I’ve only been watching the current WWE product since early June so many of my takes and opinions can be taken with a good grain of salt. No worries. I will not be offended. In fact I do lean on many of my friends and associates who have been far more dedicated and invested for a long period time and bridge their thoughts into what I have seen so far in the last five weeks. Now don’t get me wrong. What I have seen in the early days of summer I have been pretty invested to at least present constructive opinions on many of the interesting and equally disinteresting storylines the WWE creative team has pushed to the fore front.
That said. WWE Extreme Rules was a tremendous success in my opinion. There were no bad matches. It’s true. Everyone angle had me interested and invested. Could it be because of the shakeup that’s due to occur starting this week on both Raw and Smackdown with Paul E. Heyman and Eric Bischoff about to take over executive powers from both respective brands? Maybe so. But the fact of the matter is this. The WWE with the rating plummeting to dangerous television rating lows, Smackdown’s move to Fox this coming fall and the new All-Elite Wrestling (AEW) Wrestling company in the onset generating some fresh attention and interest, the WWE needed to stiff arm the neysayers. That stiff arm came in the name of Extreme Rules.
Here are my takeaways and observations from last night.
•While I was rooting for The Usos, man The Revival are such an ode to my youth. Reminds me of the old Brain Busters with Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Great match. Sure we haven’t seen the last of these two teams in the ring. Wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a bigger pay off at SummerSlam.
•I have to be honest. I am shocked the Smackdown tag titles changed hands. Not that The New Day who are now the 6.....time....W....W......E Tag.....Team.....champions don’t deserve it. I just assumed Daniel Bryan and Rowan were going to hold on to the belts to at least SummerSlam in August. But again, surprises are good. Especially with the WWE who needs it most.
•The handicap match that Bayley won over Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross was surprisingly entertaining in the ring. Admittedly I was invested in this storyline mainly cause of my sudden infinity for one Nikki Cross who I find her character quite adorable. But she is also an absolute beast in the ring as well. Big win for Bayley as she also got some much needed pop also from the Philly crowd.
•Aliester Black/Cesaro by far the best match of the night. Never saw either of these guys in the ring prior to last night. Let’s just say I’m a fan of both moving forward.
•If it wasn’t for the incident two weeks ago on Raw where Braun Strowman spiked Bobby Lashley through the company LED screen,I might not have cared about this angle. In the ring it was never going to be an entertaining match. Hence why it needed to be all over the arena to be even worth investing into. And it was. Strowman put the whole thing to an end by power-slamming Lashley into the arena tunnel followed by a ten count to become the Last Man Standing. Both men not worse for wear. That said I do hope this angle is officially over. They got the pay off needed.
•I tweeted yesterday prior to the event that while I expected Ricochet to retain the United States Title, it wouldn’t be completely shocking if AJ Styles somehow won. And we got the latter result. In hindsight it might be best too because I do believe there is a bigger payoff for this angle that can in all honesty move beyond SummerSlam. Ricochet is so over as a babyface right now that by taking the title off of him can only be productive as he becomes the hunter. As big a babyface he is right now he could use some edge to his character. That won’t happen with him as a champion. Likely as a challenger and with “The Club” heavily involved in matches now don’t be surprised if Ricochet finds his “darker side” as this angle moves through the summer.
•I must admit. I’m a Samoa Joe mark. I was openly rooting for him. But how can you not be impressed week after week with Kofi Kingston. He’s taken on legitimate challengers left and right and continued to build on his historic Wrestlemania title win. His reign by far more impressive than that of Seth Rollins. A solid match to boot as well. No surprises here. Question is who was Samoa Joe the bridge to? There’s got to be some bigger plans for the WWE Champion. Any guesses?
•I like Becky Lynch. I like Seth Rollins. I’m not a fan of them together on screen. It’s too cookie cutter. Now Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans in terms of on-screen chemistry is more my speed. Mainly cause pairing Lynch/Rollins takes away from what makes them awesome individually. The mixed tag match itself was entertaining culminated by Corbin putting Lynch into the “end of days” enraging boyfriend Seth and thus putting Corbin into 3 stomps to ring floor for the win. Then business picked up with Brock Lesnar cashing in his MITB and taking care of Seth Rollins with an F5 and winning the Universal Title. Fact is Rollins has gotten a bit stale. No notable opponents. Lesnar taking the belt should spice up the dry period for Rollins as he chases Lesnar to gain back the title likely at next month’s SummerSlam. Again a shake up the WWE needed and succeeded. Also hopefully the end of Lynch/Rollins on TV. Move on to individual angles.