7/15 WWE EXTREME RULES KICKOFF SHOW REPORT: Keller’s report and analysis of PPV pre-show with Almas vs. Sin Cara, New Day vs. Sanity tables match

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


WWE EXTREME RULES KICKOFF SHOW REPORT
JULY 15, 2018
PITTSBURGH, PA.
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK

Panel: Renee Young, Booker T, Sam Roberts, David Otunga

-Renee Young introduced the panel. Otunga showed off his shoes. Booker stood and received some cheers. Renee said she’s happy Booker is feeling like himself. Sam immediately noted that there’s a six-man tables match on the Kickoff Show, that’s how much action there is on this show. They discussed the top matches on the PPV briefly as graphics flashed on the screen. Sam said they’ll find out if Rusev can handle getting what the fans wanted, which is a big opportunity like this. Renee pointed out there is now an official Rusev Day in Knox, Tennessee. Otaunga said: “So Rusev Day is now an actual thing?” Booker said he has a feeling it’s his night.

-Backstage Charley Caruso said she had breaking news. She said Hogan has been reinstated into WWE Hall of Fame. “He’s backstage, he’s mixing, he’s mingling with everybody. All the Superstars and the WWE Universe excited to have the Hulkster back in the family.” Caruso said all of the wrestlers say they are going to be watching closely on a monitor who emerges from Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley as the alpha male. She also plugged the reunion of Team Hell No. She said when James Ellsworth arrived, he walked around like he owned the place and when he winked at her, she said “it was disgusting.” She also mentioned Shinsuke Nakamura would be in the social media lounge later in the hour.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s interesting that Hogan’s not just returning, but WWE is going out of its way to say he’s returning from a three-year suspension that the vast majority of fans didn’t know was a thing – either that he was “suspended” instead of “quietly removed” from the HOF or that it was “three-years” and had an end-date. It does draw attention to the fact that he “did something worthy of being suspended.”)

-“Smilin'” Finn Balor joined the panel. He said he doesn’t envy Kevin Owens tonight. Booker T said, “You know what I say about Bryan? No bread, no water, just meat. You feel me.” Then he laughed uproariously as the panel politely and uncomfortably smiled. When asked if beating Baron Corbin puts him in a bad spot with Stephanie McMahon, he said if beating Corbin gets him back in the Universal Title picture, “then Stephanie’s my enemy.” The panel gasped.

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

(A) ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS (w/Zenlina Vega) vs. SIN CARA

Phillips said Sin Cara missed a month of action after Andrade attacked him during an interview segment. Sin Cara dove through the ropes early and at Almas, but Almas side-stepped him and threw him hard into the ringside barricade. Graves said, “Sin Cara never takes off that ridiculous match. For all we know, this might not be the same guy Almas knew (years ago).” That’s pretty funny, actually. Almas posed on his side between the ropes as Zelina posed like him underneath him as they cut to a break. [c]

They stayed with the action on split screen. Almas controlled with an armbar. Back from the break, Sin Cara made a comeback and scored a near fall, which drew some “oohs” from the crowd. They battled on the second rope, which led to Almas going for a double stomp off the top rope, but Sin Cara slipped away and shoved Almas hard onto the ring apron. Then he leaped at Almas and yanked him off the apron with a head scissors. Back in the ring, Sin Cara quickly landed a frog splash. Zelina distracted the referee. Almas then dropkicked a distracted Sin Cara hard into the corner. Almas then landed his running knee to the face of Sin Cara in the corner followed by his hammerlock DDT for the win.

WINNER: Andrade in 7:00. (*1/2)

(Keller’s Analysis: Similar to Shinsuke’s slow start by feuding with wrestlers perceived as mid-carders and struggling to get past them in “good competitive matches,” Andrade is defined down by needing a distraction to beat perennial lower-card jobber Sin Cara. Had they built up Sin Cara for a few weeks or months first, that’d be one thing, but they didn’t.)

