6/4 Powell’s WWE Extreme Rules Live Review: Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins in a five-way to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship, The Hardys vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a cage match for the Raw Tag Titles

By Jason Powell

WWE Extreme Rules 2017
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Baltimore, Maryland at Royal Farms Arena

The Extreme Rules event opened with a video package that focussed on the show’s various matches… Fireworks shot off on the stage… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T were the broadcast team, and JoJo was the ring announcer. Cole noted that there were 11.769 fans in attendance…

1. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (w/Maryse) for the Intercontinental Championship (the tile can change hands on a disqualification). The broadcast team emphasized the match stipulation and set up a video package that aired between ring entrances. Cole noted that Ambrose has been champion for 152 days, which is the longest active reign (and Cole’s count is usually the kiss of death). Cole also noted that Christian is the only man to win a title on disqualification when he beat Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank in 2011.

Ambrose threw a series of punches at Miz and was scolded by the referee. Graves said Ambrose has to be careful because even if he makes contact with the referee inadvertently it could be a DQ. Ambrose performed an early suicide dive on Miz and then ran him into the barricade. Ambrose rolled back inside the ring and it seemed like he could have won by count-out, but he went to ringside and the ref stopped his count.

Ambrose picked up a chair, but did not use it. Miz wanted to use the same chair, but Ambrose cut him off. Miz came back and performed a DDT on the apron, which led to him getting a two count. Miz remained in offensive control for the next few minutes. Ambrose cut him off and then performed a top rope elbow onto Miz, who was on the floor. Ambrose got a couple of near falls. He went to the top rope and jumped over Miz. Ambrose clutched his knee while Cole told the story that he landed awkwardly. Miz applied the figure four seconds later.

There were dueling chants for the wrestlers with men cheering for Miz while high pitched chants countered for Ambrose. They did a spot in the corner where Miz held onto the turnbuckle pad and tore it off. Ambrose went to run him into the corner, but then stopped when he noticed it was exposed. Miz performed a running knee to the head for a two count. At 17:10, Ambrose applied a figure four of his own. Miz teased tapping before reaching the ropes. Cole said Ambrose had to break the hold before the ref’s five count. Miz went for his finisher, but Ambrose countered into a pin for a two count. Ambrose connected with a lariat and went back to selling his left knee.

Maryse climbed onto the apron. Both wrestlers took turns nearly running into her and stopping. Miz told Maryse to slap him. Maryse complied. The referee ejected Maryse. Cole said the referee made the right call. Ambrose rolled up Miz for a two count. The referee bickered with Maryse. Miz ran Ambrose into the referee from behind. Ambrose pleaded with the referee not to disqualify him. Miz performed the Skull Crushing Finale on a distracted Ambrose. The ref returned to the ring and made the three count…

The Miz defeated Dean Ambrose in 20:00 to win the Intercontinental Championship.

Powell’s POV: Another Miz title reign. I enjoy Miz more than most, but it’s hard to be excited about a guy winning his seventh IC Championship. The match was awkward early as they didn’t get very creative with the stipulation during the first half of the match. They did a better job down the stretch, but Miz’s strategy of having Maryse slap him is ridiculous in that he waited until so late in the match to do it. The crowd really bought into the question of whether Ambrose would be disqualified after he was run into the referee, so that was well done.

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Bayley, who received a mix of cheers and boos. Bayley mocked Bliss’s performance on Raw and said she’s no Rock or Mick Foley. Bayley said Bliss thinks she won’t get extreme, but she doesn’t know her. She said she saw Wonder Woman and it reminded her that she came to WWE to inspire people. She said she is willing to do whatever it takes in her match against Bliss…

2. Sasha Banks and Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox and Noam Dar. Swann got a nice pop when he was introduced as being from Baltimore. The Spanish and German broadcast teams checked in from ringside. Dar ran to his corner when Swann went to the ropes. Dar hugged Fox and then the women entered the match. Sasha ducked a kick in the corner. Fox fell awkwardly, but she seemed to be okay.

