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LECLAIR’S WWE EXTREME RULES 2022 REPORT
OCTOBER 8, 2022
PHILADELPHIA, PA AT WELLS FARGO CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK (U.S.), WWE NETWORK (Int.)
Announcers: Michael Cole & Corey Graves
-The show opened with a video package, narrated by Paul Heyman, depicting a child in a spelling bee asking questions surrounding the word “extreme.”
-Following an opening display of pyro, Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed the audience from the announcers desk at ringside. Cole mentioned that he and Graves will be calling every match on Premium Live Events going forward, as part of WWE’s new announce crews.
-The camera cut to barrels, stools, and bar tops positioned around ringside. Samantha Irvin introduced the “good old fashioned Donnybrook match.”
The Brawling Brutes headed to the ring first. As the entered, the screen cut to the animated White Rabbit video, showing the rabbit hopping to a purple “X” on the ground before disappearing.
Imperium followed. Cole mentioned Gunther using a weapon to defeat Sheamus last night, despite admonishing their usage.
(1) THE BRAWLING BRUTES (Sheamus & Ridge Holland & Butch) vs. IMPERIUM (Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) – “Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook” match
Action spilled to the outside as soon as the bell rang. Butch initially launched Giovanni Vinci over the top, and the men spilled over the bar tops and stools near the announcers desk. Imperium gained control quickly, taking down Butch and Ridge Holland in the ring and isolating Sheamus on the outside. They tossed him over the bar top and into the ringside barrier. Kaiser and Vinci pulled Sheamus to his feet and tossed him into the ring steps.
Butch came flying into view, toppling over Kaiser and Vinci. Gunther shoved Butch in the ringside barrier, breaking it into the lap of the front row. Gunther tossed Sheamus onto the bar top and delivered some heavy chops. Holland and Butch pulled themselves back in the ring, and Imperium returned to meet them. With a 3-on-2 advantage, Imperium went to work. They stomped Ridge and Butch, kicked them repeatedly in the corner, and delivered vicious headbutts. Butch launched himself at Gunther, dropping him to a knee. This drew the attention of Kaiser and Vinci, who quickly overwhelmed Butch. Holland hoisted both Vinci and Kaiser into the air, but Gunther broke it up. Kaiser and Vinci hit Holland with the Imperial Bomb to the outside.
Imperium surrounded Butch in the ring as the match crossed 6:00. The drove him into the corner and laid him out across the top rope. Gunther delivered a brutal chop and held him in place while Vinci and Kaiser hit double running dropkicks. Butch collapsed to the outside in a heap. Imperium posed in the center of the ring, holding the position for several moments before heading outside to continue their dominance.
Kaiser and Vinci held Butch up by the arms while Gunther peppered him with hard chops. Sheamus suddenly rose from behind the bar to a huge pop. Gunther sent his cohorts to get him, but Sheamus dropped them with ease. He turned to Gunther and entered the ring. Sheamus hit Gunther with a big German Suplex, then whipped him to the corner. Gunther blocked a kick, but Sheamus scooped him up for a big shoulder breaker. Sheamus’ chest was smeared with blood, a reopened wound from last night. He looked around to a roar from the crowd. He set up Gunther for the Ten Beats, completing the attack. Holland and Butch joined in on the assault.
Sheamus scooped Gunther up and delivered White Noise. He looked into the hard camera, then pointed to the crowd. They roared with approval. He pounded his chest for the Brogue Kick, and delivered it. Sheamus covered, but Vinci hit a springboard splash off the top rope to break it up just before three. Ridge Holland returned to the ring to meet Vinci. Giovanni cut him off with a big clothesline. Kaiser returned, but ate a leaping punch from Butch. Gunther delivered a big dropkick to both Butch and Holland, knocking them out of the ring.
Gunther yelled out, but Sheamus was waiting for him. He hit the Irish Curse backbreaker, then turned Gunther into the Cloverleaf. Kaiser slid in the ring and broke the wooden shalaylee across Sheamus’ back. Gunther covered, but Butch broke it up. All six men began brawling from the mat. Sheamus and Gunther rose first, balancing off of each other’s forehead. They exchanged biting strikes. Sheamus sent Gunther reeling with his final shot.
The two teams helped each other stand on opposing sides. Butch broke the stalemate, and a brawl ensued again. Sheamus managed to catch Gunther with a big bicycle knee. He covered, but Kaiser and Vinci pulled him to the outside. The duo then cleared off the announcers desk. A “we want tables” chant broke out at 14:00. Ridge Holland returned to fight Kaiser and Vinci. Suddenly, Butch appeared on top of the barrels. He delivered a Moonsault to his opponents waiting below.
