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WWE returns to live PPV action with Roman Reigns vs. A.J. Styles for the WWE World Title. Plus, all other titles on the line at Extreme Rules from the Prudential Center…
WWE Extreme Rules PPV Report
May 22, 2016
Live in Newark, N.J.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Extreme Rules Pre-Show
The pre-show panel tonight is Renee Young with Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Corey Graves. A few segments in, Paige and Becky Lynch joined the pre-show panel to discuss the Women’s Title match between Charlotte and Natalya.
Scheduled for the pre-show is Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin in a No DQ match. But, first, the Dudleys were out to the ring for a promo. Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton were on commentary down at ringside.
In the ring, the Dudleys wanted to talk. First, an “ECW” chant. Devon rhetorically asked what the Extreme Rules PPV would be without the Dudley Boys. Bubba Ray said they have been in more extreme rules matches than the entire locker room combined. Ray referenced an old company called ECW. Pause for the chant. It was an okay chant. So, Bubba asked for more. Devon noted ECW can be watched on WWE Network, which drew boos.
Now, Bubba told the crowd to shut up and stop acting like sheep, which also drew boos. Bubba said the Dudleys were responsible for killing off ECW. He said when they left ECW, the company went straight into the toilet. And that’s also where the careers of most of “these new era” Superstars are going. Bubba then heeled on the location to complete the random intro promo.
Enzo Amore’s music interrupted to bring out Big Cass back in his home area. Big Cass walked and talked down to the ring. He said he knows why Bubba won’t tell Devon to get the table because he ate the table and everything on the table. Cookies, steak, meatloaf, chicken (how you doin’?), pizza (hyd?), fish, etc. The crowd had a good laugh at Cass’s food-inspired monologue.
Cass said they are extremely wrong about the athletes of the new era. Cass said they will one-up what the Dudleys did in bingo halls in front of millions of people. The people also know that he is Big Cass and you can’t teach that.
Big Cass stormed the ring and quickly took a beating from the Dudleys. Cass tried to fight back, but they took him off his feet. “Enzo, Enzo” chant, but Cass side-stepped Bubba, who crashed into Devon. Big Cass then dropped Devon with the East Riving Crossing. Cass left the ring and said there is only one way to describe them. “S-A-W-F-T.”
Still to come: Rusev and Lana in the social media lounge with Tom Phillips.
Backstage: Jo-Jo interviewed IC champion The Miz and Maryse. Miz prepared a monologue on overcoming the odds and how much he can’t stand the “new era.” (Recurring theme of the pre-show.) Miz dramatically vowed to “go out there and take it.”
Social Media Lounge: Rusev said he already considers himself the U.S. champion. Kalisto is nothing. What’s his favorite thing about America? The opportunity to make money. He said Americans are too lazy to take advantage of their opportunities, so he’ll take it. And the money. Phillips thanked him for his time. Rusev, with the mastery of the broken English character, single-handedly boosted the pre-show.
Video Package: WWE World Title feud between Roman Reigns and A.J. Styles.
In-ring: Baron Corbin was introduced to the ring first for the opening match. Dolph Ziggler was out next dressed in an … interesting … white & pink Shawn Michaels cow-pants look. Eden Stiles, whose husband Cody Rhodes left WWE this week, handled ring introductions.
A — DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BARON CORBIN — No DQ match
Ziggler landed some early punches, but Corbin chucked him over the top rope into the ringside cameraman. Ziggler sold a shoulder injury crashing into the cameraman, then Corbin followed up on the outside with more punishment.
Back in the ring, Corbin attacked the shoulder. He then hung Ziggler in the ring ropes and punished him with blows and verbal taunts. Corbin then kind of slung Ziggler to the mat trying to wrench his neck. Ziggler came back with successive offense, then tried an elbow drop, but Corbin rolled to the edge of the ring apron to avoid. Corbin caught Ziggler with the Deep Six, but Ziggler kicked out in time.
At 5:00, Ziggler came back with a DDT, then the Fameasser. Corbin kicked out before three, though. Ziggler followed with angry headbutts and strikes, then tried a superkick, but Corbin ducked and low-blowed Dolph hard in the Zigglers. Corbin smirked, lost the moment by taking a while to follow up, and eventually hit End of Days on Ziggler for the pin.
