We are LIVE from Philadelphia, PA, where the rabid fans of the city that gave birth to hardcore wrestling in ECW are sure to be HYPED for the bloodless, anti-septic X-Tr3mE inter-gender and handicap matches!
Last night I watched Lucha Boy, Junglesaurus and the local Hackensack, NJ High School performance of Fight For The Fallen and it would be nice if WWE could put on a stellar show to put those kids in their place tonight.
Big show for good ol’ “Cowboy” too. I’ve long stated how much I respect actual, real, heel work and respect how great Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans have been. A Baron and Lacey run with the top belts would do WWE really good in giving us legitimate reason to see babyfaces give them their comeuppance.
Despite me being basically a licensed journalist, I am openly rooting for Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans to win tonight.
So let’s get started!
Scattered Pre-Show Notes
- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put one of those $400 legit WWE championship titles in my cart at wwe.com and had to shut down my browser to back out. I just can’t justify it.
- Charly Caruso is as hot as Sam Roberts is fugly.
- Oh fuck. Charly just said “At the very top of tonight’s Extreme Rules event” is Taker/Reigns vs Shane/McIntyre. I hope that she misspoke and this isn’t the main event.
- OR! Maybe that means Corbin/Lacey go over and Taker sends the crowd home happy? Ugh, I’m so nervous.
- Sam Roberts compares Kevin Owens’ new gimmick to “those superstars who complain about their jobs on Twitter”. That was either planted by WWE for a reason or the Summerslam pre-show will be hosted by fucking Todd Pettengill.
- Kevin Owens says “When Extreme Rules is in a place like Philadelphia of all places, I have to be here.” Way to hype up your bloodless PPV and possibly encourage AEW chants and booing if it doesn’t deliver.
Finn Balor (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura
- A little torn here. On one hand, it seems like a disgrace to defend the Intercontinental title on the pre-show. But then again, do you want the pre-show to matter or not? This is a way to get eyeballs on it.
- Tom Phillips makes sure to drop “as the crowd here at the Wells Fargo Center in filing in here” to protect Nakamura and Balor if there are no pops for their entrances.
- I loved Nakamura for the first year or so of his run. I never saw the legendary worker that we heard of in Japan, but I sort of believe the narrative that the WWE Nakamura we got has been beaten down by various injuries, and he is just running on the fumes of his charisma.
- That being said, I believe Nakamura’s charisma was good enough for a title run. With a score of 9 for Look, 7 for Promo (the heel “no schpeak ING-RISH Nak promos) and a 7 for In-Ring would have made him a worthy heavyweight champion with a score of 23 on the “Cowboy Bob” scale. Unfortunately they just jobbed him out to AJ not once but 3 straight times and ended all remnants of a push.
- Heel Nakamura as champion, punching babyfaces in the balls would’ve been gold.
- I also absolutely hate that Nakamura has this title shot because he walked in the frame while Balor was talking to somebody.
- Looks like the order from Vince has come down that Nakamura must wear a shirt now.
- This match is a little slow, but Nakamura is fun to watch.
- Finn’s over-the-top flip is so impressive, but guys like Ricochet have ruined his pop for it. Incredible he can still do it at 36 though.
- It’s a little annoying to me that Finn Balor has his little mini-stomp move before his big stomp finish. Just feels redundant.
- Nakamura with the kinshasa! I love how he has this Edge-like “OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED TO LOAD UP FOR MY FINISHER IN THE CORNER” vibe about him.
- And another gets a totally clean pin! Nakamura is the new Intercontinental Champion!
- This will probably lead to him getting squashed by Demon Finn at Summerslam, but hey, good for Nakamura. Love the result. Match was basic Smackdown fodder before the ending.
Back to the Pre-show…
- Wow, we have Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler. Aleister Black vs Cesaro. And The Revival vs The Usos tonight in X-TR3ME regular matches scheduled for 1 fall with the rules strictly enforced! If somebody does something uncouth, they will be disqualified!
