Extreme Rules 2022
October 8th, 2022
Wells Fargo Center
Meet Our Reviewers
Jeremy Sexton: While on vacation in Boston, I came down with Covid! So, my last night of self-isolation, holed up in this hotel room is going to be spent watching WWE Extreme Rules and reviewing it for you fine people. I am cautiously optimistic about the match quality on this show, so sickos country, let’s ride. Oh, I tweet at @jeremysexton, where at the very least you have to go see the “corgi detective” avatar I made in Stable Diffusion.
Joey O’Doherty: Back in the saddle of reviewing after a long lay off due to real life work commitments, I’m happy to give this show a watch. Not expecting to be blown away but sure I’m open to being proven wrong. Check me out at @awesomeojoe on Twitter to argue with my opinions.
Sean Sedor: I decided to hop on this group review since Penn State had their bye week this weekend. Still getting adjusted to these WWE PPVs on a Saturday, but I guess I’ll get used to them eventually. This PPV card looked decent on paper, though honestly, I’m just here to laugh uproariously at whatever wacky nonsense Bray Wyatt does upon his return. Does that make me a sicko? You be the judge on that haha. Anyway, you can find me on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some of my other escapades, you can watch me play the Formula 1 games on YouTube (just search my name), and you also go to the Be The Booker forums if you’d like to check out my EWR Diary, where I play as WCW (started in 1998, currently in 2001).
Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match: The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch, & Ridge Holland) def. Imperium (Gunther, Ludvig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci)
Jeremy: WHITE RABBIT! Oh no, just the same cut-in we saw last night on Smackdown. Is that going to happen all night long? Just trot Bray out in the spooky mask now.
For all the talk of how the commentary has improved, as a very casual viewer of this company these days, I don’t see it. It’s still just so many words and most of them don’t mean anything. Cole is just rattling off a series of nicknames. I don’t know why. Just talk less, why can’t either of these companies just say fewer words?
The match was a good plunder brawl. Solid opener, got the crowd hyped without burning them out. Everybody worked hard and looked good, the match did what it was supposed to. It’s hard to have too much to say about it without merely recapping the moves. It was pretty good! ***½
Joey: A real fun way to get me invested early on to this WWE B PPV. A fast paced, hard hitting affair in which everyone played their part. Even the inexperienced Ridge Holland was fine despite being usually out of his depth. The match was well booked, plenty of excellent spots and most spots were allowed to breath even with the quick pace of the match. The crowd ate it up, as did I, and everyone got over in the process. An excellent start to the show. Has Sheamus ever been this over? Probably WWE’s best trios match since Wyatt’s v Shield way back in 2014. My only quibble is that it could have went longer. More please. ***3/4
Sean: Good to see I got the match order right, at least for the opener. This is basically a themed street fight, with bar and (I guess) Irish themed items around ringside. Things immediately break down as all six start brawling around ringside. The barricade got broken about five minutes into the match, which must be a record for a WWE PPV….oh sorry…a Premium Live Event. After a few minutes, Imperium managed to gain control of the bout after isolating all three members of the Brawling Brutes. Sheamus would make and we got some one-on-one action between him and Gunther, and he nearly won with a Cloverleaf before that got broken up. All six men were able to recover just in time for the trademark “faction standoff late in the match” spot, and the Brawling Brutes took full control of the match from there, with Sheamus pulling away Giovanni Vinci with the Brogue Kick. The crowd was into it the whole way through, and it was pretty entertaining from start to finish. All six men had moments to shine throughout, and after getting cheated out of the Intercontinental Title on SmackDown the night before, Sheamus got a measure of revenge. Will this lead to a third Gunther/Sheamus match? Time will tell. ***3/4
WWE SmackDown Women’s Title – Extreme Rules Match: Ronda Rousey def. Liv Morgan (c)
Jeremy: So the story for this match is that Liv Morgan doesn’t have a legitimate win against Rousey and as the babyface, when faced with the opportunity to prove herself, she chose a match that lets her use weapons. Look, don’t blame me, that’s literally the story of the match. Ronda comes out in the pink gi in remembrance of Judo Gene, her trainer who passed away recently. Can someone explain why I’m supposed to root for Liv Morgan here? Let’s go Ronda, break this DNB’s arm off!
