The Rope Break #6: WWE Extreme Rules 2017 Review

By Curtis Suthard – 6/5/2017

 

The Rope Break #6:

WWE Extreme Rules 2017 Review

 

Last night was the night where WWE’s RAW brand was supposed to go to the EXTREME!!!! Unfortunately, EXTREME, nowadays seems to mean a bunch of gimmicky matches that maintain the PG status quo of modern day WWE standards. Were there some gems hidden within this 3-hourish long event? Sure! But, there were also plenty of stinkers as well. So, let’s take a look at what your intrepid Nerd Nation Radio resident Pro-wrestling fan thought of Extreme Rules 2017.

The Miz w/Maryse VS. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship Match): So things kicked off with a sort of anti-Extreme Rules match, with the stipulation that if Ambrose gets Disqualified, he would not only lose the match, but also the title as well. Setting the stage for the Miz and Maryse to constantly attempt to bait Dean to cross that line. And, bait they did. Miz pulled out all of the stops, in every way to get Ambrose DQ’d. Tempting Ambrose with a chair, pulling the turnbuckle pad off, and having Maryse slap her own husband in an attempt to convince the ref that she was interfering on Ambrose’s behalf. And, of course, Ambrose being the Wildman that he is almost fell for some of it, but managed to maintain enough control to reign in his more EXTREME side. Eventually, as the ref was busy arguing with Maryse, after ejecting her from ringside, the Miz shoved Ambrose into the ref, prompting said ref to consider calling the match. As Ambrose turned his back on the Miz, begging for the ref not to end things, Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale and regained the Intercontinental Title.

All in all this was a solid match and a good way to start the show. This feud probably hasn’t ended, yet. I’m willing to bet that we’ll see a rematch on either tonight’s RAW or maybe even at the next PPV. Which is fine, I guess. As long as this feud has an end in the not too distant future. I think that Miz should maintain being the IC Champ for the long-term, like I said in the last Rope Break, acting as the gatekeeper, of sorts, for guys heading up the ladder to the Main Event scene. Miz is very good in that role and the best heel in the WWE today.

I hope Ambrose gets pushed a little higher up the food chain, possibly breaking into the Main Event tier, sometime later this year or next. RAW does have all three member of the SHIELD on the roster currently and pitting them against each other for a while could be cool, maybe with Ambrose becoming more of a heel during that feud. I think that Dean has everything needed to become one of the top heels in the company, easily. Though he does have that whole “anti-hero”-vibe going for him, so the crowd may not accept him as a heel. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s about time to mix things up with Dean and set him on a new path, preferably one that doesn’t include another endless string of matches with Miz.

Noam Dar & Alicia Fox VS. Rich Swann & Sasha Banks (Mixed-Tag Match): First thing that got me excited about this match was that the ring didn’t get the full Cruiserweight treatment. Maybe I’m easily amused? Or, maybe this is a sign of things to come where the Cruiserweight division is more integrated into the show and not sectioned off in its own little corner of the larger WWE Universe. Not sure why this is really significant? Nah, I’m just easily amused.

Anyway, this was a tight little match that seemed to be pretty short. Which I was fine with because that eliminated the number of times that I had to hear Michael Cole inform everyone that Rich Swann “Loves to have fun!” Swann looked good, as always, getting the win for him and Banks. Dar is getting more exposure, which is great (to read me gush about Noam Dar a bit more, look no further than the aforementioned previous The Rope Break). Alicia Fox was good, if not a tad sloppy, which is normal. And then there is the Boss herself, Sasha Banks, who is perfectly positioned right now, in this feud and not anywhere near that stinker of a feud between Bayley & Bliss. But, more on that later. Banks will inevitably be back in the Women’s Division title hunt soon enough, so I’m fine with her mixing things up in matches like this.

Bayley VS. Alexa Bliss (RAW Women’s Championship – Kendo Stick on a Pole Match): I’m at a loss with this one. Bayley, who was so damn over in NXT. Bayley, who had so much attention and excitement thrown at her when she debuted on the main roster. Bayley, who is very capable in that ring at putting on good matches. And yet, I am beginning to really dislike Bayley. She seems to fluctuate between just OK to horrendous on the mic most of the time. She seems, at least to me, to have lost a whole lot of that charisma she had going for her. I don’t know what it is with Bayley, but I do know that matches, not to mention horrible segments like the previous RAW’s, are not helping my mood towards her.

