WWE – Extreme Rules/Money In The Bank 2017 (Cert 12)
2 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 159 minutes/ 160 minutes approx.
The latest two-for-the-price-of-one release from WWE Home Video features two stunt filled shows that took place back in June, namely the gimmick laden Extreme Rules from the RAW roster and the ladder fest Money In The Bank courtesy of the blue brand of SD Live.
Just and advance warning, if you are coming to these shows fresh, the back cover of this DVD kindly spoils the results of two big matches.
Usually the first post-Wrestlemania PPV, this year’s instalment of Extreme Rules has been put back by two months but the concept remains the same – throw out the rulebook and turn up the heat! In theory these dangerous stipulations should make for a no-brainer good show but as we have seen, “no brainer” could also be an accurate description of Vince McSenile given some of the booking decisions of late. But I digress….
With Universal Champ Brock Lesnar on another well-deserved break – because those two appearances every three months can be really draining – RAW once again has to settle for presenting another show without a title defence, making a mockery of the 30-day rule! But at least this time the main event is to determine the next challenger for Lesnar so that’s something right?
Taking place on June 4th 2017, at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, in front of 11,179 fans, with commentary from Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T.
As ever, while my match reviews won’t contain any results, expect plenty of opinion.
WWE IC Title Match – Title Can Change On A DQ – Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz
Since this feud has been running for longer than Coronation Street obviously we needed another match between these two. The stipulation came about because Miz and Ambrose got each other DQ’d during matches on RAW so the result seems pretty much guaranteed, since Ambrose is such a hot head. They had a decent match with added shenanigans to play up to the stip which built to some nice drama at the end with a finish that was goofy but avoided the obvious.
Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar
With the Cruiserweights dying a death, someone had the bright idea of using the RAW women to help get them over – so they sent Alicia Fox to be involved in a love triangle, which somehow turned into a feud with Sasha Banks. Swann is the hometown hero in this match but you’d ever guess as Sasha was more over than he was. Be warned there is some dancing at the end of this brief but average bout.
The Drifter Elias Samson shows up to sing a song because why not?
RAW Women’s Title Kendo Stick On A Pole Match – Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley
This was just bizarre. Apparently Vince isn’t a fan of Bayley or at least doesn’t get her character, which is manifest in the odd way she has been booked, causing some fans to boo the Hugger! If the Russo-riffic stip wasn’t enough the story of this match is that Bayley is too nice to use a kendo stick while Alexa isn’t. What follows is an effectively the public neutering of popular babyface at the hands of a clueless and out of touch regime.
RAW Tag Title Steel Cage Match – The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
At the last minute it was decided that this cage match should be contested under escape rules only, which would be fine if it wasn’t a tag match. Therefore the odds of one wrestler stuck alone in the cage against both opposing team members is increased, as is the logic of one guy getting out to leave his mate to either finish the job one-on-one or to lose the match. But don’t worry because logic doesn’t exist in WWE so these rules are happily flouted anyway but couldn’t save the match from underperforming.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Submission Match – Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
Historically Submission Matches have been a tough sell to WWE audiences since it requires some actual wrestling and methodical working of the body parts to set up that one killer hold to make you opponent tap. As this is the third match in their series Aries and Neville had their work cut out for them in making this a success. They actually had a good match but the fans gave them nothing.
Fatal Five Way No 1 Contenders Extreme Rules Match – Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balòr
I do believe Roman’s popularity is on the increase – only 99.8% of the crowd booed him this time round! No demon from Balòr yet, I assume he is saving that for a major show like Summerslam. Physical and chaotic match as you might expect, this saw everything throw everything at everyone else, with tables and barricades being broken and some interesting pair offs in the name of competition. No spoilers – the winner was a surprise but a welcome one.
Despite a couple of new faces in the main event this was just another show, which perhaps is an indicator that even with two brands, monthly (twice monthly?) PPVs is overkill and sorely diluting the product. It was probably also that rare occasion where the stipulations actually hindered the matches as opposed to helped them, due to the poor application and execution of them and, of course, the baffling booking.
Not bad, not good just there…
Best Match – Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (by default)
Extreme Rules Kickoff Show Match – Kalitso vs. Apollo Crews
Rating – ** ½
Money In The Bank
The annual ladder match that could change the lives of one lucky wrestler this year becomes the exclusive property of the guys and gals of the SD Live! That’s right, the ladies get to make history with the first ever Money In the Bank ladder match for the briefcase with the contract offering a title shot against the woman’s champion. A monumental occasion which surely even Vince can’t mess up…. can he?