The men checked in again and Cole had to let everyone know that Swann loves to have fun. Swann connected with a nice kick to the head of Dar. The women ran in and Sasha quickly took Fox to ringside. Swann and Dar followed. Dar ran Swann into the barricade. Sasha went up top and was targeting Fox, who was moved out of the way by a concerned Dar. Sasha performed a double knee press off the top rope onto Dar at ringside. Swann rolled Dar back inside the ring and performed the Phoenix Splash for the win. Fox and Banks danced afterward…

Sasha Banks and Rich Swann beat Alicia Fox and Noam Dar in 6:20.

Powell’s POV: Who says babyfaces can’t win in their hometown? I guess the usual rules don’t apply to cruiserweights and/or mixed tag matches. And, yes, supposedly cool Sasha once again did the lasso dance just like the drunken aunt at every wedding.

After a chicken shack commercial, Elias Samson sat on a stool in the ring and introduced himself. He asked the fans “Who wants to walk with Elias?” Samson strummed his guitar and sang a song about how Baltimore is bathed in filth and the people are all the same. He sang that the city is depressing and they are all to blame. Booker praised Samson, then Graves said his eardrums were just assaulted…

After a chicken shack commercial, Elias Samson sat on a stool in the ring and introduced himself. He asked the fans “Who wants to walk with Elias?” Samson strummed his guitar and sang a song about how Baltimore is bathed in filth and the people are all the same. He sang that the city is depressing and they are all to blame. Booker praised Samson, then Graves said his eardrums were just assaulted…

A video package set up the women’s championship match…

3. Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley in a Kendo Stick on a Pole match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Bayley received the same mixed reaction. After the international broadcast teams checked in, Bliss made her entrance to a loud pop. Cole said Bayley got her education about using a kendo stick from watching Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. Graves questioned whether she had the guts to swing one.

WWE had a camera above the pole. Both women made early plays for the kendo stick, which even the small Bliss had to pretend she couldn’t reach from the middle rope. Bayley pulled it down, but it fell into the ring while both women ended up at ringside. Bayley rolled in front of Bliss to prevent her from grabbing it and then drove her into the barricade.

At 2:30, Bayley picked up the kendo sticks. Bayley chased Bayley around and then inside the ring with the stick in hand. Bayley wound up, but Bliss tackled her before she could swing it. Bliss ended up with the stick and struck Bayley with it several times. Bayley performed her Belly to Bayley finisher. The kendo stick ended up in the corner. Bayley made a play for it, but Bliss shoved her head first into the pole. Bliss hit her with the kendo stick again performed a DDT before pinning her…

Alexa Bliss pinned Bayley in 5:10 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship in a kendo stick on a pole match.

Powell’s POV: It took WWE production more time to attach the camera to the top of the pole than it did for the women to take the kendo stick down. Anyway, this came off very lopsided in favor of Bliss. The broadcast team told the story that Bayley hesitated when she had a chance to use the kendo stick, but it wasn’t much of a cover for the babyface.

Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was shown in the crowd dressed up like Virgil while two guys with him were dressed like Ted DiBiase and IRS… The broadcast team hyped Money in the Bank and then set up footage of the Hardys beating Sheamus and Cesaro at WWE Payback…

4. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a cage match for the Raw Tag Titles. JoJo and Cole both said the only way to win the match is for both members of the team to escape the cage, so there were no pins or submissions. There were loud chants of “Delete” and “Brother Nero” early in the match.

Matt made it to the top of the cage around 6:00. Cesaro came up to the top rope and pulled him down to the top rope with him. Cesaro tossed Matt onto the shoulders of Sheamus, who performed a rolling senton. The door was open and it looked like Cesaro could have escaped, but Cole said they realized they had to do more damage before they could escape.

At 9:40, Jeff climbed over the top rope. Cesaro held Jeff, who freed himself and fell to the ground to escape the cage. Matt was left alone with the challengers. He tried to escape over the top of the cage, but Sheamus and Cesaro stopped him and knocked Jeff down. Later, Jeff slammed the door on Cesaro’s head. Sheamus ended up Brogue Kicking the door into Jeff.

