The present reeks of mediocrity and of the atom bomb.—Rene Magritte.
As I sat through WWE Extreme Rules 2015, I felt an incredible sense of ennui that washed over me. The card was decent enough and several of the superstars really stepped their game up, but was it enough to keep this from feeling like a Raw episode without commercial interruptions.
NEVILLE vs. BAD NEWS BARRETT (pre-show match): Neville has continued to impress since coming up to the main roster from NXT. I was concerned with a few of the high impact spots as Barrett is rather injury prone. But he was able to dish it out as well as he could take it. He did a good enough job of putting Neville over and an amazing Red Arrow sealed the deal. WINNER: NEVILLE
DEAN AMBROSE vs. LUKE HARPER (Chicago Street Fight): Take two combatants that revel in extreme violence and you get one of the more entertaining matches in a while. Weapons got involved early as Ambrose whaled on Harper with a Kendo stick. The fight went backstage and throughout the arena. Harper tried to escape in an SUV, but Ambrose jumped in as he drove out of the arena. Two matches later, they came back. Two dozen steel chairs then got thrown into the ring and more punishment got dealt out until Dean Ambrose was finally able to pull out the victory. WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SHEAMUS (Kiss Me Arse Match): Normally I am a fan of both of these competitors’ work, but something just seemed flat with this match. Maybe it was the lack of a truly quality build up, or maybe it was that we didn’t get much from this match that we haven’t seen on any given weekly episode of Raw or SmackDown. Ziggler getting the roll up pinfall victory led to, big surprise, Sheamus delivering the low blow to Ziggler when he was supposed to kiss Ziggler’s arse. But making an unconscious Ziggler kiss his pasty white behind did garner a chuckle or two. WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER
THE NEW DAY vs. TYSON KIDD & CESARO (Tag Team Championship Match): Tyson Kidd and Cesaro have been putting on stellar matches. Too bad they hit a huge roadblock in the form of Kofi Kingston and Big E (with Xavier Woods). While the champs did put on a good match and Cesaro’s feats of strength never cease to be impressive (look at that suplex he delivered to Kofi from the second rope, slamming him into the ring from the apron), E and Kofi don’t seem to have found their groove as a tag team as of yet and it sure showed in this match. Hopefully The New Day’s impromptu heel turn will give us something to give a flying fig about in the near future. WINNERS: THE NEW DAY
RUSEV vs. JOHN CENA (Russian Chain Match for the United States Championship): When the only thing entertaining about the match was the crowd chanting for Rusev’s valet, Lana (a bad guy), that’s when you know things have gone south. Rusev doesn’t have the size to be a believable “Ivan Drago” in this feud. Add to that the “Cena can never look bad” factor and what could have been a good match was so by the numbers that I actually called the exact minute that Cena would hit the Attitude Adjustment. This feud needs to be wrapped up, ASAP. One performer with a played out gimmick is enough. But two performers feuding, both with played out gimmicks is trying the audience’s patience. WINNER: JOHN CENA
NAOMI vs. NIKKI BELLA (Divas Championship Match): Naomi has always been a solid ring worker from day one, but since turning heel, she has stepped it up big time. The bulldog where she smashed the face of Nikki into the turnbuckle was priceless. Nikki looked about average in the ring and her sister’s interference enabled her to retain her title in the end. However, I wonder how long that “average” ring work can keep “divas” employed while “women’s wrestlers” (Naomi, Paige, Emma, Natalya, etc) still have to fight for screen time. WINNER: NIKKI BELLA
ROMAN REIGNS vs. BIG SHOW (Last Man Standing Match): I haven’t been the biggest fan of the majority of the Last Man Standing matches over the past five or so years. I’m not too keen on Roman Reigns or the Big Show in recent months. Yet somehow, combining those elements made for one of the better matches on the card. These two men took it to the limit, more so than most big men in the business. The spear that Reigns delivered to Big Show through the announcers table was the perfect exclamation point to an epic chapter of a feud that most assuredly should continue. WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
RANDY ORTON vs. SETH ROLLINS (Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship): Orton’s finishing move being banned and Rollins’ uneasy ally, Kane, being the gate keeper for this match SHOULD HAVE drove up the intensity of said match. Instead, it made for a fairly predictable confrontation. There were some interesting high spots (all courtesy of Rollins) and though Kane’s involvement was predictable, those Choke slams he delivered were devastating. This was an interesting next chapter of the Orton/Rollins feud, especially with Rollins’ bruised, but still escaping by the skin of his teeth. The match was good, but far from pay-per-view worthy. WINNER: SETH ROLLINS
World Wrestling Entertainment has been resting on their laurels for a while now. The athletes on the roster have performed from adequate to amazing in their matches. My worry with creative constantly dropping the ball is that these pay-per-views, which are normally the zenith of their programming each month, have been no better in quality than the normal weekly WWE programming.
Did you feel differently about Extreme Rules 2015, or were you equally disappointed?