WINNER: Corbin at 7:07. Corbin has a lot of work to do to belong at this level. He’s progressed in some areas, but he’s at a basic level in other areas. Developing all of the tools is what NXT is supposed to be for. (**1/4)
Back at the pre-show panel, Renee Young signed off as Michael Cole made his entrance. Apparently Cole’s arrival at the announce position was the big hook for the PPV.
Live Extreme Rules PPV
The PPV opened with a video package on WWE not liking rules, being restricted by rules, and breaking all of the rules.
In-arena: The Usos were introduced first to a lukewarm reaction to kick off the show. Down at ringside, Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton introduced the show before throwing to the German and Spanish announce teams. The Club’s Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows were introduced next for the opening match.
1 — THE CLUB (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) — Texas Tornado Tag match
The Usos met The Club in the aisleway and the fight was on before the bell sounded. They fought back into the ring to officially start the match. “Bullet Club” chant from the crowd as the announcers talked up the Club’s background in Japan. The match was chaos in the first few minutes with both teams trading control in 2-on-1 situations.
Eventually, Anderson was the only man standing while the other wrestlers sold on the mat. Anderson then kicked Jey out of the ring and trash-talked him on the floor. Anderson wanted a running attack, but Uso kicked him in the face. Uso then butt-splashed Anderson into the guardrail. Gallows had Anderson’s back, though, to smash Uso over the guardrail into the front row.
While hanging out ringside, Gallows grabbed the ring bell. Gallows entered the ring to smash Jimmy Uso with the bell, but Jimmy superkicked him. Uso then climbed to the top to boos. Uso wanted a Superfly Splash, but Gallows moved and Jimmy ate the ring bell. Gallows and Anderson then combined for the Magic Killer on Uso for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: The Club at 8:37. The match seemed a bit disorganized, which is typical for a Texas Tornado match, and could have used some more time to space out the sequences. (**1/2)
Post-match, Anderson and Gallows hung out in the ring for a while gloating about their victory. WWE stayed with the post-match for a while as The Usos sold on the floor. The announcers eventually got around to selling Roman Reings having a stacked deck if his cousins The Usos are injured and don’t have his back against A.J. Styles in the main event.
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped a new episode of “Camp WWE” on-demand on WWE Network after the PPV.
Video Package: Rusev injured U.S. champion Kalisto on Raw. How will that affect his U.S. Title defense tonight?
In-ring: Eden introduced Lana, who was standing by to introduce Rusev. Lana proclaimed Rusev the next U.S. champion, then welcomed out her man. Cole said Rusev has to win by pinfall or DQ to win the title, then threw to the international announce section on the floor behind the production area. Brazil, Russia, and Japan via Funaki were represented. WWE cut back to the ring for Kalisto to be introduced for a difficult title defense.
2 — U.S. champion KALISTO vs. RUSEV (w/Lana) — United States Title match
Rusev swatted away a big corkscrew attack from Kalisto in the opening seconds. Rusev then stomped away at Kalisto’s injured mid-section. Rusev took his time following up, allowing Kalisto to kick him low, but Rusev came back with a hard clothesline for a two count. Rusev followed with a mat-based bearhug trying to squeeze a submission out of the champ.
Kalisto kept fighting, so Rusev went for a different attack. Rusev put Kalisto in Lex Luger’s Torture Rack, as referenced by the announcers. Rusev didn’t bounce up and down on the submission, though, so Kalisto broke free with knees to the head. Kalisto then connected with a corkscrew splash into a huracanrana for a two count.
On the floor, Kalisto sent Rusev face-first into the ring steps. Kalisto tossed Rusev back into the ring, then nailed a springboard Eddie Guerrero frog splash for a two count. Rusev rolled to the floor to recover, so Kalisto splashed him with a running attack. Back in the ring, Kalisto sold being worn out, allowing Rusev to catch him and smash him hard into the ring apron.
Referee John Cone checked on Kalisto and held off Rusev, who did not want to listen to the referee. Cone called for a ringside official to check on Kalisto. Rusev kept pacing the ring, upset over what was going on. Rusev tried to go against the ref’s instructions, then eventually just put him in The Accolade. Kalisto immediately tapped out to Cone’s displeasure.