Drew Gulak (c) vs Tony Nese
- Fun fast-pace to start.
- Crowd seems solidly behind Gulak.
- I wish these guys got a couple of minutes of promo time beforehand, because if you’re like me and don’t watch 205 Live, it’s tough to get invested in the characters.
- Tony Nese and his 450 splash totally misses, but Nigel covers nicely on commentary by saying that the “knees connected”.
- Cyclone Clash or whatever it’s called hits and Gulak retains. I have no idea what Gulak’s gimmick is and have no idea why they assume that people would.
- The Cruiserweight matches have greatly improved over the past 6 months. They have a distinct style and are actually fun from start to finish.
Roman Reigns & The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
- Holy fuck is this opening?! Why?
- I guess Charly Caruso is a moron. But man is she hot.
- Shane conducting that orchestra will never get old.
- Corey trolling the poor ring announcer of how badly he does it never gets old either.
- One show has Drew McIntyre. The one from last night showcases Jungle boy.
- Hear that big Roman pop? You can thank the tireless heel work of Shane-O-Mac for that.
- “I have no idea why they bring back The Undertaker”, he says, wiping Flamin’ Hot Ruffles powder from his fingertips as the man gets a bigger pop than 90% of the roster.
- Well, it gets a big pop. So let’s continue with the incredibly shitty epilogue to the Undertaker story.
- This is “No Holds Barred” rules, which is different than Extreme Rules match or No Disqualificaton for reasons.
- Hear that big pop as Roman slaps the shit out of my beloved Shane-O-Mac? Wonder why that is?
- Undertaker is moving so slow that the kickoff show for Extreme Rules 2020 is on in about 15 minutes.
- “You still got it!”, lies the crowd.
- But then he starts moving like normal so who knows what is what anymore.
- Once you are told that Renee Young sounds exactly like Bart Simpson, you can never unhear it. You’re welcome.
- Even a guy like Roman Reigns, for all the shit we give him, stands head and shoulders over AEW talent. Kenny Omega? Former WWE upper-midcarders like Jericho and Moxley? They don’t look like Roman.
- “Welcome to Extreme Rules, everybody!” cries Renee Young as McIntyre throws Reigns into the steel steps like the same exact spot that happens almost every fucking Raw.
- This match is fun because of the clear heel/babyface dynamic. The crowd clearly wants Taker/Roman to win, and clearly wants Drew/Shane to lose. No snarky chanting. No bullshit. This is what wrestling should be.
- And yes, you can thank Shane.
- I finally noticed the guy and his mom in the front row. The ones who head to every show. Guy has facial hair now. I have met this dude before. He was as creepy as you’d imagine for a guy who somehow has front row tickets to every fucking WWE ppv of all-time.
- Elias shows up to attack Undertaker in what has to set up a jobber squash at Summerslam.
- Elias had better get less funny if he wants to be an effective heel. I personally would have him roast heels as a babyface, but whatevs.
- No fucking way can Shane make this leap from the top turnbuckle to the announce table. No fucking way.
- HOLY. FUCK. He fucking did.
- Shane McMahon is 49 years old. I’m about to turn 36 and I could barely hop a row of seats at Yankee Stadium yesterday.
- Now Shane trying to redeem himself from totally missing his Coast-to-Coast at Stomping Grounds.
- Oh my God. The fucking Taker throat slash from Shane before TOTALLY HITTING IT.
- Shane is fucking money tonight.
- Taker sit up. Hall of Fame terrified Shane reaction.
- Taker earned his money tonight. Good for him.
- What a fucking awesome sequence with beautiful directing as Drew appears behind Taker but Roman intercepts Drew with the spear.
- Tombstone finishes what was an incredibly fun match that was better than anything put on yesterday at Fight For The Fallen. Just saying.
- Everybody was feeling it tonight. The crowd was feeling it. Shane-O-Mac and Taker were on point.
