WWE Extreme Rules 2018
PPG Paints Arena
Pittsburgh, PA
July 15, 2018

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers:

Kelly Harrass: Kelly is back for another round of WWE reviews. You would think he would eventually realize that nothing will change and this company will continue to be mediocre until we’re all dead, but alas, here we are. Find Kelly on Twitter @comicgeekelly.

Suit Williams: Suit Williams has low expectations and nothing else to do, so he’s watching this show. I’m a part of the Smark Sports podcast, which can be found on iTunes. I’m also on Twitter @SuitWilliams.

Jack Beckmann: Jack is here for his first review on Voices of Wrestling, and what a show he picked! He is currently very sad at his beloved Milwaukee Brewers recent run of affairs and the news that Daniel Bryan is staying in WWE. He also had to renew his WWE Network subscription the day of this show in order to watch it. He runs the community Match of the Month poll, and you can follow him for updates on that and other miscellaneous things @packerman120.

Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Sin Cara

Jack Beckmann: From the main event of Takeover as NXT Champion to the pre-show of a C-tier show with twelve matches, it’s quite astounding how far Andrade Almas has fallen over the course of this year. Almas has an awesome spot early where he catches Sin Cara off of a dive and throws him into the barricade, ala Barbario Cavernario in CMLL. I love how Almas has worked the tranquilo spot with Vega into his moveset, as it gives him a bit of extra character depth. For a pre-show match, these two put in some effort, doing a bunch of neat flips, including a Sin Cara hurricanrana to Almas while he was standing on the apron. Good match here, hopefully Almas gets more chance to shine in the future, because he’s clearly too good to be curtain-jerking. Sin Cara wasn’t half-bad either. ***¼

Tables Match
Sanity (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain) def. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)

Kelly Harrass: My opinion turned on this match before it even began if I’m being honest. I was really excited for this until it was announced that only one person needs to go through a table for the match to end. This is the lamest way to go about having a tables match. That being said, this was kind of fun. Both trios work extremely well together. I think I would have rather had this be a tornado tag match as opposed to the tables match. The finish we got ultimately felt very flat. This was definitely a case of the wrestlers being hampered by the stipulation of the match. **1/4

Raw Tag Team Championship
The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) def. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt ©

Kelly Harrass: Wow, I completely forgot how annoying Matt Hardy has been. I’m glad he lost his title. In all seriousness, the match was nothing special, but it was nice to open the show on a high note with the B-Team pulling off the upset. They’re a fun team outside of the ring and are easy to like. I was hoping this would be like a quick 80’s WWF tag match and it really wasn’t. Go on Monsoon Classic and watch some random tags, it’ll be a better use of your time than watching this. **

Suit Williams: I’m actually glad this match opened the show, as it allows me to write about an issue I have with the B-Team. I will admit, they have been funny and entertainingly goofy on Raw. But at some point, the bell has to ring. And as we’ve seen for a long time, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are bottom-tier wrestlers in this company. While character work is crucial to a wrestler getting over, in-ring quality is the aspect that will make you or break you. The match itself was an EXTREEEEEME standard Raw tag match. Bo hit Hardy with a top rope neckbreaker to win the titles. **

Jack Beckmann:  I don’t know if it is a conscious choice or not, but it’s sad nonetheless to watch Matt Hardy move nowadays, considering the man he used to be in the early 2000s. He actually fell after whipping Curtis Axel into the corner. Anyways, after lasting for about ten minutes too long (it was an eight minute match), it was mercifully ended after Bo whipped Hardy into Wyatt followed by a neckbreaker for the win. The positive of the result is that it hopefully should bring an end to Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt being on pay-per-view, but the negative is that they are replaced by two characters who are great at acting, but not as much so at wrestling. **

Finn Bálor def. Constable Baron Corbin

Kelly Harrass: Why is Corbin dressed like one of the Crist brothers? I guess he took off the vest so he’s closer to Sami Callihan. Regardless, Corbin looks like he’s from Ohio. The commentary team made sure to point out that Corbin is totally home grown from the Performance Center and that doesn’t really sell me on the PC. Finn Balor is better than this match and this feud. It really shows what this company thinks of him that Balor had so much trouble putting away Corbin. Short guy Finn Balor could only pick up the win after a flash pin. Some things never change.