Post-match, Rusev’s music played and Cone awarded the title belt to Rusev, who did a big celebration in the ring and then down at ringside. Meanwhile, the doctor continued to check on Kalisto to sell the effects of the outcome.
WINNER: Rusev via submission at 9:31. It looked like they might do a DQ outcome because of Rusev not listening to the referee’s instructions. But, at least on this night, Rusev won the U.S. Title. (**1/4)
TMNT Preview: Sheamus was showcased in a video clip from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 movie due out in June.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia was standing by to introduce the WWE Tag Title match up next. Big E.’s voice brought out New Day. WWE unfortunately replayed the Time Machine bit from Raw when The Vaudevillains attacked New Day and their cardboard Time Machine. Back in the ring, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E., holding two garden tools, talked to the hard camera.
Kofi addressed the tools over Big’s shoulder. He said they are Aiden English and Simon Gotch. Big E. said that because they are in the Garden State, they are about to put a couple hoes in the ground. Meaning, they will live this state still the WWE tag champions. Because … New Day Rocks … New Day Rocks.
The Vaudevillains’s theme music interrupted to bring out the challengers dressed in their old-timey garb doing their old-timey ring entrance.
3 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (XAVIER WOODS & BIG E. w/Kofi Kingston) vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS (AIDEN ENGLISH & SIMON GOTCH) — WWE Tag Title match
Xavier charged Aiden right out of the gate to knock him down with a clothesline. The Vaudes eventually double-teamed Xavier to cut him off. Meanwhile, Cole and Co. identified English as an actor. Speaking of actors, Simon Gotch entered the ring to slow the pace wearing down Xavier. Simon lost control and tags were made on both teams.
Big E. teed off on English with multiple belly-to-belly suplexes before running the ropes and big-splashing Aiden. But, Aiden caught Big E. with a knee to the face into a spike DDT for a close two count. Aiden lost focus yelling at Kofi, then the action broke down on the floor. Big E. ended up taking the ring steps, then the Vaudes took advantage of a compromised Xavier back in the ring.
The Vaudes nailed the Whirling Dervish on Xavier and it looked like the match was over, causing the audience to nearly reach freak-out status, but Xavier kicked out just before three. Simon sold shock over Xavier kicking out of their finish. The Vaudes lost focus, then Kofi caught Simon with Trouble in Paradise on the floor behind the ref’s back. Heel tactics from the default face team that never actually turned face. Xavier then smashed Simon with a knee to the face for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: New Day at 6:20 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Good nearfall for The Vaudevillains was the highlight of the match. Otherwise, basic TV-quality action. (**1/4)
Backstage: A.J. Styles was shown walking down the hallway. Renee Young caught up to Styles to ask him about The Club getting involved in the WWE Title match tonight. Styles said he’s tired of talking about their involvement in his business. He said he will leave Extreme Rules as WWE champion. Styles continued walking into The Club locker room.
Next Month: It’s Money in the Bank.
Video Package: Intercontinental Title four-man feud leading into the four-way title match.
In-ring: Kevin Owens was introduced first for the next title match of the show. Cole read a stat that Owens is only the second wrestler in WWE history to wrestle on every WWE PPV in his debut year, following The Undertaker. JBL said technically Taker did not wrestle at Summerslam 1991. Cesaro, then Sami Zayn were introduced to the ring. IC champion The Miz and Maryse were out next with the red-carpet intro treatment.
4 — IC champion THE MIZ (w/Maryse) vs. KEVIN OWENS vs. CESARO vs. SAMI ZAYN — four-way Intercontinental Title match
Right when the bell sounded, Zayn charged the ring and smashed Owens with a Helluva Kick. Owens rolled to the floor, then Cesaro charged from the opposite side and knocked out Miz with an uppercut. Both Owens and Miz rolled to the floor after being temporarily knocked out of the match. It was Cesaro vs. Zayn for a one-on-one intro battle.
Miz got involved in the Cesaro-Zayn business and paid for it. Zayn knocked both men to the floor, then nailed a flip splash on both men. Meanwhile, Owens continued to sell on another side of the ring. All three men battled back into the ring and found themselves in Tower of Doom position, but Owens suddenly charged the ring and attacked all three opponents. Owens particularly smashed Zayn, yelling at him for the opening Helluva Kick to the face. “You think you can do that to me?!” Owens shouted.
