WWE Extreme Rules 2017
June 4, 2017
Royal Farms Arena
Baltimore, Maryland

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers:

Rich Kraetsch: Rich is recovering from a week of taking close to 20 pills per day, a 103 fever, bronchitis and an ear infection. He hopes Extreme Rules can be better than that but he’s really not sure. Follow him on Twitter @VoicesWrestling.

Garrett Kidney: Garrett is mourning the death of TNA by watching a lot of TNA…wait that’s just what he does every week. Garrett is dragging himself away from an ARMS Global Testpunch (gotta get the monthly Nintendo reference in) for this so it better deliver! You can check out Garrett’s weekly Impact reviews right here or follow him on Twitter @garrettkidney!

Kelly Harrass: It’s time for another night of *sigh* thrilling WWE action. It’s hot as balls in Kelly’s house so he’ll probably be extra grumpy tonight. Recently he’s been using his reviewing talents on the Best of the Super Juniors tournament and, of course, Tiger Mask W. Find Kelly on Twitter @comicgeekelly for all your comic and wrestling needs.

Sean Sedor: Sean stopped actively following RAW months ago, but they’re coming to his hometown tomorrow night (He scored a cheap ticket with his tax refund), so he’s paying close attention to this show in preparation for attending RAW. You can follow him on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out his wrestling reviews blog at http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com!

Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews

Rich Kraetsch: You’re not going to believe this but I actually watched the pre-show match. Full credit to the leftover Chinese food The Nurse gave me. Anyway, this was super fun with both men showing just how talented they were. It’s probably not unreasonable to call this Crews’ best bell-to-bell performance in WWE. The issue, as it usually is with these two, is the finish wasn’t about everything but them. The Titus O’Neil Brand distracted Crews long enough to let Kalisto win. When it was over, the talk wasn’t about Kalisto’s death-defying flying or Crews’ spectacular athletic ability but about Titus O’Neil: whether his brand is good for Crews, with David Otunga even offering his law services to “look at the contract” between Crews and O’Neil. Regardless, this was good and you should check it out to see the full potential of both Crews and Kalisto. ***

Garrett Kidney: Solid pre-show opener was solid. These two are fun and should probably be doing more. ***

Sean Sedor: It’s weird, usually these matches on the pre-show are relatively decent, but ultimately not worth your time. That’s not the case here. This was a lot of fun to watch. Kalisto was GREAT here, hitting a number of insane moves. It’s times like this that we’re reminded of just how good Kalisto is. Crews was solid here as well, and overall, this was an incredibly entertaining contest, even with the storyline shenanigans with Titus O’Neil that led to the finish. Don’t sleep on this one. It’s definitely worth checking out later, if you missed it. A very good match. ***1/2

WWE Intercontinental Championship – If Ambrose is disqualified, he will lose the title
The Miz def. Dean Ambrose ©

Rich Kraetsch: For the all-time best example of this stipulation, watch Randy Orton vs. Christian from Money in the Bank 2011. That was the template of how you make this stipulation play into every single second, every single move and every single moment of a match. That was not the case here. For the first 3/4th of the match this was just a match. Not a bad match, but the stipulation played absolutely no part in their work. Miz just casually worked on Dean’s knee, attempted to get him to tap to a Figure Four… business as usual. At one point, Michael Cole said “The referee is giving them more leeway” when in fact they weren’t given any more leeway because nobody was doing anything “DQ-y” but more mind-numbing, this match was literally booked to have the opposite of leeway. The finish finally saw the stipulation come into play but in a way that made the referee look like the biggest buffoon in the world. One minute he’s sussing out a DQ attempt by Maryse and Miz, a minute later he’s convinced that Dean Ambrose just punched him the back of the head just because. This distracted (two-for-two on distraction finishes, folks) Ambrose long enough for Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale and pin Ambrose. Take the stipulation out and this is a fine match but ultimately the build seemed utterly worthless given how most of the match played out. **1/4

