The John Report: WWE Extreme Rules 2017 Review

TJR Wrestling

It’s time for WWE Extreme Rules, a Raw brand show featuring a Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules match in the main event. The winner of that match gets a Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar, who isn’t wrestling on this show.

WWE Extreme Rules
Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
June 4, 2017

Here’s the recap of the lone Kickoff Show match.

Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil)

Kalisto hit an arm drag early on. Crews came back with a dropkick for a two count. Kalisto did a handspring walk across the ring that looked great followed by a headscissors takedown. Kalisto jumped over the top rope and did a springboard off the middle rope onto Crews on the floor. That was great. Kalisto tried to attack on the floor, Crews sent him into the ropes and Kalisto jumped off, but Crews stopped him with a leaping kick to the head. That was sweet.

(A commercial aired plugging WWE Network.)

Crews had Kalisto grounded with a headlock. Kalisto got a rollup, but Crews stopped him with a clothesline. Kalisto got a sunset flip for two and Crews came back with a back elbow for two. O’Neil yelled at the ref that he was counting slow. Jawbreaker by Kalisto followed by a corkscrew attack, back kick and a hurricanrana earned a two count for Kalisto. The crowd chanted “Lucha” for Kalisto. They each went for some moves, but Kalisto got an inside cradle for two. Crews went for a slam and Kalisto countered that into an incredible looking DDT for a two count. That was great. Kalisto jumped off the top rope, Crews got him and slammed him down with a Samoan Drop. Standing Shooting Star Press by Crews earned a two count and O’Neil was shocked that it wasn’t enough to win. O’Neil and Crews talked with Crews asking O’Neil what else he wants him to do. Kalisto recovered and hit a Salida del Sol neckbreaker on Crews (while kicking Titus on the apron) for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kalisto

Post match, Kalisto celebrated the win while O’Neil and Crews talked about their loss.

Analysis: **3/4 Good match and I’m glad they were given time because it allowed them to do some cool spots during the match. That DDT counter by Kalisto was perfectly done. Not easy to do, either. I thought Crews should have got the win, but it’s likely because he hasn’t embraced the heel role yet. I think when Crews starts acting like more of a heel that should lead to more wins for him. Perhaps Crews and O’Neil can become a team rather than singles wrestlers that lose matches. As for Kalisto, every time he gets time to have a meaningful match he shows how good he is. I’d love to see him in the cruiserweight division.

That was the only Kickoff Show match.

WWE Extreme Rules Main Card

The video package aired highlighting the key matches on the show while noting the specific stipulations that are a part of the event as well. It also focused on the five men in the main event.

The pyro went off in the arena and the fans in Baltimore were loud as the show began.

The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse made their entrance for the IC Title match.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T were shown on camera welcoming us to the show. They are in their usual spot on the right side of the ramp. A video package aired to set up this match.

Dean Ambrose, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance. Cole noted that Ambrose won the title on Smackdown on January 3 and is the longest reigning current champion in WWE (main roster) right now. Good ovation for him.

Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (w/Maryse)

If Ambrose loses by disqualification then he loses the IC Title.

They locked up early on. Cole said they want to send best wishes to Harley Race, who suffered two broken legs after a fall in his home. Ambrose was aggressive punching Miz in the corner with Miz wanting the ref to disqualify Ambrose. Running back elbow by Ambrose followed by a clothesline that sent Miz over the top to the floor. Ambrose hit a suicide dive on Miz on the floor. Ambrose picked up a chair, but didn’t use it as Miz hit him with a kick to the head. Ambrose teased hitting Miz with the chair again. They battled on the apron with Miz hitting a kick followed by a DDT on the apron for a two count. Miz hit his backbreaker into a neckbreaker combo. Miz was shocked that wasn’t enough even though he never wins with that move. Miz slapped on a headlock, Ambrose fought out, but Miz hit a knee to the ribs followed by a kick to the face for two. Cole said this was an “incredible rivalry.” I wouldn’t go that far. It’s been okay at best. Miz continued on offense. Miz hit three running corner dropkicks followed by his corner clothesline. Each guy went for their finishers, Miz sat on the turnbuckle and Ambrose hit a forearm to knock him down. Ambrose went up top and hit a flying elbow smash on Miz on the floor.