- “It’s your yard”, says Taker, in a very nice moment.
- I greatly enjoyed this, my dudes.
- Seth and Becky “Bland Stone Cold” Lynch talk to the unknown interviewer. Seth goes for the cheap babyface pop as we all long for the days of his blonde streak in his hair and “JAAAAAAHN Cena” heel cackle.
- I think Becky Lynch is a great worker. I don’t think she should be champion. This all peaked 6 months ago. That being said, while I am incredibly biased, if these two lose to Baron/Lacey and start some relationship turmoil and a struggle to get their titles back to both save their careers and relationships, it would be the most entertaining storyline both have had in a long, long time.
The Revival (c) vs The Usos
- The first of our x-TrEmE totally normal stipulation matches where competitors will be disqualified for any unwiedly chicanery.
- The Usos have their pulse on the youth of today by cutting a promo labeling Revival as the Little Rascals. Who the fuck is that supposed to help? Am I wildly cheering the Usos for calling Revival Alfalfa and Spanky? Who writes this shit?
- My hype is actually fairly high here. I believe these are the top two tag teams in the entire company. I am expecting a lot of great tag psychology.
- Revival with the tandem tag maneuvers! Love it.
- The old “ref-never-saw-the-tag” spot. Classic.
- “What?!” — Renee Young
- “C’mon!!!” — Renee Young
- Nice sequence with a Revival superplex, followed by a top rope splash, followed by ANOTHER top rope splash to break up the pin.
- Very well-worked match, as expected.
- Love that quick tag off the tornado DDT!
- Revival wins a fun match very clean. I guess that’s their thanks for jock itch angles.
Aleister Black vs Cesaro
- Good sign for Black that they trust him with these promo vignettes for so long.
- Cesaro finally playing the total wrestling bad-ass role he always should’ve had.
- Still kind of hoping we get Bray Wyatt as the “real” person who knocked on the door. But that probably won’t happen.
- I hope they don’t intend to make Black a heel. That music is too fucking cool to ever boo.
- For the record, I’m a big Black fan. You don’t get a gigantic green witch tattoo on your back if you’re not committed to pro wrestling. Kinda tough to head to accounting after that.
- By the way this match is one of those EXTREME “scheduled for 1 fall” stipulations.
- Cesaro mocking the Black sit-down shows most personality than he’s given us in like 5 years combined.
- Beautiful moonsault from Black.
- That Black “helping you up with my foot” spot is always a winner.
- Cesaro catching the knees and throwing Black up for the uppercut is great stuff.
- This is exactly the type of hard-hitting match it should be.
- Awesome cover of a botch by Black, followed by an awesome fucking knee strike to the Cesaro springboard uppercut.
- Psychology by Black to break the crossface with shots to Cesaro’s leg, to pay off all the leg kicks!
- Crowd with that polite “This is a well worked match” golf-clap, which turns into a THIS IS AWESOME chant.
- For a regular seemingly throwaway match! Good for them!
- Love that ending, as Cesaro blocks the Aleister leg kicks, yet take the Black Mass to the face.
- That was a great, hard-hitting match that made logical fucking sense.
- Alexa’s face as R-Truth yells in her ear is fantastic.
- Street Profits are already better on the mic than 80% of the roster. Good for them.
Bayley (c) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
- Hmm, Alexa Bliss or Awesome Kong? I wonder who will get ratings?
- Nikki doing the Alexa ropes pose is kind of adorable, in a gothic leprechaun kinda way.
- I will say, the idea that anybody who actually has ever watched wrestling would trust Alexa Bliss makes Nikki come off as even more mentally challenged than she looks.
- I have never gotten Bayley. Never have. Probably never will.
- German announce table introduced. Corey: “I know German. He just said that Byron Saxton sleeps with a nightlight even though he’s 40.” Byron: “That’s not true.” Pure gold.
- Alexa should’ve gotten promo time before the match. She’s just too hot to boo. You need a promo to remind you.