And, then there is Bliss. I thought that Alexa was one of the most improved wrestlers (either male or female) to have gotten the recent call up from NXT to the main roster during her run on Smackdown. I was totally sold on her becoming Smackdown’s Women’s champ and holding that title.  I was happy to see her get drafted over to RAW and even happier when she won the title there quickly. But, this recent feud is not doing her rise to greatness any favors. At least not if things continue on this badly.

You would think that the “Powers That Be” were aware of just how poorly received that RAW segment was. I mean people all over the place were ripping it. Even Bayley took a shot at the segment in her backstage interview at this show. And yet this match still ended up sucking so hard. Why was there no effort to up the stakes with this one? Do something special that could have made everyone forget the lead up to this match? Was it Creative’s fault? Or, was it Bayley and Bliss’ fault for not stepping up and attempting to make lemonade out of this lemon? I don’t know. All I do know for sure is that, thankfully, this match was relatively short, which was the only benefit to come from this.

The stipulation of a kendo stick on a pole match wasn’t really doing anything to help the mood for this match, as “anything” on a pole is just lame. And, then there was the match itself. Bliss had questioned Bayley’s ability to get EXTREME and, regardless of Bayley’s assertions that she could and would do just that, as well as the constant name-dropping of Tommy Dreamer and the like by Bayley, it seem Alexa was correct. Bayley was the one to not only pull down the kendo stick, but also the one to gain control of it first only to choke at the first opportunity she had to lay into the champ, Bliss, with it. Which, of course, left her open to a cheap shot or two by Alexa, who then took the kendo stick and used it to aid her in defeating Bayley and retaining the title.

I said before that I was glad that Sasha Banks was keeping her distance from the trainwreck of this feud, but, maybe, it’s time to throw her into the mix to try and bring something new and different to this whole thing. Or, maybe spin Bayley off to a feud with Nia Jax or Mickie James or whoever else and open the door for Sasha to come in and take her place against Alexa. We’ll have to wait to see, but hopefully things are going to take a new direction for the RAW Women’s Division.

Sheamus & Cesaro VS. The Hardy Boyz (Tag Team Championship Steel Cage Match): So, now that we sunk that low, time to start building this show back up. Which is easy to do, because this was another solid one and a great entry into the feud between these two teams. Though the Hardy brothers choose the steel cage stipulation for this match, it ended up being their undoing as Sheamus & Cesaro ended up pulling out the victory in the end. But, before that we were treated with some great action. The Hardys were on the offensive from the beginning of this match, as Sheamus & Cesaro seemed more interested in simply escaping the cage and the Hardy brothers just focused on wearing them out. Eventually, Jeff Hardy managed to slip away and climb over the top of the cage and hit the floor. But, since this was a tag match, he needed Matt to also escape to clinch the win. Unfortunately, Matt ended up on the receiving end of a beatdown by Sheamus & Cesaro, though he never stopped fighting and preventing either one of them from escaping as well. Jeff did eventually did climb back up to the top of the cage and dive off like the spot monkey that he is, which put him back into the cage and made it so that he would have to escape once more, along with his brother, to win. But, just as Matt was trying to drag a lifeless Jeff Hardy out of the door, Sheamus & Cesaro were dropping off the cage to the floor for the win.

I’m fine with these two teams going at it for the foreseeable future, as they have proven to work pretty well together. Not only that, but what other Tag Teams are there really on the RAW roster to step up? The Club could and should be at the top of the list, so let’s see if they finally get added into the mix. The Revival should also soon be joining them in the title hunt as well, with the return of Dash Wilder from his recent injury. And then there’s Rhyno & Heath Slater who are fun, but I’m not sold on them being really in the running for a title shot. So it seems that the Hardy Boys and Sheamus & Cesaro are the top dogs for now in RAW’s Tag Team Division for now and that’s not a bad thing.

Austin Aries VS. Neville (Cruiserweight Championship Submission Match): Continuing that upward trend, we got handed another really good match between “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” and “The King of the Cruiserweights” in a submission match. A match that is also supposed to be (though I doubt it really will be) Austin Aries last chance at taking the Cruiserweight Championship off of Neville. Aries took it to Neville at the start, only to have his momentum be squashed, as Neville took charge and worked Aries over quite a bit. Back and forth it went until Neville finally put an end to Aries’ last chance at the title (again, probably not) with a Red Arrow to Austin’s back, which Neville turned into the Rings of Saturn submission, forcing Aries to give up.