Back in the ring, Gunther had retrieved a large shalaylee. He cracked it over the head of Sheamus and covered for a near fall. Gunther pounded the mat in frustration. He set up Sheamus for a Powerbomb. The Brutes returned, holding the arms of Sheamus and preventing the move. Sheamus slipped free. Holland and Butch held Gunther open for Sheamus to hit him with the shalaylee. The Brutes retrieved clubs of their own and pounded Kaiser and Vinci in the ring. Meanwhile, Sheamus headed outside toward Gunther. He grabbed Gunther’s arms off the apron of the ring and delivered a Celtic Cross through the announcers desk.
Sheamus returned to the ring, where Holland and Butch were holding Giovanni Vinci. Sheamus pounded his chest, charged, and delivered a Brogue Kick for a cover and three count.
WINNERS: The Brawling Brutes in 17:49
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was a really fun opener. Sheamus has really become a crowd favorite, and he’s earned the reactions he’s getting with stellar performances night in and night out. He feels like a star again, and Ridge Holland and Butch feel like compelling acts as a result. I’ve loved what they’ve done with Imperium and the Brutes since pairing them together in a feud, and even though we’ve seen this match, plus two Intercontinental title matches between Sheamus and Gunther, it feels like there’s still some story left to tell. Given that the Intercontinental title is the one championship that’s alluded Sheamus on his very successful career, I think it’d be a cool moment for him to ultimately beat Gunther – especially now that we’re at a place where the title has meaning again, and Sheamus has a real connection with the crowd. It’s a testament to how well this has been going – rarely would I advocate moving the title off a hot, up-and-coming act, but in makes too much sense here, and it doesn’t feel like it’d do all that much damage to Gunther, either. All in all, this was exactly the match everyone should have expected, and that’s a very good thing.)
-Megan Morant caught up with The Miz walking backstage. She said she was surprised to see him there, with everything going on with Dexter Lumis. Miz told her not to say his name. He said he’s the most “in demand” star in WWE, and that’s why he’s at Extreme Rules. Miz’s eyes caught something off camera. He walked aaway from Morant, finding Philadelphia Flyer’s mascot, Gritty. Gritty offered him a t-shirt. Miz threw it on the ground and stomped on it before walking away.
-Michael Cole threw to a video package for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match
-Ronda Rousey headed to the ring first, wearing her Judo Black Belt in honor of her late trainer. She received a muted, mixed reaction. Liv Morgan followed, receiving a similar response. Cole said she attended an Extreme Rules in her home state of New Jersey as a fan. Graves said Liv needs to win the match to restore the respect of the locker room. Corey noted that Ronda is wearing ring gear inspired by the Roddy Piper film “They Live.” Morgan received a much stronger response during the Championship introductions.
(2) LIV MORGAN (c) vs. RONDA ROUSEY – Smackdown Women’s Championship, Extreme Rules match
Ronda Rousey took down Liv Morgan in the opening seconds, rolling her into a quick cover for a one count. Liv slid across the ring, retrieving the baseball bat she brought with her. She swung it wildly at Rousey, but Ronda caught it between her arm and body and pulled it away. She tossed the bat to the outside. “I don’t need a bat!” she yelled. Rousey took down the champion again, picking the ankle and grabbing an Ankle Lock. Morgan stayed on her foot, hopping to the ropes and pulling Rousey to the outside with her.
Morgan got herself trapped between the apron and the ring. She dared Rousey to hit her. Ronda smacked her hard. Liv collapsed. Rousey went to retrieve the baseball bat. Liv emerged from behind the apron with fire extinguisher, blasting Rousey in the face with the foam. Cole said he could feel the cold from his spot at ringside. Morgan leapt on Ronda’s back, but Rousey dropped her with Piper’s Pit. She retrieved the bat and cracked it over Morgan’s ribs before sliding her back in the ring.
Rousey swung the bat at Liv, but blocked it. She hit Rousey with the bat, sending her tumbling to the outside. Ronda grabbed her black belt and cracked it across Morgan’s stomach. A welt formed almost immediately. Rousey hit her with the belt repeatedly, then tied her to the ring post with it. She grabbed the bat and began swinging at Morgan’s stomach and hips. Morgan wiggled free and shoved her challenger away. She caught Rousey with a bat swing herself, then retrieved a table from underneath the ring.
The two women worked their way back inside the ring. Morgan set up a table in the corner as the match approached 6:00. Rousey recovered quickly, catching Morgan with a step-up knee and then wrangling her back outside with a leg choke. Morgan crawled desperately toward the announcers desk, retrieving a chair. She caught Rousey in the mid-section with its edge, then rolled her into the ring. Morgan tried to prop the chair into the corner, but Rousey blocked her. Morgan went for an awkward looking Back-Cracker, but it fell apart on her. She tried again, this time catapulting Rousey into the turnbuckle. She retrieved the chair and swung it wildly at Rousey, hitting her in the back, the shoulder, and the hips. She tossed the chair into Rousey’s waiting hands, then pulled her into double knees to the face.