Matt stopped Cesaro from escaping through the cage door (for God knows what reason). Later, Jeff climbed up top and performed a twisting dive onto Sheamus and Cesaro. Cole said they were back to square one with all four men in the cage. Huh? Matt could have escaped the cage via the door with ease given that Sheamus and Cesaro were in the process of escaping, but he instead dragged his brother toward the door. Meanwhile, Sheamus and Cesaro fell to the ground just before Matt pulled Jeff to the floor…

Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy in a cage match in 15:00 to win the Raw Tag Titles.

A WWE Network commercial aired…

Powell’s POV: It felt like they were making up the rules of the match as they went. I don’t recall them laying out these rules going into the show. And even if there are examples of similar rules being in play, they really should have explained it better going into the show. Fortunately, the crowd was hot for the match despite the strange ruling that Jeff’s escape didn’t count once he returned to the match. I can’t say the outcome really surprises me if only because they don’t seem to be setting up anyone else as potential opponents for either team. Thus, the feud will continue. Heck, maybe we’ll even get the Broken Hardys if they can secure the rights. By the way, there was no sign of Stone Cold Podcast interviews on the network commercial.

A video package set up the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match…

5. Neville vs. Austin Aries in a submission match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. In between the ring entrances, Cole pushed John Cena’s “American Grit” on FOX as one of the sponsors of the show. Cole noted that Neville entered the match as champion for 126 days. Cole said a WWE title has only changed one time in a submission match and it was in 1994 when Bob Backlund beat Bret Hart.

Neville targeted the bad knee of Aries, who then back and worked over the knee of Neville. Aries was on a roll when Neville dropkick his knee through the ropes and knocked him off the apron at 8:00. Cole noted that Aries was also selling a left arm injury from his fall. Back inside the ring, Neville taunted the fans while Graves reminded viewers that Aries is left handed and the injury could limit what he’d be able to do.

At 10:10, Aries caught Neville coming off the ropes and applied a figure four. Cole played up the question of whether Neville would tap. Booker said there was no way due to Austin’s bad knee. Neville reached the ropes to break the hold. Neville avoided a missile dropkick. At 11:40, Neville applied the Rings of Saturn. Aries reached the ropes with his foot to break it.

At 13:00, Aries applied the Rings of Saturn. Neville grabbed the referee. Aries let go and asked the ref not to disqualify Neville, who delivered a superkick off the distraction. Neville placed Aries on the top rope. Aries fought for position and ended up performing a sunset flip powerbomb into a Last Chancery. Neville teased tapping, then rolled under the bottom rope to the floor. Aries applied the hold on the floor again. Neville tapped, but the referee told Aries that he could only win it inside the ring.

At 16:40, Neville avoided a suicide dive under the second rope, causing Aries to crash onto the floor. Neville rolled Aries back inside the ring and performed a Red Arrow onto the back of Aries, then applied the Rings of Saturn, and Aries tapped out…

Neville defeated Austin Aries in a submission match in 17:35 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: A good match. The finish protected Aries to some extent by having Neville tap at ringside. Even so, it feels like it’s time to move on from this program. The problem? None of the cruiserweight babyaces have been given momentum or positioned as worthy contenders to Neville.

A WWE Network ad aired… A WWE Great Balls of Fire commercial aired. It had a ’50s theme and included a shot of Brock Lesnar making his entrance…

Cole announced that Lesnar’s first Universal Championship defense will take place at Great Balls of Fire against the winner of the five-way main event… A video package set up the main event…

Ring entrances for the main event took place in the following order – Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and Roman Reigns…

6. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins in a Fatal Five-Way to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. The bell rang. Joe and Rollins squared off and fought to ringside. Wyatt and Balor did the same. Reigns stood and watched until Wyatt ended up in the ring with him. Reigns caught Wyatt with a Superman Punch on the ropes and then performed a Samoan drop.

Joe went after Reigns, who put him down with a Samoan drop. Joe rolled to ringside. Balor threw punches at Reigns and avoided the Samoan drop. Reigns still punched him off the apron to the floor. Reigns turned and smiled when he saw Rollins waiting to face him. Wyatt and Joe went after Reigns. Rollins eventually pulled off Joe.

