The Horror Show at Extreme Rules
July 19, 2020
WWE Performance Center
Watch: WWE Network
Meet our Reviewers
Kelly Harrass: Even though everyone flat out refused to review that last WWE PPV, we’re back with THE HORROR SHOW AT EXTREME RULES! *thunder crash* Tonight we’re going to see someone get their eye pulled out of their head and then watch a good old fashioned swamp fight. A bayou tussle. A bog battle. A quagmire rumble. A marsh collision. A wetland whomping. Let’s go! Follow Kelly on Twitter over at @comicgeekelly.
Steve Case: After refraining from the Backlash review last month (the correct choice), the guilt trickled in and here we are. In honor of this being THE HORROR SHOW, ratings will be accompanied by a horror film counterpart. Expect to see more in the realm of Silent Night, Deadly Night, and less in the realm of Silence Of The Lambs. Follow Steve on Twitter at @Coachcase44, or visit midcardmatinee.com and follow the wrestlers in movies podcast at @midcard_matinee.
Kevin Owens def. Murphy
Kelly: Hey, this was pretty good. You know what’s not good? The horrendous logo for this show. WWE sure does have a whole bunch of passionate graphic designers. Back to the match at hand though, Owens and Murphy are two good wrestlers that had a good match. It was exactly what you want out of a preshow match. Well worked, fast-paced, the good guy won, and it ultimately won’t be remembered. It’s like a good convenience store hot dog. It wasn’t the best hot dog you ever had, but it was good and it might just be the best convenience store hot dog you ever had. You’ll never think about it that deeply though. ***¼
Steve: Why was this on the preshow? There’s a solid chance this will end up being the best match on the show. This was hard-hitting and no-nonsense. They let two pro wrestlers go out and have a good pro wrestling match. It’s sad this was relegated inside the horrendous preshow format. Remember the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse double feature? This match was like the trailers in between Planet Terror and Deathproof. Just like I wanted more Thanksgiving, give me more stuff like this. Strong match. ***1/2
Tables match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura def. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (c)
Kelly: I feel like more often than not, New Day Tag Title matches are the saving grace of WWE shows. This match was no different. For being two dudes that are seemingly just thrown together, Cesaro and Nakamura are a damn good tag team. I’m usually not a big fan of tables matches because the final spot isn’t built up well enough or the table spot comes off lame and isn’t worth the build-up of the match. Luckily, these four guys know what they’re doing. The build-up with enjoyable with a few good almost table breaks and had a fantastic looking powerbomb through two tables to close the match. We’re off to a great start with this one. ***½
Steve: Well this was also a pleasant surprise! This was an all-action match from start to finish with some good teamwork, clean and hard-hitting work, and really good finish. The New Day have been possibly the most consistent light in this 2-3+ year decline in quality WWE matches. This era is littered with great matches of theirs on otherwise forgettable cards. Cesaro can seemingly tag with anyone and make it work. Nakamura seems motivated with Cesaro and this team seems to have some legs. Kofi will jump and fall and get dropped on his head for all of our entertainment until he can’t walk again, and that powerbomb finish through the tables looked great. A rock-solid match to start this show. ***3/4
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley © def. Nikki Cross
Kelly: This really didn’t do anything for me. Nothing about it was actively bad, but nothing about it was really exciting either. It was about as basic as basic can be. **
Steve: This was a SmackDown match. Things seemed to be picking up a bit after they went to the outside, but then we got a ref distraction leading to Bayley hitting Nikki with the Boss knucks in the gut. Bayley would smash Nikki’s face in the mat for the win. There wasn’t anything wrong with this, but nothing worth a second thought about either. Nikki does have a babyface charisma about her that makes even the comatose PC “fans” bring a little energy. This was like one of the weird, forgettable episodes of the X-Files where Mulder broods and Scully wonders why she’s stuck with this schlub. **
WWE United States Championship
MVP def.? Apollo Crews (c)
Kelly: Apollo wasn’t here for some reason so MVP declared himself the winner. There was pretty much no reason for this segment. Let’s get on with the eye gimmicks!
