Normally, you’d see me covering a pay-per-view with a live Running Diary. I’ve been doing columns of that nature for a long, long time now. As you probably saw in the title, this isn’t going to be a Running Diary. For no particular reason, I’m just looking to switch it up. I just woke up and felt like trying something different. Going with a different format could allow me to share more of my thoughts instead of posting a sentence and then having to immediately transition into something else.
I might try something else entirely for NXT Halloween Havoc two weeks from now, or I might be back to the Running Diary format.
Again… we’ll see.
For now, though, I’m ready. Are you ready?
Well, if I’m ready, and if you’re ready, then there’s only one thing left to do. I need you to say it with me, folks…
LESS DEW EET!!!
The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland) vs Imperium (Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) – “Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook” Match
Pros: – The expected wild start. As soon as the opening bell is heard, all six men began brawling in and out of the ring. Imagine how stupid a “Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook” would look if it started with a collar and elbow?
– Imperium is a well-oiled machine. Three men, each bringing something different to the table, and when they come together, it makes for some beautiful music.
– The organic face turn for Sheamus. He’s doing absolutely nothing different than he has been doing, but live crowds are loving his act. Fans want to see physical battles, and there haven’t been too many people in all of wrestling over the last decade-plus that are better at delivering those types of matches than ol’ Shay-moose. The WWE Universe BADLY wants to see Sheamus knock Gunther off and win the Intercontinental Title at some point.
– The right team won. Sheamus has lost both of his matches against Gunther, and it’s clear to see that WWE wants their feud to continue. Giving the Brutes the win here gives them some momentum that they can carry moving forward, and Sheamus can use that to earn himself another title shot.
Cons: – The way Sheamus’ body must feel. The match is only a couple minutes old, but Sheamus has been battered and bruised to go with the physical damage he had from his match against Gunther on Smackdown. The man needs a vacation. Then again, he’d probably just get into a bar fight on vacation.
– The fact that it might be physically impossible for Sheamus and Gunther to “fight forever.” Might. I have no problem watching those two beat the shit out of each other for a while, though. Put them in a Ladder Match. Place them inside of Hell In A Cell. It doesn’t matter. Entertain me!
Match Rating: 3.75 Stars. A wild, chaotic brawl to start the show. I love a match that sees everyone get their chance to shine. All six men got at least one spot to pop the crowd. As I mentioned, the right team won, and now, I look forward to seeing Sheamus earn himself another shot at Gunther’s Intercontinental Title. Banger after banger after banger after banger after banger.
Liv Morgan vs Ronda Rousey – Extreme Rules Match for the Smackdown Women’s Title
Pros: – The “Rousey Is Lousy” sign in the crowd. Simple. Effective. Rhyming. As usual, it seems like the crowd agrees, as they gave Ronda a lot of heel heat during the pre-match introductions.
Cons: – Gentle moments. Liv’s strikes so far don’t look like they could hurt a child. Ronda, on the other hand, has been using the baseball bat that Liv brought to the ring, but not using it very well. On commentary, Michael Cole tries to play it off like Ronda is toying with her prey, but it’s the same thing that always happens when weapons like that are introduced in wrestling. We all know what could happen if someone connected with a full force baseball bat shot to someone else’s ribs, head, and so on. Obviously, we’re not going to see something like that here, so what’s the point of having a bat involved?
– The crowd. Maybe they’re tired after going crazy in the first match, or maybe they just don’t give a rat’s ass about this one. Either way, they’ve been pretty quiet, pretty much from the opening bell. Liv and Ronda haven’t really given them a reason to pop, so I get it.
– The match ending. Ronda adjusts a submission attempt into a different submission attempt, and they try to make Liv look “tough” by having her break into a smile as she “passed out” from the pain. As her fake eyelash is sliding off, Liv “loses consciousness” and just gently lays her head on the mat as the bell is called for.
