yet again. This man deserves a raise. So they hit Ridge with an Imperial bomb off the apron, leaving Butch alone in the ring. Gunther hangs him in the corner and Imperium dropkicks him in the face to put him on the floor, and they have run out of people to beat up, so they can only pose. So back to beating on Butch again they go, but Sheamus returns and makes a comeback. He slugs it out with Gunther and hits a powerslam, and the Brutes all triple-team Gunther on the apron. Well that’s hardly sportsmanlike. Sheamus with the Brogue Kick for two, but Vinci makes the save. Butch breaks up the Imperial bomb and Sheamus hits Gunther with the backbreaker and goes to the cloverleaf, but Kaiser breaks it up and everyone is down. Gunther and Sheamus go back to beating on each other and Sheamus hits him with a high knee for two. Imperium clears off the announce table, but everyone gets wiped out by Butch. Back in the ring, more from Gunther and Sheamus, and Gunther clotheslines him with the shileileighihghighighigh for two. But then the Brutes do some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION on Gunther and get their own sheleighighighieghigh for another beating. Sheamus puts Gunther through the table with the powerbomb to get rid of him, and then back in the ring he finishes Vinci off with the Brogue at 17:50. Just kind of a messy brawl, which didn’t really feel like it went anywhere and it mostly just made me want to see more Sheamus and Gunther. ***
Meanwhile, the Miz shows up to talk with HHH, but has a confrontation with the Flyers mascot instead.
Smackdown Women’s title, Extreme Rules match: Liv Morgan v. Ronda Rousey
It’s probably time to pull the plug on Morgan’s title reign. Ronda immediately takes her down and bends her around with a legbar, and then casually takes her down and steals her baseball bat. Liv puts her on the floor with a knee, but Ronda catches a baseball slide and beats on her out there. But then Liv finds a fire extinguisher for the requisite extreme spot. Somehow Ronda just kind of shrugs off that devastating blast of carbon dioxide and beats on Liv with the baseball bat, then uses her own black belt to whip Liv and chokes her out on the floor with it. So Liv finds a table under the ring, but Ronda hits her with a knee and chokes her out on the ropes. Liv gets a chair and sets it up in the corner, but they screw up and the chair falls out to the floor, which completely ruins their big spot of Liv sending Ronda into the chair in the corner. Because there’s no chair. Maybe it was a metaphorical chair in the corner, I dunno. Liv retrieves the chair and hits Ronda with that a few times for two. So Liv sets up the table and goes up with a senton through the table for two. Ronda tries for an armbar from the bottom and Liv kind of drops her on the table for two in an awkward spot. But then Ronda wraps her up in some kind of wacky submission hold and Liv passes out at 12:20 to give Ronda the title back. This was ROUGH and hella sloppy, and I wasn’t even clear on what Ronda was actually doing with that last hold. * Clearly they had no confidence in Morgan as champion, though, and they needed to get it onto someone who they perceive as a star.
Strap match: Drew McIntrye v. Karrion Kross
Thankfully Kross has his old NXT entrance back, and THANKFULLY this is not touch all four corners rules. Scarlett distracts Drew before Kross can be strapped in, allowing Kross to attack with unlawful strappings before the bell. They brawl on the floor and Kross sends him into the post before they head into the crowd and back to ringside. Drew with a suplex on the floor and a backbreaker on the stairs, and we head into the ring for the official start of the match with Drew in control. Michael Cole discusses great strap matches of the past, like Rock and HHH in 1999 (LOL WUT?) and Sting and Vader at SuperBrawl III. That’s the WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR to you, Cole. They head to the floor and Kross runs him into the post and puts the boots to him while the referee who, get this, HAS A NAME, asks him if he wants medical attention. They might have names in the post-Vince world but I’d still never let my daughter marry a referee. Out to the announce table, Kross gives him a sort of flatliner onto the announce table and then tries something around the post and can’t figure it out, so he just whips Drew a whole bunch instead. Back in, Kross with the Saito suplex for two. “This crowd has fallen silent because of how uncomfortable the match is!” notes Corey. Yeah. That’s why. Kross gives him more of a whipping, but Drew fights back with a spinebuster for two. They slug it out with the strap as Kross’s hair looks increasingly ridiculous, and Drew hits the Future Shock DDT. But then Scarlett runs in and maces Drew, and Kross hits an elbow to the back of the head for the pin at 10:28. The match was mostly average but that finish was terrible. If you had a can of pepper spray why wait 10 minutes into the match to use it? **
Meanwhile, the Miz is annoyed by the mascot again.