Liv set up the table and tossed Rousey onto it. She climbed to the top rope and the camera pulled back as she connected with a top-rope Senton, crashing through the table and Rousey below. Morgan covered for a near fall just before 11:00. Rousey immediately grabbed an Arm Bar. Liv deadlifted her off the table wreckage and dropped her back on the slanted left half. Rousey grimaced, but kept the hold locked in. Morgan tried to lift her again. Rousey transitioned, clutching Morgan by the throat with her legs. She sat back on the hold. Cole called it a Bicep’s Crusher. Liv seemed to be smiling as she faded. Morgan passed out, and the referee called for the bell.
WINNER: Ronda Rousey in 12:22 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was a little sloppy at times, but the shots that were actually laid in certainly sounded and looked good. I thought this was quite easily the best match in their series, and maybe the best of Liv’s career. Though that bar isn’t necessarily terribly high, I do think she’s improved considerably and this was pretty darn entertaining. The baseball bat shots early in the match fluctuated between brutal and lacking virtually any contact, but both women were wearing the pain on their faces. I thought the finish was effective and creative. Morgan got a big, babyface table spot to nearly defeat Rousey. Ronda was in perfect position to capitalize with a hold, and did so, besting Morgan and earning a knock-out submission to regain the title. While I supported giving Morgan a go with the title, I think we’ve seen that it didn’t work quite the way they would’ve hoped, and so I have no qualms about going back to Rousey. As we head into late fall, I think it’s important to have the title on a big name who can have a lengthy run before likely defending in a marquee match at WrestleMania. Rousey fits the bill.)
-The announcers tossed to a video package for Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross.
-Samantha Irvin explained the rules of the Strap match. Drew McIntyre made his entrance first, wielding his sword. He received a strong reaction from the Philadelphia crowd.
The broadcast lost its color and the camera cut to Scarlett, bathed in smoke atop the entrance way. Karrion Kross emerged behind her and the duo headed to the ring, bathed in red as they reached the ring.
McIntyre and Kross took their end of the strap. McIntyre placed his end on his wrist and looked to Kross. Karrion tossed the strap to the mat. The official handed the strap to him again. He tossed it to the outside. Scarlett retrieved it and tugged at McIntyre, allowing Kross to blindside Drew. He beat him down in the corner, then tossed him to the outside. Cole explained that the match can’t begin until Kross is strapped in.
Kross and McIntyre traded blows and evnetually spilled over the barricade and into the crowd. They fought between the floor seats and the lower bowl, trading strikes and chops. Kross dumped McIntyre back over the barricade after they completed a full loop. He tried to Suplex McIntyre onto the stops, but Drew blocked it and delivered one of his own onto the mat. He slammed Kross’ head off the announcers desk, then the ring mat, and finally, the barricade. He walked Kross up the steps and gave him a side slam onto the apron. McIntyre picked up the other end of the strap and and put it around Kross’ wrist.
(3) DREW McINTYRE vs. KARRION KROSS (w/ Scarlett) – Strap match
With the match now officially underway, McIntyre mounted Kross and delivered a flurry of hard right hands. He swung the slack of the strap over his head and then cracked it across Kross’ back. Karrion rolled to the outside. Drew followed, continuing to whip Kross. “Fall and prey for me!” McIntyre yelled. Scarlett got in McIntyre’s face. Drew just stared her down. Kross used the distraction to pull McIntyre shoulder first into the ring post.
The referee rushed to Drew, asking if he needed medical attention. McIntyre waved her off. Kross pulled McIntyre into the ring post twice more, then dragged him back in the ring. He twisted Drew’s arm and slammed him to the mat. Kross posed for the crowd. Scarlett did the same. Kross draped McIntyre over the middle rope and choked him with a knee to the back of the head. He took him down by the injured shoulder again. Cole said the shoulder could be dislocated.
McIntyre pulled himself to his feet and delivered a pair of big chops as the match crossed 3:00. Kross shrugged them off and looked for the Kross Jacket. McIntyre backed him into the corner to avoid the grip. Kross took McIntyre down with a whip of the strap. He dragged Drew to the outside and continued to work on the injured shoulder and arm. He slammed the injured shoulder into the announcers desk with a Flatliner, then wrapped the bad arm around the ring post with the strap. Kross used the slack and whip McIntyre’s back and shoulder mercilessly. McIntyre collapsed to the floor, slowly, in a heap. Scarlett screamed for more.
Kross dragged McIntyre back in the ring. He gave him a Doomsday Suplex and covered for a two count. Kross folded the strap again and wound up. He continued to crack it over McIntyre’s back. Drew shrugged it off and stood tall, nostrils flaring. He gave Kross a clothesline, then an overhead belly-to-belly. Kross stood and walked into a Neckbreaker. McIntyre kipped up. He hooked Kross for a Future Shock DDT, but Kross over-powered him into the corner. Drew exploded out and delivered a big Spinebuster.
