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The Horror Show at Extreme Rules! July 19, 2020
by Samoa Rowe
I'm not trying to be cute, that, above, is the actual name of this PPV. My worst E-fed supershow name from high school would have been more subtle.
Live (?) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Also, unless I'm mistaken, this is the first WWE show since 2008 to earn a TV-14 rating! Somebody may lose an eyeball or be fed to an alligator before the night is over. Our hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton, and Tom Phillips.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship (Tables Match):
The New Day © (Kofi Kingston and Big E) vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Five minutes in and I'm already done with Michael Cole and contemplating putting this on mute. He explains that this is a tables match because Cesaro and Nak put New Day through tables on the last Smackdown, and I would have been shocked if the set up had been anything else. Hot start for the challengers, but Kofi fires back with a leaping double stomp to the chest of Cesaro. New Day can't seem to figure out the best way to bring a table in together and get jumped, but they slam Nak into the barricade and dropkick Cesaro into the steps. New Day set up an electric chair through a table, but Nak breaks it up. Big E rescues Kofi from a double superplex and spears Cesaro off the apron! Big E tries to launch Kofi over the ropes, but Nak and Cesaro throw the table at him in mid-air! Big E's double spear attempt is blocked, but he reverses a suplex on Cesaro, but Nakamura cuts him off with a sliding knee. Nak sets up another ringside table and turns around to Kofi's flying axe handle. New Day piles a pair of tables but can't follow through. Cesaro spins Big E into Nakamura's dropkick. "Former WWE Champion" Kofi Kingston cleans house. Nakamura helps Cesaro reverse a top rope rana into a powerbomb through the stack of tables for the win at 10:22! Really fun stunt show that could have stood to go another five minutes, ***½.
Winners and new Smackdown Tag Team Champions: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Cesaro and Nakamura rub their victory into the face of Michael Cole, which only makes me like them more. Kofi hasn't moved from the pile of broken tables.
Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Asuka, and Kairi Sane get pumped up for action. By gosh, they are so darned excited about all the butts they'll be kicking.
Smackdown Women's Championship:
Bayley © (with Sasha Banks) vs. Nikki Cross (with Alexa Bliss)
Bayley looks like she just arrived from chewing out a Target employee for asking her to wear a mask, and I begrudgingly have to admit that it suits her. I still say WWE left money on the table by not using her as the female John Cena, but I digress. Bayley toys with her challenger early on and Nikki makes her pay with a swinging neckbreaker for 2 (can someone tell Michael Cole to take a chill pill?). Tornado DDT by Cross and a top rope crossbody gets another 2. Cross hits another crossbody off the apron, but Bayley smashers her into the ring frame and plexiglass to regain control. Bayley takes some time to show off her haircut to MIchael Cole, which only makes me like her more, and Cross traps her in the ring apron for a beating. Cross summons old-school Bayley gestures and applies a crossface. A Belly to Bayley suplex gets 2. Superplex by Bayley but Cross kicks out. Bayley jaws at the ref and almost gets rolled up. Cross hits an inverted DDT and they take a breather. Running bulldog by Cross, no sunset flip, but a ripchord gets a good nearfall. Pair of back suplexes by Cross still isn't enough for a pinfall. Bayley trips the challenger on the top rope for a running knee and 2. Bayley misses a head of steam into the buckles and Cross hits a swinging neckbreaker off the apron. Cross follows with hard lariat for a great nearfall. Bayley hids in the ropes and Sasha hands her the brass "BOSS" knuckles for a loaded punch and the win at 12:20. This way overdelivered with Cross pushing Bayley to the point where she needed Sasha to bail her out, ***¼.
Winner and still Smackdown Women's Champion: Bayley
A Firefly Funhouse segment immediately shifts into a horror show. Bray Wyatt is dressed up like Dracula and hosts a more twisted than usual version of his already f*cked up kids show. He's thrown off track when footage from the recent karaoke contest from Smackdown airs instead of what he'd planned, so he just hams it up like a movie monster and he loses me.
MVP and Bobby Lashley come to the ring to talk. They're upset that Apollo Crews refused to join their little group and that he's too injured to compete tonight, so MVP declares Lashley to be the new U.S. Champion. MVP declares himself to be U.S. Champion and has a custom made belt for himself. This was refreshingly straight to the point and did not feel like a waste of PPV time.