- Bayley flies outside and hits her head on the steps. Alexa screaming “I KNOW!!!” when the refs try to alert her of the rules never ceases to crack me up.
- Bayley has gotten no offense in the entire match, so she will probably win.
- She finally gets a babyface comeback which gets just about no pop.
- The Sexy Munchkins are in trouble.
- Bliss bites Bayley’s hand to break the submission in a glorious heel move.
- Corey says “Get ready for the coronation of the co-tag-team champions” in what is not his best moment.
- Bayley with the Mongoloid Man Elbow to win the match.
- The streak of Bayley and Alexa being involved in awful matches continue. They just don’t click. Probably Alexa’s fault, since Bayley is elite in the ring.
- Whatever. They’re not all winners.
Braun Strowman vs Bobby Lashley
- Big hype here, as these two had a great match on Raw a few weeks ago and this is really the only match that promises “Extreme” antics.
- Match starts with Lashley charging Strowman and immediately out of the ring. As it should!
- Lashley charging Strowman and hitting the spear as Braun went for the shoulder charge was great, hard-hitting stuff.
- Lashley and Strowman head to the Mezzanine section of the arena. This has to be pure death for the live crowd. I was at Wrestlemania 35 during the Miz and Shane Falls Count Anywhere. You just tune out when you’re forced to basically watch a TV screen the whole time.
- This match is meandering and needs a gigantic spot to save it.
- Nice spear through barricade.
- Awesome leap by Lashley who is a posterchild for why everyone should be on steroids.
- Great spot where Lashley is thrown into some poor foreign language announce team.
- Lashley begging Strowman to bring it is pretty cool. I still would rather Corbin with the belt instead of some Seth vs Lashley Summerslam program though.
- Powerslam off a platform. Apparently into a fucking abyss.
- The lack of noise there hurt that spot a little.
- “ECW” chants which is probably the highest compliment you get tonight.
- Strowman wins. So I have no idea what happens to Lashley now.
- Match had some fun spots, but it was waaaaaay too long and didn’t exactly deliver on a major holy shit level spot that we will forever remember. Still decent though and both worked very hard.
- My preference is still that these two “gain respect” for each other and start a tag team now, not unlike the creation of The Bar.
- AJ Styles faking out Charly Caruso with the Too Sweet was hysterical.
- Man there’s a long way to go here. Good show so far. But still.
Daniel Bryan & Erick Rowan (c) vs The New Day vs Heavy Machinery
- I once again remind you – don’t ask why Heavy Machinery is blue collar. THEY WEAR JEAN JACKETS JUST LIKE YOU AND ME.
- Daniel Bryan grabs Xavier’s nose. The ref admonishes him. Bryan says “OH THAT’S RIGHT, NO DQ!!!” and does it even more. He’s a treasure.
- Daniel Bryan deserves so much better than this.
- In UFC that Otis worm is usually pretty effective. I think it’s a muy thai thing.
- Credit where it’s due to the fatties, the Big E suplex + crossbody was pretty good.
- Goddammit. The Otis fake suicide dive was funny. “Cowboy” Bob admits it.
- Smart to have Daniel Bryan and his 40 concussions doing diving headbutts. Safety first!
- Thankfully they remember no rope breaks in these type of matches.
- I love “No Longer Fucking Around” Big E.
- New Day win the title for the 10,000th time. I mean, they are head and shoulders above the other teams and if it leads to bigger and better things for Daniel Bryan then good for all involved.
- Fun little match. Ironically, my least favorite team, Heavy Machinery, had some of the best spots.
- New Day’s celebratory interview is cut off when Paul Heyman comes out for an obligatory Philadelphia promo.
- Heyman says Lesnar will cash in tonight. That’s pretty shitty strategy. I’d hire a new advocate.
- Heyman says “for me to tell you this in advance would make me a stupid son of a bitch”. Ha! Self-awareness.