Back in the ring, Ambrose with two forearms, running clothesline and a Fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Ambrose with a forearm, rollup for two and a swinging neckbreaker earned a two count for Ambrose. They did a spot where Ambrose jumped off the top rope and tweaked his knee on the landing. Miz kicked at the knee. Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock submission hold in the middle of the ring. Ambrose got his hand on the bottom rope to break the hold. Miz went for the submission again, but Ambrose got an inside cradle. Ambrose up top and Miz tripped him up to crotch him on the top rope. They battled on the turnbuckle and Ambrose went for a Powerbomb, but Miz pulled off the turnbuckle. Ambrose stopped himself from sending Miz into the exposed steel. Miz hit a running knee strike on Ambrose for a two count. Miz did his Daniel Bryan like yes kicks. Ambrose blocked the final kick and applied a Figure Four Leglock of his own. Miz crawled his way over to get his hand on the bottom rope. Ambrose pin attempt earned a two count followed by a hard clothesline from Ambrose. Maryse was on the apron, each guy almost ran into Maryse and Miz told her to slap him. Maryse slapped Miz. The ref ejected Maryse from ringside because he knew they would try that. Ambrose rollup for two. Maryse argued with the referee. Miz whipped Ambrose into the referee, which sent the ref to the floor. The ref yelled at Ambrose for hitting him while Ambrose yelled at him to not disqualify him. Miz hit Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win after 20 minutes.

Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: The Miz

The Miz celebrated with Maryse and the title. It is the 7th time Miz has won the IC Title.

Analysis: ***1/2 Well done. Great job by both guys in making use of the time given. That was a long match with a lot of cool spots and nearfalls. They also teased disqualification finishes a couple of times, but in the end it was Miz winning with his finisher. I think that was the right way to end it because Miz is better as a champion while Ambrose’s title run wasn’t that interesting. It was one of the better matches that these two had together. Also, I thought referee John Cone did a great job as well even though he basically no sold that bump at the end because that’s what he needed to do to make that finish work. I liked that Miz won with his finish rather than by disqualification.

There were commercials for Money in the Bank in two weeks and American Grit hosted by John Cena.

Bayley was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Bayley said that Alexa Bliss thought her “This is your Life” segment was good, but she’s not like Mankind or The Rock. Bayley said she’s been watching some Tommy Dreamer, Sandman and even Steve Blackman to show she’s ready to use a kendo stick. Bayley said she was empowered and inspired by the movie Wonder Woman, which she just saw. Bayley said she’s there to inspire people and not there to hurt, but she’ll do whatever it takes to regain the Raw Women’s Championship.

Analysis: The promo was okay in terms of the delivery, but the material is always so cheesy with her. At least the Wonder Woman reference is timely.

Rich Swann got a nice ovation for his entrance or maybe the fans just cheered because they said Baltimore, which is Rich’s hometown.

The Spanish and German teams are at ringside. I don’t expect both of their tables to survive the night.

Noam Dar & Alicia Fox vs. Rich Swann & Sasha Banks

No purple ropes because the girls have more rope power than cruiserweights, I guess. Fox ran away from Banks early on. Swann hit Dar with a leaping clothesline. Swann with a hurricanrana off the top. Dar hugged Fox, so that meant Banks and Fox had to face off again. Banks quickly applied the Bank Statement submission. Dar put Fox’s foot on the bottom rope while the ref wasn’t looking. Fox hit a boot to the face that clearly didn’t connect, but Banks sold it well. Backbreaker by Fox for two. Banks avoided a corner attack. Swann got the hot tag with a spinning leg drop on Dar for two. Dar got a nearfall for a two count. Each guy nailed some strikes and Swann hit an uppercut back kick. The girls tackled eachother leading to a fight on the floor. Swann and Dar battled on the floor with Dar sending Swann into the barricade. Dar saved Fox from an attack, so Banks did the double knee attack on Dar on the floor. Swann sent Dar into the ring and hit the Phoenix Splash for the win after about eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rich Swann & Sasha Banks

Post match, Banks and Swann danced in celebration. Cole said it was fun, which immediately makes it less fun.

Analysis: *3/4 Average match to put over the faces as expected. I liked the ending with Banks hitting the double knee attack on the floor and Swann hit his finisher to win in the ring. I thought Banks would win for her team to give her more momentum, but they went with Swann and that’s okay. The surprising thing is that Swann won in his hometown, which is rare in WWE.

There was a commercial for KFC.

Elias Samson was in the ring with his guitar. The crowd booed as he told the people to hold their applause until after he is finished. I hit fast forward.

A video package aired about Bayley vs. Bliss. Why? It’s been a bad story. Just ignore the history and focus on the match.