Suddenly, all four men were in a Tower of Doom spot after Cesaro snuck into the ring to slam all three opponents off the top. Pin on Miz, but kick-out. Pin on Zayn, but kick-out. And, Owens rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. Cesaro sold frustration not being able to get a fall.
Reset at 9:00 with Cesaro’s opponents recovering in corners of the ring. Cesaro fixed his elbowpad, then went corner to corner to corner on the Uppercut Train. Cesaro finished Miz with a big Euro, then wanted the Big Swing, but Owens suplexed Cesaro from behind. Owens then went nuts with cannonballs to Cesaro, Miz, and finally Zayn.
Owens wanted the pop-up powerbomb to Zayn, but Owens landed on his feet and suplexed Owens to the mat. Cesaro then smashed Zayn with a super uppercut, but Miz dropped Cesaro from behind with the Skullcrushing Finale. Miz covered, but Cesaro kicked out in time. It’s Finisher Kick-out Night.
Reset at 12:00 with Miz and Cesaro in the ring. Miz angrily slapped around Cesaro, who responded with a spinning elbow smash. Cesaro got up seething and put Miz in the Big Swing. 20 Revolutions right into The Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Amazing feat from Cesaro. Maryse yelled at Miz to fight the hold, then Miz grabbed his wife, so Cesaro dragged both of them back into the middle of the ring. Referee Rudy Charles pulled Maryse out of the ring, Miz tapped out, but the ref didn’t see it.
The match continued with a frustrated Cesaro trying to pin or submit Miz again, but Zayn broke up a pin just before a three count. Zayn then flipped over Cesaro into a huge sunset flip bomb for a super-close two count. That was insane. Zayn got up looking to take out Cesaro with a Helluva Kick, but Cesaro intercepted with a huge uppercut. But, Zayn shook it off into an exploder suplex.
Zayn wanted the Helluva again, but Owens shot back into the ring to superkick him. Pop-up powerbomb to Miz, But, Miz pulled Owens out of the ring. Miz tried to cover Cesaro, but Cesaro kicked out just before three. The crowd came to their feet doing “Yes!” chants as everyone sold in and out of the ring.
Reset at 18:00 with Miz and Cesaro in the ring. Miz charged Cesaro, who tossed Miz over the top rope to the floor. Cesaro sold a shoulder injury just before Zayn suddenly caught Cesaro with a Helluva Kick in the corner. Zayn covered, but Owens pulled Zayn out of the ring just before three. Zayn and Owens fought and scrapped on the floor, losing focus on what was happening in the ring. Suddenly, Miz slid back into the ring and covered a fallen Cesaro for the three count.
WINNER: Miz at 18:18 to retain the Intercontinental Title. What. A. Match. This is what happens when you have strong build-up, you get a strong title match. The Owens-Zayn feud was enhanced, Cesaro’s amazing in-ring skills were captured, and Miz’s post-Mania resurgence continued. The combination of all four wrestlers doing their thing in the ring made for a Match of the Year contender. Plus, they gave Cesaro an “out” for the loss by highlighting him tapping out Miz mid-way through the match. It feels like Miz vs. Cesaro in a solo feud is next up. (****1/2)
Pre-show panel: For the intermission segment of the show, Renee and Co. talked about the first-half of the show.
Video Package: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho feud.
Back in the arena, the cage was lowered for the Asylum Cage match. Cole highlighted the goofy weapons available, then noted the rules that there is no escape, only pinfall or submission. Chris Jericho was then introduced to the ring. Jericho’s wardrobe selection was a heel scarf, washed-out jeans, and goofy-looking kneepads over his jeans. So Jericho. After a pause, Dean Ambrose’s music played to bring out the other crazy-man dressed in his regular jeans, black tanktop, and drenched hair. Before the bell sounded, JBL linked Dean to Brian Pillman on what would have been Brian’s 54th birthday.
5 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. DEAN AMBROSE — Ambrose Asylum Cage match
Jericho wanted out of the cage within the opening minute, but Ambrose cut him off and knocked him around. Jericho then tried to climb out or climb up for weapons, but Ambrose pulled him down and beat him. Meanwhile, JBL noted his desire for Saxton to be dead for the second time tonight.