It starts with Liv desperately trying to get a weapon and Ronda thwarting her by just being better. The psychology is so weird and off. Corey Graves declares “This is ugly!” after a literal spanking section and I can’t say I disagree. Liv has so far struggled with sliding a table into the ring and spraying a fire extinguisher.
Look, this only got worse the longer it went. It was sloppy to the point of the women looking untrained. It was confused psychologically in ways that baffle me still. The finish was strange and awkward. Why is Liv smiling? Cole’s trying to tell us that she passed out, but she clearly did not. She was very obviously awake and making a weird face. If you’re in the mood for a trainwreck, you are in luck. At least the right gal won. *½
Joey: I have no real reason to care about either woman. From the start, the match appears to be booked strange, as the underdog face attempts to use a weapon, making her look weak, while the heel challenger opts not to use the baseball bat. Seconds after discarding the bat, Ronda tries to use it anyway, making her earlier decision look stupid. WWE folks.
The match plodded along until a chair in the turnbuckle spot plunged the match into disarray. The chair fell out of the corner to the outside, and while both women were well aware of this error, they continued with the upcoming spot which looked silly without the chair.
Thankfully the match was put out of its misery when Ronda made Liv tap. The fans were notably less audible during this match and it’s clear why. Both women’s weaknesses were on full display and sadly this match stunk as a result. If you like sloppy transitions and weak offense, with some botches sprinkled in, then this is the match for you. *¾
Sean: I was curious to see what the match order would be since there really wasn’t a super obvious main event. This going on second is a slight surprise, but eh, who cares. The big Jon Moxley vs. Nick Gage match in GCW was taking place during the start of this bout, so forgive me in advance if I sound a little distracted. After the opening minute or so, Ronda just straight up slaps Morgan in the face after trapping her in the apron. This led to a fire extinguisher spot from Liv that nearly backfired as she almost couldn’t get the thing to work. Liv would follow up with some of the weakest-looking bat shots you’ve ever seen. Ronda would respond by whipping Liv with her judo black belt and spanking her with….something. Meanwhile, Big Bill Morrissey and Stokely Hathaway just did a run-in on GCW and helped Nick Gage win the GCW Title from Moxley. Back to this dumpster fire, Liv puts Ronda through a table with a senton off the top, but Ronda would recover and trap Liv in a submission to win back the SmackDown Women’s Title.
This match was downright atrocious. These two had almost no chemistry, most of the stuff Liv did looked terrible, and Ronda hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire either. While I wouldn’t call this the worst match of the year, it was still pretty bad. The only reason to watch this is just to see how awful it truly is. *
Strap Match: Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett) def. Drew McIntyre
Jeremy: This match was boring. It was so boring the announcers had to sell the fans sitting on their hands as “intrigue.” Nothing about this was good. Worse, unlike the Ronda/Liv match, it wasn’t even fun bad. This was literally a waste of time. **
Joey: Seeing a grown man yell “I love you Drew” as the giant Scot makes his entrance makes me hate pro wrestling. Have some dignity, man.
The match begins with a walk and brawl following a sly distraction from the heels, immediately making the booking 100 percent more pragmatic than the match that preceded it. Graves tells us a shocked hush has fallen upon the arena, when in reality the crowd are just bored as Kross and his ability to slow things to a crawl begins to take control.
To be fair to Drew, he tried his best to spark the crowd into life but an interference finish sucked the crowd right back out. A boring slow match, not a patch on Sheamus and Gunther’s recent work. This PPV is going downhill faster than Karrion’s offence. **
Sean: Fortunately, this is not a “touch-all-four-corners” kind of Strap Match. Just one fall to a finish, which is definitely the preferable version of the Strap Match. Kross delayed putting the strap on so Scarlett could provide a distraction for a pre-bout attack. They started brawling through the crowd, though the match hadn’t officially started since Kross hadn’t put on his end of the strap.