Ricochet (c) vs AJ Styles
- “Cowboy” Bob tag team idea: Richochet and Sheamus. Call them “Ricosheamus”. Wacky backstage antics where Sheamus says “You’re Irish, aren’t ya fella?” “What do you mean, dude?” “Your name is Rick O’Shea, ain’t it?”
- The Club attack Ricochet during his intro as AJ smiles and says “He’s fine!” Love it.
- One of the selling points of AEW is that they will seemingly have balls-out wrestling technician classics, whereas WWE follows more of a typical formula. Would be nice if WWE let these two loose, locked Vince in a closet and told them to put on a clinic.
- Nice brutal elbow by AJ after a rough throw to the turnbuckle. AJ with an aggressive edge is best AJ.
- “OOOOOH!” — Renee Young
- Guy with his mom in the front row is pretty fiercely anti-Ricochet.
- Renee Young and Kofi Kingston are in a very similar position. Both are awful at their current roles (Commentator and World Champion, respectively) and elite in their former roles (interviewer and Mid-Card Tag Champion, respectively). However, because of the Woke Patrol on the internet, both have to stay in these new roles because people will whine about it if they were removed from these roles they don’t fit into to.
- Awesome neckbreaker/brainbruster trade-off from these two.
- Gorgeous shooting star press by Ricochet. Man if the guy could ever take acting classes to cut a promo he could be world champ tomorrow.
- After Club interference, AJ hits a super-cool variation of the Styles Clash to win it. Would not be opposed to seeing this again in a month. It felt like it was just heating up to something potentially epic.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
- Of course, the Kevin Owens storyline of how WWE never made fans the Authority is proven false by good ol’ “Cowboy” Bob.
- I hope something actually happens, because this match just reeks filler.
- I think Ziggler last won a match in the Obama administration.
- Okay, at least it was a jobber squash and we are in and out with a quick stunner as Kevin Owens wins in 10 seconds.
- I think that was probably Dolph Ziggler’s retirement match. And I’ve seen his stand-up act live and lived to tell about it. I hope he can play a musical instrument or something.
- Owens does a quick rehash of his Smackdown promo and leaves.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs Samoa Joe
- “Amazing heel” Samoa Joe gets wild cheers and “Joe-Joe-Joe-Joe” chants.
- Speaking of jobbers who job, this is basically it for Joe. If he loses this, and I’d be stunned if he didnt, he might as well turn wacky fat boy babyface and do worms with Otis of Heavy Machinery. You can only lose so many times before you can’t squeeze anymore juice out of the Samoa Joe “bad-ass” threat. Ask Bray Wyatt.
- Nice brutal sweeping leg by Joe.
- “Cowboy” Bob hates the “small joint manipulation” spots. I am such a mark.
- “Cowboy” Bob, however, loves a good powerslam.
- “We Want Lesnar”/”No we don’t!” dueling chants. I promise if I was there, I would be on the first side of that.
- Super-Kofi gets the TOTALY LEGITIMATE BECAUSE HE’S SO LEGITIMATE TOTALLY LEGITIMATE Trouble in Paradise for the win.
- Not trying for any hyperbole here. This match just destroyed Samoa Joe’s career. I mean, the dude is 38 years old, but still. There is no coming back from this.
- Match was awful and boring as well.
Seth Rollins (c) & Becky Lynch (c) vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
- God, Becky is so fucking annoying on the mic.
- “Cowboy” Bob misses Ronda Rousey. There I said it.
- Again, I’m openly rooting for Baron and Lacey. Both are the greatest heels in the business not named McMahon. And a win for Baron/Lacey is a win for interesting storylines. A loss means we probably get Seth vs Braun or some bullshit.
- Also, if you want to send Baron to the moon as a heel, have him win this title and lay out Becky with a fucking End of Days. Do it.
- Then you can call him Heel Armstrong. Okay, I’ve been doing this for 4+ hours give me some slack on that joke.