Both men traded big right hands as the match crossed 8:00. The locked up and fired punches again. Each pulled a small slack of strap and began trading blows to the chest and neck. McIntyre broke the stalemate with a strap whip to the stomach. Kross collapsed to a knee, allowing Drew to hook him up and deliver the Future Shock DDT. McIntyre kipped up again and held three fingers up to the crowd. He counted down, but Scarlett entered the ring and put herself between the combatants. Suddenly, she sprayed McIntyre in the face with Pepper Spray. McIntyre fell down, clawing at his eyes. Kross hit him from behind with a Kross Hammer for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Karrion Kross in 10:21
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was a decent enough brawl. I’ve been generally unimpressed by Karrion Kross’ in-ring output, and while I thought this was on the higher end of it, I still wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again. He just hasn’t evolved or changed anything since NXT, and I thought that character was a vacuum of charisma both in and out of the ring. I think that Triple H has done a far better job handling Kross and Scarlett than Vince initially did, but I still just don’t find myself thinking there’s anything worse pursuing with him. Though I sort of expected this kind of finish, it’s still disappointing. McIntyre is an important act who should be lined up for another match with Roman Reigns down the line, and I just don’t think losing to Karrion Kross, even under these circumstances, is a way to keep him as a viable main event act.)
-Miz was shown backstage again. Gritty startled him and he wandered off, leaving Gritty happy.
-A video package aired for the Raw Women’s title match.
Bayley headed to the ring first. Cole said for her, it’s about making history. He listed her “firsts” as part of the women’s division, noting that she’ll now be part of the first one-on-one women’s ladder match. Bayley wore blue tape on her wrist with “Sara” written on it. The camera showed Nikkita Lyons watching from the front row. Graves mentioned that Bayley is without Dakota Kai and Io Sky. He said Bayley told him they’d already done their job.
Mike Rome launched into Championship match introductions. Both women received loud, opposing reactions.
(4) BIANCA BELAIR (c) vs. BAYLEY – Raw Women’s Championship, Ladder match
Bianca Belair and Bayley came to blows as soon as the bell range. Bayley drove her shoulder into Belair’s abdomen, but Belair hit her with rapid forearms to the back. Before long, both women rolled to the outside to retrieve their own ladders. Belair retrieved a taller one and set it up next to Bayley’s. Bayley opted to play defense, jumping from her ladder back to the mat and pulling the champion down. The two women then played tug-o-war over the smaller ladder. Belair used her strength to drive Bayley all the way across the ring and through the middle rope to the floor. Belair quickly climbed the other ladder, but Bayley cut her off.
Bayley pulled Belair to the outside and took her down. She got in a young girl’s face in the front row. “Who sucks? I’m winning!” she told her. Bayley propped a ladder against the ring apron and tried to catapult Belair onto it. It backfired – Belair planted herself on the ladder and used it to quickly climb back in the ring. Bayley followed. Belair flipped over Bayley’s back using the ring ladder. She shoved Bayley into the bottom rungs, sending it sliding across the ring. Bianca folded the ladder and dropped it in the center of the ring. She gave Bayley a big big bodyslam onto it, then hit her signature handspring standing Moonsault. Belair retrieved the other ladder and entered into another tug-o-war.
The challenger managed to trap between the turnbuckles and a ladder. A dueling chant broke out from the Philly crowd. Belair fought free and went for a clothesline. Bayley ducked, caught the champion with an elbow, and delivered a Sunset Bomb into the corner ladder. Bayley set up the tall ladder in the center as the match crossed 5:30. She nearly reached the top before Bianca pulled her down. Bayley toppled her own ladder and kicked it closed. She used its top to ram Belair in the sternum. Bayley laid the ladder flat and used its weight to drive Belair out of the ring and to the floor.
Bayley built a ladder bridge between the ring steps and the barricade. She hoisted Belair onto it, then ripped a Belair sign from a fan in the front row. Bayley jumped onto the apron and hit a running elbow onto the champion. Bayley bounced violently off of Belair. She recovered quickly and kicked the folding mechanism off a nearby ladder. She used the now disconnected pieces to sandwich Belair and try to crush her between the two sides. Belair moved, and Bayley hit her own hands.
Bianca Belair used her brief reprieve to retrieve a new ladder and set it up in the ring. She got halfway up before Bayley returned to the ring and pulled her down. The challenger tried to climb, but Belair pulled her into her arms and delivered a powerful Spinebuster. Belair began another ascent. Bayley used her legs to kick the ladder and dump Belair to the floor. Bayley grabbed at her knee. Cole said she may have re-injured it. Suddenly, Bayley held up a piece of metal. Cole and Graves realized that she’d actually been removing part of her brace, creating a weapon. She charged at Bianca, but the champion scooped her up and connected with the K.O.D.
With Bayley down and out, Belair set up a ladder and began to climb. Dakota Kai and Io Sky rushed to the ring and toppled the ladder over. They swarmed Belair, but Bianca fought valiantly. She somehow worked both members of Damage Ctrl onto her shoulders and connected with a double K.O.D. The interference gave Bayley enough time to recover. She took Belair down with a ladder, then wedged it between two turnbuckles. She tossed Belair into it, then gave her a Rose Plant.