At 5:00, Joe cut off Reigns as he was setting up for a Drive By on Wyatt. Joe and Wyatt worked over Reigns, who sold rib pain. Cole said Reigns was only a few weeks removed from the internal injuries caused by Braun Strowman and questioned whether it would be a factor. Joe and Wyatt continued to work together, first on Rollins and then on Balor.

At 11:00, Wyatt struck Balor from behind with a chair. Reigns entered the ring and took a chair shot from Wyatt, who knocked him back to ringside. Wyatt looked at Joe, who was one one knee and wound up to hit him. Wyatt hit Balor instead. Wyatt placed the chair over Balor, and Joe performed a senton. Joe put the chair over Balor, then Wyatt performed his own senton at 12:25.

Reigns recovered and threw repeated clotheslines at Wyatt in the corner while the fans chanted along. Joe tried to help, but Reigns put him down too. Reigns stood in the ring and looked to the crowd and received a mixed reaction. Reigns set up for a big move in the corner, but Joe pulled him to ringside. Joe and Wyatt worked together again. Wyatt performed a uranage onto the broadcast table. The anti-Reigns crowd chanted “one more time.”

Rollins had a run of offense on the heels, including a double Blockbuster that gave him a two count on Wyatt. Rollins performed a soft suicide dive on Joe. Rollins returned to the ring and tossed Wyatt to the floor. Rollins went for a suicide dive. Wyatt shoved Joe into the path of the suicide dive. Rollins leapt off the top rope, but Wyatt ended up putting him down with Sister Abigail.

Joe returned and confronted Wyatt, apparently more pissed than the other times Wyatt turned on him during the build to this match. Ugh. Wyatt got the better of their initial exchange and went for the Sister Abigail, but Joe countered into the Coquina Clutch. Balor entered the ring and broke it up by attacking both men with a chair. Balor performed a dropkick through the ropes on Reigns and then delivered another kick to Roman from the apron.

Balor delivered a running dropkick to Wyatt, then did the same to Joe. Balor slammed Wyatt’s head into the broadcast table and then tore the top off one and removed the monitors. Joe caught Balor from behind with a Coquina Clutch. Reigns speared Balor and Joe into the timekeepers area. Rollins went up top and performed a frogsplash that drove Wyatt through the table. Rollins came up selling his right knee while the fans chanted “holy shit” at 22:30.

Reigns, who had a bloody mouth, and Rollins returned to the ring. Rollins threw the first punches. Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch. Rollins came back with a big shot of his own and connected with an enzuigiri. Reigns caught Rollins with a Superman Punch and covered him, but Rollins kicked out for a good near fall at 25:10.

Reigns went to the corner and let out his war cry. Reigns charged Rollins, who rolled him up for a two count. Rollins stood up and connected with a superkick that led to a two count. Rollins performed a top rope splash on Reigns for another two count at 26:20.

Rollins sold knee pain as he got up and then went to the top rope. Reigns avoided a Phoenix Splash. Wyatt entered the ring and went for his finisher. Rollins avoided it, but Wyatt kicked Reigns. Reigns avoided Wyatt’s finisher and then speared him. Rollins caught Reigns with a knee to the head and then performed a Buckle Bomb. Reigns bounced off with a Superman Punch. Balor returned and ran into a Superman Punch.

Reigns let out another war cry and charged Balor, who caught him with a sling blade clothesline. Balor performed a running dropkick and then performed the Coup de Grace on Reigns. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch on Balor, who passed out to give Joe the win….

Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Bray Wyatt in 29:15 to earn a WWE Universal Championship match.

Powell’s POV: A highly entertaining main event with hard work by all and some very good late near falls. Balor was protected even though he lost the match, as he seemingly had Reigns beat before Joe caught him in his submission finisher from behind. The only real negative is that Joe didn’t do anything to come off as a threat to Lesnar during this match. He spent most of his time double teaming the babyfaces with Wyatt, and was once again surprised when Wyatt turned on him. That said, creative should be able to build up Joe in a big way over the next four weeks on television before the Great Balls of Fire show. I will have more to say in the members’ audio review with Jake Barnett later tonight. Plus, Will Pruett and I will be taking your calls during Prowrestling.net Live at 3CT/4ET on Monday at PWAudio.net.


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