Suit Williams: What is a constable, by the way? According to Google, it is “a peace officer with limited policing authority, typically in a small town.” It’s more of a character than whatever Finn Balor is, and I don’t mean that as a slight on Balor. Finn Balor is small, Constable Corbin is tall. I hope Daniel Bryan had a good seat for this one, because this is his future for the foreseeable future. Corbin locked on some EXTREEEEEEME nerve holds. He kept cutting off the Coup De Grace, but Balor caught a SMALL PACKAGE to win. Because Finn Balor is SMALL. Did you guys know FINN BALOR IS A SMALL MAN? **1/2

Jack Beckmann:  I’m immediately soured on this match with Corbin’s entrance attire, as he looks like a man best set to be doing shady business deals in an alley instead of working in a professional wrestling company. He removes the vest to wrestle in his evolved look as security guard of a rural strip club. It took this match about three minutes before Corbin locked Balor in a rest-hold, which is always a good sign for a match. Balor has a way of making noise while he sells that is somehow worse than Will Ospreay’s high-pitched yelling. It’s very unnerving. Balor is able to roll-up Constable Corbin for the win in a match that helped neither man get more over, and in fact, made Balor look like a small geek, a fact that was played up by the horrific commentary. WWE tropes are increasing, and we’re only thirty minutes in! **

SmackDown Women’s Championship (James Ellsworth in a Shark Cage Match)
Carmella © def. Asuka

Kelly Harrass: I appreciate a good shark cage as much as the next guy, but they might be over using this stipulation. This might finally be the strike that kills the horse. In fact, I assure you that this match was the sledgehammer that caved in the skull of this poor horse. The stupidity on display here knows no bounds. Why was Ellsworth just hanging from the cage? Why did Asuka allow Ellsworth to take her off her game so much for the second pay-per-view in a row? Why did Asuka start assaulting random WWE employees? Even putting all that nonsense aside, this match wasn’t any good. Carmella was so afraid to get hit by Asuka that there were spaces you could drive a truck through between Asuka’s strikes and Carmella. It’s a shame that someone so talented is stuck with Carmella and Ellsworth. DUD

Suit Williams: My bar for this match was on the ground. These two dug a hole. Asuka beat up Carmella for 3 minutes before Ellsworth got out of the cage and got stuck upside down. Asuka beat him up like an EXTREEEEEEME heavy bag before Carmella threw her into the lowered cage and won. Three months ago, I was rallying to have Asuka wrestle Ronda Rousey in the Wrestlemania main event next year. Now, she’s selling for James Ellsworth. Nothing matters. Nothing is important. They’re getting two billion dollars from TV rights next year, what does it matter that they can’t make a star to save their lives? And if you people think Io Shirai or Keith Lee or whatever other indie darling this company snaps up is immune to the same fate as Asuka, you’re either oblivious or a fool. -****

Jack Beckmann:  Regardless of the result of this match, it is so sad to me to see how far Asuka has fallen since her days in NXT. She was one of my favorite acts there, consistently delivering killer matches every time she was out there. She was a legitimate killer. So what does WWE do with her once she’s on the main roster? Have her first lose to Charlotte and then lose to Carmella via distraction from James Ellsworth, followed by a match Ellsworth himself. What horseshit. Asuka goes for a pin early in this match after completely missing a hip attack, continuing the WWE trend of phantom selling, one of my personal favorites. Not even five minutes into this garbage, Ellsworth houdinis his way out of the cage, but not all the way, as he HANGS UPSIDE DOWN FROM IT, where Asuka then kicks him like a pinata, spending more time working him over than she does her actual opponent! Carmella wins after shoving Asuka against the cage. I fucking hate WWE. On top of that, there’s still three more hours left on this show. -*******

US Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Jeff Hardy ©  

Kelly Harrass: I feel like I should hate this, but it was kind of great. Nak used his ball punch of doom and then took out Hardy with the knee to win the title in less than a minute. While I did want to see this match, I’m okay with what we got. Oh gross, now Randy Orton is here. Wait, it’s better now, Orton just stomped Hardy in the nuts and walked off. This whole segment is bananas. I don’t feel comfortable giving this a rating because I wouldn’t really consider this a match, but watching Jeff Hardy get his balls obliterated is probably the happiest I’ve been while watching Extreme Rules so far.

