Sunday night in Philadelphia, PA was host to Extreme Rules 2019. While the past year’s event included many matches with “Extreme” stipulations, this year lacked in that category. 10 matches were advertised for the match but we ended the night with 13 matches total which included a surprise ending. How did Extreme Rules 2019 go? Here are my thoughts. Intercontinental […]
Sunday night in Philadelphia, PA was host to Extreme Rules 2019. While the past year’s event included many matches with “Extreme” stipulations, this year lacked in that category. 10 matches were advertised for the match but we ended the night with 13 matches total which included a surprise ending.
How did Extreme Rules 2019 go? Here are my thoughts.
Intercontinental Championship – Shinsuke Nakamura def. Finn Bálor (c) (pre-show)
Two of the most talented and internationally known in-ring competitors took to the ring to start off the pre-show. On any other show, this would be a great match to look forward to. Instead, we get it announced hours before in a half-empty arena.
The match was decent but with more build, this could have been a lot better. It is a shame really because, at one point, both Bálor and Nakamura were the hottest things coming out of NXT.
Booking wise this makes. Bálor had a nice victory at WrestleMania 35 but never really had a memorable Intercontinental title run. Nakamura has not been on T.V. for the past few weeks and it nice for him to finally get a win here and claim SmackDown’s mid-card title.
Cruiserweight Championship – Drew Gulak (c) def. Tony Nese (pre-show)
You always can guarantee a solid match in the Cruiserweight Division. Gulak was able to retain in his hometown and it was nice to see Nese being able to get a lot of offense in.
Nese’s power and Gulak’s technical wrestling was a nice combination here. The win here only strengthens Gulak Cruiserweight Championship reign.
The question is now who will be next in line to challenge for the title. Recently added Chad Gable would be a perfect opponent and could start the feud heading into SummerSlam.
The Undertaker & Roman Reigns def. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre in a No Holds Barred match
The No Holds Barred tag match featuring a returning Undertaker kicked off Extreme Rules as he teamed with Reigns to take on McMahon and McIntyre.
On paper, people did not want to see this match but honestly, this was a solid opener to the card. It was good booking here, as the heels (along with Elias), beat down Undertaker early to get heat from the crowd.
The best part here was that McMahon took the pinfall. Let’s hope this is a way for McMahon to be written off T.V. for a while. Also, you have to credit the Philly crowd here. They gave Undertaker a nice warm welcome and getting behind Reigns, unlike the traditional boos he has gotten in recent years.
Raw Tag Team Championship – The Revival (c) def. The Usos
When the Superstar Shakeup happened and The Usos moved to Raw, many fans were excited to see a Uso/Revival program down the line. So far, it has not lived up to the expectations and that was the same case here.
There was a lack of in-ring chemistry but that can develop over time. It was a solid match but hopefully, we can see these teams clash down the line.
To not run this to the ground, I would imagine both teams separate from each other start other programs and maybe bring it back in the fall.
Aleister Black def. Cesaro
For weeks, we were waiting for someone to answer Black’s open challenge and we found out the week before it was Cesaro. On paper, some were disappointed but it turned out to be one of the best matches of the night.
It was an intense match throughout and while we expected Black to win, Cesaro looks really good here as well. Black looked really strong here and the ending where he shook off Cesaro’s uppercuts to hit him with a Black Mass is a highlight itself.
The Black Mass looks to be one of the more protected moves in WWE. Throw in his ring persona and fighting style, Black seems to be the next main eventer for SmackDown Live.
As for Cesaro, fans have wanted a serious push for him and he is one of the more underrated superstars on the entire roster. Could we see a push from him one day? Let’s hope so.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley (c) def. Alexa Bliss & Nikkie Cross in a 2-on-1 Handicap match
I have never understood the Handicap stipulation in a singles title and this was one of Bayley’s more disappointing title defenses early in her run. This also did not help the story between Cross and Bliss going forward.
Cross was pinned here, which lost the title opportunity for her and Bliss, and did nothing to take out Cross. Instead, she embraced her and considering how the story was hinted that Bliss was manipulating Cross, you would think that there would be a chance to see them feud down the line.
Not sure what all three have inline heading into SummerSlam but let’s hope the feud between them end, given that there is plenty of talent in the SmackDown Women’s Division.
Braun Strowman def. Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing match
Black vs. Cesaro was the best match of the night so far until The Last Man Standing match took place.
