Thursday, June 8, 2017

WWE Extreme Rules 2017

Yep, so it's that night of the year where WWE supposedly goes extreme, but really, the only thing extreme about this show was the massive migraine I suffered after watching it. Said migraine may or may not have anything to do with this show, but more than likely not.

Extreme Rules is slowly becoming the modern day WWE equivalent of the old WCW Uncensored PPV, where it's supposed to be a night that's unsanctioned and outside the boundaries of good taste, but is really just an excuse to have a bunch of goofy gimmick matches on the card that couldn't be deemed worthy of turning into their own individual PPV. And that's certainly the case here.

Here's a fun drinking game for you folks in honor of Rip Rogers' Twitter diatribe; every time someone takes a ..................................dive, take a shot. Have fun.

In a rare instance where I tuned into the pre-show, I saw a match featuring Kalisto taking on and defeating Apollo Crews, who is apparently flanked by Titus O'Neil, who is apparently a bad guy for some reason despite being Father Of The year or some other honorific. Outside of the one-and-done deal from the previous Monday, I haven't watched RAW in ages, so I can't say I'm up to speed on the intricacies of the lesser storylines. It wasn't the most exciting thing I've seen, but it was good for a little lark, so that's fine.

The Miz defeated Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose to win the title. The added stipulation here was that if Ambrose got DQ'ed, he'd lose the title. Miz got Maryse to slap him and that got her ejected. Then Miz tossed Ambrose into the ref because the ref isn't THAT smart and the distraction is enough for Miz to hit his Skull-Crushing finale or whatever it's called. The whole story behind this match is stupid and almost borderline retarded. I'm not shitting on the idea behind the match; on any other show, this would've been fine... but on a show called Extreme Rules, you have a match that's built around a DQ stipulation... because disqualifications are extreme or something.

But fine, whatever. Miz is champion again for the seventh time. Whoo-hoo and all that. Let's move on from each other and have both guys do something else for a change.

Rick Swann and Sasha Banks defeated Noam Dar and Alicia Fox in a mixed tag match that was a thing that happened...

Raw Women's champion Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley in a one-side match that saw Bayley grab a kendo stick off a pole and do absolutely nothing with it before it became a virtually one-sided borefest with Bliss kendo sticking Bayley numerous times before hitting a DDT for the win to retain the title. Perhaps the stupidest thing that I've seen was an interview earlier on the show where Bayley says she saw tapes of Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, and Steve Blackman to prepare for the match... turns out she saw the tapes of those guys getting their asses whooped because that's the only thing that could possibly explain the way that match played out.

My issue isn't with Bliss retaining. I like Bliss; she's a good wrestler, plays her role to a tee, and is a convincing bad person. Her being the first to win both Women's titles (and avoiding the blemish of holding any semblance of a "Divas" championship) rather than Baby Flair is something that I am perfectly fine with even if I don't retain it. Rather, my issue is with how the match played out.

The story was supposed to be Bliss taunting Bayley because she doesn't have what it takes to be "extreme" in this Kendo Stick On A Pole match. And therefore, this was supposed to be Bayley showing that side of her that she supposedly has. Where she would grab a hold of that stick and beat the crap out of Bliss, showing off that extreme rage that Bliss says she supposedly lacks. And then it turns out all she did was tease the blows for far too long, miss her one shot, and then get killed. Bliss wins the title, proves her point, and Bayley goes from being a much-beloved fun babyface character to a booed, crapped-on wimp who didn't have what it took.

See, this is the big difference between NXT and WWE. When Bayley was in NXT, she had that upbeat, cheerful attitude, but it was never too much of a detriment. Take away the surface fluff and you've got someone who could put up a good fight. And it was through clever storytelling that played to her strengths and put her in the right role (the plucky underdog who takes a beating but keeps on licking) that made her one of the biggest stars in NXT. And yet when she moves over to RAW... she's this over exaggerated caricature who is a far cry from the former NXT Women's Champion who was a top star in that group and well beloved. And when you take that and fuck it up to the point where people were actually BOOING her and cheering for the bad gal... well goddamn, kid.

Bayley can be good. She's been good. I've seen her be good... so why don't they make her good? Let her be more of herself and not this goofy, non-believable gimmick that has me not caring about anything here. And what makes this even sadder was that the following night, Brian Zane (the fellow who does that Wrestling With Wregret show) made the comment that the last time WWE killed a rising star in the same vein as Bayley was when Zack Ryder got himself over to the point of getting a run with the US title (that was a lot longer than his one-day stint as IC champ last year), only to see that push not only evaporate, but eviscerated with a rusted fishing knife wearing neon-colored wristbands and matching cap.

Sheamus & Cesaro defeated RAW Tag Team champions Broken Matt and Brother Nero in a steel cage tag team match to win the titles. Brother Nero was outside the cage first, but went back in because he still thinks he's this Jeff Hardy fellow. The end came with a race to the floor that the "evil international fellas" won. Apparently, Brother Nero is packing a few more pounds. The ending befuddles me, because Jeff went out first, leaving only Matt to escape to win the match... but because Jeff jumped back into the cage, it doesn't count? I don't get it... just a confusingly BROKEN ending to an otherwise good showing from all four guys.

Cruiserweight champion Neville defeated Austin Aries in a submission match to retain the title. Well, so much for Austin, I suppose. Time to move on to something else... maybe something that will make me care one iota about the Cruiserweight division.

Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Bray Wyatt to earn the opportunity to get suplexed by Brock Lesnar at the upcoming... Great Ballz of Fire PPV... this was a bit of a clusterfuck with all the dives and spots and stuff that I could hardly remember the details other than guys trading their finishers towards the end and Joe earning a win by making Finn Balor pass out in his sleeper hold move.

And you know what? Joe getting the win and the first shot at Brock is something that I totally approve as Joe looks like the kind of monster that could potentially (but probably won't) give me a Brock Lesnar match worth watching. Even if the end result is going to be the most obvious thing in the world, I'm happy to see Samoa Joe earn himself a main event at a WWE PPV in a title match against a special attraction like Brock.

That having been said, anyone who honestly believes that Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal title is going to be anything more than the usual suplex-ridden horse manure that Brock likes to crap out for his five minutes of air time are seriously deluding themselves. As much as I want to believe that WWE will surprise the world by not only giving us a Brock match worth watching, but also hold out hope that they'll consider doing something completely crazy like, oh I don't know, have Samoa Joe beat Brock Lesnar for the title... because if Jinder Mahal can pull off a miracle, I don't see why Joe can't.

But he won't. Because Vince is dead set on reliving Wrestlemania 31 and doing it "right" the second time around... with Roman Reign defeating the beast once and for all, winning the Red championship, and finally earning the cheers of the crowd. And touching on THAT point would be akin to the beating and anal raping of the proverbial dead horse, so I will stop there.

This was a clusterfuck to keep track over, but there were quite a few dives here, so if you've somehow managed to stay up and about by the end of this one... you should probably try this game against with a hard liquor instead of the apple juice you gave yourself to cheat the system.

Extreme Rules 2017 was a show that was there. There's some decent stuff in there as well as some truly horrible stuff in there, but it is a show that will be forgotten after a couple weeks and I found myself just not really into it all that much.

So yeah... doesn't work for me, brother.

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