Monday, May 23, 2016

Looking back at Extreme Rules 2016

Like too many WWE pay-per-views, Extreme Rules had some great moments but they were tempered by far too many terrible events that just hurt the show. And of course, the news of Cody Rhodes' requested release being approved darkened the night just a bit (but more on that later this week.)

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The pre-show gave us another confrontation between Big Cass and the Dudley Boyz, another segment clearly designed to promote the eventual feud between Enzo and Cass and the veteran extremists. Cass has certainly come into his own as a solo star in the last few weeks though and I suspect Vince will have a big future in mind for him.

Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler's no holds barred match had exactly one normally illegal move as Corbin set up the End of Days with a low blow. It completely wasted the stipulation, but at the same time they didn't want to do anything that would hurt the main event, which has the exact same stipulation with a different name.

The main show opened with The Usos and The Club in a tornado tag team match. Jimmy and Jey set out to have another great match in their repertoire and their battle with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows did not fail. The two teams put on a classic match in a format rarely seen on WWE television. Hopefully this will convince someone that more tornado tags will be great in the future of the tag division.

Rusev continued the streak of big guys carrying Kalisto to solid matches as he helped the luchador look like a great star even in defeat. Rusev's win came as no surprise, but The Accolade never looked better than it did against the hurt Kalisto.

No idea if Kofi is injured or if WWE just wants more eyes on Xavier Woods, but he joined Big E in their battle against The Vaudevillains. Or perhaps people would just think the team more vulnerable with him in the ring. Whatever the case Woods got to show off his skills in the tag team title match. The Vaudevillains looked like they had the win in place more than once, but ultimately Kofi's shenanigans on the outside helped his partners win the title after a great shining wizard from Woods.

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The match of the night goes to the Intercontinental title match, which probably is no surprise to anyone. Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are amazing and their presence has only upped The Miz's game. I think Mike Mizanin often gets the short end of the stick from the WWE Universe, but hopefully they gained a bit of respect for him against his three foes tonight. Maryse helped him steal the win and keep the Intercontinental title, while I suspect his three opponents will get their chance at the Money in the Bank next month.

The first ever Asylum match proved to be much more solid than I suspected. Neither Ambrose nor Jericho always bring their A game, but they put on the only actually extreme match of the night, pulling out a dozen weapons and even a bag of thumbtacks. The finish left Jericho looking like a pin cushion and Ambrose ready for a three way Summer Slam main event.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that thought Charlotte was going to have to resort to her own dirty deeds in the women's submission match, but realigning Dana Brooke to her makes sense with Emma on the shelf. Natalya seemed like an unlikely choice to win the title, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her still involved in the women's storyline as Becky most likely reenters the title picture against her rival Dana.

The main event seemed a bit too much of a rehash from Payback's main event, right down to Reigns pulling out a big move from nowhere to retain his title. I'm not sure what WWE thinks they're doing with that as a repeated finish in Reigns' matches, but it does him no favors as his heat grows from more and more negative. I fear he's going to start turning fans away, especially now that Styles and The Club will be demoted to other storylines, probably the Money in the Bank and a tag title feud, respectively.

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Seth Rollins' return surprised me not at all, as he's been healed for a few weeks and he seemed to be Reigns' obvious next feud. Whether WWE will continue to insist that Roman Reigns isn't the company's top heel remains to be seen, but I suspect if Rollins aligns himself with Stephanie again, he will only serve to bring cheers for The Authority.

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