Wrestling Review: The Horror Show at WWE Extreme Rules (2020)

While we all collectively do our best to overcome both the current pandemic situation and the horrendous name of this event, WWE pushes forward as it presents The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. In the main event, the Universal Champion, Braun Strowman returns to the place where his monstrous persona was born as he faces off with Bray Wyatt in a Wyatt Swamp Fight. For Monday Night Raw, Drew McIntyre will defend his WWE Championship against the man who claims to have brought McIntyre back into the WWE in long time veteran, Dolph Ziggler, the latter of whom will get to pick the stipulation for their match. After months of violent assaults that have transcended wrestling and spilled out into the bonds of family, Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio will literally (literally!) attempt to tear one of their opponent’s eyes out of the socket in WWE’s first ever Eye for an Eye Match. The Women’s Tag Team Champions, Bayley and Sasha Banks, will each be in a match for the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Championships, respectively, as Bayley defends her gold against the Enthusiastic Scotswoman, Nikki Cross, and Sasha Banks attempts to take the Raw title from Asuka. Finally, Apollo Crews defends the United States Championship against MVP, while The New Day duo of Kofi Kingston and Big E put their SmackDown Tag Team Championships on the line in a tables match against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura.

+ Drew McIntyre (c) vs Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship): the ‘challenger picks the stipulation matches’ are usually really dumb, but for once Ziggler actually made a smart choice (though not as smart as it could have been – just make a “First to be named ‘Dolph Ziggler’ wins” match?). The stipulation added to this match, and without going into my incredible suggestion above, it really made both guys looks good, or at least not like idiots like most of these type of matches do
+ Rey Mysterio vs Seth Rollins (Eye for an Eye Match): conceptually, this match was my biggest fear come to life, and in that regard I believed every single fake-out when someone had an injured eye. Overall I really enjoyed the hardcore style match, because it was one that had an end goal instead of just being big weapon shots for no reason. It was rumoured there was going to be some pre-taped CGI bits, but that was not the case, which did leave the ending quite anti-climactic
+ Bayley (w/ Sasha Banks) (c) vs Nikki Cross (w/ Alexa Bliss) (SmackDown Women’s Championship): I really liked this. Every western wrestling company now — AEW, NXT, Impact from yesterday and now WWE’s main roster — have had a really good women’s match, and it goes to show that when the right women are given the right amount of time and a proper set up, there is no reason that won’t be the case
+ The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) (c) vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura (Tables Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships): this felt relatively short, but the post-match replay showed that more than enough happened in that time. I really liked the ending. Cesaro’s mic work over the last month or so have also done a lot to improve him in my eyes (but of course, he’s always been one of the best wrestlers in the world)
+ Kevin Owens vs Buddy Murphy: gosh Murphy is really good, and of course Owens is great too, so this was a lot of fun. With NJPW running shows again, Buddy Murphy’s ‘NJPW junior heavyweight tribute’ moveset shows how much better that style is in matches than the WWE system. I know not everybody I personally like should be on the main card of any particular event

Braun Strowman vs Bray Wyatt (Wyatt Swamp Fight): I really wanted to like this, because I truly believe Bray Wyatt is one of the best character workers in the history of pro wrestling, and the story going in to this was so easy considering the two competitors’ pasts, but this just never clicked. A few fun call backs to the past and one or two fun choreographed fight scenes are not enough here, and I can’t help but think both guys are completely wasted when this should have been a can’t miss. It really is a shame that Harper and Rowan are no longer with the WWE, at least even for small cameos, because they really could have been of some use in this
Asuka (c) (w/ Kairi Sane) vs Sasha Banks (w/ Bayley) (Raw Women’s Championship): overall I really enjoyed this, but it’s a negative because the ending was such an over-thought, ridiculous, WCW-esque waste of everyone’s time that I was legitimately left shaking my head. I’m not a fan of Sasha, but she was equally as good in this match as Asuka was, and if it was left to them to just run with the story they have been using and end in a match that was 95% like this one was, then it may have been one of the stronger women’s matches
Apollo Crews versus MVP for the United Stated Championship did not proceed as advertised, and I did not care for what happened instead

Should you watch this event: Yeah. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the majority of this show, up to and including Everything bar the ending of Asuka/Sasha Banks. The Swamp Fight was a swing and a miss (hilarious Braun Strowman related baseball pun intended) but there was enough in it it so it is not worth skipping, considering I think the rest of the show is well worth watching.

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