Steve: Did Apollo test positive? MVP did bad dad jokes and Bobby Lashley laughed. You remember that YouTube video where you watched the car drive in a mountain range for like 15 seconds to suck you in, when suddenly a creepy ghoul popped up and screamed causing you to mess yourself? This was that, minus the fun scare.
Eye for an Eye
Seth Rollins def. Rey Mysterio
Kelly: Going into this match, we have to acknowledge the great eye related moments in wrestling history that have come before this. You’ve got Stan Hansen popping Vader’s eye out and Vader popping that boy right back in. You’ve got Magnum TA going after Tully’s eye with a busted chair leg in the I Quit Cage Match. You’ve got Pirata Morgan blading his empty eye socket in one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. And then there’s this. For what it’s worth, this was actually a pretty solid match outside of the finish. Rey is still tremendous and Seth is an underrated plunder guy. Both guys worked the match with a good intensity that was fitting for a match like this. The only thing that dragged it down was the finish. Look, we all knew it was going to be goofy and it did not disappoint. Rey’s already bad eye got popped out on the corner of the ring steps. I don’t know which part of it was my favorite; either Samoa Joe somberly saying “it’s out,” or Rollins throwing up what looks like a packet of oatmeal. Look, the eye match was about as good as it could have possibly been. Rollins and Rey played it straight and worked really hard. I couldn’t really ask for anything else given the circumstances of the eye stuff. ***¾
Steve: Hey remember when this EXACT REFEREE disqualified Seth Rollins against The Fiend in a HELL IN A CELL match? Now he’s going to possibly let Seth rip out an eye or get an eye ripped out? This match is brought to you by WWE Studios legend Jacob Goodnight of See No Evil fame. At least Seth learned how to attempt murder from the Fiend feud. A nice nod to Zombie/The Beyond by Rollins here, but instead of running Rey’s eye in a wood shard, he tried to do it with a kendo stick stuck in the turnbuckle. This was a damn good hardcore match for 98% of it. Rey looked tremendous and Seth actually looked vicious in his beating of Rey. Then we got to the last 2%. Rollins pushed Rey up to the corner of the steps, and I guess popped his eye out? Mr. Goodnight gets to add another eye to his collection. We never actually saw anything, but Seth started vomiting and it was hokey as hell. The match was great, but that ending keeps it from being great for me. Definitely an encapsulation of what WWE could be, but actually is. ***3/4
WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks def.? Asuka (c)
Kelly: Okay, so somehow the finish of this match was worse than Rey Mysterio having a fake eye pushed out of his head. Leading up to the finish, this was great. Easily the best match of the whole show. Then Asuka accidentally spit the mist in the referee’s face. From there we got a bunch of interference and Bayley stole the referee’s shirt to count the pin and call for the bell. So I guess Sasha is the champion? I shouldn’t be surprised that they blew this slam dunk of a match, but here we are. I cannot stress enough how great this match was prior to the interference. I also cannot stress enough how much worse this finish was than the dumb eye stuff in the prior match. **** for the match before the interference. DUD for everything after. So if we average the two ratings I gave it **. I don’t know, it’s all dumb.
