Wrestling Review: WWE Extreme Rules (2021)

It’s the one night of the year that WWE goes extreme, as the laws of the land change at WWE Extreme Rules. In the main event, the Universal Champion, the “Head of the Table” Roman Reigns faces his toughest challenge yet, as he must contend with the demonic persona of Finn Balor, itself undefeated in WWE. What’s more, this match will be contested under the titular Extreme Rules, where all weapons are legal, anything goes, and only a pinfall or submission will win the match and the championship. The SmackDown Women’s gold is also on the line as “The Man” Becky Lynch comes around to try and get Bianca Belair to put some respect on the Champ’s name. When these two previously met at SummerSlam, in a surprise confrontation for the then-champion Belair, Becky defeated her in 26 seconds and with just a single move. Will tonight be something different? The Raw Women’s Championship will also be defended, as Charlotte Flair faces the hometown heroine, Alexa Bliss; and the SmackDown Tag Team Titles are on the line as The Usos square off with long time rivals, The Street Profits.

For Monday Night Raw, Damien Priest will defend his United States Championship against not one, but two challengers: the former champion Sheamus, and the ultra-popular long time veteran, Jeff Hardy. Although it took until the Kickoff Show to set it up, The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and the new WWE Champion Big E will be in action as they face the former WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley, and the former tag team champion duo of AJ Styles, and Styles’ own personal colossus, Omos in a 6-man tag. The Kickoff Show will also feature a grudge match settled, as Liv Morgan and Carmella meet one final time.

+ Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs “The Demon” Finn Balor (Extreme Rules Match for the Universal Championship): why does the WWE make cool things so lame? I enjoyed this for the most part, because Reigns works so much better when he can bully a smaller opponent, and double points for when that smaller opponent is Finn Balor (whether he’s covered in paint or not). As far as Extreme Rules matches go this was relatively tame, but what we got was fun. I really enjoed the interesting final chapter of the match, so to speak, but the ending was as confusing as it was unique. My enjoyment of the immediate ending will depend entirely on how it is followed up on
+ Damien Priest (c) vs Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy (United States Championship): I really enjoyed this match, except for the horrid ending. The crowd was bonkers for Jeff Hardy, as is to be expected, and the way Sheamus played into that favouritism really made me appreciate him for being more than just a hard hitter. Priest has excelled since coming up from NXT, and can lay claim to being one of only a few to say that with pride, and Sheamus is a good opponent for him, but I do question Hardy as an opponent just because of how much the crowd likes hardy over Priest. Still, this was a great match with a horrible finish
+ The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs AJ Styles & Omos, & “The All Mighty” Bobby Lashley: this was pretty good, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the way it came about. WWE already blew the New Day/Bloodline 6-man tag on free TV with a screwy finish, so forgive me if my hopes weren’t sky high. The New Day may be the most impressive trio in WWE history, and Styles and Lashley are more than good enough to perform the bulk of the match, saving Omos for a few big moments. Xavier Woods may well be one of the most underrated in-ring performers they have, and with Kofi and Big E getting their times to shine as individuals, I truly hope he is given something int he future as well

Becky Lynch (c) vs Bianca Belair (SmackDown Women’s Championship): I was just getting into this when it ended with another horrible finish that retroactively ruined the goodwill the match had built up. God damn, WWE, this should not be hard
Charlotte Flair (c) vs Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Championship): when the WWE was in the Thunderdome, they realised they could do all the teleportation/costume changing/black goo stuff with Alexa Bliss (and the Fiend), only to realise that wasn’t going to work with live crowds. So apparently the decision is to keep the spooky gimmick, but just do nothing to make it spooky, Charlotte is a good wrestler when she is being a brutal bitch, and in that regard this worked, especially as Bliss was the hometown heroine. But the match just wasn’t any good, though I am optimistic about the aftermath
The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) (c) vs The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (SmackDown Tag Team Championships): I really like both teams, but we have seen this near exact same match so many times now that it’s hard to be excited for anything that happens. The Usos move and attack with great synchronicity, Dawkins has some slick power and movement for a big man, and Montez Ford literally has springs for legs with the height and speed he gets on dives – but it’s just nothing new. Where are Alpha Academy? Why not turn the Dirty Dawgs, or have some multi-team stuff with the Mysterios, or Nakamura and Bugz? This is so boring
Liv Morgan vs Carmella: as far as kick off show matches go, this was either great or horrible. Both women look incredible (especially Liv’s new hair cut; it really did it for me) and if that is how people decide whether to watch the show then great. As for the wrestling itself, Liv is slowly but surely getting really good, and Carmella is probably at the level she will always be, so the match was fine. It’s a shame that apparently Liv is not seen as being on the same level as so many other women, because she could really fit in with some longer matches with better opponents

> this was a real missed opportunity not to have Finn Balor reprise his Venom/Carnage cosplays, considering the new movie is coming out soon. Especially if Reigns had some sort of subdued comic book gear as well

Should you watch this event: Go out of your way to see that United States Championship triple threat, and maybe even the opening 6-man and main event. Truthfully, most of these matches will be rematched by the end of the month anyway, and those rematches are usually better than the first goes. Usually.


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