The WWE rolled into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Sunday night for the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Much had been made of the fact that most of the bouts on the card weren't actually 'Extreme' matches at all and fans excitement for the event varied.
On the Pre-show, Sanity scored a huge win over the New Day in a tables match - where only one member had to go through the table - while Andrade Almas defeated Sin Cara once again in a really fun contest.
The main show was headlined by the 30-minute Iron Man Match between Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins and there was plenty of championship moments to digest.
Let's get into Extreme Rules and break down what we saw.
The Deleters of Worlds Vs The B Team - Raw Tag Team Titles
A relatively quick match didn't feature any noticeable action from either side, to be honest. One noteworthy spot saw real-life brothers Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas kept apart. The crowd made some noise for the duo when Wyatt tagged in, but Dallas promptly tagged out.
Dallas scored the win after hitting a neckbreaker with help from the top rope on Matt Hardy. Of course, they celebrated like madmen.
Result - The B Team wins the Raw Tag Team titles via pinfall
In all likelihood, this is going to be an extended programme where there is some character development from at least one of the teams. Wyatt Vs Dallas is begging to happen, but will we see the Hardy Compound in use again for this rivalry? The action itself was very forgettable.
Finn Balor Vs Baron Corbin
Another match that didn't have a stipulation, the narrative of this fight from the get-go saw Corbin dominate the Irishman and he kept referring to the Demon's height throughout. After several failed attempts at hitting his finish, Balor would score the win with a inside cradle after reversing the End of Days.
Result - Balor wins via pinfall
The action here was fine, but far from spectacular. When you think of a pay-per-view and the quality that should be on show for a paying customer, this was something you could have found on Raw really. Corbin played up to his big man offing in this feud and Balor came off as gutsy and cerebral, but it certainly didn't get pulses racing.
Carmella Vs Asuka - SD Live's Women's Championship
Asuka dominated the entirety of this match until Carmella's sidekick James Ellsworth picked his way out of the shark cage he was suspended in above the ring. Ellsworth then got his leg caught on the way out and with Asuka eyeing up the Chinless Wonder, Carmella was allowed to sneak up behind her, ram the Empress of Tomorrow into the cage and score the one, two, three.
Result - Carmella wins via pinfall
Lord almighty. What has happened to Asuka? All of Triple H's hard work to create a powerful aura around her has disappeared in a few short months. Carmella holds two victories over the former NXT champion now (and two over Charlotte) and both times, a distraction from James Ellsworth has proved to be her undoing. The fact that Ellsworth wasn't checked before he went in the cage and he could freely pick his way out was pretty lazy.
Jeff Hardy Vs Shinske Nakamura - United States Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura low blowed Hardy before the match even got underway and proceeded to hit the Kinshasa as soon as the bell rings to win in under five seconds. Blink and you miss it stuff.
Result - Shinsuke Nakamura wins the United States title via pinfall
On the surface, it's painful to watch Jeff Hardy be embarrassed in such a way. However, it's so obvious he's been working hurt for a while now that they just had to get the title off of him. It's now concerning that Hardy has suffered another debilitating injury just a few short months after returning from a lengthy layoff; his future must be in doubt. However, Randy Orton's surprise return and apparent heel turn was the major news here. Fans have been asking for a heel Orton, and it appears they have their wish.
Braun Strowman Vs Kevin Owens - Steel Cage match
Quite predictably, Braun Strowman dominated Kevin Owens from the get-go. The Canadian attempted to flea the cage as the soon as the match kicked off, which only further enraged the Monster Among Men. Although Owens had occasional and very brief flurries of offence, Owens finally handcuffed Braun to the top rope and looked like he was going to leave the cage. After blowing the Monster in the Bank a kiss, Strowman managed to break free of the cuffs and raced up to meet KO at the top of the cage. From there, in a flashback of Mankind falling from the Hell in a Cell, he chokeslammed Owens down to the announce table for a nasty bump - and victory.
Result - Kevin Owens wins via escaping the cage
KO wins on paper here, but all this did was further Braun's star power. It has to be said, Owens is taking all kinds of bumps for Braun and he's doing anything he can to make him look like a star and create memorable moments - that deserves a lot of respect. While you suspected a big spot might occur, it;s safe to say not many fans expected this! It was extremely entertaining and their chemistry is off the charts.
Daniel Bryan Vs The Bludgeon Brothers
After Team Hell No were attacked backstage and Kane was seemingly put on the shelf at the mercy of Erick Rowan's mallet, Daniel Byan took on the SD Live tag team champions by himself. Predictably, Bryan put up a brave, high-octane effort but spent a lot of the bout on the back foot. Kane would emerge in an ankle brace - WWE would later announce he had a broken ankle - and somehow managed a hot-tag that included two chokeslams. However, Harper attacked his leg and Bryan would enter the fray to eat the pin.