Match Rating: 2 Stars. I think that might be me being generous. This was a bad match. The feud has been awful. Liv and Ronda have zero in-ring chemistry, and neither one of them should ever… EVER… be tasked to use weapons in a wrestling match again. Ronda Rousey is the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. Please, for the love of Joe Pesci, let’s move on to something different for both women. No rematch, no feud continuation… nothing.
Drew McIntyre vs Karrion Kross – Strap Match
Pros: – Scarlett. She looks nice. That has to count for something, right?
– Dueling strap shots. Both men stand toe-to-toe and take turns whipping the fuck out of each other with the strap. Shots to the chest, neck, and face area. Craziness.
– The ending. I know a lot of people will dislike it, but I like that Scarlett got involved and blinded McIntyre with pepper spray, allowing Kross to pick up the win. All of it makes sense to me. Kross needed a win here, but Drew is in a position where he can be protected in losses. This handles both of those, and gives McIntyre further reason to seek revenge.
Cons: – Vince McMahon really may have ruined Karrion Kross. I don’t care if you think Kross is a badass or if you think he’s awful. The fact of the matter is that Kross was built up as something sure-fire while he was in NXT, then came to the main roster and was absolutely castrated by a senile old fuck that hasn’t made a good decision, in or out of the ring, in decades. Even with the time Kross spent away from the company after being released, I fear that there was too much damage done to him and his character. Not enough has been done to give live crowds a reason to care about him yet.
– The crowd still doesn’t care. Probably a continuation of the previous point, but this crowd is silent while Kross is on offense.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. It was super slow, but it was always going to be. When you take the two men involved, plus the match type, you know you’re not going to get a Lucha-like spotfest. It was fine. The strap shots were brutal. I’m just worried about the crowds and their connection to Kross.
Bianca Belair vs Bayley – Ladder Match for the Raw Women’s Title
Pros: – A surprising mixed reaction. Bianca Belair is one of the most popular people on the WWE roster, and she’s getting a good reaction from the crowd, but we just got loud dueling chants for both women.
– Physicality. So far, there have been a lot of rough (in a good way) spots that have involved ladders. They’ve all made sense, and have been very physical without bordering on being reckless or dangerous.
– Double KOD. Bianca fought through the expected interference from Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky by lifting both women on her shoulders and dropping them with an impressive Double KOD. You know the woman is strong as hell, but it never stops being amazing to watch her feats of strength.
– The ending. Bianca lifts Bayley up for a KOD while Bayley is holding a ladder. The champion delivers her finishing move, and Bayley slams face-first onto the ladder. This gives Bianca time to climb the ladder and retain her title. After the match, cameras cut to Bayley on the outside, and she appears to be bleeding from the mouth. She really did bounce, face-first, so that makes sense.
Cons: – Wrestling fans with no rhythm. During Bianca’s entrance, we were treated to shots of multiple women “dancing” along with her music in the crowd. It wasn’t pretty. At least things were somewhat balanced out by a shot of an adorable Bianca fan.
Match Rating: 3.5 Stars. Not an all-time classic or anything, but a really entertaining Ladder Match. Very smartly put together. As I said, lots of ladder involvement, but it all looked good, made sense, and did nothing to take away from the overall match quality. I’m a little surprised that Bayley lost. Nothing against Bianca or her current title reign. I just figured Bayley and Damage CTRL could use the momentum that would’ve came with a title change here.
Edge vs Finn Balor – “I Quit” Match
Pros: – Finn Balor’s mask that is part Demolition, part Mad Max, and part S&M enthusiast. It’s not something I would have him wear every week, but for big matches like this, I dig it.
– A brawl throughout the arena. It makes sense in matches like this for the competitors to brawl outside of the ring. Edge and Balor are kicking it up a notch by brawling up and down through the crowd and to the arena concourse area. Cheap and easy way to pop the crowd.
– Edge hits a Spear through the ropes. With Balor standing on the apron, propped up by Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio, Edge charges him at hits a WrestleMania 22-style Spear through the ropes, taking the whole group out. Not bad for someone who is a few weeks away from his 49th birthday.
