The time for going back and forth on the mic is over, and at WWE Extreme Rules the WWE Superstars will let carnage do all the talking. In the main event, live form the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Fight Pit debuts on main roster, as former UFC fighter Matt Riddle will fight Seth “Freakin'” Rollins inside the steel confines, where the only way to win is via submission or knockout. And to make sure things don’t get out of hand, acting as special guest referee for this match will the Champ-Champ, UFC Hall of Famer, “DC” Daniel Cormier. The Raw Women’s Championship is on the line in the first ever ladder match for a women’s championship on Raw or SmackDown, as Bianca Belair defends her gold against the leader of Damage CTRL, Bayley. Bayley became the first person to pin Belair in over a year back at Clash at the Castle in a 6-Woman Tag, but now without the Womens’ Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky at her side, will Bayley faire as well against the strongEST, fastEST, and toughEST Raw Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair? Meanwhile, two powerhouses will step into the ring for the first time ever, as Drew McIntyre and Karrion Kross battle in a strap match. Both men will be tied together at the wrist by a 13-foot leather strap, which can be used as both a torture device and straight-up weapon. The SmackDown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan also goes to the extreme against Ronda Rousey, as Morgan defends her title i an Extreme Rules match. Ronda has threatened that with or without a weapon, she is already the most dangerous woman on the roster, but the feisty underdog cannot be overlooked, especially with all manner of dangreous toys to play with. However, kicking off the show is arguably the most wild match of all. After two of the hardest hitting, brutal contests in WWE history, Sheamus and GUNTHER will lead their respective trios into a Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook match. Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch will hold nothing back when they battle the trio of IMPERIUM, but GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci are no slouches when it comes to ruthlessly disposing of their opponents.
+ Bianca Belair (c) vs Bayley (Ladder Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship): overall this was fine, and I truly respect the things these two women were willing to do to themselves and each other, but I am sick of WWE ladder matches. Every ladder match WWE does ends up being essentially the same, and more often than not there is no reason for a ladder match in the first place; for example, Bayley hasn’t defeated Belair in a regular match yet anyway. Whatever, this was fine but I do wonder what is next for all involved
+ Liv Morgan (c) vs Ronda Rousey (Extreme Rules Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship): this was fine, but it was not to the level that I was hoping for. Liv has been a good underdog champion in general terms, but the fact she had to cheat to beat Ronda last time (and/or got incredibly lucky) and then attacked Ronda with a baseball bat on SmackDown recently and still got her ass kicked, proves that she is still being presented as a step below. There was some good weapon usage here, but it’s a strange story for the underdog hero to be the one using weapons against the objectively stronger bad guy
+ The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch) vs IMPERIUM (GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci): this was absolutely nuts in the best kind of way. Sheamus/GUNTHER have had two great singles matches, and their involvement here was just as good. Kaiser and Vinci of IMPERIUM have long been an underappreciated duo, and while Butch has always been great, it has been Holland that has improved so much of late. I loved this match, and I could watch them battle every week
– Matt Riddle vs Seth “Freakin'” Rollins (Fight Pit with Special Guest Referee Daniel Cormier): I really wanted to like this, but I just didn’t. I am not a fan of pro wrestling matches where ‘this one is real, and these punches actually hurt’, because that just makes me wonder why I bother watching the rest of it. A few crazy or scary moments were there to keep things interesting, but the involvement of Cormier was almost a non-factor, and as much as I like him as a UFC character, he was not a good pro wrestling referee. This was a bust
– Edge vs Finn Balor (“I Quit” Match): this was garbage. It was incredibly predictable, and went on for far too long. Having a referee with a microphone standing there at all times made this boring to watch, and should have been a situation where the competitors ask for the microphone to taunt their opponent. Edge needs to move away from the Judgement Day entirely, and the Judgement Day needs to do something to make themselves actually fun to watch; it’s a shame the Tag Titles are held hostage by the Usos, because Finn and Damien Priest could be a great team
– Drew McIntyre vs Karrion Kross (Strap Match): as with all of these sort of matches, the slapping of the strap itself was something horrifying to hear, but the wrestling was about as standard as it gets. I am a big McIntyre fan and I certainly hold no ill will towards Kross as many others do, but this was a stinker and probably McIntyre’s worst ‘big match’ in quite some time
– Kevin Dunn is the worst producer I’ve ever seen, as he constantly missed big moments and power moves. Please fire him
> the idea of the White Rabbit teasers coming to fruition were there all night, and I think most people expected some sort of reveal. Without outright saying what they were leading to, it was fine
> the promotional image above of Ronda Rousey is just so bland. Whatever happened to the stylised posters from the past?
Should you watch this event: This was okay, but hardly great. I really did expect more from McIntyre/Kross, but the I Quit Match and the Fight Pit were both really poor and dragged the overall average down. The two women’s matches were fine, but it was ol’ Sheamus and friends that once again had the fight of the night. They really do put on banger after banger after banger.