Garrett Kidney: I actually don’t mind stipulations like this. When worked well it results in wrestlers incorporating the stipulation into the story of the match in satisfying ways. Think Shawn Michaels being unable to hit the Sweet Chin Music on Randy Orton for example. It adds an extra layer to the drama. This stipulation however felt incredibly contrived. Ambrose doesn’t have to work any differently to every singles match he’s had for the last year. It wasn’t even a great example of Miz trying to goad Ambrose into crossing the line. Extremely slow to start, the role the stipulation played in the finish played more for laughs than real drama. The closing stretch was an improvement before storiez kicked in (Miz’s dire Figure Four aside) but not nearly enough to drag this up a notch. They seemed to be trying to get disqualified due to intense boredom than anything else at times. **1/2

Kelly Harrass: What an unextreme stipulation this is. When you start a show called Extreme Rules, you have a certain expectation of the matches you’re about to see. Kicking off the show with this match may have been the coldest opener possible. While I normally enjoy these two, this match was incredibly boring. The slow pace of this made me wonder if they were trying to lull me to sleep. Believe me, I was only resting my eyes. The stipulation was not used well at all and only served to make the referee look like a moron. Slow and stupid is not a good combination and we got both here. **

Sean Sedor: So why exactly is there a match with a “Title Can Change Hands On A DQ” stipulation on Extreme Rules? Seems counterintuitive. Even my brother (who doesn’t follow wrestling) found this to be baffling. Keep in mind, this is a PPV whose lineage dates back to ECW One Night Stand. This was a long match that, while average to solid for the first 3/4ths or so of it, did pick up in the closing minutes. They did a decent job initially with playing into the stipulation early, as Ambrose nearly got himself disqualified on a few occasions, but they used a number of near disqualification spots towards the end that eventually allowed The Miz to pick up his seventh Intercontinental Title. Regardless of what you think of how they used that stipulation, the crowd did seem to be really invested in those final moments. All things considering, this was fine. Not their best match together, but solid enough. ***

Rich Swann and Sasha Banks def. Noam Dar and Alicia Fox

Rich Kraetsch: This was a fun but ultimately forgettable mixed tag match. The work was fun and both Banks and Swann looked great. Swann got a nice little hometown pop, making me wonder why they didn’t showcase him a little more but hey, this was fun, quick and engaging. You’ll never think about it again but a fun way to spend five minutes. **3/4

Garrett Kidney: Rich Swann’s emotionally charged victory over Brian Kendrick on the inaugural 205 Live seems like an absolute age ago at this stage. On a similar note the romantic exploits of Alicia Fox, which stem back to the early days of the Cruiserweight show, feel like they’ve been going on forever. This was the 205 Live Special. **3/4

Kelly Harrass: Watching white people dance to Swann’s music is a joy. Outside of Sasha hitting a Meteora on Darr from the second rope to the outside of the ring, Swann’s entrance was probably my favorite part of the match. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the match, but they were trapped in the confines of the WWE mixed tag match rules. Everything about this was perfectly fine. **1/4

Sean Sedor: The crowd in Baltimore reacted strongly to their hometown guy Rich Swann. When I first saw that this match was on the card, I would have put money on it taking place on the Kickoff Show, but this show is really light on matches, so it gets a spot on the PPV. This was a totally inoffensive mixed-tag. It was by no means bad, but it can’t say it was good either. The main highlights in this one occurred at the very end. Sasha Banks hit her double knees from the top rope to the floor onto Noam Dar (that must’ve KILLED her knees), and that was followed by a Phoenix Splash by Rich Swann for the victory. Again, this was perfectly decent. **3/4

WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Kendo Stick on a Pole Match
Alexa Bliss © def. Bayley

Rich Kraetsch: Let’s go down “on a pole” memory lane. This is the 32nd “on a pole” match in WWE history, the first being a Nightstick On a Pole match between Big Boss Man and Nailz at Survivor Series 1993 (it’s not recommended you watch this). The most recent “on a pole” match was Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena in a No Holds Barred Contract On a Pole match in November 2014. You can see the complete history of WWE “on a pole” matches at Cagematch.net. I’m doing whatever I can to distract myself from writing about this match. What a mess. First off the story, which was fun in a vacuum, doesn’t work for a character like Bayley. The person who is supposed to speak to little girls and tell them they can make it in this unfair world is in a match where she has the ability to use a weapon to beat up her bully. At a point, Bayley wielded the weapon and while she was obviously conflicted about using it, she reared back and almost hit Bliss but was instead tackled. So it wasn’t that she wasn’t going to use the weapon to beat up her bully, she just got thwarted. Bliss then beat the shit out of Bayley and pinned her like it was nothing. They just don’t get Bayley and they never will. So far the story is Bayley got called a loser who never kissed a boy, tried to stoop to her bully’s level to beat her up but instead got her ass kicked by said bully. Great job, guys.  DUD