“That’s it, Bayley’s got daylight!” Graves exclaimed. She set up a ladder in the center, then dragged Belair underneath it. She trapped her beneath it, then began to climb as the match hit 14:00. Belair bench pressed the ladder up into the air, sending Bayley bouncing awkwardly into the top rope. Both women staggered to their feet. They stood on opposite ends of the ladder and began to race to the top. hey traded quick punches. Bayley got a hold of Belair’s braid. She used it to pull Bianca’s face into the steel of the ladder. Belair fell, but she recovered quickly. She whipped Bayley in the back with her braid. Bayley crashed to the mat. Belair grabbed another ladder.
Belair set up for another K.O.D. She got her up, but Bayley took a ladder with her. Belair still managed to hoist her up and over, hitting the K.O.D. and causing Bayley to land on the ladder. Belair scampered up the ladder and retrieved the championship.
WINNER: Bianca Belair in 16:41 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was fun. I don’t think it set an impossible bar for ladder matches, or even women’s ladder matches going forward, but it showcased both women well. WWE continues to creatively give Bianca Belair excellent power spots that stand out and feel earned throughout the course of the match. Her double K.O.D. on Kai and Sky was great, as was the finish where she hit the move on Bayley with a ladder in tow. Bayley, for her part, drew plenty of heat from the crowd and looked formidable in her first major singles match in well over a year. I do think her character has been missing something, her promos seem generic and uninspired. I don’t know if it’s a lack of scripting, or just a lack of confidence coming from such a significant time away. While I think Belair is often better when in the hunt, I do think getting her a big win against a major division star was important, and so I agree with the call here. I do suspect we’ll see this again before too long, and some combination involving these two at Survivor Series.)
-After some quick promo for the city of Philadelphia and a preview of Raw, Cole and Graves turned their attention the I Quit match between Finn Balor and Edge, tossing to a video package.
Mike Rome explained the rules just before “You think you know me…” rang out, garnering a massive pop as Edge exploded onto the stage and ran to each side, riling up fans in the corners of the lower bowl. Cole said Edge will need to return to his days of being the “Rated R Superstar” to come away with a victory tonight. Graves said his back is against the wall, and it’s of his own doing. The camera pulled back to show the arena as they sang along to “Metalingus.”
Finn Balor entered to his seldom-used new, remixed music. He wore a studded spike mask, covering all of his features. He sauntered to the ring, smoke filling the ringside area. Cole quickly ran down the history of the “I Quit” match.
(5) EDGE vs. FINN BALOR – “I Quit” match
Edge and Finn Balor circled one another timidly. Edge struck first, backing Balor into the corner and dropping him with a back elbow on the ricochet. Cole said “I Quit” matches are never quick, necessitating a competitor to beat down their opponent to a point at which they’d be willing to utter the phrase. Edge whipped Balor from corner to corner. Balor collapsed as his back bounced off the turnbuckle.
Referee Chad Patton stuck a microphone in Balor’s face as Edge choked him against a turnbuckle. “No,” Balor muttered. He fought free from the corner and dropped Edge with a quick dropkick. Edge stumbled to the corner. Balor stomped at the back of his knees, then gave him a stiff chop to the chest. Balor kicked Edge’s legs out from underneath him and stepped on his knee again. He twisted Edge’s leg through the middle rope and applied torque. Patton stood by a microphone, catching all the groans and grunts.
Finn brought Edge to the mat and continued to work over the leg. When Edge refused to quit, Balor transitioned into a Figure Four. Edge writhed in pain, but told the referee to get the microphone out of his face. He sat up, trying to turn the hold over. Balor applied additional pressure to the knee with his hand, but Edge still managed to turn over. Balor refused the microphone, instead contorting his torso to gain enough momentum to roll the hold back over. Edge punched himself free and Balor rolled to the outside as the match crossed 5:15.
Approaching the apron, Edge got caught by a quick leg sweep. He found himself trapped between the ring and skirt. Balor knocked him down and kicked him repeatedly. He walked him to the announcers desk and slammed Edge’s head over and over. Balor kept asking the the referee to get a submission. Edge refused. Balor grabbed a headlock and punched Edge repeatedly. Edge managed to shove Finn into the ring post to buy some time. Balor bounced back and hit a Sling Blade on the floor.
Patton asked Edge again to no avail. Edge rose slowly, scooping Balor and running him right through the ringside barricade at the timekeeper’s station. Balor stood and made his way past a reserved row of completely empty commemorative chairs at ringside. Edge pursued. The fought in an open equipment area near the kickoff set. Edge gave Balor a Suplex on the hair arena floor. He disappeared into a nearby tunnel and emerged moments later with a hockey stick. Cole wondered if he got it from Gritty. Edge bombarded Balor with the stick, then tossed him on top of the kickoff desk. He put Balor in a Crossface using the hockey stick.