Suit Williams: Nakamura hit Hardy in the balls, because he is a meme now. He then hit a Kinshasa and won in ten seconds. I’ll be honest, I’m in a better mood now. Nope, here comes RANDY FUCKING ORTON. AND HE STOMPED JEFF HARDY IN THE BALLS AND WALKED OFF. I CAN’T. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? N/R

Jack Beckmann: Now, for our fourth straight match on the show “Extreme Rules” with no extreme stipulation whatsoever. Mr. Dick-Punch Shinsuke Nakamura hit an EXTREEEEEEME low-blow before the match (Yes, Suit, I just stole your gimmick), then won. Honestly, this match was great on the basis that it means that this show can end earlier. The only man more boring than Shinsuke Nakamura comes out after this match, and ends Jeff Hardy’s any remaining hope of reproduction. If this leads to a dick-punching brigade tag team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton, I’ll never cancel my network sub again. Hope this is better than always fighting for the white belt in New Japan, Shin. N/R

Cage Match
Kevin Owens def. “Mr. Monster in the Bank” Braun Strowman

Kelly Harrass: In what world is Owens the bad guy in this story? Owens was placed into a cage match with his workplace bully and just when he thought he was going to be able to escape, he was thrown from the top of the cage through a table on the floor below. The in-ring was fine, but it couldn’t overpower the backwards storytelling. The only thing of any real note here was the insane bump that Kevin Owens took. I would rather not see Owens take unnecessarily dangerous bumps like this, but I suppose they have to do something to keep people interested. These two could have had a very good match under different circumstances. **3/4

Suit Williams: We get a four minute recap of Kevin Owens getting knocked over in a port-a-potty, because this angle needed a produced video package. This was one insane spot in ten minutes of tedium. Kevin tried to run away, Braun beat him up. Owens got Strowman handcuffed to the cage, Strowman broke the cuffs. Owens climbed the cage, Braun THREW KEVIN OWENS OFF OF THE TOP OF THE CAGE THROUGH THE SPANISH ANNOUNCE TABLE. Kevin Owens took the Mick Foley Hell in a Cell bump, in the same city no less, and I guarantee you that I won’t remember it in a week. **1/2

Jack Beckmann:  I feel quite bad for Kevin Owens here. All he wants to do is run away from the man who has tried to murder him in a port-a-potty, but Kurt Angle just decides to lock him and Braun in a cage despite this. Poor guy. Kevin Owens looked like a dope by the end of this match, desperately trying to escape Braun’s wrath, but when he finally gained an opportunity to do so due to Braun being handcuffed to the ropes, he took potshots, ignoring the fact that Strowman still had one free hand to use to fight back. Owens then got cute with his suck it, climbed a rung of the cage, and looked back to check on Braun, which was followed by Braun BREAKING FREE OF THE HANDCUFFS with pure strength. Owens gets his by taking a nasty bump off the top of a cage through a table. I don’t understand the story they are trying to tell here, but this was fine while it lasted. **1/2

SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) © def. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane)

Kelly Harrass: The Daniel Bryan Dream Match Series rolls on! Yet again we have another case of a match that could have been good, but was hampered by the WWE STORIEZ. Bryan had to work the first part of the match on his own, but was eventually saved by his injured tag partner. I understand why Bryan and Kane lost, but why did Bryan have to take the pin? There is no reason to protect Kane because he has the out with his injured leg. This isn’t even a big win for the Bludgeon Brothers because they had to attack this team backstage earlier in the night so that’s even less of a reason to pin Bryan here. Stuff like this is why I was disappointed to hear that Bryan is probably resigning with the fed. **½

Suit Williams: This match was so compelling, I EXTREEEEMELY fell asleep at some point during it. From the sounds of it, I didn’t miss much. I can’t rate this because I didn’t watch it.

Jack Beckmann:  Daniel Bryan is small, and he’s an underdog. Kane was not present at the beginning this match due to a backstage attack prior in the show by The Bludgeon Brothers, featuring Kane getting his head smashed after Erick Rowan hit a door into his leg with a mallet shot. It’s a story told time and time again in WWE, the underdog in a handicap match. Kane decides to join us halfway through, with a cast on his foot, a cast that was made remarkably quick. Despite all of the BS he’s gone through, Daniel Bryan is still very over, a result of the hard work he did to get himself to this point. It’s a shame WWE doesn’t care about that, as in a match featuring an already injured Kane, The Bludgeon Brothers pin Daniel Bryan. This is what Daniel Bryan re-signed up for. This is the new reality of Daniel Bryan, and the new reality of WWE. No matter how over you are, it doesn’t matter if the boss in charge doesn’t like you. You can have a billion fans all over the world, but if the seventy year old man up top doesn’t like you, he can ruin your entire career. But due to the status of WWE, ten new wrestlers sign up everyday, thinking they can change the status quo. Spoiler alert: they won’t. They will become, however,  just another what if scenario, another statistic, another wrestler with wasted potential. Don’t worry though, the stock is at an all-time high. TWO MORE YEARS! TWO MORE YEARS! *1/2

