WWE – Extreme Rules 2015 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 173 minutes approx.
The aftermath of Wrestlemania 31 is usually defined by this PPV which actually isn’t much since it features a few rematches from the big event of the year. Of course he twist is that they are held under “Extreme Rules” which means there is a stipulation attached to many of the matches just to liven things up a bit.
At WM 31 Seth Rollins shocked everyone by cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase during the Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns WWE Title match and became the new WWE Champion. This show marked his first title defence.
The other big story heading into this PPV was Daniel Bryan having returned in January from a serious injury was once again shelved with another serious injury having just won the IC title at WM 31. So his advertised title match against Bad News Barrett was scratched (Barrett was demoted to the pre-show against Neville) and the jury is out once again to whether Bryan will return to the ring.
Extreme Rules took place on April 26th 2015 at the Al State Arena in Chicago, Illinois in front of 14,197 fans, your commentators as always are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL, and while no results will be given away but expect some opinion.
Chicago Street Fight – Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper
After a few minutes of the usual chairs, kendo sticks and other weapon aided nonsense someone decided to play up to the no count-out rule by having both men fight to the back, somehow end up in a car and drive away from the arena. Obviously this evokes the old “tree falling in the woods” riddle since we are supposed to assume they would continue to fight despite there being no audience to witness it. Anyway, about forty minutes later they returned to the arena and finished the match. Yeah I know…
Kiss Me Arse Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
Sheamus returned the night after WM 31 with a ridiculous new look and turned heel by giving Daniel Bryan a concussion. So Ziggler stepped up and Sheamus challenged him to this match because a) it wasn’t dumb enough when Vince has his Kiss My As Club and b) Arse sounds funnier than ass (just look at ring announcer Jo-Jo’s embarrassment when saying “arse”). Match was average with the attention actually being reserved for the post match shenanigans.
WWE Tag Title Match – Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (c) vs. The New Day
Because everyone hated the New Day, despite being babyfaces, Tyson & Cesaro turned de facto face for this feud, which was interesting as Natalya was always a face while her two charges were clear heels, because wrestling. It’s weird seeing Kofi Kingston as heel after eight years as a face but I guess that is the curse of a crappy gimmick for you. Match was solid, well worked and had good heat but a little short for a title match. Regardless this was the best thing on the show thus far.
WWE US Title Russian Chain Match – John Cena (c) vs. Rusev
SuperCena finally defeated the big bad Bulgarian at WM31 but the feud must continue this time in a Russian Chain match. Anyone expecting Ivan Koloff or even Nikita Koloff to be brought out for some vignettes about this stip clearly set their hopes too high. Same for anyone who thought this tired old gimmick would produce a decent match since historically – the idea is to touch the four corners of the ring while tethered to your opponent – it rarely, if ever, has. This was no different and the chain barely factored in it either. The only highlight was the fans chanting for Lana.
WWE Divas Title Match – Nikki Bella (c) vs. Naomi
Paige won a battle Royale in the UK to become the No 1 contender but she was attacked by Naomi, who turned heel in the process. But with Paige out making a film Naomi took her spot leading to the Bellas mysteriously turning face overnight without officially turning. Naomi is sporting boots with coloured lights on the soles and a pair of shades stolen from Sasha Banks. Match was well laid out and the execution was solid but suffered from some awkward moments as both ladies were trying to adapt to their characters.
Last Man Standing Match – Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
So Reigns goes from main eventing WM 31 to feuding with Big Show which illustrates just how weak the WWE roster is when it comes to top tier heels. Outside of Rusev the top heels are all associated with the Authority, automatically limiting the options for everyone else. These matches are often a slog as they go long and the suspension of disbelief as someone miraculously revives at the 8 or 9 count from a big move – in this instance a KO punch – is a tactic that wears thin quite quickly. Some good stuff here with a cute finish but really your average big bump fest.
Bo Dallas (remember him?) came out to insult Chicago followed by Ryback who was hungry. You can join the dots yourself.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Steel Cage Match – Seth Rollins (c) vs. Randy Orton
Both men earned the right to chose a stipulation for this match – Rollins opted to ban the RKO; Orton called for a Steel Cage match. This was supposed to stop The Authority from interfering which we know has always worked but as ever to subvert this, Kane was placed in charge of the door. But as he and Rollins hadn’t been getting along, could he be trusted? Your usual Orton match with Rollins bumping like crazy as ever and a typical cluster finish because that title isn’t going anywhere this soon.
Coming off Wrestlemania was traditionally the time when the booking was reset and we took off into a fresh new direction. Unfortunately since the Cena/Orton era this isn’t the case and everything carried on as normal. No more than ever was this evident with this PPV.
Having won the WWE tile at WM 31 and being a fresh champion the list of challengers for Seth Rollins should be a mile long. And while others like Ziggler, Ambrose, Ryback, et al wait their turn, does Rollins defend the belt against ex-champ Lesnar? Or against the man he pinned Reigns? Nope, the endless inert wheel that is WWE status quo booking puts Randy Orton in the challenger’s spot even by virtue of his win over Rollins at WM 31. Ho hum.
The show itself was solid but ultimately a rather throwaway affair all told, which one could argue sought to diminish the effect of the gimmicks and stipulations by having them all crammed into one night. Passable entertainment but no real forward momentum for anybody is found here.
Best Match – Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The New Day
Extreme Rules Kick off Show: Neville vs. Bad News Barrett
Home Video Exclusive – Seth Rollins Does Not Need Anybody’s Help
Home Video Exclusive – Sheamus Lacks No Confidence
Smackdown – April 2nd 2015 – John Cena Is Proud To Be US Champion
Monday Night Raw – April 6th 2015 – Seth Rollins vs. Neville
Monday Night Raw – April 13th 2015 – Big Show Lays Down For No-One
Monday Night Raw – April 20th 2015 – Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
Smackdown – April 23rd 2015 – Seth Rollins & Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns
Rating – ** ½
Man In Black