McIntyre gets the better of the brawl on the floor and FINALLY puts the other end of the Strap onto Kross to start the match. Drew whips Kross with the strap until Scarlett provides another timely distraction. Kross spent a few minutes working over the shoulder, which included a point where Scarlett (who’s wearing an all-black leather outfit) screamed for more punishment as Kross whipped Drew with the strap (are we sure this PPV isn’t secretly a show filled with custom’s matches?). McIntyre goes back on the attack, and appears to be on the verge of winning, but once again, Scarlett intervenes. She practically empties a whole bottle of pepper spray onto McIntyre’s face, and this enabled Kross to put McIntyre away. This was better than the previous bout with Liv and Ronda, though it wasn’t exactly a riveting bout. The match was just….kinda there, which is something that I feel like we say a lot when it comes to Karrion Kross. The finish was pretty lame, and it makes you wonder why Scarlett didn’t just do that as soon as the match started, with there being no disqualifications. Kross winning probably means that the feud will keep going. Aside from Kross and Scarlett being a pushed act, how is this any different than something Vince would’ve booked? A boring affair overall. **
WWE RAW Women’s Title – Ladder Match: Bianca Belair (c) def. Bayley
Jeremy: Count me with those who are a little burned out on ladder matches. This one was a pretty good one, though! They really went for it and took some big chances. This wasn’t a classic by any means, but it has us back on the upswing after those last two matches.
The gaps in logic in the promotion’s booking and match layouts in general really stood out to me here, though. Damage CTRL comes out to interfere, which, ok, that makes sense. However, we’ve established that Bianca has friends too ahead of time. Where are they? Why aren’t they saving Bianca? Why did Bayley hang on to the half ladder while she was upside down?
The big spot was supposed to be a double KOD with Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai, but alas, they couldn’t figure out how to lay on top of each other. I’m not trying to be funny. That literally was the hold up. As a result, they both got dumped on their heads. It was a good idea, though, really.
I wish this was either much worse or much better, or weirder, or something to make this show more noteworthy! ***½
Joey: Bayley, who is just returning after a lengthy absnece due to a severe leg injury, being in an unnecessary ladder match is certainly a choice. Why these two women need a gimmick match already is beyond me, but here we are.
Bianca is such a star. Not only does she have that superstar look and presence, but she effortlessly makes everything she does look smooth, sharp and important. Not to be outdone, Bayley decided to do her best to break her body on a running elbow drop to the ladder spot.
The match hadn’t really got going when Bayley’s running buddies entered the match and Belair got to show her freakish strength by KODing both Sky and Kai at once. Belair would then go on to win against the odds and look strong, finishing things off with a nice KOD onto a ladder. What this means for Bayley is unclear as she looked like a chump compared to her opponent, but Bianca looked dominant and continues to shine as she deserves to. Overall the match was fine, nothing amazing but solid enough. ***
Sean: Not sure if it’s the best idea to put someone who just spent over a year on the shelf with a knee injury, but hey, it’s not my company. Both women went for ladders early, and Bianca used her athletic ability to avoid some of Bayley’s ladder-related attacks. Bayley manages to strike the first major blow after sending Bianca into a ladder with a sunset flip. She then set up Bianca on a ladder bridge on the outside between the barricade and steps in order to hit an elbow drop. Bianca fought back and managed to hit the KOD on Bayley, but just as she was about to grab the title, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky ran down and stopped her. Bianca was able to fight both of them off and hit them with a double KOD. The two battled on the main ladder a couple of times, and after whipping Bayley with her braid, Bianca gave Bayley another KOD (while Bayley was holding one half of a broken ladder), and quickly climbed the ladder to secure the title. While not outstanding, this was definitely a step up from the previous two bouts on this card. They didn’t really go super over the top with anything they did, but the action throughout was still solid enough. A good title defense for Bianca, though with WarGames on the horizon, I’m sure her feud with Damage Control isn’t over. ***1/4
I Quit Match: Finn Balor def. Edge
Jeremy: Balor coming out here looking like Jeff Hardy joined Demolition. My expectations coming into this match are to be bored to tears, which I don’t know if I can take at this point. It is the absolute worst match for this promotion, as it indulges all of their worst habits. Namely, they rely on melodrama as a means of telling virtually all stories. The more important they deem the story, the more melodramatic the storytelling.