Steve: I was looking the other day and saw that Sasha is ONLY 28! That’s insane to me. Did any of you see the M Night Shyamalan movie The Village? The first half of it was GREAT. It was atmospheric, creepy, and had some witchcraft/demonic undertones in what seemed like the 17-1800’s. Then you find out it’s a bunch of power hungry dudes keeping people repressed in a national park away from present day society. The second half after the reveal SUCKS. That was this match. This was going toward one of the better women’s matches I’ve seen this year, then the work got sloppy. Sasha slipped off the ropes. We got a misted referee. Bayley got involved, eventually hitting Asuka with the belt and counting the three for a new champion? Then went off the rails FAST. So much so that I’m not sure I can call the match good. What happened here? **3/4
Extreme Rules Match for only Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre © def. Dolph Ziggler
Kelly: Boy howdy, we got a good finish! The stipulation for this match was actually pretty smart and led to a fun dynamic where no matter how far Drew was pushed, he had to follow the rules. For a company that typically has the dumbest heels imaginable, this was a smart move from Dolph. I wouldn’t have said I would have enjoyed a one sided plunder brawl prior to this, but these two proved me wrong. Dolph plays the utterly desperate heel well and he gave Drew some good odds to overcome. I loved the finish with Drew hitting a snap Claymore and getting the pin. It really helps to get over a finisher like that as an instant kill shot when so many WWE finishers are spammed now. Really good match that was just shy of being great. ***¾
Steve: So the stip for this is essentially Drew has to follow the rules, and Dolph doesn’t. He explained it weirdly enough, but that’s not so out of the ordinary for a chickenshit heel. Add to that, they played to the stipulation really well. Dolph and everyone else knows that he isn’t good enough to beat Drew man to man, so he uses every trick in the book to take him down. In this case, Drew was the monster who keeps coming and Dolph was the teenager running for his life. Drew was Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Aleister Crowley, and the like. Dolph used weapons, low blows, finisher spams, and a great elbow drop through a table to the outside, but he can’t keep the champion down. When Drew did gain control, he bullied Dolph and threw him all over the ring and to the outside. This all led to an actual strong finish for once tonight. Dolph was setting up a super kick when Drew nipped up and in seemingly one fluid motion, Claymored Dolph’s head off. Instead of the monster being seemingly destroyed, only to rise for the sequel, the monster won decisively. It’s amazing what you can do with a match layout that makes sense, two guys who are very good at their jobs, and a decisive emphatic finish. That’s pro wrestling. ****
Wyatt Swamp Fight
Braun Strowman def.? Bray Wyatt
Kelly: Oh it’s time for another Bray Wyatt Joint. The early goings have scary sepia-tone shots of animals like pigs and rabbits. You know, scary stuff. Bayou Bray tied up Braun in the loosest looking chains I’ve ever seen and then monologued at him. It’s your typical Bray Wyatt promo. He says a lot of stuff, but none of it really means anything. Braun gets bit by a snake and then fights a bunch of Wyatt randos. One catches fire, that was cool. Sister Abigail as played by Alexa Bliss appears in an attempt to seduce Braun. Sadly, he doesn’t fall for it and accidentally make out with a gator. Braun throws Bray into a boat and sends the boat into the swamp, but the boat comes back empty. SPOOKY!!!!! Bray attacks Braun with a boat oar and then tries to drown him. Credit to both those guys for doing this, that water looks gross. Bray ends up back in the water a little later and they do a fake ending to the show, it spooky monster Bray lunges out of the gross water and stick his hand in Braun’s mouth to pull him in. None for me thanks. Oh good, now the Fiend is here. And it’s over? That was the finish? Alright cool, this sucked. Nothing about it was interesting. Like all Bray Wyatt stuff, it was shallow, surface-level nonsense. People will try to tell you that this needs to be broken down and analyzed, but there’s nothing there. Please stop letting Bray make his student films. AND BRAUN DIDN’T EVEN BOX A GATOR. WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE IF BRAUN ISN’T GOING TO BOX A GATOR. DUD
Steve: Look, I enjoyed the WrestleMania cinematches. I enjoyed the Boneyard Match and the Wyatt/Cena match. They felt like a novelty and, in small doses, could be a fun change in pace. As with everything in this company, they have to beat you over the head with it and use it every chance they can, sucking out any juice they have in the concept. This sucked. It was hokey. It wasn’t exciting or funny. If you like stuff like this cool, but it’s not for me. At least Troll 2 had the memorable “so bad it’s funny scenes in it.” If you like pro wrestling, stop after Drew/Dolph. To then, this show was one of the better WWE shows I’ve watched in a while.