Extreme Rules felt like a show from a jaded company that was stuck in a slump. Something which is almost impressive, considering it comes just a month after one of the best Wrestlemania’s of all time. Overflowing with unneeded gimmick matches and the kind of juvenile humour which only Vince could laugh at, it once again came down to a few of the WWE’s great roster, to save the show.
Which they managed or at least they managed to the extent that this show didn’t completely stink out the building. In fact, because of Wade Barrett and Neville, it actually got off to a good start. WWE’s booking of Neville has been one of the highlights of the last month and the young star getting the victory made perfect sense here. It also helps that he is one of the smoothest workers in the business and despite his high-flying style, is so much more than a spot monkey.
This hot start looked to be continuing, until around 5 minutes into the Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose brawl, when WWE suddenly decided what they needed was for this match to take to the streets. Cool on paper, but what we actually got was them just disappearing for an hour. Apparently not a single WWE camera man thought it might be a good idea to follow them. It disrupted a good old-fashioned barney and allowed the gimmick to take precedence over the action.
That was a theme that would continue throughout the night. While Cena and Rusev put on a solid confrontation, it was easily their weakest yet and announcing the rematch already, takes away from Cena’s open challenges over the next few weeks. Also, Rusev losing two months in a row does nothing but bad things for him. Reigns and Big Show did better than anyone thought they would, but if I never have to see another pondering Last Man Standing match again, I would be more than happy. Finally, the main event was overbooked before it started, with the inclusion of Kane and the banning of the most over move in WWE not to come out of Suplex City. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that the match followed suit. Run ins, Gatekeepers and cage matches do not a good event make.
What makes this all the more annoying, is the matches that were all gimmick free, were what saved the show. Ziggler and Sheamus may have gone on far too long with the actual arse kissing part of their segment, but from bell to bell they put on a more than adequate showing, which made me want to watch these two fight again. While the Tag Title match easily stole the show, with Cesaro and Kidd continuing to prove that a fantastic division could be built around them. While I’d prefer them to keep the belts, if they are going to stay face and chase a heel New Day, I am on board with that.
Even the Divas, whose division completely lacks anything resembling logic when it comes to booking, kept up their end of the bargain. Nikki Bella deserves credit for the leaps and bounds she has come on in the ring and Naomi is athletic enough to put on a good show. Even if her finisher is still fucking ridiculous. It’s a shame the WWE doesn’t realise that Giving Divas a Chance doesn’t just mean giving them more time, you have to treat them like real people as well.
Extreme Rules felt more like a chore, than an enjoyable watch. WWE has so many great wrestlers right now and many of them proved that on this PPV, yet they seem determined to handicap them, as if just letting them do their job is too easy. It’s like having Tony Iommi in your band and asking him to play drums. He’s still Tony Iommi and you’d rather have him than let the competition have him, but at the end of the day you aren’t getting his best. WWE aren’t getting the best out of their wrestlers and at this point in time, the only people they can blame is themselves.