Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
For one of the first times, non-WrestleMania, we use a Sunday Sermon to analyse a PPV the week after. Not only was the show abysmal, but was weird. Odd decisions and then the fans hijacked the main event by counting down ever min as if it was Rumble. Just an odd show.
Craig: Well, Extreme Rules was, errr, interesting. Kevin Owens takes a bump in honour of Mick Foley over two decades on since King of the Ring 1998 and no one will remember it due to the rest of a crazy, crazy night.
Main events nixed because a fear of fans shitting all over Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns and then the fans hijacking the main event with a countdown. Just an odd, odd show. We know the Philadelphia crowd are a law unto themselves but even by their standards, Extreme Rules 2018 was something else. No?
Brian: The show wasn’t all that bad in my personal opinion. It wasn’t great by any means but wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It was odd, as Craig has said. I figured I would skip the pro show nonsense and start watching around 7:30pm. Little did I know, the show started and I missed a few matches. I missed Corbin vs Balor (No big deal) I missed the B Team win the Raw tag team titles and I missed the tables match between New Day and Sanity.. I started watching when Asuka challenged Carmella for the Smackdown women’s title.
Bobby Lashley beating Roman Reigns was a nice surprise…but had little to no meaning behind it. Braun throwing Kevin Owens off the top of the cage…was a shocking moment…but nowhere near the shock, I felt when Mick Foley did it. Could it be that I became jaded as a fan or was it that the match itself also had no real purpose for me to care about?
AJ Styles vs Rusev felt like a throwaway match…it was okay…but nothing memorable about it. It was nice to see the Intercontinental title match close out the show…although 30 minutes for an “Iron Man Match” seemed too little. It should have been made a full one hour. Then again, the way the Pittsburgh crowd went into business for themselves the whole match…maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the match didn’t go any longer than what it did.
Craig: Problem with ‘iron man matches’ going on last, regardless of how long they are, is that the fans only really care for the last five minutes as that’s when it is business time. That partly explains why they spent so much of the match keeping themselves amused. I also thought the end was ridiculous, what’s the point in restarting the match for it to end 10 seconds or so later? Yet another, in a long line, for strange booking decisions made by the WWE, I guess.
I guess the big thing here is that we’re in the post-PPV wrestling era. PPVs are now throwaway and serve largely to set-up TV, much like for WCW during their pomp in the late 90s. We even had a match for Smackdown Live set up on the show. Maybe we should just accept these events for what they are, largely filler to provide content for the WWE Network rather than memorable events?
And, heck, we’ve not even discussed the fact that it went three hours and 40 minutes. Is there any better evidence that Vince doesn’t really massively care than that?
Brian: All valid points. I will agree that Vince just doesn’t see pay per view as he once did. There are way too many throwaway matches and filler than ever before. I really don’t mind it though because I am no longer plopping down 60 bucks a show like I once had to. The WWE network is a flat fee and still worth every penny considering the content involved.
The thing that gets me though is what is motivating Vince right now? He has secured television deals, he has a stacked roster and a thriving network. He has more money than he knows what to do with it. Extreme Rules is not a top-flight pay per view. So in that regard, I wasn’t expecting much.
I still feel shows like Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series still have meaning and cache.
Craig: I think the question about what motivates Vince now is a good one. There are no rivals to destroy as he’s top of the mountain with no one close to him and, as you say, has virtually every wrestler he wants that would join the WWE on his roster.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.