When Edge let go of the hold, Balor fled. He walked briskly toward the lower bowl and ascended the stairwell into a fan-occupied tunnel. Security rushed in to hold a gathering of fans at bay. Edge launched Finn into the concrete overhang of the tunnel bay. Finn crawled back toward the spotlight in the arena. Edge set up for a Spear, but Balor sidestepped him. Edge collided sternum-first with the steel handrail of the arena steps. Balor choked Edge between the bars, but Edge refused to quit.
Security cleared a path as Edge and Balor fought back down to the floor, around ringside chairs, and eventually, over the barricade to ringside. Balor retrieved a steel chair from beneath the ring and drove it into Edge’s ribs. Balor stalked his prey as the match crossed 15:00. H drove the top of the chair into Edge’s back and stomach. “Screw you Finn,” Edge murmured breathlessly into the microphone as Chad Patton asked him again. Balor attacked him with the chair again. The referee returned with the microphone. “I don’t quit,” Edge growled. Balor grew furious.
Finn wedged the chair in between two turnbuckles. He tried to whip Edge, but the larger man was able to plant himself firmly in the opposite corner and avoid the damage. Balor still managed to take him to the mat. He applied a Crossface of his own, then transitioned into hard knees to the mid-section. Edge breathed heavily into the microphone, but still refused. Balor tried to toss Edge into the propped chair again. Edge turned it around and sent Balor crashing instead. Graves said it was Edge’s last gasp.
Edge swung the chair at Balor’s legs, striking him down. Balor grabbed at his knee and thigh, screaming. Edge didn’t let up, continuously driving the edge of the chair into Finn’s lower extremities. Edge locked in the Edgecator. Balor screamed in agony. He sounded poised to quit, but Damian Priest emerged from the back to save the match. Dominick Mysterio joined the fray, too. Edge managed to send both to the apron. He speared them to the outside and returned to Balor as the match hit 20:00.
Balor stumbled to his feet as Edge sized him up for a Spear. Rhea Ripley hopped onto the apron behind Edge. She had a pair of handcuffs, and she locked Edge to the top rope. Ripley jumped to the floor, dangling the key in Edge’s face and laughing. Edge turned to see Balor, Priest, and Mysterio waiting for him. Balor had a Kendo stick in hand. The three men pounced, beating Edge down. Balor wound up and hit Edge over and over with the Kendo stick. Edge collapsed to one knee. The referee put the microphone in his face. Rey Mysterio’s music hit.
Rey Mysterio ran to the ring, chair in hand. He took out Priest on the way. Rey hit the ring and dropped Finn Balor. Dominick blindsided his father with an elbow from behind. He tossed Rey to the outside and stomped him viciously. Cole screamed at Dominick. “What is wrong with you?!” In the ring, Balor continued to beat Edge senselessly with the Kendo stick. Michael Cole begged Edge to quit.
The crowd reacted to something off camera. It was Beth Phoenix. She ripped the Kendo stick from Finn’s hands and beat him with it. She took down Priest as well. Dominick leapt on the apron and begged for mercy. Beth felt someone behind her and turned to find Rhea Ripley. The crowd roared as the two women came to blows. Beth gained the upper hand, dropping Ripley with a Spear. Rhea rolled to the outside. Dominick rushed to her side. Phoenix revealed that she’d taken the key from Rhea. She freed her husband.
Edge exploded out of the corner with a Spear to Damian Priest. He came face to face with Dominick Mysterio. Dom begged off, first pleading with Edge, then offering him his hand. Edge looked around, then gave him a low blow. Edge shoved Dominick away. Balor attacked from behind with a Sling Blade. He screamed at the crowd, then turned around to continue his attack. Edge flew to his feet and dropped Finn with one Spear, then a second, then a third. He told Beth to get him a chair. Phoenix obliged.
Rhea Ripley returned and dropped Phoenix with Brass Knuckles. Damian Priest gave Edge a South of Heaven. He and Dominick stretched Edge out, allowing Balor to deliver three consecutive Coup De Graces. Dominick and Priest held Edge up and Balor stuck the microphone in his face. “This is your last chance, Edge, say it!” Balor barked. “Go to hell!” Edge responded. Priest punched Edge in the face. Ripley retrieved two chairs. She placed one under Beth’s head and lifted the other high above her own. “I quit!” Edge said, wearily.