Garrett Kidney: The flailing green inflatable tube was the perfect metaphor for Bayley right now. On the surface delightful and colourful, but in practice lying dejected on the floor going nowhere. This match sucked. The work was dreadful, the stipulation poorly incorporated and there were no interesting ideas. The match was basically Bliss making faces and a few Kendo stick shots. Bliss squashed Bayley basically. WWE has somehow managed to take the most innately likable woman in WWE history and make her just another bland face on the roster. And while some of that blame also lies with Bayley (she’s looked lost on the majority of her interviews), it’s a remarkable feat by WWE. *

Kelly Harrass: It’s so rare to see a dominant performance like this. While Bayley may have had a bit of offense early on, as soon as the kendo stick was introduced this was pure Bliss. PUN INTENDED MOTHERF*UCKERS! Bliss squashed Bayley in somewhat shocking fashion. There was a story to be told where Bayley overcame the kendo stick assault and won without using it, but they squashed her instead, showing the confidence the company has in Bliss. Honestly, this match is just as good as any other “on a pole” match. They’re all bad. *

Sean Sedor: I didn’t see the “This Is Your Life” segment involving these two from last week, but I heard it was atrocious. As for the match itself, it wasn’t that good. There were one or two decent spots (Bayley hitting a back suplex on the floor comes to mind), but other than that, this was totally forgettable. They built up to Bayley getting the Kendo Stick, and it looked like she was going to use it, but she hesitated for too long, and Alexa Bliss went on the attack. Bliss took the Kendo Stick, used it on Bayley a couple of times, hit her DDT, and just….won. She emphatically retained her title here, making Bayley look like a complete dork in the process. Not very good at all. *1/2

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship – Steel Cage
Cesaro & Sheamus def. The Hardy Boyz ©

Rich Kraetsch: Since I’m finding Cagematch.net queries infinitely more extreme than Extreme Rules, I’ll let you know this is the 24th TV/PPV tag team cage match in WWE history. The first being Bruno Sammartino & Paul Orndorff vs. Bob Orton & Roddy Piper in October 1985. Interestingly enough, the last tag team cage match—Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. The Usos—was the same month as our last “on a pole” match, November 2014. This is the Hardyz fifth tag team cage match. I’d say the most famous of these matches was the New Age Outlaw vs. Cactus Jack & Terry Funk from the night after WrestleMania 14. This match solidified the “new” D-Generation X as HHH and X-Pac aided the Outlaws in victory. This was a well worked match negated by a dumb as fuck finish (sound familiar?). Jeff jumped out of the cage early leaving Matt at a disadvantage. Cool, they’ve told that story before, even with the Hardys in both 2000 and 2001. At one point though, Jeff re-entered the cage to help his brother. This, unbeknownst to any of us, officially “re-entered” him into the cage match. So the finish, which saw Matt get out of the ring and try to drag Jeff through the door before Sheamus and Cesaro could land on their feet, made no sense. Have they ever used the “re-enter” scenario before? I swore they’ve had a guy come back and not have to re-leave before his opponents but whatever. This company makes my head hurt. **

Garrett Kidney: I hate escape the cage matches. They are incredibly dumb. They usually result in extremely stupid logic leaps. People suddenly forget how to climb. People seem to lose the ability to just drop off the side of a cage. Sheamus forgot how to step through the ropes. They never just walk out the door. And the winner won a dumb climbing contest rather than besting their opponent. Great job, you’re world climbing champions now – go defend the belts on a rock wall or something. They require immense planning, intricate timing and perfect execution to reach even a decent level and this failed on most of those counts. Jeff jumped off the cage. Very good. Then they just made up the rules that suddenly Jeff was in the match again. Because there’s precedent for that apparently. Geez, this was dumb. What a dumb, thoughtless dumb match. Escape the cage matches are terrible. Tag team escape the cage matches are even worse. DUD