Back in the cage, Ambrose grabbed a Perry Saturn-inspired mop from the cage roof and poked Jericho in the ear. Then, he slammed the mop across Jericho’s back. Ambrose mopped up Jericho a bit, then tossed the mop aside. Ambrose was slow to follow up, allowing Jericho to commandeer the mop and use it against Ambrose. Jericho wanted the straight-jacket, but Ambrose yanked him down to the mat with a back suplex. Both men sold on the mat.
Back on their feet, Ambrose and Jericho climbed opposite sides of the cage to retrieve weapons. Jericho came down with a big barbed wire 2×4, while Ambrose had small nunchucks. Jericho yelled at him that his weapon was bigger than his. But, Dean ducked a barbed wire shot and whipped Jericho with the chucks. Jericho tried to run away up the side of the cage, but Ambrose caught him. Jericho grabbed a kendo stick while on top of the cage, though, and popped Ambrose with his new weapon.
Back in the ring, Jericho used the previously-introduced weapons on Ambrose. Jericho then grabbed a strap, drawing a Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega strap match reference from JBL. Ambrose fought back against Jericho, then turned the strap on Jericho. Loud screams from Jericho sounding like he was warming up for a Fozzy performance. Ambrose then climbed the cage to retrieve a fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, Jericho pulled down a straight-jacket. Jericho tossed the jacket onto Ambrose, then hit a blinded Dean with an enziguiri for a two count.
Jericho put Ambrose in the straight-jacket, then tried to tie his arms behind him. This turned into a basic wrestling hold where the face shakes and fights to his feet to elbow out of a reverse chinlock. Ambrose shook free of the straight-jacket, then scored with consecutive offense. But, Jericho cut him off and went back on the offensive. The crowd grew restless with the nature of the match, producing a “We Want Rollins” chant.
Ambrose finally regained control and climbed to the top of the cage. Ambrose waited for Jericho to turn around, then he delivered a flying elbow from the top of the cage. Both men sold on the mat after being knocked out. Dean eventually draped an arm over Jericho for a two count.
Dean got up and climbed the cage again, retrieving a Home Depot bucket from the cage. Ambrose opened the lid, produced a black bag, and dramatically spilled out thumbtacks in the corner of the ring. It’s officially a TNA gimmick match, minus Abyss. In the opposite corner, Jericho’s eyes bugged out seeing the tacks across the ring. Ambrose and Jericho blocked each other from going into the tacks, then Jericho tried a Lionsault, but Ambrose blocked with knees to the gut.
Ambrose wanted Dirty Deeds into the tacks, but Jericho desperately blocked before applying the Walls of Jericho. Ambrose had nowhere to go, so he reached for a kendo stick and broke it over Jericho’s back to escape the hold. But, Jericho blinded Ambrose with the fire extinguisher. He nailed the Codebreaker, but on the Night of Finisher Kick-outs, Ambrose kicked out before three.
At 25:00, Jericho grabbed the barbed wire 2×4 and popped Ambrose in the gut with the weapon. And again. Jericho yelled at Dean to get up if he really wants to get crazy. Jericho went for a second Codebreaker, but Ambrose caught him in mid-air and dropped Jericho back-first onto the thumbtacks. Big zoom-in on the tacks puncturing Jericho’s back and elbows, drawing blood. Dean then dropped Jericho face-first into the tacks with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose took some tacks to the face in the process, then slowly rolled on top of Jericho to pin him for the win.
Post-match, Ambrose slowly left the ring as Jericho screamed and yelled back in the ring. Refs and medics tried to get tacks out of Jericho’s back before he pushed them away and kept screaming. On the entrance ramp, Ambrose smiled to himself after conquering Jericho.
WINNER: Ambrose at 26:21. The middle portion was a big struggle trying to follow the four-way IC Title match, plus trying to overcome an overly-gimmicky WWE cage match concept. The finish was good to make sure this wasn’t a dud, but what about Mitch the Potted Plant? For some reason, it never came into play. (**1/2)
Ringside: To promote summer WWE Network content, Noelle Foley and family were shown down at ringside. Cole then plugged the Global Cruiserweight Series kicking off this July.
Video Package: Harts vs. Flairs in the form of Natalya vs. Charlotte for the Women’s Title.
Backstage: Ric Flair talked to Charlotte one more time before Charlotte was set to walk down to ringside by herself. Flair sold concern sending her daughter off to the ring.