Another match, another person stuck in the apron. It’s like they’re as bored as I am at this point. And… barricade spot, to which the fans chant “holy s—!” on cue because they’re supposed to. Like throwing plastic spoons at the screen at a screening of The Room. Just stackin those tropes up.
We get our memorable image for the match when Edge gives Balor a crossface with a hockey stick after a trip to the equipment room as we brawl about the crowd. Michael Cole name drops Sandman. I do not know what prompted it. Maybe it’s just Cole’s way of trying to prove his mettle to all the wrestling fans now that the governor is off. “I’m cool too! Axl Rotten! Balls Mahoney!”
In an extremely rare occurrence, the match picked up once the interference started. Especially because immediately before the interference we reached the absolute lowest of the low with grunts and “noarrrrrrrrghs” on a loop. Just the absolute worst. But then Judgement Day showed up, as did Rey and Beth Phoenix (hey, Edge has friends!). The crowd was molten for it all and it worked, except for Dominik being terrible.
The finish made sense and worked. Well, I think it worked. It’s hard to tell what the crowd was actually doing because the MOST OBVIOUS FAKE CROWD NOISE OF ALL TIME got piped in at 200dB. The bad in this match was SO bad and SO long, but it definitely had its moments. ***¼
Joey: Dark Order Finn Balor vs ‘hes in that place again’ Edge is so unappealing. Edge and his act is well past stale at this stage and Balor just has got too much WWE stink on him to truly be interesting in 2022, esp now that he is dressed as an S&M circus performer.
An early apron spot suggests the agents don’t coordinate backstage, as we seen something similar already with Liv and Ronda. Also it’s not long before I’m sick of hearing the panting of Edge a she tells us he isn’t quitting. We get another traditional barricade spot and a walk and brawl. Fuck, this is a bore.
Then we get another run in spot, for the second consecutive match, and I couldn’t care. A mild ‘this is awesome’ chant breaks out and I wonder how high the bar is in Philly tonight. Rey makes the save only to be foiled by his gormless son. Beth Phoenix makes an appearance and faced off with Rhea Ripley to no doubt set up a future mix tag match. Edge then took out Dominic, to which I did enjoy.
But once Beth got decked, the finish became telegraphed as Edge would quit to save his Mrs. It wasn’t bad, but it was woefully booked, extremely boring and predictable. I did enjoy Michael Cole’s calls on Dominick’s involvement, which was so bad it was hilarious. Overall it was ok I guess. **½
Sean: While the video package and the entrances were going on, I took the time to go over the card for the next PPV in my EWR game….WCW Fall Brawl 2001 (which I’ll probably get to after this Extreme Rules show is over). Anyway, Finn Balor comes out wearing a mask covered in tiny spikes or stud, which I’m sure he picked up at the closest sex shop. The match gets underway and we immediately get the referee shoving the mic the faces of Balor and Edge any time they were put in a hold. There are ways to do an I Quit Match well, and this is not one of them. The action is very pedestrian until we get ANOTHER barricade break. That makes two on this particular PPV.