Eye For a Eye Match:
Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio
The only way to win this match is to extract your opponent's eye. So glad that WWE is a family focused company and not "blood and guts" like the pissant competition, right? Anyways, Rey sneaks in from behind for a sneak attack but Rollins quickly cuts him off. Rey blocks Snake Eyes and hits a rana into the buckles. Rey pulls out a table and tool box, and uses a steel rod as a weapon, but Seth fires back with a kendo stick. Rey head scissors Seth into 619 position, but Rollins rolls out. Seth hits a Falcon Arrow onto the ring frame! Rollins finally goes after Rey's eye, but nothing come out of this time. Seth misses a metal rod shot and tries to jam Rey's eye into the steps. Seth is unable to stab Rey's eye with the kendo stick so he slides him for a rough bump onto a table. Seth pins Rey with a chair and tries to rip out his eye. Rey misses a wild chair shot and Rollins misses a screwdriver blow, and drop toe holds Seth face first into the announce table! Seth ambushes Rey at the toolbox and ties him up with some string. Mysterio desperately drives Rollins into the ring post. Seth rebound with kendo stick shots. Seth props the kendo stick in the buckles and tries to impale Rey's skull with it, but Rey fights back with a slick head scissors takedown. Frog splash by Rey! Rollins answers with a spinning flapjack. Rollins misses a curb stomp and Rey nails a tornado DDT. Rey blocks an electric chair with kendo shots and plants Rollins against the barricade. Rey breaks the kendo stick over his knee and tries to use the jagged edge to blind Seth! 619 by Rey, followed by a curb stomp on the floor! Rey tries to blind with the ring steps but Seth saves himself with a low blow! Rollins hits a curb stomp on the floor and directs Rey's head into the pointy ring steps. The ref calls for the bell at 17:46, as apparently Rey lost an eye. Seth vomits while medics help Rey out. I was prepared to bury this match for the stupid gimmick, but I'll be damned if they didn't bust out an incredible, hate-fueld brawl, and believably got the stipulation over, ****.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Backstage interview with Bayley, who feels sad about her childhood favorite, Rey Mysterio, being blind and all, but fakes us out, because she's really happy to still be Bayley Dos Straps. She brings in her partner, Sasha Banks, and boasts about beating Cross, and Sasha's pending victory over Asuka.
Raw Women's Championship:
Asuka © (with Kairi Sane) vs. Sasha Banks (with Bayley)
Based on how things are going tonight, this could be pretty awesome. They aggressively lock up and Asuka forces a break in the buckles. Sasha looks like her old self as she works a headlock and hits a vicious knee lift. Asuka fires back but Banks knocks her into the Bank Statement. Banks lands Meteora for 2. Asuka avoids getting her shoulders pinned and monkey flips onto an armbreaker! Banks goes for a leaping armdrag, but Asuka counters with a makeshift Go 2 Sleep! Asuka uses a hip attack to knock Banks off the apron! Banks attempts a sunset flip bomb off the apron, but Asuka blocks and hits a Shining Wizard! Banks blocks the Asuka Lock and drives her knee into the ribs in the corner for 2. Sasha contorts the fingers and places Asuka in a butterfly flock of sorts and kicks the chest! Sasha hits double knees to the gut but Asuka kicks out! Sasha goes back to the modified butterfly lock but Asuka powers out and lands vicious kicks and a back hand to knock the Boss off her feet. Banks reverses a head of steam but Asuka answers with double knees off the buckles! THIS IS SO AWESOME I CAN'T STAND IT! Asuka misses a hip attack and Banks teases a German off the apron. Asuka tries to reverse, but Sasha powerbombs her into the plexiglass! Frog splash by Sasha but Asuka kicks out! Bank Statement but Asuka gets the ropes! Asuka attempts a German over the ropes, can't quite hit the Asuka lock, but manages a proper German suplex! Asuka kicks the face for 2! Sasha throws a kick but Asuka hits another German and the hip attack, but SASHA KICKS OUT! Asuka misses a high crossbody and Sasha hits a running knee for 2! Sasha viciously blocks a superplex with elbow strikes, but Asuka improvises with a SUPER GERMAN, but Banks saves herself by landing on her knees. Sasha hits running knees but cannot follow through for a win. They brawl back to their feet, while Kairi Sane stops Bayley from interfering. Meanwhile, they trade counters until Asuka puts on the Asuka Lock! Bayley tosses in a title and tries to interfere, but Asuka clocks her with a roundhouse kick. The ref misses Sasha tappin but takes the belt from Sasha. Asuka misses the green mist and blinds the ref! Bayley clocks Asuka with a belt and pulls the ref shirt off for herself! Sasha covers Asuka and Bayley counts the 3 at 20:03! The bell inexplicably rings and it appears Sasha is our winner. I am FURIOUS over this confusing finish, because everything leading up to the Bayley interference was top notch, nonstop action, MOTYC level stuff. I have no idea if this title change stands or not, but I can't go lower than ****¼ for this tremendous effort.