Bayley entered first. Good ovation for her. Maybe some boos, but not that bad.

The other announce teams were shown around the arena: Mandarin, Russian, Hindi (they wish Jinder was wrestling here), Japanese (hello Funaki) and Portuguese.

Alexa Bliss received a loud reaction. Mix of cheers and boos. It’s a star reaction for sure. She’s got something special about her that the people like.

Raw Women’s Championship (Kendo Stick on a Pole): Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

If you get the Kendo Stick you can use it and then it’s pinfall or submissions from there. Simple rules.

Bliss hit a body slam. Bliss came back with a punch that led to Bayley bumping to the floor. They battled by the turnbuckle. Bayley grabbed the kendo stick, but they both fell to the floor. They battled on the floor with Bayley shoving Bliss back first into the barricade. Belly to back suplex by Bayley on the floor. Bayley got the kendo stick. Bliss ran away from her, Bayley stalked her while holding the kendo stick and Bayley couldn’t use it because Bliss tackled her. Bliss hit Bayley in the back four times. Bliss hit her with two more kendo stick shots to the back. When Bliss went to attack again, Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex. No cover because Bayley was hurting. Bliss stacked up the kendo stick against the turnbuckle. Bliss shoved Bayley into the stick. Bliss hit Bayley in the back with the stick. Bliss hit a DDT and covered to win at around five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Analysis: * That was bad and boring. I picked Bliss to win, but the story of the match was very poor. The story should have been about Bayley finally unleashing an assault on Bliss after multiple attacks, but instead she was made to look like a total loser. The Bayley character has been booked so poorly in the last few months even when she was holding the title. Bliss is very good as a character and a pretty good talker, but I’ve yet to see her have a match that was above average. Her in-ring work is her weakness and I think WWE knows that, which is why this was so short. I think she’ll get better in that regard, though.

A commercial aired for Money in the Bank in two weeks.

There was a shot of Baltimore Orioles star Outfielder Adam Jones dressed like Virgil at ringside. He had guys dressed as Ted Dibiase, Irwin R. Schyster and Jimmy Hart around him as well. Nice job, Adam.

There were highlights of Sheamus & Cesaro turning heel after they lost their last title match against the Hardys five weeks ago. The steel cage was lowered.

Sheamus & Cesaro made their entrance for the steel cage match. The Hardys made their entrance. Huge ovation for them. Plenty of “delete” chants as well.

The rules for the match is both men on a team have to leave the ring and touch the floor. No pinfalls or submissions.

Analysis: I have complained about WWE’s cage rules for years, but they finally got it right here. It should only be escape the cage in singles and in tags. I don’t like tag team cage matches, though.

Raw Tag Team Championships (Steel Cage Match): The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

It’s Tornado rules with all four guys in the ring. No refs in the ring. They are outside the ring. Both partners have to leave the cage to win the match.

Cesaro and Sheamus tried to leave early, but the Hardys kept them in. Jeff worked on Sheamus and sent him into the cage. Cesaro sent Matt into the cage. The fans chanted “Brother Nero” for Jeff as Sheamus and Cesaro sent Jeff into the cage. The heels also sent Matt into the cage. Both heels were crotched on the top rope fighting with each Hardy. Matt sent Cesaro back first into the cage repeatedly with the fans chanting “delete” for it. Double dropkicks by the Hardys sending each of the heels back first into the cage. Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion attack on each guy. Both Hardys tried to climb out, but the heels stopped them. They did a spot where Sheamus hit Jeff with a Powerbomb while Jeff took Cesaro off the top rope as well. Matt sent Sheamus into the cage and Matt went to climb out, but he was brought back in. Double team move by Sheamus & Cesaro sending Matt into the side of the cage. Jeff went after both guys and did a climb attempt, but Cesaro grabbed him. The heels grounded the faces again. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, but Jeff got out of the way. Jeff sent Cesaro into the cage, kick to Sheamus and Matt hit a Tornado DDT on Sheamus.

