Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The Raw Review (Extreme Rules edition).
It has to be said that Extreme Rules certainly raised the bar from the low standards we have come to expect from WWE in recent years. I always look to criticise where I can but this pay per view did not leave much room for me to pick faults. On the day that Cody Rhodes was granted his release I take a look at the few surprises and a whole lot of great matches this extreme night had to offer.
Big Cass vs The Dudley Boyz:
I like Cass. He’s every bit of the wrestler that gets Vince McMahon even weaker at the knees. Managing to take on two men at once is no easy task, especially when these men are as extreme as they come, in the Dudley Boyz. However, I worry that the Dudley Boyz may now be all to happy to job out to young up-starts and feel it’s too soon to give Big Cass a push as a singles competitor. He’s proving he can go it alone but it’s possibly too soon in his career. I don’t want to see him crash and burn before the end of his partnership with Enzo. But then again maybe that’s why he’s being given a push; if he fails then he can just slot back into a partnership with the certified G and bona fide stud that is Enzo Amore.
Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler:
There really isn’t much to say about this. I just couldn’t fathom any logical scenario where Dolph Ziggler would win. What would be the point in burying the Lone Wolf so soon? He’s not the greatest of NXT graduates but he’s surely going to make a stir. Maybe even at Money in the Bank.
The Club (sigh) vs The Family (eugh):
I’m not too sure how ‘extreme’ a tornado tag is but these two factions put on a great performance last night. Anderson and Gallows frequently look dominating and the Usos match it surprisingly well using quick bursts of momentum. I was pleasantly surprised by the wrestling in this match. The Usos get a lot of stick because of their association with Reigns but credit where it’s due they put on a good show with Gallows and Anderson. Side note: Gallows kind of looks like a baby. A very angry baby at that
US Title match:
Very happy to see the US Title finally getting the push it deserves. Over the last few PPVs, including WrestleMania, the matches for the US Championship, featuring Rey Mysterio and Sin Caras lovechild and the Goldberg guy, have been reduced to the pre show. What a way to finally legitimise the championship by having another non American win the gold. I bet Ryback must be having a blue fit considering the match outcome. Seeing Rusev dominate his diminutive opponent was exactly how Ryback should have beat Kalisto at Payback. Logical progression for this feud would see it centre around the former League of Nations members. It may seem quite obvious but sometimes the best material is right in front of you.
Tag Team Title Match:
Like always The New Day were in fine form with their intro. Being the childish fiend I am I thoroughly enjoyed the remark about putting “a couple of (garden) hoes in the ground”. We usually get Big E paired with Kofi but this time, as is demanded by the freebird rule, each member has to defend in turn. Woods stepped in for Kofi and I couldn’t help but feel something wasn’t quite right. Despite the match itself being great I got the impression, continuing on from last weeks Raw, that Big E’s attitude towards Woods shtick could cause an eventual split for the New Day. It’s a thought that brings a lump to my throat but it’s something we must consider going forward. I am more than happy to see the New Day carry on with the tag titles forever but I think they’re so popular that it doesn’t really matter if they have the titles or not. They’re just great value for entertainment.
Amazing stat the announce team pulled out during Owens intro to the ring. Maggle Cole interestingly announced that KO has featured in every PPV match card in his first year on the main roster. Only one other man has done that in WWE history, the Undertaker. Huge boots to fill. Speaking of boots, what a helluva kick to start the match! This title match was possibly the most thrilling of the night. I found myself being excited for any one of the four men to win the match. They all bring something great to the table in what was a complete win-win scenario. It was like my mom had just picked me up from school with pizza and ice cream waiting; a fun and exciting prospect all round. Owens is just the perfect heel. So much so that he even managed to prevent what would have been the spot of the night when Cesaro was about to superplex Sami Zayn with Miz on top! But Cesaro had sweet redemption when he managed to superplex all three of his opponents. The match portrayed all of the men perfectly. Miz, the desperate champion trying to do anything to retain his title. Cesaro, the strong man, proven with his ability to shove all three of his opponents over at once. Owens, the ultimate heel. Seriously, he’s entering Jericho territory for his levels of commitment. Sami Zayn, the plucky underdog, who never quite has his share of the luck. This match actually had it all. Zayn’s sunset flip power bomb was one of the best things I’ve seen in quite a while – spot of the night, with Maryse screaming whilst being dragged into the ring coming a close second. Truly stunning. The crowd loved it and so did I. Surely these four men, if not the three challengers for the title, are going to be the future of the WWE.