Elsewhere the chaps do a bit of ladder climbing to determine a future challenger for the WWE Title, which is still currently held by Jinder Mahal, who faces Randy Orton in his hometown. With the trend of jobbing people out on their home turf will this fate await Orton or will his spot as one of Vince’s boys means he’ll be protected here?
Taking place on June 18st 2017 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri before 15,392 fans and your commentators are Tom Phillips, JBL and Byron Saxton.
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella
Looking at the line-up there immediately appears to be two real credible winners here in Becky Lynch and Charlotte, but we know they like to throw a few curveballs in picking a winner. For the first ever women’s ladder match this wasn’t as brutal as some of the men’s matches but they didn’t half heart things either, putting in an impressive effort. Sadly whilst there was an inventive finish this wasn’t the right time to do it – two or three MITB matches down the line, certainly but not the first. Good stuff otherwise.
Smackdown Tag Title Match – The Usos (c) vs. The new Day
With Kofi Kingston finally healed the Booty Boys made their long awaited debut on SD Live! after being drafted from RAW in April and immediately become top contenders for tag titles. The heel Usos have been tearing it up of late and they already have established great chemistry with their latest challengers and this was turning into a very good match, but ends up a prime example of how a bad finish can really ruin everything.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match – Naomi (c) vs. Lana
Yes THAT Lana, the Ravishing Russian, former manager (and real life wife ) of Rusev is challenging for the SD Women’s title in her first ever singles match. Lana’s in-ring experience consists of two moves in a WM 32 pre-show multi-woman tag match and a few house tag matches shows with NXT. She got this title match by simply asking for it since the rest of the division were busy falling off ladders. Not much to this match to be honest, complete with ANOTHER lame finish; Lana tried but this was WAY too soon to be giving her major PPV matches.
Two non-wresting segments next as Breezango conducts another Fashion Files investigation to find out who trashed their office leading to a match later on.
This was followed by Maria Kanellis returning to WWE after seven years, this time with her husband Mike Bennett. Their gimmick is that they are loved up and as this is the 21st century, Mike has taken his wife’s surname. Can anyone else smell money with this gimmick? Me neither.
Ahead of the next match the St. Louis Legends are introduced to crowd – Greg Gagne, Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Baron von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter, Cowboy Bob Orton Jr (angle alert) and Ric Flair, (most of whom were actually stars in the AWA based in Minnesota). The irony is that the legends are there to support Randy Orton, who was once upon a time known as the “Legend Killer”….
WWE Title Match – Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton
Remember the last match these two had at Backlash? Then you won’t need to see it again here as it is pretty much a re-run except Mahal is the defending champion. The Singh Brothers interfere liberally, not limited to attack Bob Orton Jr at ringside – where his fellow “legends” did nothing to save him from the assault. Randy gets to kill the Singhs once again with dangerous Backdrop Suplexes to ensure they earn their wages, in other words your usual blah, blah, blah Orton match.
Breezango vs. The Ascension
So now we know who trashed the Fashion Files office. Nothing to see here.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match – AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
The trend of baffling booking of wrestlers who are super over with the fans continues as Nakamura is taken out by Corbin before the match starts, leaving him to sit most of it out while the other kill themselves in the second MITB Ladder match of the night. It’s unfair to compare it to the Women’s match from earlier but the level of brutality in the bumps was far more pronounced here, with Zayn and Owens in particular almost dying for our sins. As for the winner? McBooking strikes again!
Having already managed to botch the result in the history making first ever women’s Hell in The Cell match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte, it is incredulous but not unexpected to see the same thing applied to the first ever women’s MITB match. I reckon had he been there Vince McSenile would have found a way to botch the moon landing if he thought the swerve would be worth it.
Perhaps it is a bit harsh in complaining about the results when the WWE needs to create new stars and quite often pulling the odd surprise win here and there is the right platform to build on, but it helps considerably more if that person has some credibility ahead of this pivotal win, which isn’t the case lately.
What’s done is done, let’s see how it plays out. Not the blockbuster show it could have been and through no fault of the workers either, which is par for the course with WWE for a few years now.
Best Match – Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Money In The Bank Kickoff Show Match – The Hype Bros vs. The Colons
Rating – ** ½
Man In Black