WWE – Extreme Rules 2016 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 169 minutes approx.
As we observed with the release of the Payback show last month, the running order of the WWE’s PPV calendar was changed up a little, moving that show into the post Wrestlemania slot formerly occupied by Extreme Rules.
The annual stipulation heavy show was surprisingly stipulation light this year, possibly due to coming off a gimmick heavy Wrestlemania 32 and with the annual Money In The Bank show due to follow it in June.
In a rematch from Payback, AJ Styles once again challenges the box office poison that is Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight title in an “Extreme Rules” match which is basically anything goes with catchier name.
Extreme Rules took place on May 22nd 2016 at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey before 12,500 fans. Your commentators once again are Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and JBL, while this would mark ring announcer Eden Stiles’ last appearance with the WWE after her hubby Cody Rhodes quit the company a few weeks earlier.
Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers but plenty of opinion.
Tornado Match – The Usos vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
While Styles, Anderson and Gallows known as The (not Bullet) Club, Reigns and The Usos were christened “The Bloodline”. Unfortunately for the Usos, their association with cousin Roman has led them to be booed as well by the fans despite being faces.
“Tornado Rules” means all four wrestles are allowed in the ring at the same time, so basically a brawl without any need for tags. A relatively short and tame match given the stipulation that was quick in pace but uninspired and psychologically flawed as per the aforementioned inverted audience loyalties.
WWE US Title Match – Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev
After his asinine split with Lana, ill-fated partnership with Summer Rae, hideous feud with Dolph Ziggler and the pointless League Of Nations, the Bulgarian Brute is given a chance to redeem himself as he again challenges for the US title. But it comes at the expense of the man groomed to be the next Rey Mysterio.
Kalisto may have beaten Ryback over the past few PPVs but most of those matches took place on pre-shows, pretty much signalling the company had given up on him. Rusev debuted a more vicious and physically scary looking version of the Accolade on RAW, his first victim being Kalisto, which tells you all you need to know about this match.
WWE Tag Title Match – The New Day (c) vs. The Vaudevillians
The Vaudevillians receive this title shot following their de facto win over Enzo and Cass at Payback when Enzo was injured during the match. Unfortunately to get the heels over, they were booked to be beaten up by Big Cass single handedly and mocked by the New Day in embarrassing “comedy” skits on RAW.
Xavier Woods and Big E are your defending Unicorns tonight in another short match that offered no real surprises or any indication the challengers were any kind of threat, especially as Woods kicked out of their Whirling Dervish finisher! A shame as the Vaudevillians are a decent team but Vince McSenile clearly doesn’t know what to do with them.
WWE IC Title Fatal Four Way Match – The Miz (c) vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Ever since the build up to the IC Title ladder match at Wrestlemania 32 we’ve seen just about every possible combination of these four guys every week on RAW and Smackdown, so the risk is that the fans are burned from seeing them over and over by the time this match arrived. Then of course the wrestlers themselves are tasked with having to top everything they’ve prior to this match.
Luckily for us, there was no need to worry as everyone brought their working boots with them, even The Miz, and stole the show with a frantic 18 minute white knuckle ride of near falls, innovative combination moves and all round exciting wrestling. Unequivocally the highlight of the show thus far and a sign that this collective of talented young blood are deserving of so much more than treading water in mid card hell.
Asylum Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
This is basically a steel cage match with loads of weapons hanging from the cage walls to be used. And use them they did – ALL of them, which is why the match lasted a bum-numbing 26 minutes! Just like the Hell In A Cell match at WM 32, this was mostly a major snooze fest until the last couple of minutes where Ambrose brought out something not seen in a WWE ring in a while.
Up until this and the IC title match, everything was rushed and this was clearly designed to be the centrepiece match of the card ahead of the main event, but instead it overran and despite the hard work of both guys and the ridiculous punishment they took and dished out, this was a failed experiment.
WWE Women’s Title Submission Match – Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya
Ric Flair was banned from ringside having been instrumental in Charlotte’s continual title reign, and should he break this condition, the title automatically goes to Natalya. Considering how well these two work together a Submission match seemed tailor made for them but as a result of the cage match going long, they had their time cut in half.
The work was just okay here, clearly rushed, and without the submission aspect pushed or demonstrated on TV and now second gear to break into, the result was a lack of drama. Then there was the McBooking ending, which even by WWE’s standards was dumb in its execution and while a matter of misplaced necessity, it reeks of desperate hubris.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Extreme Rules Match – Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles
Egregious revisionist history at play again by the WWE as the vociferous boos and negative chants Reigns received upon his entrance have been heavily muted on this release compared to how brutally loud they were on the original broadcast. This continues during the match too although they are less discriminating with the censorship otherwise they’d be left with complete silence.
Match was really good thanks to Styles taking some ridiculous bumps for someone pushing 40 with back issues, but he was tasked with trying to make Reigns look good so he complied with this superb performance. Naturally some McBooking was involved to help reigns, as the stipulation at least gave a reason for it, but he did work hard to stay with AJ.
But it was what happened post match that is the big news, except once again however, the WWE have elected to give this away in a HUGE spoiler on the front cover of this release.
Do I really need to go over it again? Despite two very good matches and hard work from the others in their limited time allotment, this show was the latest instalment of the epic saga “Everything That is Right And Wrong With WWE”. The match layouts and the timings show you just who is valued by Vince McSenile and who he has no clue about how to use, while his current pet project Roman Reigns is failing with the same ignominy of the Brexit leadership group!
How much longer are talents like Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, et al going to wallow in the mid card IC/US title picture when they could easily be slotted into the main event scene and freshen it up? And why does Vince pull the trigger and make AJ Styles champ when he is the best big match worker in the company right now, his work rate and stellar efforts not being commensurately rewarded?
As for the show, it is what it is.
Best match – The Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Extreme Rules Kickoff Match – No DQ Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Monday Night RAW – 9th May 2016 – Dean Ambrose Destroys Chris Jericho’s $15,000 Jacket
Smackdown – 12th May 2016 – Sami Zayn & Cesaro vs. The Miz & Kevin Owens
Monday Night RAW – 16th April 2016 – WWE Women’s Title Contract Signing
Smackdown – 19th May 2016 – Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows
Rating – ** ½
Man In Black