Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro def. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Starting the show we had a great tag-team tables match with frenetic energy. All four competitors had their foot on the gas and did not stop for a breather unless there was a huge spot. Kofi Kingston seemed to wrestle with a different kind of ferocity, and this was probably the most “extreme” match of the night in terms of how it was paced, performed, and planned. Kofi took a huge powerbomb from the top rope onto two tables on the outside from Cesaro in an excellent opener. Good to see both Shinsuke and Cesaro get a big win.
Bayley def. Nikki Cross to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Next up we got this grudge match between Cross and Bayley with their respective buddies Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks. Nikki Cross looked great and came across as a true contender for the title, while Bayley is really coming into her own as a heel. Seeing as this storyline is on-going and consistent on TV, it actually seems fairly reasonable to end the match with interference but it hurts the quality of what was a pretty solid match that was just about to get to its peak.
Seth Rollins def. Rey Mysterio in an Eye-For-An-Eye Match
First of all, a match in which the stipulation is to remove an eyeball is just ludicrous. Luckily for WWE, this writer loves crazy stuff in wrestling. Eye-for-An-Eye was an interesting contest, with both Rey and Seth giving it their all. Rey’s surprise attack from the beginning really made him come across as passionate about getting the win. The two would trade awesome flying and quick-styled offense throughout the match, and had great chemistry. Shame is that the match stipulation kept having the two tease spots where they would go after each other’s eye. The grisly state of their intentions seemed to really take away from the actual idea of competition, and there just has not been enough between these two to garner such a horrific match. The match was actually fantastic and could have been a classic, but it will probably go down as an obscure piece of WWE history post-COVID.
Asuka def. Sasha Banks via DQ to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
In match of the night, Asuka and Sasha Banks put on a fantastic match. Earlier we saw the same kind of match where the two competitors had people in their corners to support them and this time it worked to greater effect. The key here was the story told in the ring, as the two kept trying to submit each other with their signature holds, only to have to try simpler offense. This seemed to have both wrestlers get a bit more personality out through their match. The biggest blotch on this match is it’s finish, where Bayley put on a referee’s shirt and declared Sasha the winner (which would later get confirmed not actual). Despite the finish being unclean, it was still entertaining to see Bayley try such an underhanded and obviously doomed tactic to get her best friend to win. Great match, funny finish.
Drew McIntyre def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre’s title reign continued at Extreme Rules in an interesting match where Dolph Ziggler had the stipulation that it was no-DQ for himself and that if Drew were to get disqualified or counted out of the match he would lose the title. In this instance, it seemed like Dolph really got the short end of the stick in terms of main event booking but it was still an entertaining match. Ziggler kept trying every weapon, short handed move, and cheap trick in the book to try and get the win but still couldn’t get the win whereas Drew mostly hit a few power moves throughout before finishing with the Claymore kick.
Bray Wyatt def. Braun Strowman in a Swamp Fight
In what was a questionable main event to say the least, the first ever Swamp Fight in WWE was riddled with strange moments and just flat out weird storytelling. Braun showed up to the swamp to beat up nameless lackeys of Bray Wyatt before setting a man on fire in the highlight of the match. The entire match is muddled, dark, and a bit difficult to follow in terms of narrative. Alexa Bliss made an appearance as “Sister Abigail” in what was supposed to be Braun’s mind but it was strange and did not get any further build as of writing this. If this leads to something momentous at Summerslam then it could be an interesting moment in their rivalry, as Braun’s strange drowning at the end seemed to be a sign that this is far from over.
This was a hard show to grade, as it really goes down as a transitional PPV and had no major title changes/storyline advances outside of Rey Mysterio having his eye pulled out of his socket. The sheer absurdity of both that match and the Swamp Fight was jarring, strange and totally weird. The wrestling itself was pretty good, even above standard at times but the show was just too short and inconsequential.
All images from WWE.