Result - The Bludgeon Brothers win via pinfall
If this whole thing was just to keep Daniel Bryan busy until a high profile match with The Miz at SummerSlam, then, so be it. The Kane and Bryan dynamic was fun while it lasted but one has to believe that injury has written him out of the company again for a while. Bryan put up a brave effort, but if the four men were just allowed to go at it and Bryan just came up short, they would have torn the house down.
Roman Reigns Vs Bobby Lashley
A power match ensued between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley where both men seemingly wanted to prove they are the main player on Raw. While Reigns controlled much of the bout - which felt weird, because neither men are heels - Lashley responded with some power moves every now and again to keep things competitive, but Reigns seems on his way to victory after hitting a Superman Punch from the top rope. When he tried to follow that up with a Spear, Lashley beat him to the punch and scored the pinfall victory.
Result - Lashley wins via pinfall
The finish was quite nicely one. Both men use the spear and Lashley played possum so he could hit Reigns with it - perfect. The match itself featured two men capable of a lot and it was undoubtedly a physical affair, it's just hard to say that it was anything special. The finishing sequence is well worth watching, though.
Alexa Bliss V Nia Jax - Extreme Rules match for the Raw Women's Championship
Unlike WrestleMania 34, Nia Jax dominated Alexa Bliss completely during the contest before Natalya and Mickie James get involved for their respective corners. When James was getting the best of Natalya, Ronda Rousey, who was sitting at ringside, couldn't help herself anymore and hopped the barricade, dragging James around ringside and flinging her around the ring. When Rousey targets Bliss, James recovers to double team the UFC Hall of Famer and then they both take chairs to Nia Jax. Bliss hits a DDT on a steel chair to pick up the win and get out of dodge.
Result - Bliss wins via pinfall
Keeping the belt on Bliss right now is the right decision, but was there really a need to have five women involved in this match? With all the characters in play, one has to imagine we're heading for a multi-woman match for the title at SummerSlam. This match was pretty basic until Rousey took the roof off the place, but her attack on James (not helped by James' footwear) and the last attack on Jax were not smooth at all which hurt the match.
AJ Styles Vs Rusev - WWE Championship
A nice back and forth match that saw AJ Styles get plenty of offence in, despite the fact Rusev is the predatory heel. Aiden English did his best to get involved and help Rusev where possible, including helping him evade the Calf Crusher. That helped swing momentum back in Rusev's favour. After attempting the Accolade, Styles threw Rusev into the exposed turnbuckle that he had set up himself and Styles followed that up with the 450 splash for a two count. However, straight after, the WWE champion nailed a Phenomenal Forearm to get himself the win.
Result - AJ Styles wins via pinfall.
Rusev played his part in this match and is a welcome addition to the title scene, but in reality, he was just a filler match for Styles en route to SummerSlam where he will no doubt have a real marquee opponent. The match was a fun one and we got to see AJ's arsenal in all it's glory, but they were just a couple of notches away from hitting the high notes they are capable of.
Seth Rollins Vs Dolph Ziggler - Iron Man Match for the Intercontinental Title
The match starts off with some nice back and forth wrestling that eats away a few minutes, but at the five-minute mark, Rollins grabbed a shock pin with a roll-up to go 1-0 up. Ziggler then goes on the offensive and works The Architect outside of the ring. Things get crazy as Rollins takes a 3-0 lead following a curb stomp a DQ victory after McIntyre laid waste to Rollins - even though he was ejected - giving Ziggler the advantage to grab four pinfalls in a matter of minutes.
With 10 minutes remaining, Rollins regained his composure and went back on the offensive. A frog splash wasn't enough for Rollins to get back on level terms, nor was his Super-plex and Falcon Arrow combination. With 3:08 minutes left, Rollins evened the scores after the Showoff completely ate the top turnbuckle and the former champion capitalised with a roll-up. With the match tied at 4-4, Rollins hit a superkick and Curb Stomp with seconds remaining and the clock ran out before he could get the pinfall.
Although the referee proclaimed the match a tie - meaning the champion retains - Pittsburgh native Kurt Angle appeared to send the match into sudden death. McIntyre appeared once more to distract Rollins which allowed Ziggler to nail the Zig-Zag and quick win.
Result - Dolph Ziggler wins 5-4
What a match. It's a shame the crowd were more interested in mocking the timer and pretending they were at a Royal Rumble - complete with the buzzer sound - at the climax of every single minute, because Ziggler and Rollins were putting on a clinic and found a way to make the Iron Man match exciting in a way it hasn't been for years. Rollins absolutely has to move on to the world title picture, but it's interesting how vital McIntyre was to Ziggler's win. Will he reference that and cause friction in the near future?
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