The Hardys went to climb out of the cage. Both heels climbed up to get after them. Jeff was on the outer side of the cage, Cesaro tried to fight him off, but Jeff fell to the floor. Matt couldn’t get out because of Sheamus. Matt hit the Side Effect on both heels. Matt climbed up again while Jeff cheered him on from the floor. Both heels prevented Matt from leaving with Cesaro hitting Jeff with headbutts to keep him from helping Matt. Cesaro and Sheamus hit a double team Razor’s Edge on Matt. That was nasty. Jeff Hardy tried to get back in through the door, but Sheamus kicked the door into his face to stop that. Matt hit Sheamus with a Twist of Fate while Cesaro tried to climb out. Matt slammed Cesaro off the top rope. Matt climbed out with the crowd going wild, but Cesaro stopped it and hit an uppercut. Sheamus and Cesaro did a double team White Noise slam to Matt off the top rope. Jeff climbed up the cage with Booker wondering if it’s legal and Cole said it was. Jeff jumped off the cage with the Whisper in the Wind spinning body attack onto both heels. Great spot and moment. I predicted Jeff doing a move off the cage as I’m sure most people did. The crowd loved it. Matt tried to pull Jeff out of the cage door, but Jeff was hurting. Sheamus and Cesaro climbed out the other side. It was a race to the floor with Sheamus and Cesaro touching the floor before the Hardys got out of the ring through the door. Sheamus & Cesaro touche the floor before Matt pulled Jeff out, so it was a split second kind of finish. It went 15 minutes.

Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Cesaro & Sheamus

Matt was stunned by the loss while Jeff was still out of it on the floor.

Analysis: **3/4 It was solid, but it’s tough to have a really good match with those rules and in tag team cage matches. The psychology of the match is different than normal because Jeff got out of the cage early and it proved to be a stupid move. There are also logic holes because if a wrestler had the energy to climb out of the cage why wouldn’t they just walk out the door? They did their best to make it work at least. Also, Jeff already exited the cage and then he had to leave it again because that’s apparently a rule. I doubt fans in the arena knew that rule. If that rule wasn’t in place than the Hardys won because Matt’s feet touched the floor before the heels got out, but since he had to take Jeff out again that meant it wasn’t over. Confusing? Yeah I think so. The big spot was Jeff hitting the Whisper in the Wind diving attack. I didn’t expect the title change because the Hardys only had the titles for two months and I figured they would feud with the Revival. I guess that’s not happening now for the titles. I like Cesaro and Sheamus as a team, so I’m certainly fine with them as the champs. I just didn’t think it was going to happen. This could lead to Matt and Jeff becoming “broken” soon although I think it’s too soon for it.

There was a commercial for WWE Network.

A video package aired about Neville vs. Austin Aries.

Cruiserweight Championship (Submission Match): Neville vs. Austin Aries

The rules for this match is that you can only win the match by submission.

Neville worked on Aries with an armbar and Booker was calling Neville the greatest cruiserweight of all time. I like Neville, but that’s a ridiculous statement since he’s so early in his WWE career. That would be Rey Mysterio although Rey’s not in WWE, so of course they are going to put over their own guy. Aries was on fire with a senton splash and Neville went to the floor. Aries sent Neville into the barricade two times in a row. The offense by Aries continued with a punch off the top onto the floor. Neville kicked the left leg of Aries, which was taped up and Aries has been selling the injury for weeks. Neville with a leg whip. Neville sat on the top rope and Aries knocked him down with a back elbow followed by a clothesline. Aries with three shin-breakers in a row. Barely a reaction for it. Aries with a leg whip on Neville, but Neville came back with a dropkick to the left knee. Aries was also favoring his shoulder when he landed. Neville whipped the left arm into the ring apron. Neville worked on the left arm of Aries some more.

Neville went up top, jumped off, Aries avoided the attack and Aries applied the Figure Four Leglock. The crowd didn’t even react to it. Aries hit a neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist. Aries went up top and went for a dropkick, but Neville moved out of the way. Neville slapped on the Rings of Saturn submission and Aries got to the ropes to break the hold. Aries countered another submission attempt and hit a Rings of Saturn submission of his own. Neville grabbed the ref to get out of it. Aries told the ref not to DQ Neville, so Neville hit Aries with a superkick. The two men battled on the top rope with Aries applying a guillotine headlock. Aries hit a sunset flip Powerbomb. Aries slapped on the Last Chancery submission. Neville crawled out of the ring and Aries held onto the hold on the floor. Neville tapped out on the floor, but the finish has to be in the ring. With Neville on the apron, Aries hit him with the Discus Fivearm. Aries went for the suicide dive, but Neville ducked out of the way and Neville hit the floor. Ouch. Back in the ring, Neville hit the Red Arrow splash to the back. Neville slapped on the Rings of Saturn submission and Aries tapped out to end the match. It went about 17 minutes.