- On cue, there’s Baron with the old heel standby, the fake crowd handshake.
- Lacey Evans got here 10 minutes ago and is about 500 fucking levels above the best women on the AEW roster.
- And I’ll be damned if that isn’t one catchy theme.
- Whoa, Lacey directly shoves her ass into the camera in a sequence that would be right at home in the Attitude Era.
- Ah, but there was a reason! She has SETH written across her ass, for shades of the great Rick Rude.
- “The only woman to beat Ronda Rousey in a fluke roll-up botched finish!” — Michael Cole. Okay, I may have rephrased that.
- Baron is instantly tagged in as he yells at Becky to get out of here in a great little heel bit.
- “Guys, we need to order our wrestling supplies. Make sure we have an adequate supply of kendo sticks.”
- Awesome moment as Lacey goes after Seth with a kendo stick, it’s caught by Seth as Lacey seductively rubs him down and Becky goes absolutely fucking crazy on Lacey with that stick. Crowd loved that.
- BECAUSE WE HAVE STRONG HEELS, THAT’S WHY.
- The babyfaces are kicking the heels’ asses here. Yet the people demand Baron and Lacey win.
- And by “the people” I mean good ol’ “Cowboy” Bob.
- More “WE WANT LESNAR”/”NO WE DON’T”. I don’t. I want WWE Universal Champion Baron Corbin and WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Lacey Evans.
- Nice DDT on the chair by Corbin.
- Lacey just dropped a chair on Becky’s head. These two are so weird with each other. This is the third straight match between them by my count that has botches.
- Becky sets up the chairs wrong, then has to awkwardly change the chairs’ positions so she doesn’t hurt Lacey. Awful.
- In a nice spot, Seth tosses a chair that Baron catches, as Becky kicks it into his face. Corey calls it a “Van-Maninator”. I’ll allow it.
- The gorgeous Lacey moonsault connects.
- Lacey is bleeding. Probably thanks to Botchy Lynch.
- Dramatic moment, as “Cowboy” Bob needs Lacey to get out of the Disarm-Her.
- “Seems it’s Tables-o-Clock” — Renee Young, the female Gorilla Monsoon
- After Seth/Becky set up 2 tables, both Corbin and Evans escape, then beat up Seth with kendo sticks in the ring as Chekov’s Tables loom ominously on the outside.
- The obvious finish is that Corbin/Lacey will go through them, and then our top 2 heels in the company are destroyed. Let’s hope not.
- Both heels are put through tables and “Cowboy” Bob is deeply distraught.
- This is the end.
- Corbin may not be AJ Styles in the ring, but the Deep Six and End of Days are a hell of a Signature Move/Finisher combo.
- YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! THERE IT IS!!!!! THE FUCKING END OF DAYS TO BECKY LYNCH!!!!!!! I SAID IT. I FUCKING SAID IT.
- CORBIN CALLS ROLLINS A PIECE OF SHIT TOO!!!!!
- Seth stomping away as my dreams die. Seth and Bland Stone Cold win. Fuck.
- Corbin with the title would’ve given us the monster heel of all-time.
- Consolation prize!!! Brock Lesnar’s music hits! Brock with the German suplex! C’mon Brock!
- Heyman says he’s really cashing in! Oh shit.
Seth Rollins (c) vs Brock Lesnar
- Oh man, how is Becky going to emasculate Brock.
- F-5 to Seth. NEW CHAMPION!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I’ll take it.
- I do wish that Corbin had won it instead, so that Corbin could add 10 second long Universal Champion to his “accomplishments” list, but beggar “Cowboy” Bob is not a chooser!
- The internet can fuck off. Brock Lesnar is the best wrestler on the entire roster. This is a good thing.
- Heartbroken over Baron and Lacey. But it is what it is.
A very solid THUMBS UP from “Cowboy” Bob for a fun PPV that made AEW look like the young, amateur-ish organization that it is currently is.