WWE Extreme Rules 2015
Chicago, Illinois 4/26/15
1.) Neville vs. Bad News Barrett: ***1/4
Neville made his debut on RAW the night after WrestleMania 31. He’s dropped his first name, “Adrian”, and is just Neville now (similar to what they did with Cesaro). Here, he’s taking on Bad News Barrett, who was supposed to face Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Title on this show, but Bryan was injured. I thought this was a pretty solid pre-show match. Honestly, you could have put this on the PPV and it would have fit in well. It was just a fun match. Neville would get the win with the Red Arrow.
1.) Chicago Street Fight - Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper: **3/4
So this match came about after Harper powerbombed Ambrose through a Ladder at WrestleMania 31. Now this was a very….interesting match. They brawled around for a bit, and then they brawled backstage. Harper then got in a car, Ambrose piled in with him, and the two sped of. I guess the idea is that they drove off and brawled all over Chicago. They eventually returned to the arena about an hour (and two or three matches) later, and finished the match. I think the time listed for the match on Wikipedia was around 50ish minutes. It wasn’t as crazy of a Street Fight that you might think, but it was fine for what it was. At one point, they brought a bunch of chairs into the ring, and Harper got tossed on the pile. Eventually, Ambrose would pick up the win.
2.) Kiss Me Arse Match - Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: ***1/4
Sheamus made his return to RAW (after being out for several months with an injury) the night after WrestleMania 31 with a new look, which includes a mohawk and a braided beard (It sounds ridiculous and, believe me, it is). He’s feuding with Dolph Ziggler, and for some reason, this is a “Kiss Me Arse” Match, where the loser had to kiss the winner’s “arse” (seriously). The match itself was actually pretty good. Both these guys worked hard, and actually put together a very solid match. I was expecting Sheamus to win going into it, but Ziggler putting out the victory was a nice surprise.
After the match, Ziggler (and the rest of the Chicago crowd) were really getting on the case of Sheamus, who per the stipulation, has to kiss Ziggler’s “arse”. This took a really long time to get through, but the point was that Sheamus eventually gave Ziggler a low blow and a Brogue Kick. He then forced Ziggler to kiss his arse.
3.) WWE Tag Team Titles - Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (with Natalya) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods): ***1/2
So the big thing to note here is that The New Day had recently started their heel turn, and subsequently, that makes Cesaro & Tyson Kidd the babyfaces in this situation. This match actually turned out to be really good. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd are an incredible tag team (at this point, I’m just stating the obvious on that one), and The New Day are really working well in this new role. It was a great change of pace at the time, and looking back at it nearly a year later, it’s clearly done wonders for their careers. As I said, the match itself was pretty good. Both teams seemed to work well together, and these two teams produced one of the better matches of the night. In the end, The New Day would score the victory via a rollup (which was really the only negative thing about the match) to win the WWE Tag Team Titles!
4.) WWE United States Title - Russian Chain Match - John Cena vs. Rusev (with Lana): **1/2
This is the third match these two have had. This time it’s a Russian Chain Match, and it’s the variation where you need to touch all four corners in succession to win. Now these bull rope/chain/strap matches can be very divisive. Most people don’t like them. For me, my personal enjoyment can vary. There will be ones that I like (such as Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young in a Strap Match from Final Battle 2013), and for the most part, I think the versions of the match that end in pinfall/submission are usually better. This match, however, is a perfect example of why these matches can suck. I mean, it wasn’t “terrible”, but it just wasn’t good. I may have been more acceptable if this was on RAW, but on a PPV, it was a huge letdown. The fact that they teased a Rusev/Lana breakup really didn’t help matters that much. Cena would eventually get the win, and celebrated with a huge American Flag that was draped from the ceiling. Hey, at least it was better than the Steel Cage Match that Cena had with Bray Wyatt at last year’s Extreme Rules.
5.) WWE Diva’s Title - Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) vs. Naomi: **1/2
Now this match has a bit of weird dynamic, as Naomi recently turned heel on TV, and is challenging Nikki Bella (who is also a heel) for the Diva’s Title. This was actually a solid match. Naomi is an underrated women’s wrestler, and I think she worked well here with Nikki Bella. Brie Bella would end up helping her twin sister retain the Diva’s Title, which just makes the whole “Who’s the face/Who’s the heel” question even more confusing.
6.) Last Man Standing Match - Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show: ***3/4
I can’t believe that, in 2015, we had a PPV where the best match was Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show. I know that might be hard to believe, but it’s true. This was definitely the best match of the show. Even though there were some weird things with the psychology of the match (Reigns, the babyface, constantly used weapons, while The Big Show, who is the heel, opted not to use weapons), it was still pretty enjoyable, for the most part. It just worked really well, and was WAY better than I could have possibly imagined. In the end, Reigns would get the win after burying The Big Show underneath one of the announcer’s tables.
Before the Main Event, Bo Dallas came out to cut a promo (for some reason), but Ryback came out and hit him with the Shellshock.
We also get an (somewhat) relevant backstage segment with Rusev & Lana. After speaking with The Authority, Lana tells Rusev that he will get another shot at John Cena, this time in an I Quit Match at Payback.
7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Steel Cage Match - Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton: **¾
The one aspect of Seth Rollins cashing in his Money In The Bank Briefcase/Contract at WrestleMania 31 that I really liked was actually the fact that Orton beat Rollins earlier in the night, because when Rollins won the WWE World Heavyweight Title, he immediately had a challenger in Orton. The two got to pick the stipulations for this match. Orton picked a Steel Cage, but Rollins added the stipulation that the RKO was banned. I thought this was going to be really good, but it ended up being very disappointing. Most of the match was actually pretty decent, but the match went off the rails towards the end. The entire purpose of a Steel Cage Match is to keep people from interfering, but when you have Kane, as well as J & J Security constantly interfering, and even getting into the Steel Cage itself towards the end, it defeats the entire purpose of a Steel Cage Match. Rollins would end up winning after he escaped through the cage door, in a match that was just an overbooked mess. Very disappointing way to close the show.
This was a very….strange PPV. There wasn’t anything truly great on this show, but there wasn’t anything that was really that bad either. Some of the matches were just “eh…”, but not bad by any means. The best matches on the show were the Reigns/Big Show Last Man Standing Match and the WWE Tag Team Title Match. You also had some pretty solid matches in Sheamus/Ziggler & Barrett/Neville (the latter was on the pre-show). Some of the bigger stipulation matches on the shows (Cena/Rusev & Rollins/Orton) were more disappointing than bad. This would had made for an interesting episode of RAW, but as a PPV? It just wasn’t that good.