– Dominik Mysterio’s heel heat. After Judgment Day interference swings the momentum in Balor’s favor, Rey Mysterio comes out to help, only to get taken out by his son. Dom hitting Rey draws the biggest heel reaction of the night.
– Beth Phoenix and Rhea Ripley facing off. If Dom got the heel reaction of the night, the face reaction of the night might go to Beth Phoenix, fresh off of mollywhopping everyone with a kendo stick, going toe-to-toe with Rhea Ripley in the center of the ring. The crowd was on their feet, delivering loud “YES” chants, for this. It was like watching a WrestleMania match get put together.
– The ending. It was choreographed when Edge basically worded a promo that nothing physical would ever make him quit, but this worked out very well. All of Judgment Day has Edge tied up, and as Rhea goes to deliver a one-woman Con-Chair-To on an unconscious Beth, Edge quits to save his wife. Unfortunately for Edge, Rhea goes through with it, anyway, hitting Beth with a sickening thud. Edge loses the match, but did he lose more than that?
Cons: – The usual “ASK HIM” nonsense in these types of matches. Decades later, and these “I Quit” matches still feature Referees that ask wrestlers if they give up after the simplest of moves. Not a submission move 30 minutes into a grueling battle, but some strikes in the corner or a chinlock in the middle of the ring. Stop that shit.
– The stupid fucking “gimmicked barricade” spot. If you’ve read my work for a while, you already know how much I hate that spot and how much WWE spams its usage. Every fucking pay-per-view, and even some episodes of television, we get the same shit every single time. It’s lazy. Do something different for a while.
Match Rating: 4 Stars. Edge continues to have it in his contract that he needs to have the longest match of the night whenever he wrestles, but it continues to work. The man is an all-time great, and he just knows how to place live crowds in the palm of his hands. Tons of well-done drama in this one, and just the right level of brutality and physicality that this personal feud required.
Matt Riddle vs Seth Rollins – Fight Pit with Special Guest Referee Daniel Cormier
Pros: – Broton from the top of the pit. Good Lord. Riddle steps off of the top of the pit and comes SMASHING down on a prone Rolling below. That looked like it hurt both men.
Cons: – An impatient crowd. They couldn’t even go a minute into the match before a “We Want Wyatt” chant broke out. Damn, Philly, at least pretend you care about what’s happening in front of you.
– A Fight Pit main event. I love the Fight Pit as a concept and in the execution we’ve seen of it in the past. To me, it just seems like something that should be in the beginning or the middle of a show. It presents as a really slow in-ring match, and that’s probably not ideal for a pro wrestling main event. So far, there has been a lot of walking around and waiting for ten counts, and the crowd is reacting as such. The crowd has already been quiet for most of the show. This isn’t going to help.
– The ending. After the Broton from the top, Riddle was able to get Rollins to tap out. The finish itself wasn’t bad. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. The crowd didn’t even react to it when it happened.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. Too slow for me to give a higher rating to it. I love Fight Pit, and I love both Riddle and Rollins as performers, but this was a bit of a disappointment for me. I get why it needed to be a Fight Pit, but man, oh man, this would’ve been a lot better off as a regular wrestling match or with a more pro wrestling-centric match type.
After the match, the lights go out in the arena and we’re serenaded by a creepy rendition of “he’s got the whole world in his hands” over and over. All of Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse friends are shown in different areas of the crowd, and we then get the return of lantern-holding Bray Wyatt to a loud “holy shit” chant. Wyatt looks into the camera, says that he’s here, and blows the lantern out as we go off the air.
It wasn’t a bad show, by any means, but there’s still a lot that is taken away from these shows when you don’t have your top guy, Roman Reigns, appearing. Never underestimate just how much it means to have your World Title defended on pay-per-view every month.
What did you fine folks in ReaderLand think about Extreme Rules?