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Tuesday, December 11th 2018.
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WWE Extreme Rules 2018

by Scrooge McSuck

WWE Extreme Rules

- Presented LIVE on the WWE Network on July 15th, 2018, from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. Michael Cole and Jonathon Coachman are exclusively calling the action for Monday Night Raw, Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton for Smackdown Live, and Corey Graves is working Overtime for everybody.

Sin Cara vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas (w/ Zelina Vega):

Kickoff Match #1. 3-months into the Shakeup of 2018 and Almas is wasting time with Sin Cara of all people. Sin Cara sets the pace early, sending Almas to the floor after a series of quick counters. He goes for a tope suicida but Almas side-steps, sending him into the security barricade, instead. Back inside, Almas with a combo of back breakers for two. A rolling elbow sends Sin Cara out of the ring and Almas celebrates with Vegas by hanging in the ropes. I guess the NXT gimmick of him not showboating doesn't exist. SPLIT-SCREEN ACTION MEANS ME NO PAY ATTENTION. They trade forearms, with Sin Cara getting the advantage. He hits a springboard body press and spikes Almas on his head for two. Almas' double stomp backfires, getting launched off the top rope onto the ring apron. Sin Cara with a flying arm-scissors... or that's what I guess it was. Frog Splash but Vega distracts the referee. Almas recovers, knocking Sin Cara into the corner with a dropkick. Almas with the Drive-Thru Knees and the Hammerlock DDT finishes at 7:01. Standard TV match with a better than average finish. **1/4

Tables Match: The New Day vs. Sanity:

Kickoff Match #2. Sanity (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain) only debuted a few weeks ago, destroying the Usos (and then jobbing to them and Jeff Hardy in their first match!) and recently picked a fight with the New Day. Dain starts the match with his shirt on for reasons unknown (fat?) and the New Day quickly clear the ring. They get the table set up, but Sanity takes control. Young and Wolfe have a miscommunication but recover to avoid a double spear from Big E. Wolfe with a neck breaker and Young comes off the top with the flying elbow drop. SPLIT-SCREEN ACTION MEANS ME NO PAY ATTENTION PART TWO. Woods and Kofi make the save and hit synchronized somersaults. Dain follows, hitting them both with a tope suicida. More tables come into place, but only one needs to be broken for the victory. Big E and Woods combine to take out Dain. Back in the ring, and we get our obligatory Tower of Doom spot with a dash of New Day flavor. Dain throws Kofi off the top rope to save Young and plants Woods with a Michinoku Driver while sitting down across the chest of Big E. Kofi comes back with Trouble in Paradise. Wolfe and Woods fight on the apron with the table beneath them. Young recovers and comes off the second rope to drive Kofi through the table at 7:39. Just a match to get these guys on the card. **

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

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt have reigned as Tag Team Champions since Greatest Royal Rumblea>, while Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel of all teams have gotten the big push as next top contenders. Hardy starts unloading on Dallas with forearms. He sends Dallas from one corner to another and drops a leg for two. Wyatt in for the brother vs. brother fight we're not supposed to know about... but wait, Dallas tags out to Axel to upset the audience. Get used to it, you're in for a long night. Wyatt takes him to the corner with boots and lays him out with a short-clothesline. Axel avoids a slow-motion avalanche and stomps Wyatt down. Hardy in to ram Axel into the turnbuckles. He charges into the corner with a pair of clotheslines. Axel avoids the bulldog but runs into a boot. Hardy comes off the second rope with an elbow drop for two. Axel blocks the Twist of Fate and escapes a Side-Effect. Dallas and Axel stomp Hardy down in the corner. Dallas with a short-clothesline for two. Axel with a DDT for two. Hardy comes back with the Side-Effect and hot tags Wyatt. He hits Dallas with the corner Avalanche, but Axel saves him from Sister Abigail. The Champions get rammed into each other and Dallas finishes Hardy with a top-rope assisted neck breaker at 7:59. Yes, the B-Team are the NEW Champions. Good thing the Authors of Pain were moved to Raw, so we could get comedy jobbers as Champions again. It worked with Heath Slater and Rhyno because it got over organically and they were babyfaces. The definition of a standard TV match. *1/2

Finn Balor vs. "Constable" Baron Corbin:

Corbin's "Constable" gimmick can be summed up in a few words: stooge for the heel authority figure. To go along with the new character, Corbin shaved his head, ridding the world of his rapidly receding long-hair hair-line. Most of this rivalry has centered around Corbin knocking Balor for his lack of size. Balor grabs a waist-lock and eats an elbow for it. Corbin mocks the "Too Sweet" gesture and chokes. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and counters with a basement dropkick. Corbin quickly recovers, driving Balor into the corner and brutalizes him with short clotheslines. Corbin slides out of the ring and pops back in with a clothesline for two. Balor avoids a charge but gets knocked off the apron with a forearm. It just struck me... wasn't this a teased (short-term) program over the NXT Title before they pulled the rug out under Corbin and put Apollo Crews in the spot, instead? Balor teases the comeback, but the Coup de Grace attempt is countered with a Choke-Slam across the knee for two. "The Constable is livid!" God, I hate the WWE commentary. Balor counters another clothesline with the sling-blade. The shotgun dropkick is countered with Deep Six for two. Corbin with a leg sweep and double stomp. Shotgun dropkick knocks Corbin into the corner. Balor to the top and again Corbin counters. End of Days is countered with a small package for three at 8:19. Rematch at July PPV... what do you mean it's July? (looks at calendar) Oh, crap. Rematch at SummerSlam! Most Corbin matches feel like they're 10-minutes longer than they are. **

- There's a brawl backstage between the Bludgeon Brothers and Team Hell No. Poor Kane seems to be on the worse end of things, getting his foot caught in a door and Rowan smashes the door with his Captain Caveman-sized sledgehammer.

WWE (Smackdown) Women's Championship Match:
Carmella (c) (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Asuka:

Ellsworth is suspended above the ring in a shark cage, probably to sell more toys. How much more damage can be done to Asuka? We'll know in about 10-minutes when she does the job again. Asuka unloads with leg strikes. Carmella counters a slam by pulling Asuka down by the hair. Ellsworth tosses a chain down but Asuka intercepts and hits Carmella with a sliding kick for two. Carmella goes for the chain, but the referee tosses it. This time Ellsworth drops a bottle of hair spray, and that backfires too. Asuka with a flurry of strikes and a dropkick. Asuka counters a hip toss with a knee and hits the running hip attack (Carmella bumped way too early) for two. Asuka-Lock applied but Carmella gets to the ropes. Ellsworth manages to pick the lock but ends up hanging himself upside down. Asuka turns her attention to the Ellsworth Piñata, no doubt setting up a finish where she looks stupid. Carmella returns from the dead, shoves Asuka into the lowered cage, and retains at 5:28. I'd brag about calling it, but WWE can't do anything right. Post-match, Ellsworth takes a beating, but it's too late for Asuka. ½*

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

I can't tell, but I feel like they're trying to morph Hardy into the WWE version of Brother Nero. Nakamura has been sidelined recently with an injury at the mouth of a police dog. Sounds like his theme music has been slightly altered (since the last time I've watched). Nakamura with a low blow before the bell rings (and behind the back of the referee). Kinshasa at the bell and we have a new United States Champion at 0:07. Randy Orton shows up to disrupt the celebration and stomps Jeff Hardy's nuts because he hasn't been made to look enough like a geek. NR

Steel Cage Match:
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens:

Strowman is the reigning "Monster in the Bank" and has terrorized Kevin Owens for weeks (including knocking him off a stage while inside a port-o-potty. Either Owens wins by being destroyed, or Strowman wins after destroying him. I love the logic where a storyline has a heel running away, then booked in a match where he can win by running away (and then one of the commentators says he has nowhere to run). Bell rings and Owens tries to run, unsuccessfully. Owens tries bringing the offense, with no effect. Strowman hits the cage on a missed a charge. Owens knocks him down with a Super-Kick and follows up with a Cannonball. He comes off the top with the Frog Splash, but Strowman kicks out at the count of one. Strowman regains verticality and clubs Owens across the chest with a forearm. Owens gets tossed into the cage walls. Owens comes out of nowhere with a Stunner, but Strowman cuts off the escape and slams the door into Owens' face. Strowman gears up and misses another charge. Owens with a pair of Super-Kicks to knock Strowman to one knee. He handcuffs Strowman to the ropes, and we should all know what to expect. Owens suddenly has the courage of the Hero of Time, but Strowman still manages to plant him with a Choke-Slam. Owens tells Strowman to "suck it" and climbs. Strowman breaks the handcuffs and climbs to the top of the cage with Owens in hand. CHOKE-SLAM OFF THE CAGE THROUGH THE TABLE, and Owens wins at 8:07. Well, I called that one, too. It wasn't much, but it was entertaining. **1/2