The Asylum Match:
This match up between Ambrose and Jericho was billed as something entirely unique. Two hot headed superstars, one a face and the other a heel. It’s every bit of the classic match up but with the added twist of an “asylum” which was essentially a steel cage with some props around it. The accessories had to be used. You can’t promise your child sweets and then not come through with the goods. Even when we’ve been good little boys and girls just waiting for that sweet reward of Chris Jericho landing straight onto some thumbtacks. It was more of a fun house than an asylum as the use of the props bordered more comical than insane. It couldn’t have been more comically insane even if Pat Sharp climbed in to help pull out the thumb tacs from Jericho’s back. A great development in Dean Ambrose’s lunatic illusion was his surprisingly good knowledge of the nunchucks. That’s actually great character development, adding to his mysterious past and insanity. I did enjoy this novelty match and would have been happy with either wrestler winning. Dean Ambrose sealing the victory on this occasion has helped further himself as the “lunatic fringe”, ironic considering he is rapidly losing his hairline.
In what has been the best developed feud, not only the women’s division but in the WWE as a whole, Charlotte looked to defend her title against Natalya without the assistance of her daddy, the slobbering hall of famer, Ric Flair. The Nature Boy’s outburst last week was not only embarrassing but also showed everyone why his time with the company should reach its well overdue curtain call. Largely out of touch it’s high time he let his daughter fight her own battles. After all, she is the Women’s champion, she should at least be acting like one. In terms of the wrestling itself both women displayed a great amount of athleticism and technical ability that fully deserved it’s place as the second to last match on the card. It was no surprise, however, that Charlotte once again prevailed due to an interference. Much to everyone’s surprise Dana Brooke was the one to interfere. I found it bizarre but also intrigued to see how this one develops. Is “little naitch” going to start fixing matches for Dana too? Only time will tell.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match:
Going into this match I had high expectations that something major needed to happen to keep the feud going or else it faces the risk of burying Styles along with Reigns. I have such a lack of confidence in Roman Reigns that I became genuinely concerned for Styles safety after he hit him with a running knee. I guess the fact Styles came out unscathed shows us that Reigns does deserve a little bit of credit for being able to wrestle. Both men gave it their all and it fell just behind the IC match in terms of greatness. Considering Reigns isn’t everyone’s cup of sour grapes I felt my world turning upside down when I had the sudden realisation that he isn’t as bad as we think he is. Okay, he’s boring to listen to; I’d rather listen to Byron Saxton’s memoirs than listen to his “I’m the guy” speech one more time but he’s actually good enough to wrestle in the WWE. Albeit not as the Heavyweight champion but I think he’s earned enough respect to be in the top half of the roster. Despite a highly entertaining match I was left disappointed once again in the fact there wasn’t any major developments in terms of character – what of AJ Styles? We got the extreme we needed and I was left feeling disappointed by the ending when suddenly it happened… The return of Seth Rollins!!!! It was 4 in the morning and I screamed the house down with excitement. Are we finally going to get the long awaited face turn of Seth Rollins?
So what next? We’ve reached the natural conclusion to the New Days feud with the Vaudevillians so we could see a return of Enzo and Cass on Monday night. There’s plenty of questions that need answers after Extreme Rules. Is Becky Lynch going to come to Natalyas aid? Will Styles still want the club around? And will Chris Jericho still be covered in thumb tacks? Only Monday Night Raw could provide all the answers.
JBLs Best Bits:
“BYRON, QUIET YOURSELF. WE HAVE A-LISTERS WALKING OUT!” – I don’t even think Maryse gets that excited about the Miz.
“A lot of people are cheering the Usos” – Did your mother ever teach you not to tell lies, Jonathan Bradshaw?
“You can use the kitchen sink if you can find it” – hmm I wonder where you’d find the kitchen sink, John? (Sighs)
“Byron, if you was on life support I’d pull out the plug and charge my iPhone”… – can he actually say that!? JBL is savage!
“Jimmy Hoffer buried someone here in New Jersey I wish you were too.” – There’s literally no limits to what comes out of his mouth.