WINNER: Finn Balor in 29:53
Rhea Ripley swung the chair anyway, delivering a Con-Chair-To to Beth Phoenix. The crowd’s boos were enormous. Cole begged for the referee to call for help. Officials spilled from the back, and commentary went silent. Edge rushed to Beth. Mysterio returned to her side as well. Cole pleaded for a doctor as the show went to break.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Sometimes the most obvious and calculated of finishes is still the right one. The moment Edge said that there was nothing Judgment Day could physically do to HIM to make him quit, I thought it became painfully obvious that Phoenix would be involved, and the finish would center around her being in peril. That’s exactly what they did, and I thought it worked. Though I’ve been lukewarm at best on Judgment Day throughout their post-Edge run, there’s no doubt that they’ve got a whole lot of heat right now. Dominick has been doing great work, and the crowd seemed really invested when he finally got physical against his father tonight. Though I think this ultimately ran a little long, given was felt like obvious interference from all the previously involved parties, I do think they hit a strong emotional crescendo. I’m intrigued to see what the finally iteration of this feud is, where I suspect Edge and Beth will get their ultimate revenge.)
-Backstage, The Miz was shown approaching Triple H’s locker room door. Gritty tapped him on the shoulder, offering him a t-shirt again. Miz attacked Gritty, knocking him to the floor continuously kicking him. Miz finally got a hold of himself. He backed away, and right into Dexter Lumis. Lumis dropped Miz and choked him out, then helped Gritty up. Gritty kicked Miz in the stomach, then walked away with Lumis.
-Cole and Graves tossed to a video package for the Fight Pit match between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle.
The camera tilted upwards to get a menacing shot of the modified fight pit steel cage. Daniel Cormier headed out first, wearing a traditional WWE official outfit. Cole and Graves noted that while Cormier never beat Jon Jones, Riddle did twice in high school.
Matt Riddle headed to the now-ropeless ring. He kicked his flip flips into the air and AR birds shot from his feet. The camera showed NXT Champion Bron Breakker seated in the front row. Seth Rollins hit the ring, crowd happily serenading him. He did a triple thumb point to himself. He wore new, airbrushed tights and vest, black hand and wrist tape, and sported a ponytail, clearly channeling Rob Van Dam. Graves agreed, calling him the “whole freaking show.” The Fight Pit cage began to lower as ominous music played.
(6) MATT RIDDLE vs. SETH ROLLINS – Fight Pit match, Special Guest Referee: Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier separated the two men and called for the bell. Matt Riddle and Seth Rollins danced around each other, jockeying for position. Riddle threw some quick thigh kicks, sending Seth backing timidly into the steel cage. The crowd broke into a loud “we want Wyatt” chant. Riddle shot Rollins’ legs and took him down, mounting him for quick strikes. Riddle leapt off the cage wall, catching Seth in the side of the head with a quick kick. Rollins collapsed awkwardly, seemingly shaken up.
Riddle pounced, giving Cormier minimal time to check on Seth. A stray punch caught Cormier. The UFC legend threw Riddle off of Rollins and admonished him. “You’re here to fight him, not me!” he exclaimed. Rollins blased Riddle in the back of the head, using the break to his advantage. He tossed Riddle into the steel. Cormier checked on Riddle. Seth tossed Cormier aside. Cormier backed Rollins against the cage, delivering the same message he gave Riddle moments earlier.
After quick standing switch exchanges, Rollins caught Riddle with a Superkick. He requested that D.C. count Riddle out. Cormier reached a count of six as Riddle started to stir, so Rollins pounced again. “You’re a loser, and you’re always gonna be a loser!” he yelled. Riddle fought back briefly with punches to the stomach, but Seth gave him a Suplex right into the wall of the cage. Rollins ascended the side of the cage and pointed to himself, a la RVD, again. He leapt back onto Riddle, then hit rapid fire kicks to the head. Rollins held his arms out and the crowd booed, then began singing his theme song.
Rollins set up for a Peruvian Neck Tie submission. Riddle rolled through it and tried to give Seth a back drop. Seth landed on his feet awkwardly. Riddle bounced up and hit Seth with an RKO. Cormier counted both men to eight before they returned to their feet, trading overhead open palmed strikes. Before long, they transitioned to open kicks to the chest. Riddle caught a quick combo and went for a lifting knee, but Rollins blocked it. Riddle went for a second RKO, but Seth slammed him to the mat. Riddle tried to stand, but Seth caught him with the Stomp. Riddle barely answered Cormier’s count at nine.
Rollins climbed to the platform surrounding the cage as the match crossed 10:00. He led the crowd in another serenade, arrogantly strutting around the platform. Riddle grew tired of the showboating and climbed up to meet him. Riddle tried to use the support chain of the cage to hoist himself up, but Rollins bit his hand. Riddle managed to pull himself up anyway, pulling Seth into a choke around the chain. Rollins used the perimeter steel to free himself, then sent Riddle crashing into the chain link. Riddle tried to use his legs to choke Seth out, but Seth ripped him away from the cage and delivered a Buckle Bomb into the steel wall atop the cage. Graves said he was worried about something much worse. Cole said it was “shades of Mick Foley in Hell in a Cell.”