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

The Bludgeon Brothers unmotivated targeting of Daniel Bryan is followed up by the even more random reunion of Bryan and Kane. Funny that Team Hell No was one of those things that won me over as a fan getting back into the product, and now it's back just as I'm having a hard time maintaining that same interest. Bryan comes out without Kane. He goes it alone to start, going toe-to-toe with Rowan. Bryan does his best to fight the 2-on-1 disadvantage, at one-point clearing Rowan from the ring and taking Harper off the top rope with a Franken-Steiner. He ducks the Discus Clothesline and hooks the Yes-Lock, but Rowan saves. He sends Bryan into the steps and slams Harper across the chest. Back inside, Rowan's splash gets two. Harper with a snap mare and sliding forearm into the back. Rowan with a pump-handle back breaker and slam for two. Bryan "creates separation". Harper accidentally hits Rowan with a tope suicida and all three men are down on the outside. Kane comes back from the dead with a walking cast on (remember when he completely no-sold a brutal leg-attack when he transitioned from Corporate Kane into Demon Kane during his storyline with Seth Rollins? WWE doesn't either). Kane gets the hot tag and throws some sad looking right hands. Choke-Slam to Rowan and Harper, nearing Hogan at Judgment Day 2002 levels of pathetic. Bryan with a missile dropkick and the Yes-Kicks on Harper. Rowan in with the standing heel kick and they finish Bryan with their modified Doomsday Device at 8:17. Kane couldn't take the loss WITH A F*CKING WALKING CAST ON? Kane, please retire. Enjoy being the Mayor of Knox County in Tennessee. There's nothing left in the tank. **1/4

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley:

Thank GOD someone is smart enough to not put this on last. It's a battle of egos, and that sums it up perfectly. I have no interest in either man at this point, so I'll expect it to go 20-25 minutes and put me to sleep. Lockup into the corner and the referee forces them apart. Lashley wins the first battle, throwing Roman down with a waist-lock. Lashley with a leap frog and Roman lays him out with an uppercut. Whip and an elbow gets two. Roman with choking and the Drive-By for two. Here comes a chin-lock, and a bunch of random chants from the impatient Pittsburgh crowd. To the floor and Roman sends Lashley into the barricade. Weird spot where Lashley avoids being sent to the steps, hopping onto them instead, only for Roman to push him off and send him into the other set of steps. Lashley blocks a shot with the steps, tossing Roman and laying him out with a clothesline. Back inside, Lashley tosses Roman over-head with a belly-to-belly suplex. Roman gets a boot up in the corner and connects with a clothesline. Lashley catches him off the ropes with a power-slam for two. He hits Roman with a sloppy cross body and comes off the top with the double axe-handle. Reigns recovers and tosses Lashley over the top rope from a fireman's carry position. Back inside, Roman with a guillotine leg drop for two. Lashley counters the Superman Punch with a spine-buster and follows with a delayed suplex for two. Roman with Superman Punch on the second try for two. To the floor, Lashley tosses Roman across the table with a belly-to-belly suplex. Lashley goes high-risk again, but this time Roman knocks him down with the Superman Punch. Lashley counters the Spear with his own Spear for three at 14:55. THAT'S ALL TO WIN? Okay. Match was perfectly acceptable, but the crowd had no interest for the first 10 minutes. ***

WWE (Raw) Women's Championship; Extreme Rules Match:
Alexa Bliss (c) (w/ Mickie James) vs. Nia Jax (w/ Natalya):

Bliss won the Money in the Bank briefcase and cashed in later that night in the middle of the match between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. Speaking of Rousey, she's serving a 30-day suspension, but fear not, she purchased a ticket and is sitting front row. How do we keep pretending BABYFACE GOLIATH DOESN'T WORK! Bliss triggers Jax with a slap and grabs the kendo stick, but Jax no-sells and destroys the thing. Bliss and James keep feeding her weapons to get thrown into the ring. Jax with a clothesline straight out of GLOW. Back inside, Jax casually tosses Bliss near the pile of weapons. HOW. HARD. IS. THIS. Jax with a fireman's lift and slam onto the trash can. Jax finally sells some trash can lid strikes. Shotgun dropkick from Bliss for two. Jax stops selling long enough to throw herself face-first into a chair that just wouldn't stay in position in the corner. Natalya prevents Mickie from interfering, bringing Bliss out for the most unnecessary save of a corner-person. Meanwhile, Ronda is STEWING and se hops the rail to make the save, awkwardly tossing James around with the grace of a three-legged Rhinoceros. HOW DARE YOU ATTACK HER BEST FRIEND! She goes for Bliss, but Mickie's recovered in time to save with a kendo stick shot across the back. The match continues to fall apart with weak chair shots on Nia Jax. Bliss with a short DDT onto the chair to end this mess at 7:15. I can't think of one good thing about this match when it came to the performance of Bliss and Jax. The storyline makes no sense, the work was terrible, and the finish sucked. DUD

