Sunday night saw the WWE host it’s annual Extreme Rules show, the evening where, in theory at least, the company ditches it’s PG badge and returns to a more extreme style. In theory, at least. Today, Craig discusses Extreme Rules and if it really still has a place in modern WWE.
I should probably start by declaring a couple of interests at the start. I’ve never really been a fan of extreme/hardcore wrestling nor am I a fan of Extreme Rules and other gimmick heavy PPVs.
That said, Sunday wasn’t all that bad a show. A comedown from the high of Wrestlemania, but that in itself isn’t unusual. After all, Extreme Rules is a b-show and not too much of a jump up from an episode of Raw. Mercifully, less talking segments being one of the main differences.
As our predictions on Sunday suggested, there was more than enough on the card to keep fans interested.
Sure, there were some negatives too. I think that the WWE was wrong to leave it until the pre-show to announce that Daniel Bryan wasn’t fit to wrestle. That was just poor form. It’s not even as if being a draw really matters in the post-PPV WWE Network era.
Really my biggest gripe is just how tired the format of the Extreme Rules event is.
It’s not even the correct use of gimmick matches. Take Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus. I know the pair have had programmes but Sunday night’s match was the first singles bout of their feud this time around. And it’s allocated a gimmick, albeit a silly one that really isn’t in the slightest way extreme. Gimmick bouts have historically been a way to bring a feud to a big money end, not a way to kick off a feud, as the finish of this one suggested this is only just the beginning.
Elsewhere, Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose engaged in a kooky Chicago street fight that featured a length car chase off screen before the match finished in the ring. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Goldust at Wrestlemania 12 this was not.
There was some good stuff. I thought the tag title match – somewhat ironically sans “extreme gimmick” – featured some good in-ring stuff. This shouldn’t be a surprise, after all 3 of the 4 superstars in the bout nearly always have good matches while Big E. also had an impressive showing. Even then though, the winners were a team that had a gimmick so so terrible that they were turned heel forcing Kidd and Cesaro into playing a pseudo-face role.
Yet despite its impressive enough in-ring showing, it still felt like a buffer between all the gimmick heavy stuff on show, as did the divas match – a match that was confusing in part to the inexplicable Bellas face turn. The basic jist here is that the freshly turned face Bellas cheated to win. Go figure.
What made the stipulation aspect even worse was the fragrant disregard for it. Take Sheamus vs Ziggler, Sheamus lost but didn’t kiss the victors “erse” and in the Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins match the cage, unsurprisingly, was unable to stop any of the extra curricular activities that every person knew watching the show was a stick on to take place.
The big plus coming out of Sunday night was that at least the WWE managed to get fans caring about Roman Reigns to an extent. He came out to a very apathetic audience and after defeating Big Show – in a feud that mustn’t continue – the fans were chanting for him after his display in the match.
As b-shows go this was alright. Inoffensive and a solid 6 out of 10. There didn’t seem to be a bad match on the card, per say, nor were there any confrontations that will feature in match of the year lists at the end of the year.
I just think that the WWE schedule is far too formulaic. It results in the situation that after Wrestlemania if any two superstars look to be starting a feud, you are left wondering what gimmick the match will be saddled with at Extreme Rules. I’d love to see this PPV dropped from the schedule forcing the creative team to come up with something better than throwing two guys together, giving the match a watered down version of a hardcore match stipulation and letting them go at it.
Also, do we really need to see guys kick out of so many finishing moves?