Bobby Lashley def. Roman Reigns

Kelly Harrass: Nothing says intense rivalry like headlocks. If you set up this feud by having these two brawling on Raw, trying to tear each other apart, I can’t understand why you would work the match this way. Once things got going, they weren’t too bad. I enjoyed certain spots, but I had a very hard time focusing. I guess it was objectively solid, but I found it to be boring. Look, Bobby Lashley’s gimmick is a sweatband. What do you want out of me? Times like this are when I start to think that I’m the wrong one for even trying to approach this product with any kind of critical eye. This might be the same thing as going to McDonald’s and giving star ratings of hamburgers to the old people there that hang out and do the crossword puzzle. Frank in the corner sure loves his orange juice. He always gives his sausage biscuits two thumbs up. I can’t be like Frank. His life may be a happier, simpler one, but I just can’t ignore this stuff. **¾

Suit Williams: I was still asleep, but I woke up in time to see Lashley spear Reigns for the win. Interesting finish, as it seems WWE is still heavily behind Lashley. Once again, my fellow reviewers have convinced me that I didn’t miss anything special. No rating. N/R

Jack Beckmann: An all-around A+ performance for the sound crew here, as the crowd was suspiciously more muted for this match than those prior. As for the match itself, we have a spot where Roman literally just dumps Lashley outside of the ring onto his shoulder and head, another great example of the acclaimed safe WWE style we all love and support. Despite committing murder, it doesn’t compel much of a reaction for Roman Reigns. Lashley picks up the win after a weak-looking reversal spear, and the crowd continues to not give a shit. A fine brawl while it lasted, and if we’re ignoring Almas/Cara on the pre-show, probably the match of the night so far. Oh, the absolute state of this show.  ***    

Extreme Rules match for the Raw Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss © def. Nia Jax

Kelly Harrass: Easily my favorite part of this match was when the referee was scolding Bliss and Mickie James for their tactics. I say scolding because he couldn’t really stop them because of the stipulation, so he was just loudly voicing his displeasure at Mickie interfering. If only he would have the same principles when it comes to closed fist punches. Good referees aside, this wasn’t very good. Nia Jax was the fourth most important person in this match behind Ronda, Bliss, and Mickie James. I guess Nia was more important that Natalya, that’s something. Thinking back to the referee, why wasn’t he yelling when Ronda was in the ring? Maybe he wanted to, but Mickie’s interference was finally the straw that broke the camel’s back. I understand wanting to yell at people. As the kids say; big mood. **

Suit Williams: Mickie James is impossibly hot. Good lord, the booty shorts and long boots may end up being the best decision regarding this show. Alexa’s attempt to be a champion without taking a bump failed here, as Nia Jax threw her around for a while. Things got wild when Ronda Rousey came in and tried to stop the heels from beating up Nia, despite the fact that Natalya was there for that specific reason. In the chaos, Alexa got the win with a DDT on a chair. This was an angle to get to the Ronda match at Summerslam. I’m fine with it. **

Jack Beckmann: At one point in the beginning phase of this match, Michael Cole said “Extreme Rules folks!” and for once in the show entitled Extreme Rules, I can say that Extreme Rules were in effect during this match. The absolute state of WWE’s security guards to allow Ronda Rousey to hop the barricade and attack the wrestlers. Setting an absolutely horrible example for neckbeards thinking of doing the same. All of this leads to Mickie getting into the ring to hit Jax with a chair, making me wonder why she didn’t just do that to begin. This was so peak WWE that it’s hard to even critique. This was more so an angle to set up Alexa vs. Rousey for SummerSlam than an actual match, and given the competitors of the match advertised for this show, maybe that’s for the best. As it was just an extended angle with weapon work in between, I don’t feel comfortable giving this match a rating. I will say however that this was fine. N/R

WWE Championship
AJ Styles © Def. Rusev

Kelly Harrass: I want to be positive about this one, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t falling asleep during the first couple of minutes. Once I got up and walked around the room for a bit, this was pretty good. There were some good nearfalls here, but in the back of my mind, I just couldn’t buy into Rusev winning because he wasn’t presented in this match as someone that could be champion. He was a dumb heel, right down to running headfirst into an exposed turnbuckle. This was the first match of the night where I don’t really have any story gripes. Everything made sense, which isn’t something that feels like it should be celebrated, but I guess you take what you can get. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we see Rusev in a title match because he has one of the biggest upsides in the entire company. ***¼