In-ring: Natalya was introduced first for the Women’s Title match. The announcers said she did some MMA training with Josh Barnett and Shayna Baszler before this match to prepare for the submission stipulation. Charlotte was then introduced by herself as Cole noted her string of consecutive PPV appearances.
6 — WWE Women’s champion CHARLOTTE vs. NATALYA — Submission match for the Women’s Title — Ric Flair banned from ringside — Charlotte forfeits the Women’s Title if Flair appears at ringside
Charlotte and Natalya went toe-to-toe exchanging control in the opening minute indicating this was going to be a lengthy battle. The match spilled to the floor, where they took turns blasting each other around ringside. Back in the ring, Charlotte went for an inverted Indian Deathlock, but Natalya reached the bottom rope for a break.
Charlotte re-positioned Natalya in the corner of the ring, then climbed to the top for a big moonsault. Charlotte immediately tried to submit Natalya, but she fought out and transitioned to the Sharpshooter. Charlotte reached the ropes for a break, though. Natalya re-applied, then Ric Flair’s music suddenly played. Referee John Cone prepared to raise Natalya’s arm in victory, but it was obvious the person on-stage was not Ric Flair. Was it Charles Robinson? No, it was Dana Brooke dressed as Flair. Dana ran interference and distracted Natalya, who then walked into the figure-eight leglock. Natalya fought, but had to tap out.
Post-match, Ric Flair bounced down to the ring to high-five Dana and celebrate with Charlotte. All three celebrated in the ring as Natalya flipped out ringside. Where were Shane and Stephanie to interrupt and say this is not how they do things in the “new era?”
WINNER: Charlotte via submission at 9:30. It’s not really building strong heat with the heels circumventing the rules at every turn because it feels too goofy. They could still use this heat-building process if someone like Sasha Banks were to finally beat Charlotte for the title, but the steps along the way are only mildly effective. (**1/2)
Video Package: WWE World Title feud between Roman Reigns and A.J. Styles.
In-ring: A.J. Styles’s music played to a loud reaction to bring out Styles challenging for the WWE World Title. Styles did his ring entrance, then his music stopped and the boos started. Cue up Roman Reigns’s music to amplified boos. Reigns slowly walked out on-stage holding the WWE Title belt by his side. Reigns raised the belt in the air as Cole noted this match will be contested under Extreme Rules where anything goes.
Before the match started, Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions. First, the challenger, A.J. Styles. Loud boos for Reigns, who sneered and shook his head like there’s nothing you can do about it. Cue the bell 30 minutes before the top of the hour.
7 — WWE World Hvt. champion ROMAN REIGNS vs. A.J. STYLES — Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Title
Reigns shoved Styles into the corner, but Styles ducked a corner charge. They circled the ring before locking up again. Reigns back-elbowed Styles to boos, then they circled the ring again. Styles popped Reigns in the mouth as the crowd picked up a “You can’t wrestle” chant toward Reigns. Styles out-quicked Reigns again to deliver corner offense, but Reigns pushed Styles across the ring. Reigns delivered corner clotheslines, Styles fought back, and Reigns delivered a big knee strike to the face. Reigns fell on his keister after trying the new move.
On the floor, Styles tried to retrieve a chair, but Reigns intercepted. Reigns went for a chair shot, but Styles ducked and Reigns slammed the chair into the ring steps, prompting Reigns to sell a hand injury. The fight moved to the German announce table, then over the guardrail into the crowd.
The fight continued through the arena to a walkway area at the back of the floor area. They made it to the pre-show panel area. Reigns proceeded to slam Styles onto the table, producing “Roman Sucks” chants from the nearby fans. Styles then surprised Reigns with a kick to the head. He followed with a Phenomenal Forearm off the pre-show table.
The fight spilled down the floor area back toward the ringside area near the Spanish announce table. Styles took control and bounced Reigns’s forehead off an exposed portion of the guardrail. Styles then ripped back the ringside padding, exposing concrete to a crowd pop. Styles wanted the Clash on the concrete, but Reigns blocked and uppercut the challenger.
The battled moved to the German announce table, where Styles unloaded on Reigns with right hands. Styles wanted the Clash through the table, but Reigns blocked and nailed another uppercut. That one sent Styles crashing to the floor area. But, Styles got up and wanted a flying attack, but Reigns threw him way into the air and Styles went butt-first through the U.S. announce table. Big crash for Styles. “You still suck!” chant from the crowd.
