By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big E vs. Rusev vs. The Miz in a gauntlet match for a WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules: An entertaining and very well booked gauntlet match. They gave fans a nice taste of Bryan vs. Joe without giving away a decisive finish. The Bludgeon Brothers attacking Bryan was odd, but we’ll see where it goes. The good thing about the attack was that it set up Miz for a cheap win over Bryan while saving Bryan’s first televised offense on Miz for a later date. Rusev going over was a pleasant surprise. He’s a fresh face in the title picture and it’s good to see WWE finally do something with a guy who has been among the most popular figures in the company despite not getting any semblance of a push until now. The only real negative is that they never bothered to explain why Big E was placed in this match. I’m all for WWE doing more with E as a singles wrestler, but it would have been nice if they had Paige deliver some explanation for why a tag team wrestler was given an opportunity out of nowhere to earn a shot at the top singles title.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Smackdown Tag Titles: A good, competitive match rather than the usual Bludgeon Brothers squash. It wasn’t a long match and yet it felt like Gallows and Anderson gained something just by being more competitive than most with the Smackdown Tag Champions. Are the actual tag teams being shoved aside for the time being while Bryan attempts to avenge the beatdown the Bludgeon Brothers gave him during the gauntlet match? If so, who does Bryan team with in this feud? Are the Bludgeon Brothers still pissed about Bryan’s brief and awful run with the Wyatt Family? Okay, probably not.
Becky Lynch vs. Billie Kay: A solid opening match with Lynch getting a clean win. Here’s hoping this isn’t just a random win that will be followed by a parity booking loss to Kay or Peyton Royce next week. Lynch is one of the most popular female wrestlers in the company and one can only hope that the creative team starts to elevate her rather than treat her like a good hand.
Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura: A couple of good promos set the stage for what feels like a darker feud over the U.S. Championship. Hardy breaking out the face paint was a nice touch, and it was good to see Nakamura seeking heat rather than laughs during his promo. I continue to assume that Nakamura will take the U.S. Championship after coming up short in his WWE Championship feud with AJ Styles.
Carmella opening: Carmella’s promo was too similar to the Alexa Bliss promo that opened Raw one night earlier. They both took the same approach of acting humble and then attempting to pull the rug out from under the fans. We’ve seen that one too many times from Bliss lately and thus the fans didn’t really fall for it on Raw, nor did they buy into Carmella’s version a night later.
Sanity debuts by attacking The Usos: A minor Miss in that the attack felt too basic and forgettable given the “crazy” build buildup they received from the broadcast team. There was no long term damage done, but this just wasn’t a hot or memorable debut. It probably doesn’t help that they beat up the Usos when they are fresh off being destroyed by the Bludgeon Brothers so frequently.
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features former ROH TV Champion Shane Taylor discussing how his background prepared him for the world today, his run with Keith Lee, why Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship win was so meaningful, and much more...