By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Extreme Rules Hits
Roman Reigns vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor in an Extreme Rules match for the WWE Universal Championship: The overbooked finish wasn’t enough to move this match to land in my Miss section. Reigns and Balor had a strong match that was as suspenseful as it could have been given that most viewers had to know that Reigns was retaining. But I have no idea why they felt compelled to go with The Demon persona, especially given the finish they went with. It came off like they wanted whatever quick buzz they could get from The Demon being in the match and they risked some of the character’s long term appeal by having him make his special effects resurrection only to lose due to the rope breaking. The Demon will still mean something if they wait until the right time to bring it back. Still, had regular Balor lost due to the rope breaking, they could always come back with The Demon at a later date. My guess is that this was a one-off, meaning the company opted to get whatever they could out of Balor vs. Reigns because they intend to move Balor to Raw via the WWE Draft.
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins for the Smackdown Tag Titles: A very good match with a clean and decisive finish. Ford selling a rib injury coming out of Smackdown gave him an out for losing, but it also tipped off the match outcome. Sometimes it’s okay just to have babyfaces come up short.
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: There was no reason to expect a clean finish at this stage in the Lynch and Belair program, so Sasha Banks showing up and attacking Belair for the disqualification finish didn’t bother me. It obviously sets the stage for a Triple Threat match, though it remains to be seen if all three women will end up on the same brand. Lynch and Belair worked well together, but I have no doubt that their best match is yet to come.
Damian Priest vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy in a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship: Priest was involved in a couple of clunky moments, including one where he fell off the apron. Those spots weren’t enough to ruin what turned out to be an entertaining Triple Threat match. Here’s hoping that WWE officials take note of Hardy’s popularity. They’ve had him lose far so many matches and even had him chase after the WWE 24/7 Championship one week, and yet this crowd still cheered him over Priest, who is typically a fairly popular act. So imagine how the crowds would react to Hardy if the company actually got behind him.
Liv Morgan beat Carmella: A quality Kickoff Show match and a nice win for Morgan. I assume Carmella is moving to Raw in the draft where she’ll be on the same brand as Corey Graves. Carmella debuted her new persona and ended up being fed to Bianca Belair repeatedly. It was the right move and all, but she plays her part well and deserves a new start on Raw.
Overall Show: I’m right in the middle on this event, so ignore the fact that it’s in the Hit section. Your enjoyment of the show likely came down to what your expectations were going in. If you thought you would get clean finishes in the WWE Universal Championship and Smackdown Women’s Championship matches, then you probably hated this show. I anticipated a solid night of matches and very little in the way of major storyline developments. In other words, I got what I expected in the form of an average, yet largely forgettable event.
WWE Extreme Rules Misses
Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship: I was pleasantly surprised that Flair never had to sell for the ridiculous possessed doll. As such, this was a decent match, though I never bought into the possibility of Bliss going over. The Miss is largely due to the post match angle that saw Bliss acting absurdly over the top in response to Flair destroying her ridiculous doll.
Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods vs. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, and Omos: A Hit from a match quality standpoint, but it was baffling on a couple of levels. First, why did they wait until the Kickoff Show to advertise this match for the main card? Second, why did Lashley take the pin when they knew they were booking his WWE Championship rematch with Big E to open tonight’s Raw? At this point, I’m assuming that Lashley’s recent losses are leading to him moving to Smackdown.