Despite seeing these guys in continuous matches week after week, this was a great match two of WWE’s biggest powerhouses. Lashley, despite the loss, looked great and showed off his athleticism and power. He got a lot of offense in and sold well for Strowman when he had to.
For Strowman, he delivered the big spots and looked the destructive superstar we all know and love. He won but credit to Lashley here for standing out as well. This is a good time for both superstars to move away from each other and start up fresh feuds for SummerSlam.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – The New Day def. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (c) and Heavy Machinery
While the Raw side did not stand out, SmackDown more than made up for the state of tag team wrestling in WWE. A fun and action-packed match that was in a good placement after the brutal match we saw prior.
Everyone got a chance to shine in the Triple Threat match. Heavy Machinery starred, especially Otis, and have definitely shown that they are more than capable of having a main roster tag title reign down the line. Bryan, to know one’s surprise, always performs well but Big E probably stood out the most here. He sold everything that was going on and when it was time, he came out and dominated the match.
The New Day may not need the titles but it is nice to see all three members (despite not being in the match, WWE Champion Kofi Kingston is recognized as a champion too under the Freebird Rule) have gold across the board. Not sure how long they’ll hold on to the titles but the tag division on the blue brand is deep, so they’ll be plenty of options.
United States Championship – AJ Styles def. Ricochet (c)
AJ Styles and the newly re-formed Club took the ring as Styles took on Ricochet for the United States Championship.
The match was expected to be the best one of the night but lacked any huge momentum we were hoping for. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson interfered which was to be expected. It makes sense since WWE Creative is clearly trying to make The Club a huge faction in the company.
In storyline, Styles winning the title makes sense where Ricochet could chase for the title heading into SummerSlam. Could Ricochet band together a group of guys to take on The Club?
Kevin Owens def. Dolph Ziggler
The match between Owens and Ziggler was added last minute and the match itself was pretty much a minute, where Ziggler slapped Owens and Owens delivered a stunner for the win.
Not sure what the point of this was exactly but the crowd reacted positively to Owens, which works if the plan for Owens is to be a top babyface in the company.
Owens is great as a heel or face and WWE should fully be behind as him as the hero to save SmackDown Live against Shane McMahon.
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) def. Samoa Joe
I still love Kingston as WWE Champion and has had great matches during his title reign but this one might be one of the worst.
The layout of the match lacked any momentum or star power, which is odd considering Joe and Kingston are both great workers. This may be due to time restrictions or maybe the guys simply do not have any chemistry together.
This will likely be a one-match feud and will see Kingston may have a different program heading into SummerSlam. Joe more than deserves a top title run with either the WWE or Universal championship but the amount of main event talent both brands have, he may be lost in the shuffle.
Universal & Raw Women’s Championship – Seth Rollins (c) & Becky Lynch (c) def. Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans in a Last Chance Winners Take All Extreme Rules match, followed by a Brock Lesnar cash in
The main event was perfectly booked here. Corbin and Evans have had multiple rematches for the titles and with them losing, the crowd liked it. There was a lot of action throughout and the night looked to end with the real-life power couple of Lynch and Rollins walking out of Philadelphia as champions.
That was until Brock Lesnar showed up. The crowd gave a loud pop to Lesnar as he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract win the Universal Championship.
Lesnar played spoiler perfect here. The history of the MITB contract works better with heels cashing in at the champions most vulnerable position and it worked perfectly here.
The interesting thing here is now what happens heading into SummerSlam. Will Lesnar show up to Raw? Will Rollins get a rematch? Does Lynch play a role here or move onto a different feud? The possibilities are endless here. Lesnar’s client and now creative director Paul Heyman will certainly have his hands in the creative process for what happens here in the summer.
Let’s just hope that Lesnar’s run is a short one or if anything, Lesnar shows up more with the Universal title.
Extreme Rules, despite lacking any “Extreme” match types outside of a few, was a good pay-per-view. It exceeded a lot of expectations in my opinion. The main event was excellently booked while the Last Man Standing and Cesaro/Black matches were also great too.
Yeah, there were some matches that lacked any real momentum (the WWE/United States championships for example) but with a 13 match card, not every one of the matches will be perfect. Overall, a solid pay-per-view and now WWE will look to start up their SummerSlam program, which is set to happen on August 11th.