Suit Williams: The best match of the night so far (that I’ve seen), but that’s like winning a 50-yard dash with a 40-yard head start. This wasn’t a breakout performance from Rusev unfortunately, as most of this match was bearhugs and other holds. But the story of the match was solid, as AJ eventually got the Calf Crusher in. While it didn’t get the tap, it did keep Rusev from being able to fully lock in the Accolade later on. Out of desperation, Aiden English pulled a turnbuckle pad off to try and help Rusev, only for Rusev to run into it himself and lost to a Phenomenal Forearm. Again, this wasn’t a MOTYC or anything, but on a show like this, you have to take what you can get. ***1/2

Jack Beckmann: It’s a shame Rusev didn’t win this one, but regardless of that fact, it was sure a match! With the other matches on this show, I came out with something to say. As for this match, I really don’t. Near the end there were some really solid nearfalls that made me think Rusev was winning, but before that point, it was exchanging blows in front of a clearly burnt out crowd. Maybe this match could have had potential three hours ago, but at this point in the show, it’s hard to expect fans to maintain full investment if the first three hours of the show isn’t good. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the only show we will see this occur on either. Meh. ***

30-minute Iron Man match for the Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler © def. Seth Rollins 5 Falls to 4

Kelly Harrass: There’s one simple reason why I hate most Iron Man matches: there were seven falls in less than fifteen minutes. Stuff like that just doesn’t track when putting it up against anything else we’ve seen tonight. Say what you will about the Hart/Michaels match being boring, at least the psychology is sound. Oh god, I’m an old man now. I need to finish typing this out before I turn to dust. Here’s the thing: this was fine, but I don’t want to be watching anymore. These shows are just too long. I can do long shows, but I need the show to be engaging. When you present me dumb match after dumb match, of course I’m going to be burnt out by the main event. Ziggler picks up a cheap win just as the overtime starts thanks to help from Drew and what was the point of anything? The only thing I even came close to enjoying about this was the crowd counting down the minutes like it was the Royal Rumble, followed by the guys in the back taking the clock off the screen, which angered the fans and made them start counting louder and at random until they brought the clock back. Just a fantastic story there. This whole show was a mess and this was a great way to cap it off. Please cut the shows back down to three hours because this extra time is an active detriment to their quality. **¾

Suit Williams: This match was aflame with WWE tropes, such as the babyface being down by one with five minutes to go, and the sudden death overtime. When you’ve constantly signalled to the crowd that these matches don’t matter until the last 5 minutes, they will either sit on their hands or entertain themselves. Pittsburgh did the latter, by counting down every minute until the clock hit zero like it was the Royal Rumble. It also suffered because there were seven falls in the first fifteen minutes. These same two guys had two awesome matches on back-to-back weeks of Raw, and they both went to one fall. The drama is in who gets the fall, not who gets the most of them. Then there was the finish, which amounted to WWE kicking the fans in the balls. The match ends in a draw. Kurt Angle comes out and restarts it. Drew McIntyre immediately shows back up and distracts Rollins, leading to Dolph getting the win in about 7 seconds. What was the point of restarting the match if it was going to end that quickly and that flat? A tedious match with a dumb finish caps off what may be the worst major-league show of the year. **1/2

Jack Beckmann: I had a long diatribe about this match and the flaws in the Iron Man stipulation, but ultimately, why should I care? The best part about this match, aside from Dolph Ziggler literally having the word on EVIL on the ass of his tights (great subtlety there, WWE!), was the crowd showing how little of a shit they gave by chanting down the last ten seconds of every minute. Like Kelly said, there is an inherent flaw in stuffing seven falls into fifteen minutes. It makes both wrestlers look weak due to taking that many pins in a short amount of time. Ziggler is able to win after the falls came to a draw. This was followed by Kurt Angle, who just doesn’t care that draws mean the champion retains, restarting the match, which just led to McIntyre coming out allowing Ziggler to get the pin and end this god-awful show. You can’t put on four hour shows like this and expect fans not to get bored like they did in this one. Especially when the meat and potatoes of the match is just fucking boring. A horrible main event to cap off the worst WWE show of the year. DUD