-Renee interviewed Shinsuke on a split screen. She asked if he can hear her (which she never does with others, which was a tipoff). Nakamura didn’t react. She asked him a question and he began to doze off a little and then just he just smiled and pretended his earpiece wasn’t working. Then he said he could hear her. “Yes. Go ahead,” he said, with a sly smile. She asked a question and he said, “Bad connection.” Sam asked how important this match against Hardy is tonight coming off his heated rivalry with Styles. Nakamura said, “You a clown like Jeff Hardy.” Booker agreed Sam is a clown, then asked how important a title win is. Nakamura asked, “What did you say?” He then said he respects Hardy, but tonight he will take away his canvas and his paint and he will take away his title. He smiled with an overflow of smug self-satisfaction.

(Keller’s Analysis: Nakamura is hilarious in his heel role. He seems to be having so much fun being a jerk.)

-Renee said Hardy vs. Nakamura could steal the show tonight. Then they talked about Team Hell No. Then they threw to a video package on the Raw Women’s Title match. They also showed Kurt Angle throwing out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game.

-As the panel discussed the match, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre barged in. Sam looked uncomfortable and shifted away from them. Booker told Ziggle since he came to Raw, he feels like a new man. Ziggler said he’s so good at this, it’s funny. He said he’s an opportunist and takes small opportunities given to him and makes a lot of them. He complained about fans supporting him and then turning on him in a second. He said you have to fight for yourself, not the fans. He called Drew “a big psycho watching his back.” Otunga asked if Drew at ringside factors into his strategy. Ziggler said the fans aren’t really in his corner, but Drew is in real life “unlike anyone in this business ever has.” He said he might never lose again “and I’m not tired of losing yet.” Booker said Ziggler is his guy and is back in his top five.

(B) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. SANITY (Eric Young & Killian Dane & Alexander Wolfe) – Tables Match

All six brawled when the bell rang, and New Day cleared the ring of the heels. Big E threw Dane hard into the ringside steps where it appeared the side of his head made contact along with his shoulder and arm. It took under a minute for a table to be set up at ringside as everyone brawled on the floor. Young and Wolfe isolated Big E and double-teamed him. Young’s feet caught the top rope as Big E threw him over the top rope toward a table, but Wolfe caught Young and then they went after Big E again. Young hit a flying top rope elbow quickly. Graves said Sanity are unpredictable and unorthodox, so they’re difficult to plan for. [c]

They showed action on split-screen during the break. Afterward, they nearly backdropped Big E over the top rope onto a table, but he held on. Xavier and Kofi then saved the day and landed running flip dives onto Young and Wolfe at ringside. Dane then dove through the ropes and tackled Kofi and Xavier on the floor. Sanity placed one table upside down on another right side up, but Big E stopped Sanity from suplexing Kofi off the top rope onto it. Instead, Xavier and Big double powerbombed Wolfe and Young off the top rope with a double stomp added upon impact by Kofi. New Day put Young on a table at ringside. Dane beat up New Day in the ring, though, unlike Kofi kicked him in the head when he charged him in the corner. He landed Trouble in Paradise next. Wolfe lifted Kofi onto his shoulders, but Kofi slipped out and then tried to suplex Dane off the ring apron onto the table at ringside. Young stood on the top rope and leaped and drove Kofi through the table at ringside. Graves said, “Chaos reigns supreme.”

WINNERS: Sanity in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Sanity had to win this match to keep any credibility out of the gate. It was good match with a lot of action packed into eight minutes.)

-After more plugs for the matches, they showed Ronda Rousey arriving at the building with her husband Travis Browne.

-Sam said Lashley was on his podcast a few months before his WWE return, and he said on his podcast he wanted two matches – one against Brock Lesnar and the other against Roman Reigns. Sam said Lashley has been thinking about this a long time. Booker said Roman is the top guy in this company and you have to be careful what you wish for. Otunga said Reigns is “The Guy” and “has been the guy for some time.” He said he respects that Lashley wants to take on “The Guy” to try to prove he should be in that spot. A video package aired on the feud.

-A backstage promo aired with Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy. Matt said B Team’s streak of luck is about to end. Bray said, “We’re here and we’re next.”


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