WWE Extreme Rules 2017: Raw Gets A Not So Average Joe To Face The Beast
Lord knows that Raw needed a coherent pay-per-view to progress characters in a way where there was finality to them. The Raw brand is a little top heavy in that there’s a great main event scene, but a little aloofness when it comes to the middle of the card. Extreme Rules saw some extreme instances, but not too many. That should make old ECW/Hardcore title fans grimace, but with the fallout, we have a surplus of talent at the top that can hopefully help the middle as they await their chance to face Brock Lesnar.
Kalisto v. Apollo Crews: Are they teasing an Apollo Crews/Titus breakup or that there will be an eventual feud between the two? The bickering of the Titus Brand cost Apollo the match against Kalisto. For how pre-show matches go, this was one of the better ones.
The Miz def. Dean Ambrose: The Intercontinental title match got almost 25 minutes in total to what felt like a longer version of their Raw matches. The referee was the third participant getting involved and almost getting disqualified. The ending was a little weird – as Miz pushed Dean into the ref where it looked like the ref was going to disqualify Dean and give Miz the title anyway – The Miz hits the “Skull Crushing Finale” to win clean. Ok?
The seven time Intercontinental champion should move on to another wrestler because it seems like The Miz and Dean have been doing this forever. Whoever it is – has to be a good person on the mic to counteract The Miz’s gift of gab.
Rich Swann & Sasha Banks def. Noam Dar & Alicia Fox: Again, this was another extension of a Raw match. Hey, the hometown guy won for once. Way to go, Rich Swann. Rich and Sasha has good chemistry as a team, but it’s hard to see this feud going another month. With Bayley losing, maybe Sasha can go back into the title picture.
Alexa Bliss v. Bayley: This was a definite squash match. Alexa Bliss is clearly the star of the Raw’s Woman’s division, but going into this match, there was little to no investment especially with a bad go-home segment.
Bayley hits two Bayley-to-bellys and still got the holy hell beat out of her by Alexa with the kendo stick. Yikes. This was about five minutes. Yep.
Where does Bayley go from here? I’m not even sure. It’s crazy to think that one of the rising stars of the latest NXT class was getting booed. Yes, the wacky inflatable Bayley buddy- Bayley. The WWE has to stop portraying her as the underdog. I mean, she won the title twice – you cannot keep humiliating the good guy and have the “comeback” story be believable.
Cesaro & Sheamus def. The Hardy Boyz: Did you think that we were going to have a cage match and not have Jeff Hardy do a spot off the cage? This was probably the 2nd best match of the night that each of the teams have their spots. Again, the stipulation. each of the men have to get out of the cage. The announcers mention this as one of the Hardys tried to get out and Cesaro/Sheamus stopped them. The finish saw both teams in a mad dash to get out of the cage; either by the door or over the cage. There will definitely be a rematch that will most likely be the end of the Hardy Boyz as we know them.
Neville def. Austin Aries: It was on it’s way to be another solid match in the long feud between these two, but some wires got crossed. Austin Aries both sold his injured knee, but it also looked liked Neville went to work on his shoulder as well. Both men are great workers, but the WWE has to figure out what they are doing with the cruiserweights. A lot of the buildup to this match included TJ Perkins, but do I have to watch 205 Live to see a progression too?
Neville should face Akira Tozawa next.
Fatal Five Way: The last match of the night was the best one. Not only did each of the five men have a moment, you still believe that they all have a case in fighting Brock Lesnar down the road. The heels, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt worked together for a while. Yes, it looks like the plan is Lesnar having the Universal Title until at least Wrestlemania.
Samoa Joe will get the first crack at the Beast at the Great Balls of Fire (wow, this is really the name). You go into believing that the “assassin” can go toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar. The storyline buildup should be reflective of that to where Brock Lesnar can’t easily bully Joe. In fact, every challenger to Lesnar should challenge him in their own, unique way to make the title match build up at Wrestlemania worth it. So, when Lesnar drops to title (apparently, to Roman Reigns) fans are invested. Don’t forget – Braun Strowman is warming up in the bullpen as well.