WWE Championship Match:
A.J. Styles vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English):

If this show didn't feel any more like a random episode of Smackdown Live or Monday Night Raw, RUSEV, who has done nothing more than mid-card comedy stuff for the last 6-months, is now the #1 contender. Lockup into the corner and Styles puts the boots to the legs. Rusev with a knee lift and hip throw. He catches a kick and lays Styles out with a short-clothesline. Styles with more kicks. He comes off the ropes and Rusev plants him with a spine-buster. Rusev with a pair of snap suplexes and an elbow drop for two. Styles avoids a second elbow and goes back to chopping down the tree-trunk legs. Rusev regains control, working on the back. Styles blocks a Super-Plex attempt, slides between the legs, and knocks Rusev over the top rope, to the floor. Styles follows with a slingshot forearm. Back inside, Styles unloads with the Phenomenal Blitz and comes off the ropes with a sliding forearm. Diving clothesline into the corner followed by a Scorpion Death Drop for two. Rusev blocks the Calf-Crusher and knocks Styles out of the ring. Rusev teases a tope suicida, but it's for naught, as Styles knocks him in the face with a forearm before he could get through the ropes. Styles with a jumping roundhouse kick from the apron. Rusev avoids the 450 Splash and rolls through another Calf-Crusher attempt. Styles avoids being trapped in the Accolade but meets a boot going for another sliding forearm.

Styles counters the fall-away slam with the Calf-Crusher, but Rusev makes it to the ropes. English with a distraction, allowing Rusev to splat Styles on the floor with a belly-to-belly suplex. Back inside, Rusev with the Machka Kick for two. Rusev tunes up the band in the corner but Styles avoids another kick and connects with the Pele Kick. Rusev catches Styles off the rope with a knee and roundhouse kick for two. He goes for the Accolade, but the knee gives out. He hooks a modified version of the Accolade, but Styles inches his way to the ropes to force the break. Meanwhile, English removes a turnbuckle pad with the action away from the corner. Styles slips out of another attempt and Rusev accidentally rams his own head into the exposed turnbuckle. Styles with the springboard 450 splash for two. Phenomenal Forearm finishes at 15:33. Good for a TV Main Event. Unfortunately, this is a Pay-Per-View, and at no point did this feel like anything more special than "House Show Main Event". ***

WWE Intercontinental Title; 30-Minute Ironman Match:
Dolph Ziggler (c) (w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins:

Of all the people to put in a position with the IC Title and to "Main Event" a PPV (I use that term so generously it might as well be reported on my income tax files next year), Dolph Ziggler gets popped in the microwave for a quick re-heat. These two did a 30-minute match a few weeks ago, negating the idea of the Ironman Match. You know what bothers me? A Superstar who seconds a wrestler to the ring... and they're in their wrestling gear instead of street clothes. What is the point of McIntyre (or in the prior match, English) being in his ring gear? Dolph Ziggler's tan must be an ode to Hulk Hogan, he's that F'N Orange.

Fall #1: Feeling out process to start. Rollins goes for the arm but Ziggler forces a break in the ropes. They go through the sequence again, with the same result. Rollins with a rolling school boy for two. Ziggler tries the same but Rollins counters with a back slide for a one-count. Whip to the ropes, Rollins blocks a sunset flip for two. Rollins with a snap mare and crucifix cradle for two. Dolph bails and Rollins taunts him with jumping-jacks. Back inside, Rollins with an elbow for two. He plants Ziggler with a slam for two. Ziggler stops Rollins in his tracks with a right hand. Rollins escapes a neck breaker, sends Dolph into the corner with a buckle-bomb, and La Magistral cradle for three at 4:38 (Rollins 1-0).