RAW Women’s title, ladder match: Bianca Belair v. Bayley
Bayley quickly grabs a ladder and climbs, but Bianca gets her own ladder and also goes for it. They fight over the ladder and Bayley takes her to the floor and beats on her with the ladder, but Bianca runs into the ring and tries to sneak up the ladder. Bayley saves and Bianca runs her into the ladder and hits her with a handspring moonsault onto the ladder. So Bayley puts the ladder in the corner and then snaps Bianca into the ladder with a sunset flip. They fight over the ladder again and Bayley runs the ladder into her a few times and they head to the floor again. It feels like Bianca could do a cool match where she does her athletic climbs and reversals on the ladders, but instead they’re kind of doing a generic WWE ladder match where they just kind of hit each other with ladders. One of the ladders gets broken in two on the floor and Bianca uses a piece of that as a weapon and brings another ladder into the ring for the climb. They pull each other off and Bianca gets booted to the floor. Back in, Bayley misses a charge and Bianca hits the KOD and climbs, but Io and Dakota run in and beat her down. So Bianca fights them off with a double KOD out of the corner that take a while to set up and unfortunately doesn’t work very well. Bayley hits Bianca with the stroke and puts Bianca under the ladder, after a couple of tries at it, but Bianca pushes it over from the mat. Although Bayley had already climbed down to the bottom of the ladder to prepare and she basically fell two feet to the mat. They fight on top of the ladder, but Bianca uses her braid to whip her down and then hits the KOD and climbs to retain the title at 16:40. This was just kind of a normal ladder match where they spent the whole time messing around with setting up multiple ladders to diminishing returns, and didn’t really come up with much of a story to the match. **1/2
I Quit match: Edge v. Finn Balor
Man this Edge v. Judgment Day feud just keeps going, doesn’t it? Edge hammers away in the corner and puts Finn down with a neckbreaker before choking him out in the corner and trying to for a quit. And another referee gets a name here. You know, I liked it better when they were anonymous doofuses. Made it easier to ignore their dark agenda. I hear a bunch of referees got together and masterminded the upcoming “fentanyl in Halloween candy” plan and may have even convinced Twitter to take Elon Musk’s offer. Balor tries a figure-four and can’t convince Edge to quit, so Edge reverses it and Finn has to fight it back over in his own favor again. Edge slugs out of that, but Finn sends him to the floor and traps him in the apron for a beating and then hits a sling blade on the floor. Still no quit from Edge. So Edge spears him through the timekeeper’s barricade, the one spot always guaranteed to pop the crowd, and they fight into the crowd. Edge gets a suplex by the pre-show set and chokes out Finn with a hockey stick. We take a walk up into the concourse, where Edge runs him into an overhang. But then he charges and runs yam-first into the railing. So we continue Walking Simulator 22 as they wander around the arena to fill time. Back in the ring, Finn beats on him with a chair, but Edge doesn’t quit. So Finn actually uses another submission hold, what a concept, but Edge still won’t quit. Edge beats on the knee with a chair and puts him in the Edgeucator, but Damian Priest runs in, so Edge spears Finn off the apron and onto his crew of henchman. Thanks to She-Hulk I now know the difference between goons and henchmen. And then Rhea runs in and handcuffs Edge to the top rope for a kendo stick beating. So then this brings out Rey Mysterio to save Edge, but Dom takes out Rey and Finn continues the kendo sticking. So now Beth Phoenix runs in and tries to save Edge, but Rhea goes after her and Beth takes her out and steals the key to unlock the cuffs. Was there a MATCH going on somewhere in all this? So then Edge kicks Dominick in the nuts to get some revenge and spears Balor a few times, but now Rhea knocks out Beth with brass knucks and the Judgment Day beats on Edge some more. And since he won’t quit, Rhea threatens Beth with DOOM, and Edge finally quits at 30:00. This was really, really, really, LONG and was barely even a match by the end, just existing more as an extended 15 minute angle more than anything. I dunno, **? It certainly had no heat until 7 people got involved at the 20:00 mark.
Meanwhile, Miz finally snaps and beats up the mascot, but Dexter shows up and saves him.
Fight Pit match: Seth Rollins v. Matt Riddle
The gimmick here is that there’s no ropes and a full-sized cage around the ring, which is actually a lot different than previous versions of the “fight pit” we’ve seen. They take each other down and Riddle gets carried away, shoving Daniel Cormier aside, but that allows Rollins to get his own shots. Riddle tries for a triangle, but Rollins pokes him in the eye to break and runs him into the cage. Rollins gets a neckbreaker and demands a count from the ref, but Riddle makes it up. Rollins superkicks him for another count and beats on Riddle, and then suplexes him into the cage before climbing up for a splash off the cage and another count on Riddle. Seth tries the PERUVIAN NECKTIE to put him away, but Riddle fires off an RKO to escape that. They slug it out and Riddle tries another RKO, but Seth counters with the curb stomp, and DC won’t count for some reason. Riddle beats the eventual count and Riddle retreats to the top portion of the cage and Riddle follows him up to the platform for a brawl up there. Seth gives him a buckle bomb into the corner of the cage, and then follows with a Pedigree on the platform. Apparently you can’t win on the platform, though. So Riddle hits him with an RKO on the platform and Seth bumps into the ring again, so Seth hits him with a senton from the top platform and that looked like it sucked for both of them. Riddle tries for the triangle, but Seth slams out of it, and then Riddle hangs on and taps out Seth at 16:45. Well that was different I guess. *** Cormier added nothing to the match and they were struggling to do anything without ropes, but they tried.
And then the lights go out as they’re trying to go off the air, and someone sings “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” while various spooky characters pop up around the arena, leading to the reveal of a wrecked Firefly Funhouse set and a dude in a Fiend mask, before a mystery door opens and some bearded guy with a lantern appears to end the show. Hopefully they will have more about this development and what it means on RAW, perhaps also explaining when we’re going to see the white rabbit they’ve promising for weeks now.
Anyway, I mostly hated this show and its parade of stupid finishes. Thumbs down.