Dot Net reader Jordan Southard attended the WWE Extreme Rules event in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday and sent the following report.
This was the second time I’ve attended the WWE Extreme Rules show, and it did not disappoint. The crowd was noticeably older than usual, and I’m sure WWE loved to hear them throughout the night.
The show started off with the Dudleys, who did a good job of turning the crowd against them. Big Cass got a very loud pop and everyone was super into his promo. He seems to be getting more and more confident each week, but I still think the audience here was just waiting for Enzo to make his big return, and fell flat when they realized all we were getting was a quick scuffle.
The pre-show match with Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler in a No DQ match was decent at best. Corbin came out to a pretty favorable reaction from the older males, while Dolph was still pretty over with the majority of the crowd. The match never really had a chance as it only started maybe 10 minutes before the actual show. Corbin’s win drew little reaction. Hopefully this means he’ll get to have some fresh match-ups in the coming weeks.
The actual pay-per-view began with the Tornado Tag match, which did a nice job of establishing the pace for the night. I have been to numerous WWE shows over the past few years, and I have never heard the Uso brothers be booed so loudly. Alternatively, the Club received a lot of love from the Jersey crowd. Their stiff offense worked well with the Uso’s high flying, and the Tornado stipulation provided for some interesting psychology that I thought kept the matchup fresh.
Next up was the U.S. Title match. Rusev and Kalisto were putting on a decent match, but the finish was confusing. It was tough to tell if Kalisto was legitimately hurt and Rusev slapped the Accolade on quickly to finish things, or if Kalisto was just selling. The rushed nature of it didn’t help things either.
New Day, as always, was super over with the smarky crowd. Xavier Woods delivered an excellent promo and was a great surprise to see in the ring. The Vaudevillians definitely won some new fans over, and their near-fall towards the end of the match was one of the best of the night.
If you had just arrived inside the arena, you would have thought the next match was the main event based on the crowd. All four participants put on what was easily match of the night, with each looking like stars in their own way. The reaction Kevin Owens received was deafening. My Dad, who had never seen him live before, was actually taken aback at how loud and rabid the fans were for him. Cesaro and Zayn were both super over as well, and while Miz garnered great heat along with Maryse. The crowd was electric throughout, buying into every man’s near falls. It was truly exciting to have a match where any of the participants could have easily been the one walking out champion. While I believe a title change would have been received extremely well, the finish was still done in a way where all men came out looking great. Match of the night by far.
The worst, or at least the most disappointing match of the night followed. It was obvious Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose were both working very hard, but the pace of things was just terrible. Having to watch them constantly climb up, grab a weapon, use it, then grab the next thing just got old. It felt more like they were checking things off a list rather than being “Extreme”. The crowd wasn’t having it, giving them “This Match Sucks” and “We Want Rollins” chants. They saved things at the end by getting a pop with the tacks, but it was just to little to late. Props to the veteran Jericho for taking that bump though.
The co-main event was the women’s title match, and it was nice to see them positioned in a top spot on the card rather than shoved in the middle somewhere. Charlotte and Natalya both are proven workers, and I enjoyed watching a more technical, submission-based match (especially after the garbage cage match). The finish probably seemed pretty bad on TV, but it was even worse in person. Brooke was standing at the top of the entrance ramp WELL before Flair’s music played. On top of that, it was really difficult to tell who was actually in the robe. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of fans left and still didn’t know.
At this point, the show had been great but two bad matches in a row had the crowd really down. Thankfully, the main event saved it. AJ Styles received a hero’s welcome. Alternatively, Roman Reigns nearly drowned in boos. I’ve been to shows in the past where the crowd was hostile towards Reigns, but eventually they’d lighten up or at least quiet down. Not here. The crowd refused to let up on Reigns, taunting him with “You Can’t Wrestle” and “You Still Suck” chants, and lots of them.
As for the in ring action, it was stellar. The brawl in the crowd set the tone right away, while the table spots both looked great. I don’t think the crowd was buying into anything until both the Club and Bloodline were out, but once they were both Styles and Reigns had excellent near falls. The Styles Clash on the chair was especially good. The only problem I had was the finish. Reigns took about a dozen chair shots, yet still managed to come up with the spear for the win. If this was the end of the show, everyone in attendance’s outlook on things would have been much more negative.
Thankfully, Seth Rollins saved things with his long awaited return by laying Reigns out. I saw an earlier report on the homepage calling it unforgettable, and that’s the word I’d have to use here as well. I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to see something like this again live. It really felt like one of those few moments where wrestling was at it’s absolute best, a moment people will talk about for years. I was lucky enough to finally be in attendance for one of those moments.
Overall, while not perfect, this was a damn fine show. The Fatal Four Way, tag team matches, and main event were all excellent, and seeing Seth Rollins was icing on the cake.