Fall #2: Rollins goes in for the attack but Ziggler hits him with an elbow. Rollins recovers, taking Ziggler down with a back suplex. Dolph bails and Rollins follows with a slingshot pescado. McIntyre with a quick distraction, allowing Ziggler to take control as the crowd decides the match isn't good enough to pay attention to and start a Royal Rumble countdown with the clock. Ziggler with the jumping elbow drop for two. Rollins counters a suplex and unloads with chops. Whip to the corner, Rollins follows in with a clothesline. Ziggler with a basement dropkick to take out the knee. Rollins avoids the Fame-Asser and we get a series of roll-ups for near falls. Ziggler counters a second Buckle Bomb, but the Curb Stomp gets three at 7:57 (Rollins 2-0).

Fall #3: Rollins stands around like an arrogant heel. After all, he's in a heel position. McIntyre runs in and lays into Rollins and finally the referee Disqualifies Ziggler at 9:00 (Rollins 3-0). Even though the result has been called, McIntyre continues the assault without further falls awarded to Rollins. The referee eventually ejects him from ringside, but not before hitting the Claymore Kick.

Fall #4: Ziggler wakes up from the dead and covers Rollins for three at 10:24. (Rollins 3-1)

Fall #5: Ziggler with the Super-Kick for three at 11:09. (Rollins 3-2)

Fall #6: Ziggler tunes up the band but Rollins counters the Super-Kick with a roll-up for two. At this point, the clock has been removed from the jumbo-screen and the crowd collectively gets their panties in a bunch and do the countdown even louder at their own random intervals. Ziggler sends Rollins into the corner and hits the Zig-Zag for three at 12:09. (Tied 3-3)

Fall #7: Rollins blocks another Zig-Zag and avoids the Stinger Splash. Dolph meets a boot in the corner and Rollins comes off the ropes with a sling-blade. Rollins sends Ziggler out of the ring with a clothesline but Ziggler counters the tope suicida with a forearm. Roll-up with feet on the ropes for three at 14:11 (Ziggler 4-3).

Fall #8: Ziggler finally slows things down, grabbing a seated arm-bar. Graves compares the lead change to the Atlanta Falcons collapse at the Super Bowl. I always suspected the NFL was scripted! Ziggler with a sleeper hold. Rollins fights to his feet and rams Ziggler into the corner to force the break. Rollins knocks him out of the ring with a clothesline and hits a tope suicida. Ziggler escapes to the outside and Rollins follows with another tope. Springboard clothesline for two. Rollins with the Block Buster for two. The clock is back on the Jumbo-Screen, based on crowd response. Ziggler with a dropkick to knock Rollins off the top rope, to the outside. Rollins barely makes it in to avoid the count. He counters a DDT with the Super-Kick, followed by the knee strike for two. Rollins to the top and Ziggler cuts him off again. Rollins fights off a Super-Plex attempt and connects with a Frog Splash for two. Rollins with a Super-Plex and Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins tunes up the band and hits Ziggler with a midsection Super-Kick. Ziggler counters the Stomp with a roll-up for two. Rollins slingshots Ziggler into the corner and rolls him up for three at 26:52. (Tied 4-4)

Fall #9: Ziggler attacks with right hands. Rollins sweeps the legs and turns him over with the Sharpshooter. He transitions into the Cross-face, but Ziggler still won't tap. Ziggler avoids the Stomp and rolls out of the ring. He tries to run away (which would get a Count-Out, don't you think?) but Rollins throws him back in. Ziggler with the Famouser out of nowhere for two. Rollins surprises Ziggler with a Super-Kick and the Stomp, but the clock runs out as he goes for the cover. BUT WAIT! Kurt Angle comes out to announce the unannounced OVERTIME PERIOD! McIntyre comes back for a distraction and Ziggler finishes with the Zig-Zag at 30:13 to retain the Intercontinental Title. Wow, what a crap way to end things. Good match despite the crowd's inability to give a shit. The amount of falls doesn't bother me since it fell into place with the story the match told. ***3/4

Final Thoughts: My snark attitude is the only true entertainment I got throughout the entire show. Lackluster matches with bad finish after another. There's a few good matches, but they're not good enough to save the show from the trash heap. If you want to waste 5-hours of a glorified episode of TV (and in this case, a below-average episode), then, enjoy it if you can, but this didn't satisfy me as a fan of great wrestling or a fan of entertaining storylines. It looked like a bloated mess coming in and it didn't come as a surprise to me that everything was rushed through.

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