This was another good one between these two guys, but it was also just sort of the same as every other match that they have had. Not bad, just nothing really special either. I like Aries, but, with his debut in NXT, I was kind of hoping that he’d be a part of that brand some more, working with that roster. His inclusion into the Cruiserweight division though wasn’t a bad thing, he definitely added some experience and excitement to the division. But, after this string of losses to Neville, where does Aries go now? Does he fade from the Cruiserweight title picture, so someone else can take his place? Probably. That way he can linger around until someone else steps up and possibly takes the title off of Neville, so that he can step up once more to challenge.

But, do you really believe we are getting any closer to WWE pulling that trigger on Neville dropping the belt to anyone in that division? I don’t think so. Sure, we may see some guys, like say, Tozawa, become the next challenger in line for the title, but I don’t see anyone taking that Championship from Neville just yet. Which could be a contributing factor as to why the Cruiserweight division is just sort of “blah” right now. The title holds no significance right now. In the short time this incarnation of the Cruiserweight title has been around, it has managed to be lumped in with the U.S. title and IC title, in my eyes, and holding no real relevance. Hopefully that changes soon.

Bray Wyatt VS. Seth Rollins VS. Samoa Joe VS. Finn Balor VS. Roman Reigns (#1 Contender Fatal Five-Way for the Universal Championship): I went into this match a bit jaded, like, it seems, a whole lot of other people, thinking that it was more than likely going to be Balor walking out as #1 Contender and going on to an inevitable, losing shot at Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship. I was also convinced that the only other outcome would be Roman Reigns winning, which could possibly bring about both the exasperated sigh by a lot of fans, as well as the slew of people threatening to drop the WWE Network and/or quit watching WWE programming for life. Instead, it seems a lot of us got a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. In my last Rope Break, I talked about the fact that I thought Samoa Joe was the only real, believable threat to Lesnar’s Universal title run. Not to mention that it truly would be a “Dream Match” to see these two go at it. And, much to my delight, it seems the “Powers That Be” think that it would be a great thing as well, to have Lesnar face Samoa Joe for the title. As that is what we are going to get.

This was a really good match, with all five of the guys in it getting their moment to standout and come off strong. The last few moments of the match alone were worth the price of admission with everyone hitting big move after big move, only to have Joe slip in and force Balor to tap. Balor will get his chance in the future, I’m sure of that. But, it’s still exciting thinking of Samoa Joe taking on Lesnar, in what could be a great, hard-hitting match, even if it’s more than likely that Joe won’t walk out champ. But, then again, I didn’t think that there was any possibility that Joe could have even walked out of this match as #1 Contender. So, stranger things have happened..though I still really doubt Joe will win.

With that said, where do we go from here? Finn and Wyatt may actually develop a good little storyline, which hopefully doesn’t end up at Wyatt’s Bachelor Pad/Farm House at any point. It seems that this feud was what going to be in the works since the “Superstar Shake-Up”. I think it’ll be a god thing for each of these guys. Bray needs to stay relevant and at the top of the roster and feuding with the white-hot Finn Balor is a definite way to go about it.

So, where does that leave Rollins and Reigns? Well, I guess these two could enter into some sort of storyline for now. Probably until Strowman returns, at least to keep things going with Reigns. Maybe, Ambrose will get thrown into the mix, like I was suggesting earlier and we’ll get that Shield triple-threat that we never really got. I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

So, that’s that. Extreme Rules 2017 is in the books and while it was a decent show, with a really fun and unpredictable main event, I don’t think that made for the lackluster middle of the card. The Women’s Championship match was rough. Banks & Swann VS. Dar & Fox was OK at best. Even Ambrose & Miz was just good, not great. Everything else was good and I almost bumped this rating up a notch, but then I remembered that we were also treated to a stupidly long segment involving The Drifter, Elias Samson singing an entire song about how much Baltimore sucked, with no interference, or any real rhyme or reason to it. So, due to all of that, I give this show a 3 out of 5 on our Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

Now on to Smackdown’s Money in the Bank show in 2 weeks! But, hopefully, I should be back here before then to talk about some of the weekly goings on in the wrestling world. And then after all of that we have Samoa Joe VS. Brock Lesnar, a true Dream Match, to look forward at RAW’s next big show, Burning Testicles! Whoops! I mean GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! (ugh) Easy mistake, just look at that logo. Until then you can drop me a line at curt@nerdnationradio.com for any and all praise you wish to heap upon me. Any complaints can, of course, be sent to jack@nerdnationradio.com! Let me have it there!