Cormier yelled from below for the competitors to return to the ring. Rollins and Riddle continued to battle back and forth. Rollins got the better of the exchange and delivered a Pedigree on the walkway atop the cage. He told Cormier to count Riddle out. Cormier said that Riddle needs to be in the ring itself. “I’ll choke you out!” Rollins yelled. He sized Riddle up, waiting for him to stand. Seth went for another Stomp, but Riddle moved. He hit another RKO. Seth nearly slid off the walkway and back into the ring far below, but he caught himself on the chain link and dropped safely to the mat.
With Rollins down in the center of the ring, Riddle stood up on the walkway above and peered down. He contemplated, then flew off the platform with a Broton. Riddle sold even more pain than Seth. Both men again barely answered Cormier’s count. Matt Riddle jumped up to apply a Triangle Choke on Rollins. Seth hit a pair of Powerbombs into the steel wall, then another in the center of the ring. Riddle persisted, keeping the choke locked in. Rollins tapped out.
WINNER: Matt Riddle in 16:38
Matt Riddle left the ring, celebrating up the ramp. The camera cut to Seth Rollins, clutching his ribs at ringside. Daniel Cormier rose Riddle’s hand at the top of the stage and Cole bid the audience goodnight.
Suddenly, all the lights cut out. The crowd immediately held up their flashlights. Cole asked aloud if they were still on air. A creepy, subdued rendition of “He’s got the whole world in his hands…” played on repeat.
Slowly, characters from the Firefly Funhouse were revealed standing at various locations in the lower bowl of the crowd. The Pig, the Buzzard, Abby the Witch, and then, apparently, the Fiend in the front row. The camera cut to a moss adorned door at the entrance way. Light seeped from behind it. An old TV cut in, showing a creepy, masked face saying something unintelligible. The camera cut back to the door. The light grew brighter. The door flew open, and a familiar lantern filled the black space. A huge “holy shit” chant broke out. A person in the mask from moments ago emerged, filling the light. He slowly removed the mask, revealing himself to be Bray Wyatt. A firefly graphic appeared on screen (the same Wyatt has been using as his Twitter profile picture), and the jarring, classic Wyatt Family cut-out ended the night.
(LeClair’s Analysis: The Fight Pit was disappointing. I understand that they needed to take this feud to the next level, but they were fighting an uphill battle coming off a stellar outing last month in Cardiff. This just didn’t live up to that match in the slightest. Cormier’s early tone-setting seemed to be laying the groundwork for something later in the match, but simply never went anywhere. The offense seemed plodding, giving the illusion that they were in for a long haul and a big built to a finish. Instead, the predictable ascent to the top of the cage brought some fine spots that never really seemed to connect until Riddle’s big Broton off the top. That, undoubtedly, was the highlight here. The crowd seemed to struggle to get invested outside of a few big moves, being more intrigued by the upcoming reveal of the White Rabbit than anything the match itself had to offer. It’s a shame, given how personal this rivalry has been and how much focus it’s been given on weekly television. The camera was out of position for Rollins’ tap out, which made things even more anticlimactic for the audience viewing at home. It wasn’t bad, it just felt flat.
They certainly managed to send the crowd home happy, though. Triple H went for his signature end-of-show fake out a la NXT, having Cole conclude the evening only for the lights to go out with the show-closing signature already on screen. Though it felt a little too heavy handed, I don’t mind Cole asking if they’re still live. It was a fun wrinkle, even if it felt calculated. The electricity from the crowd was palpable, and the eerie inclusion of real-person renditions of the Firefly Funhouse’s iconic characters was an effective, pleasing way to kick things off. The dramatic touch of stationing them at different points throughout the crowd was excellent. The production, as with most things Wyatt related, was top notch, and the reveal, though predictable, was wholly satisfying. We’ve been burned plenty by Wyatt’s story-telling before, though I have my suspicions that has far more to do with Vince McMahon than it ever did the creative mind behind the character. With a new regime at the helm, and an expectation for more creative freedom, I’m all-in on whatever the next chapter of Wyatt will be.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite lacking an appearance from the company’s hottest act, The Bloodline, I thought Extreme Rules was a strongly built show on paper with the added benefit of a much anticipated reveal of the company’s latest foray into viral campaigning. The latter delivered in spades, proving that you don’t have to be unpredictable to be effective and satisfying. Wyatt’s return under new management brings hope for a fresh spin on beloved characters plagued by shoddy booking. The show itself started strong and largely stayed consistent throughout, with no match being downright bad or even below average, but none reaching the full height of their potential. There is a certain amount of burn-out present on these “stipulation all the time” shows, especially when the use of weapons and violent stipulations is grossly limited by the product’s television rating and interest in safety. That, of course, isn’t a bad thing, it just makes theming entire shows around the concept seem a little silly. Though I think the main event was a bit of a letdown, the card as a whole delivered enough to make this a pleasant three hour event, with the opener, the ladder match, the emotional weight of the closing minutes of the “I Quit” match making the case for a solid night, and Wyatt’s return being the icing on the cake.