"Winner and new Raw Women's Champion: Sasha Banks"
WWE Championship (Extreme Rules for Dolph Ziggler only, title changes on count-out or DQ for Drew McIntyre):
Drew McIntyre © vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ah man, Dolph's stipulation usually leads to a slow, plodding kind of match. Drew tries to prove me wrong with a hot start, smashing Ziggler round the ringside area. It's worth noting that according to Bryan Alvarez, Dolph has won exactly 1 singles match in 2020, so this match feels somewhat unimportant. Dolph rakes the eyes but Drew blocks a chair shot, but he can't use it, so he hits an overhead suplex instead. Ziggler shoves Drew into the ring post and sets up a table at ringside. Drew considers a suplex through the table but shifts to avoid a DQ. Drew's sitout powerbomb gets 2! Drew calls his challenger "pathetic" so Dolph kicks him square in the joy department. Ziggler hits several chair shots, driving Drew's throat into a standing chair in the process! Drew desperately counters with a suplex onto the announce table, which is A-okay according to the rules. Dolph answers with a Fame-asser off the announce table! Drew misses an axe handle and Ziggler locks on a sleeper. Dolph sends Drew into the buckles but eats a fiery clothesline. Drew catapults the challenger into the plexiglass and hits a reverse Alabama Slam! Dolph blocks the Claymore with a chair shot and hits the Zig Zag, but DREW KICKS OUT! Dolph superkicks Drew onto a table and lands a top rope elbow drop! Drew beats the countout and sends Ziggler into a whiny rage. Tight headbutt by Drew but Dolph answers with the Fame-asser and Zig Zag. Rock Bottom onto a chair by Dolph but DREW KICKS OUT! Dolph yells "WHY WON'T YOU DIE!" Dolph signals Sweet Chin Music but Drew pops up for a Claymore and the win at 15:24! I was fully expecting to not like this match due to the shifty stipulations and lame build, but they totally busted out an intense, dramatic title match with excellent pacing and well-earned nearfalls, ****.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre
Universal Champion Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt
Get ready for some CINEMATIC WRESTLING! Bray is chilling in his rocking chair at his compound when Braun arrives by car. Braun gets into his face but the lights go out and Bray vanishes. Braun throws the rocking chair into a sign and searches the property. Stock footage of wildlife spooks Braun out and he's attacked by faceless minions. Braun is knocked down with a shovel and sees himself standing over him, just like Luke Skywalker in the force cave on Dagobah! Braun wakes up to find himself chained to a chair in a spooky shed. Bray arrives to his old music and seems pretty pleased with himself. Braun declares his hatred of his old mentor, but Bray is proud of his former protege. Bray cuts one of his vague promos that goes nowhere and means nothing. Braun refuses to go back to being Wyatt's minion. A masked figure arrives with a snake and unleashes the creature on Braun. Suddenly, Braun is free by a bonfire and beats up some Wyatt soldiers, setting one on fire in the process. Braun is then tempted by a shadowy version of Alexa Bliss, who lures him into another Bray ambush. Braun slams Wyatt onto a boat. Yeah, I just typed that. The boat floats off into the darkness. Another boat floats in from the opposite direction and Braun wades out to check it out. It's empty, but Wyatt bursts from the water with a paddle and tries to drown Braun! They disappear under some lily pads and Braun pops up gasping for air. Bray jumps him again on the dock. Braun kicks him through a fence and off the dock. Braun declares the fight "over" but Bray reaches up and pulls him into the water with a mandible claw! Both men seemingly disappear under the lily pads as the water turns red. The Fiend emerges and has a good laugh, mocking me for staying up late to finish this. Whatever this was ends at 18:00. This sucked hard, no stars.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Final Thoughts: Here's what you need to do: watch this show but turn it off before the swamp fight. You'll enjoy it more than you're expecting to, even if some of the finishes are kind of awful. The Swamp Fight really killed my good vibes, but I was extremely impressed by the effort of all the men and women tonight, every in-ring match overdelivered and surpassed my (low) expectations. I spent the entire day preparing myself to bury this six feet into the ground, but I enjoyed myself and you probably will too.
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