The two then brawl into the crowd, where Edge hits a suplex to Balor on the floor before hitting him with a hockey stick. They brawl up the stands….and then back down the stands (are we sure Jeff Jarrett got fired from WWE, as this is the second walk-and-brawl on this card). Balor hits Edge with a chair, but Edge doesn’t quit. Edge fights back after being locked in a crossface and uses a chair himself. Judgment Day finally gets involved, setting up a spot where Edge spears Balor through the ropes onto Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio. Rhea Ripley then appears, and handcuffs Edge to the ropes. Rey Mysterio comes out to make the save, but Dominik beats him up while Michael Cole screams like a madman on commentary. Beth Phoenix gets involved with a kendo stick and cleaned house before getting her husband out of the cuffs. Edge goes on the attack and appears to be on the verge of winning until Rhea takes out Beth with brass knucks. The rest of Judgment Day holds Edge down and forces him to quit when Rhea threatens to conchairto Ripley. Of course, she did it anyway, and they played up Beth being severely hurt.
Where to even begin with this one? From a technical standpoint, there was nothing wrong with the actual action in the first three quarters, pre-interference. The problem was that it was SOOO LONG. Before the last stage of the match where a million people got involved, it felt like the bout was never going to end. Just totally dry and boring. Things really didn’t pick up until all of the interference started, which the crowd did appear to be into at points, for sure. Of course, the finish was something that pretty much everyone saw coming, especially since Edge sort of tipped it off in his promo on Monday. If Edge was smart, he probably should’ve told Beth to stay as far away from the arena as possible. Anyway, I presume this sets up a mixed tag with Edge and Beth against Rhea and either Balor or Priest. Wikipedia has the match listed as just about thirty minutes long, which I do not believe at all. It was at least forty-five minutes. **1/2
Fight Pit with Special Guest Referee Daniel Cormier: Matt Riddle def. Seth Rollins
Jeremy: Fitting that Daniel Cormier is the ref here, as the major angle where Rollins shot on Riddle’s divorce was directly inspired by the Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier “Are you still there, p—y?” interview. DC coming out without “Right Above It” and looking like even more like the Daddest Man on the Planet. But hey, he’s the only fighter to have the dubious honor of being #2 in 2 different weight classes, show some respect.
Riddle lands the Showtime Kick, which fake MMA fan Corey Graves credits to Benson Henderson. Speaking of MMA and fake fans, next time Ariel Helwani tells you how stagnant AEW is, remember he’s literally paid by the incumbent brand. I will say, the Tony Khan interview he did had some entertaining moments!
DC is intent that nobody touch him. He’s still very intimidating. I wish I was watching DC and Brock right now instead of this. Instead of having a good, fast-paced, strong-style match, we’re getting a lot of melodrama. Unfortunately, they’ve decided that this needs 10 counts. Why? We don’t need a last man standing match in a cage.
As a result, the match feels long. A move, then waiting. Rinse, repeat. That’s not to say that some of the moves aren’t impressive or exciting. Riddle’s senton off the platform was particularly eye-popping and looked like it hurt.
The finish was the exact kind of finish I wanted in a match like this, a submission that kinda came out of nowhere. The problem is, the match they worked wasn’t that kind of match and the crowd wasn’t ready for it at all. ***½
Joey: Daniel Cormier isn’t having a WWE match, that much is certain based off his appearance. Looks nothing like a former UFC fighter and more like a Stanley Hudson lookalike.
If Rollins prancing the way to the ring doesn’t say blood feud blow off match, I don’t know what does. As a character, Rollins is a theme song and a snazzy dresser, nothing more. It’s not long before DC gets involved and he is no Ken Shamrock in WM13, that’s for sure. Not very intimidating.
Cormier is an unwelcome distraction in this match, already hindered by the gimmick and the cloud of Bray Wyatt hanging over the match. I’ve ran out of steam and so have the fans, who are more interested in entertaining themselves than seeking such entertainment from this match.