Back in the ring at 10:30, Reigns covered Styles for a two count. Reigns then picked up Styles and put him in the Razor’s Edge, which he transitioned into a sit-out powerbomb for a close two count. Reigns wanted to finish Styles with a Superman Punch or spear, but Styles tackled him hard in the knee. Reigns clutched his knee, selling tremendous pain. Styles took advantage with a suplex into the corner.
The fight moved back to the floor at 13:00, where Styles delivered a sliding knee to the face. Styles tried a running huracanrana, but Reigns caught him in mid-air, swung him into the barricade, swung him into the ring apron, hoisted him in the air, and then powerbombed him through the Spanish announce table. Crazy amount of punishment Styles is taking in this match.
Reigns caught his breath, then wanted a big flying attack, but Styles moved and Reigns crashed through the barricade. Styles slowly recovered, dragged Reigns back into the ring, and went for the flying forearm, but Reigns blocked with a Superman Punch, sending Styles recoiling to the floor. Referee Mike Chioda checked on Styles while Reigns sold a knee injury on the other side of the ringside area. Reigns then charged Styles and speared him to the floor, knocking the wind out of both men.
Reigns rolled Styles into the ring, then Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows suddenly showed up to take out Reigns. They gave Reigns the Boot of Doom, then put Styles on top of Reigns, but Reigns kicked out. The Usos then charged ringside, recovered from the opening match. Superkicks to Doc, Karl, and then Styles. Flying splash to Styles as the crowd booed. Reigns draped an arm over Styles, who kicked out just before three.
The Usos and The Club battled down at ringside, then back into the ring. Anderson and Doc then took Superman Punches from Reigns, who tried to finish Styles. But, Styles kicked Reigns in the face and nailed the Styles Clash. Styles covered Reigns, but the Night of Finisher Kick-outs led to Reigns kicking out just before three.
Styles didn’t linger after not getting the finish, as he set up a chair in the middle of the ring. He wanted the Clash into the chair, but Reigns back-dropped Styles into the chair. Styles slowly got up, then kicked Reigns in the head when Reigns charged him. Styles then nailed the Clash again, this time on the chair. Styles tried to cover, but an Uso pulled Styles off the pin. Styles shook him off, then covered Reigns, but Reigns kicked out again.
Styles shot a look of getting desperate trying to figure out how to beat Reigns. So, he picked up the chair and bashed it over Reigns, then jabbed each charging Uso. Chair shots for everyone. Just nuts. Styles then removed his elbow pad and went to the ring apron looking for an exposed flying forearm. He measured Reigns, but Reigns intercepted with a mid-air spear. Reigns covered Styles for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Reigns at 22:12 to retain the WWE World Title. A very physical, PPV main event-worthy battle continuing to build up Styles’s strong first year in WWE. Reigns plays the part well of a PPV main-eventer when matched up with the right opponent, like Styles, but not someone like Sheamus. It’s unfortunate there were so many finisher kick-outs on this show, but that seems to be the trend these days. Overall for storyline direction, the Styles-Club dynamic will be interesting going forward to see if Styles gets frustrated with his brothers to the point of The Club bringing in Balor tomorrow night on Raw or after NXT Takeover to begin Styles’s next chapter against Balor (assuming that’s how Balor is introduced on main TV). (***3/4)
Post-match, Reigns and Styles recovered in the ring as the pro-Reigns fans celebrated and the vocal males expressed their displeasure – a recurring theme for WWE PPV endings. Reigns eventually took his title belt and WWE zoomed in close on Reigns standing tall to loud boos. Suddenly, the crowd popped for something off-camera. It was Seth Rollins charging the ring from behind. Rollins spun Reigns from behind and dropped him with a Pedigree in the middle of the ring as the crowd exploded.
Rollins, looking completely re-configured physically, sold being fired up making his return from injury after a six-month absence. Rollins stood over Reigns to loud cheers, then slowly picked up the title belt as Cole noted that Seth never lost the title; he had to vacate it due to injury. Rollins slowly held up the title belt over Reigns as Cole called it the Wrath of Rollins. The PPV signed off at 10:54 EST with Rollins standing tall in the ring.
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