Kelly Harrass: JUST WALK OUT THE DOOR YOU DUMB BASTARDS! I find myself saying this several times whenever I watch a WWE cage match. These two teams were trapped in a bad stipulation and they did their best to make it an entertaining watch. They worked really hard, but it’s so hard to care when the match is so stupid. We got the obligatory cage dive from Jeff Hardy, but outside of that, this was a nothing match. Easily the biggest disappointment of the night thus far. *1/2

Sean Sedor: There are no pinfalls or submissions in this one. The only way for one team to win is if both members escape the cage. This actually brings up a lot of memories of playing tag team Steel Cage matches on the WWE video games. You never wanted to be the first person on your team to escape, as it could lead to a two-on-one situation with your partner at the mercy of the other team. You need to successfully escape together, or else you’re doomed to lose. Anyway, back to the match itself, it was….rather interesting. There was definitely some good action in here, and a couple of insane moments, such as Sheamus hitting White Noise on Matt from the top rope, and Jeff doing his prerequisite dive off the top of the cage (it was the Whisper In The Wind this time around). The whole “escape the cage” gimmick can be annoying, but for the most part, they managed to tell a decent story with it, as both teams tried on numerous occasions to win the match. Similar to the opener, the crowd did get invested at points, so based on that, the stipulation clearly added some drama. The finish, however, was pretty perplexing. Jeff clearly doesn’t play WWE video games, as he escaped first, leaving Matt alone with Cesaro & Sheamus. Unfortunately, by re-entering the cage for the Whisper In The Wind, Jeff apparently had to escape the cage again. That was very confusing. I’ve never knew that was a rule in tag team cage matches, and the announcers never brought that up until the very end. It seems kind of illogical, since there are No Disqualifications in a Steel Cage. Yes, Jeff escaped, but he had every right to get back in. There’s no rules. Why exactly does he suddenly need to leave the cage again? He already did so!! Anyway, that issue aside, this was still enjoyable. It definitely could’ve been better, so in that regard, it was a bit of a disappointment. I suppose Cesaro & Sheamus getting the win was inevitable, as they had been constantly losing to The Hardys for weeks leading up to this. ***1/4

WWE Cruiserweight Championship – Submission Match
Neville © def. Austin Aries

Rich Kraetsch: There’s nothing more extreme than a submission match between two of WWE’s best cruiserweights. To make things more extreme, at one point, the referee had to remind Aries that Neville could not tap out while outside of the ring, instead, to keep things extreme, it had to be in the ring. Extreme. The turning point of the match saw Aries hit a suicide dive to… no one. The way the camera shot it Aries dove outside of the ring despite Neville laying down next to the apron. We came to find out that Neville did indeed get out of the way at the last minute but the initial camera angle made Aries look like the biggest dummy in the world. Hey, the match was fine, it was a lot of ground work from guys who are way more dynamic than they are able to show. The ground work itself was very good and these two told a good story going into the match. However, in total, it felt really out of place and the crowd couldn’t have possibly cared less as they played with beach balls and chanted “We want Jojo!” throughout. **1/2

Garrett Kidney: A slow, methodical 205 Live hold fest is not what I needed right now. There were flashes of something better here but they were brief. I’m not sure would I enjoy this match more in a vacuum, but on this show following the absurd nonsense of that cage match I was just looking for something fun and energetic. This felt twice as long as it was…I think? Or maybe it was just super long. These guys are always working the wrong match for these crowds – for reasons beyond comprehension they work considerably slower than WWE’s current house style despite being billed as “the most exciting hour on TV.” As I said, maybe I’ll watch this again in a couple of years and view it through different eyes but this just made me sleepy. **1/4

Kelly Harrass: Things don’t have to be like this. There don’t have to be over complicated stipulations. These wrestlers don’t need to grab a hold to tell a story. Neville and Austin Aries are both tremendous wrestlers and had the match not been bogged down with nonsense rules, this could have been great. Instead, this was just fine, which is a major disappointment. I feel bad for guys like this, but I suppose that the money has to be good enough to excuse the degradation of their art. **1/4