Winner by submission: Neville

Analysis: **1/2 Good win for the champ Neville. It was not an exciting match, though. I mentioned it in the preview that it’s tough to keep a crowd interested in a submission match. There’s not as much drama involved when you can only win a match that way. Plus, the problem is that fans are only going to react to the signature finishers rather than other moves. Neville is a great heel and did well. The problem is when WWE tells fans that the cruisers are the most exciting guys in WWE and they barely did anything exciting, so the fans aren’t going to care. I picked Aries because I thought they were doing this for a third time because there would be a title change. Nope. Neville holds on and Aries indicated on Twitter that there might be a change coming soon. That could be a heel turn, which is smart because I think Aries has always been better as a heel.

There was a video about #WWEHero for their community work.

A commercial aired for WWE Great Balls of Fire on July 9 with the famous “Great Balls of Fire” song featured on it. Worst PPV name ever. I can’t wait for the promos about it.

The video aired for the Fatal 5-Way main event. The winner of this match gets to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at Great Balls of Fire on July 9.

Order of entrances for the main event: Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor (no demon paint in case you are wondering) and Roman Reigns with Cole yelling “The Big Dog” like an annoying loser. I like Roman, but Cole yelling like that is awful.

Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules Match: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

First fall wins this match. It is not an elimination match. Weapons are allowed since it’s an Extreme Rules match.

Rollins and Joe brawled outside the ring early on while Wyatt and Balor also fought on the floor. Reigns was alone in the ring watching it all happen. Wyatt went in the ring and Reigns hit him with a Samoan Drop. Joe went after Reigns and Reigns connected with a Samoan Drop on him as well. Reigns blocked a Balor kick and hit an uppercut. Wyatt and Joe went after Reigns, so Rollins went after Joe. Wyatt sent Reigns into the steel ring post. Rollins hit Joe with a suicide dive outside the ring. Balor with a running dropkick on Wyatt. Balor hit a dive over the top onto three guys. Reigns wasn’t one of the guys, so he decked Balor with a punch. Reigns sent Balor into the barricade. With Wyatt up against the ropes, Reigns tried to attack, but Joe punched Reigns to stop him. Joe whipped Reigns into the barricade. Joe and Wyatt worked together to send Reigns into the steel steps. Joe and Wyatt picked up the steps, then ran into Rollins, Balor and Reigns with them. Fans cheered when they hit Reigns. Open hand chop by Joe on Balor.

Joe and Wyatt worked together on Balor in the ring. Double shoulder tackle by the heels to knock down Balor. Rollins got back into the ring with a dropkick on Wyatt and Rollins sent Joe into the turnbuckle. Wyatt punch stopped Rollins. Wyatt hit Rollins with a DDT onto the bottom half the steel steps on the floor. Balor hit a double foot stomp on Joe. Wyatt went back into the ring with a chair shot to the back of Balor. Wyatt hit Reigns in the back with the chair two times. Fans cheered that. Wyatt hit Balor in the back with the chair again. Running senton by Joe on Balor while the chair was on him. Wyatt did the same senton splash on Balor on the chair. The heels wedged a chair against the turnbuckle. Balor fought out of the corner sending Joe into the chair. Wyatt missed a cross body block and Reigns hit a Drive By dropkick on Wyatt although it didn’t connect that well. Reigns with a rollup leading to a one arm Powerbomb on Balor. Reigns with a clothesline on Joe. Reigns hit Wyatt with corner clotheslines, boot to the face of Joe and a Reigns clothesline on Wyatt. Mixed reaction for Reigns. Joe pulled Reigns out of the ring. Wyatt picked up Reigns and gave him a uranage slam against the announce table. It was not enough to break the table as the fans chanted “one more time” for it. Rollins sent Wyatt into the ring and hit a cross body block off the top for two. Rollins hit a double Blockbuster off the turnbuckle on Wyatt and Joe leading to a two count on Wyatt. Rollins hit a suicide dive on Joe on the floor, he sent Wyatt on the floor and Rollins hit a suicide dive on Joe again after Wyatt shoved Joe into it. Back in the ring, clothesline by Wyatt on Rollins. Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow slam on Wyatt for two. Rollins jumped off the top and Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker on Rollins for two with Joe making the save. Joe yelled at Wyatt about shoving him on the floor. Joe punched Wyatt and hit a jumping kick to the head for two. Wyatt hit a running crossbody block to take down Joe.

Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Wyatt, but Balor broke that up with multiple chair shots to the back of both guys. Balor with a running dropkick on Reigns out of the ring. Balor with a running kick on Reigns while Roman was on the floor. Balor with a running dropkick sent Wyatt into the barricade and he did a running dropkick to Joe as well. Balor slammed Wyatt’s head repeatedly into the announce table at ringside. Balor cleared off the Spanish table and put Wyatt on it. Joe attacked Balor with the Coquina Clutch, but Reigns broke that up with a huge Spear onto both guys that sent them through the barricade. That was awesome. Fans chanted “holy shit” for it. Rollins saw Wyatt out on the table, so Rollins went up top and hit a huge Frog Splash on Wyatt through the table. More “holy shit” chants for that. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” as well.

Analysis: That was a great sequence with two huge spots as Reigns hit the Spear through the barricade and Rollins broke the table. The crowd loved it as well.

Reigns and Rollins staggered their way back into the ring. Reigns had a bloody mouth, so the ref put on the white gloves. Reigns and Rollins slugged it out in the ring with Rollins hitting a leaping kick to the head. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for two. Rollins came back with a standing side kick for two. Rollins went up top and connected with a perfect Frog Splash on Reigns for a two count. The ref left the ring for a moment probably to give a time cue to the guys on the floor. Wyatt went back into the ring, went for Sister Abigail on both guys, it didn’t work and Reigns hit a Spear on Wyatt. Rollins picked up Reigns and hit a Buckle Bomb on him with Reigns coming back with a Superman Punch. Same cool spot they did on Raw. Balor in the ring, but he was met with a Superman Punch by Reigns. Balor came back with a Slingblade on Reigns followed by a running dropkick. Balor up top and he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp. Balor covered, but Joe went into the ring and applied the Coquina Clutch on Balor on the mat. The ref checked on Balor, who appeared to pass out, he lifted Balor’s hand and Balor was out, so Joe got the win by submission knockout at the 29 minute mark.

Winner: Samoa Joe

The win means that Joe gets a Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire on July 9.

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an outstanding match as expected. One of the better WWE PPV main events this year. They went nearly 30 minutes, all five guys had their chance to shine so to speak and I liked how it ended with Joe winning in a decisive way rather than the cheap finish where he stole a pin like he did on Raw. I’m not surprised that Balor was the one that was involved in the fall because you knew WWE was going to protect Reigns by not having him take the fall or pass out. The highlight of the match was the sequence where Reigns hit the Spear on two guys through the barricade followed by Rollins hitting the Frog Splash off the top and through the table. After that, the match went into another gear and the crowd was into it a lot more. They set up the last few minutes really well with everybody hitting finishing moves to take out Rollins and Wyatt to take them out of the ring. Balor hit his finish on Reigns, so when Joe applied his submission on Balor there was nobody there to make the save. It was laid out well and it didn’t seem like they messed up anything. Great work by all five guys.

There were replays of the key spots in the match. Joe went up the ramp to celebrate on the stage while the other four guys were all out around the ring. The show went off the air with Joe’s music playing as the new number one contender celebrated the big win.

Analysis: In the weeks leading up to the match, Joe got victories in a tag match and a triple threat, so it shows that WWE is building people up the right way rather than having them lose before a PPV win. I picked Balor to win, but I don’t mind a Joe win at all. I’ve been wanting to see Lesnar vs. Joe for many years. I’m glad we’ll get to see it next month. Do I expect Joe to win? Nope, but that’s fine. It should be a great match.

The PPV had a run time of 2 hours, 44 minutes.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Samoa Joe

2. Seth Rollins

3. Finn Balor

4. Roman Reigns

5. Bray Wyatt

Final Thoughts

It gets a 6 out of 10 from me.

The main event was the only must-see match on the card with the IC Title match also being pretty good. I thought the tag title match was hurt by the rules, but they did their best. The Bliss/Bayley match was awful. The format of Neville/Aries didn’t work in terms of providing an exciting match.

I didn’t have high expectations going into the show. I thought he main event would be great and it was. Everything else was pretty average. The Raw brand is cold at the moment. I hope things get better soon.

It was a big night for the heels with faces only getting wins with Kalisto in the Kickoff Show and Banks/Swann in the meaningless mixed tag match. One of WWE’s biggest problems is that they don’t know how to book faces right. It continued on this show.

WWE PPV Rankings 2017 (Scores on the 1-10 scale)

Royal Rumble – 8

Elimination Chamber – 8

Backlash – 6.5

WrestleMania 33 – 6.5

Extreme Rules – 6

Payback – 6

Fastlane – 5

The bottom three were all Raw exclusive shows. Please get better, Raw brand.


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