The match was struggling until it went to the platform, at that point it got a bit interesting as it looked super unsafe up there. Some nice spots that teased a fall ended with Rollins rolling off the side after an RKO on the platform and a sick looking senton by Riddle from the ledge. The match came to life and Riddle soon got the tap out win after a bit of an anticlimactic finish after the cool senton spot. Both men tried, god bless them, but the structure of the match hamstrung them from doing anything truly amazing. ***
Sean: I have to say that Daniel Cormier looks like a regular-ass referee. If I had never watched UFC before, I would have no idea who this guy is. Dude is dressed like any other ref! We’re not even two minutes into this main event, and we’ve already got “We Want Wyatt” chants. Riddle connects with a flying kick off the cage in what was the first big move of the match. Both men had brief run-ins with Cormier early on (I’m sure that will play into things later). Rollins was able to gain control and used the cage walls to dish out some punishment before hitting a frog splash off the platform. Riddle was able to get out of a Peruvian Necktie attempt by Rollins and nailed an RKO. Rollins countered another RKO attempt and hit the stomp, but Riddle was able to answer the count.
The two end up on the platform, and we get a bunch of spots up there (a powerbomb and a pedigree from Rollins, and RKO from Riddle) before Rollins slides off the platform. Riddle then does an insane spot where he hits a senton off the platform. He follows up by locking Rollins in a triangle choke, and despite Rollins lifting him up to powerbomb him into the cage a bunch of times, Riddle still has the hold, and Rollins is forced to tap. The finish was a tad anticlimactic, but I thought this was pretty good as a whole. Sure, it was wrestled much differently that the first Fight Pit between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher (it was more of a normal main roster match in the Fight Pit, which isn’t a total surprise in hindsight because Rollins doesn’t come from a MMA background and really isn’t a “shooter”), though I enjoyed most of what they did, and they certainly put forth the effort. I was a little surprised that Cormier didn’t play more of a role outside of those initial interactions, as I thought they might’ve set something up here that would lead to Cormier wrestling eventually. In terms of match quality, I’d put this below the opener, but it was still a pretty solid match to close the show. ***1/2
The return of Bray Wyatt
Jeremy: The “Bray Wyatt gimmick” finally happened. We were treated to men in masks and lights and creepy music. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were scared by a mask that was sitting on their table. Finally, Bray debuted a new spooky mask and then took off the spooky mask. The crowd seemed to like it. I thought it was very funny.
Joey: Bray Wyatt returns and the white rabbit nonsense finally ends with a newly masked Bray Wyatt returning to his old gimmick of swampy voodoo master. The absolute state of the return. Shit covered shit with shit filling and an extra dollop of shit. Yet its met with ‘holy shit’ chants and it appears that the live fans ate it up. Unsure if it’s dubbed in or if the prophecy of Chris Jericho’s 99 debut promo has come to pass and mediocrity is viewed as excellence, but the fans seemed to love it. Morons. Either way, the worst kept secret in wrestling has finally arrived and underwhelmed to anyone with any standards. Bray Wyatt as a gimmick is unappealing and as a wrestler he only excelled in trios matches versus the Shield. All nonsense, no substance. No interest.
Sean: So just as they were about to sign off, the lights went out, and I think everyone knew where this was going. We got a voice singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” while people dressed as the characters from the Firefly Funhouse appeared in the crowd. There was then a shot of an abandoned Firefly Funhouse. This all led to the return of Bray Wyatt, who took off what appeared to be a devil mask before blowing out his lantern to close the PPV. The crowd in Philadelphia were going absolutely bonkers for all of this (especially the reveal of Bray at the end). It looks like Bray is going back to something closer to his original gimmick, pre-Fiend, which is probably for the best. The Fiend gimmick was interesting for approximately one match (the debut vs. Finn Balor) before it went immediately in the shitter (lest we forget the infamous Hell In A Cell match from 2019), and it managed to just keep getting shittier (though The Fiend getting squashed by Goldberg was fun).
I’m actually thrilled to see Bray Wyatt back in WWE, because that means he’s not going to AEW, even though the last year or so of Wyatt being a free agent had shown that Tony Khan had next to no interest (otherwise he would’ve been signed). I guess the one thing about Bray’s return that I am curious about is how Triple H handles him as a booker. Will Bray once again go into the fantastical territory that Vince took him down, or will he go back to being the Waylon Mercy/Cape Fear inspired Cult Leader he was from the character’s debut in NXT through about 2015 or so? This return would make me lean towards the former, but I guess time will tell.