Sean Sedor: This is the third straight Cruiserweight Title bout on PPV involving these two. Neville retained both times, though through nefarious means. Now their third encounter is a Submission Match, which I guess just shows you everything that’s wrong with the cruiserweight division right now. You’re expecting exciting, fast-paced action, but instead we’re getting matches like this, which are slower, and more methodical. This wasn’t totally awful, as their was some decent stuff in here, and they told a fine story at points. As a whole, however, it just wasn’t a compelling match overall. The one positive thing about this is that Neville retained. I was fully expecting Aries to finally take the title here, but I like the fact that they’re really behind Neville as the dominant force of the Cruiserweight Division. Now that he’s presumably done with Aries, it’s not exactly clear who his next challenger will be for Neville, or who will be the person that eventually dethrones him (who, of note, has Neville not beaten at this point), but again, at least you can take away something positive from this. ***

Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules Match (No. 1 Contenders)
Samoa Joe def. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor & Bray Wyatt

Rich Kraetsch: You could’ve given me four guesses as to who would win this match and I would not have come up with Samoa Joe. Don’t confuse that with complaint, Joe vs. Brock sounds fucking awesome and I can’t wait for WWE Great Balls of Fire on the award-winning WWE Network. Now the match itself, it had good and bad. The good, the final 10 minutes were absolutely nuts with guys going through guardrails, Rollins doing a frog splash through a table and rapid-fire finishers. The final 10 minutes was everything you want out of a multi-man match. The bad was the bad in most multi-man matches, too much time with one or two guys squaring off while the others sell on the outside. But hey, I’m going to be positive with this one because in many ways it saved this from being an all-time bad PPV. The crowd came unglued for the final few minutes of the match and the surprise win seemed to catch everyone off guard. Better yet, Joe looked like a badass throughout both utilizing help from Bray Wyatt and on his own. This was super fun. ****

Garrett Kidney: Let it be noted that the two heels beat up the three babyfaces for a decent portion of this match. This was super slow to start with an unnecessary heat segment and none of the early individual combinations popping in any compelling way. Then they broke out some plunder, Rollins and Reigns had a super exchange and they closed hot. Joe is a really interesting winner and while him vs. Brock would’ve been a much more enticing proposition in 2005 it should nonetheless make for a really interesting dynamic. This suffered from feeling padded for time but the back stretch was superb. Roll on Brock vs. Joe (and a little more Rollins vs. Reigns too for that matter, they’ve been clicking really well together lately). ***1/2

Kelly Harrass: If this match didn’t deliver, we could have been watching an all time worst show contender. Thankfully, these five men really brought it. Despite a slow start, this had a great pace for the most part. We got the typical downtime that comes from a match like this, but I can look past it. The closing stretch was super hot, making Reigns, Balor, and (most importantly) Joe look great. Samoa Joe looks like a killer coming out of this, which will only add to the fire of the incredible match that will (hopefully) be his title shot against Lesnar. Another huge plus for this one is that it wasn’t overly long. This show was boring and I’m sleepy. ***1/2

Sean Sedor: The winner of this match challenges Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at Great Balls Of Fire. These guys really needed to put on something great to lift this show above “Sunday Night RAW” status, and fortunately, they successfully managed to do that. This got off to a good start, but then the match got into a down period when Bray Wyatt & Samoa Joe were working together to take out the three babyfaces, but then things started to get extreme (finally) and the pace really picked up. The last ten minutes were pretty crazy, as they were packed with action, plus we FINALLY got to see some extreme on this show. Reigns hitting a double spear on Balor & Joe through the barricade, and Rollins hitting a frog splash on Wyatt from the top rope to the floor through an announcer’s table were both cool visuals. The final exchanges were particularly great, as there were points where anyone (aside from Wyatt) legitimately had a chance to win. It was a great main event as a whole, and it really lifted this show up. Samoa Joe winning (after choking out Finn Balor) was a real shocker, and that means we’re finally getting to Samoa Joe going up against Brock Lesnar. That’s definitely a dream match in the eyes of many, though we need to remember that (unfortunately) this isn’t 2005 Samoa Joe. I have no doubt that Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe will be really good, but people need to be careful with their expectations with that one. ****