Six stipulation matches are set for tonight's Extreme Rules pay-per-view in Philadelphia.
Matt Riddle and Seth Rollins' personal rivalry will culminate as they step inside the Fight Pit tonight. The MMA-inspired cage match can only be won by knocking out your opponent or submitting them. UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier will be the special guest referee.
Two Women's title matches are set for the PPV. Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey will collide in an extreme rules match for the SmackDown Women's Championship, while Bianca Belair puts her Raw Women's Championship on the line against Bayley in a ladder match.
Drew McIntyre will take on Karrion Kross in a strap match, Edge and Finn Balor face off an in "I Quit" match, and there will be a six-man Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook between Imperium and The Brawling Brutes.
After weeks of teasers, tonight appears to be where we'll get some answers about WWE's "White Rabbit" QR codes. The teasers look to be hyping the return of Bray Wyatt.
Extreme Rules airs live on Peacock/WWE Network starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time. There will also be a pre-show starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Kickoff show --
Kevin Patrick replaced Kayla Braxton as the kickoff show host, as the latter was feeling under the weather. Patrick, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Booker T, and Peter Rosenberg were the full panel. It's mostly the typical assortment of promos, packages, and analysis.
At one point, the pre-show panel was interrupted by a White Rabbit video. The panel just kept talking as if nothing happened.
WWE Extreme Rules report --
The show started with a really fun hype package surrounding a kid trying to spell "extreme" in a spelling bee.
Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, & Butch) defeated Imperium (Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, & Giovanni Vinci) in a Good Old-Fashioned Donnybrook [17:50]
This was an awesome physical spotfest. This Sheamus-Gunther feud has been maybe the highlight of WWE programming in 2022.
Sheamus was so over in this match. There were barrels and bar tops set up at ringside. The two teams went right after each other at the bell, with the Brutes eventually landing a running dropkick on Kaiser before being leveled with a Gunther chop. Imperium gained control, using three-on-one attacks against their individual opponents. They sent Sheamus into the steel steps.
Gunther just killed Sheamus with repeated chops, then Imperium tried to take him out of the equation by dropping him hard onto the wooden bar top. With Sheamus incapacitated, it was a three-on-two advantage for Imperium, who hit the Imperial Bomb on Holland on the outside.
Imperium then beat down Butch for a good while until Sheamus fired up. The Irishman took out Kaiser and Vinci on the outside, leading to the big heavyweight face-off with Gunther in the ring. Gunther hit a German, but Sheamus fired back with lariats and a powerslam.
Sheamus hit the 10 Beats of the Bodhran, with his Brutes getting involved for good measure. White Noise followed. Sheamus nailed the Brogue Kick, but Vinci broke up the pin on a springboard. There was a parade of big moves, ending with Sheamus hitting the Irish Curse backbreaker and locking on the cloverleaf. Kaiser broke it up with a shillelagh shot.
The two teams brought themselves to their feet as the subordinates went after each other. Gunther and Sheamus, forehead to forehead, traded hard strikes. Kaiser took out Butch, Vinci took out Holland, but then Sheamus landed a rising knee for a near fall.
Imperium cleared off the announce table and set Sheamus up for the Imperial Bomb. Holland broke it up before Butch took them out with a moonsault off a barrel. Gunther smashed Sheamus with a shillelagh shot to the face for a good near fall. Gunther set up for the powerbomb, but Butch and Holland snapped his fingers and Sheamus whacked him with the shillelagh.
Holland and Butch laid in shillelagh shots on Vinci and Kaiser, then Sheamus hit the Celtic Cross on Gunther through the announce table. With the Brutes restraining him, Sheamus crushed Vinci with the Brogue Kick for the win.
The Miz was backstage. An interviewer asked why he was at Extreme Rules, and Miz said he wanted to talk to Triple H in person about his birthday celebration this Monday. He was distracted by Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers' mascot, who presented Miz with a T-shirt. Miz threw the shirt down, stomped on it, and walked off.
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship: Ronda Rousey defeated Liv Morgan (c) in an Extreme Rules match [12:48]
There were moments that this could've been really good -- the layout was solid and Ronda comes across like a killer -- but Liv was absolutely atrocious here. Her selling was, like, day one community theatre fake fighting, and she really struggled with some of the props/weapons. And then she smiles as Ronda's putting her in a blood choke for the finish? Terrible.
Early on, Liv produced a bat, which Ronda effortlessly disarmed and tossed away. Ronda landed a knee to the midsection and went for an ankle lock, but Liv escaped. Ronda intercepted a dive, trapped Liv in the ring skirt, and slapped her straight across the face. Liv came back by letting a fire extinguisher loose in Ronda's face, but Ronda took her down with an Olympic slam and baseball bat shots.
Liv avoided a swing and landed an enzuigiri. Ronda came back with whipping shots from her black belt, then bat shots, having tied her up. Liv got a brief moment of reprieve and propped up a table in the corner, but she took too long, allowing Ronda to smash her into the table and stretch her through the ropes.
Back in the ring, Liv tried to prop up a chair, but it fell out of the ring. She sent Ronda through the ropes anyway. Liv laid in chair shots and hit a something of a facebuster through the chair for two. She set up a table, propped Ronda on it, and landed a top-rope senton through the table for a good near fall.
On the kickout, Ronda immediately locked Liv in a triangle. Liv kind of powered out of it, but Ronda didn't relinquish the hold. Ronda turned it into a key lock, then a leg sleeper, leading to Liv passing out and Ronda winning the title.
Karrion Kross defeated Drew McIntyre (w/ Scarlett) in a Strap Match [10:03]
The pre-match brawl was pretty good. The match itself was barely anything, with 80% of it just being Kross heat on McIntyre's arm/shoulder alongside a screwy interference finish.
Before the match, Kross played some mind games by taking a long time to put the strap on. He threw the strap to Scarlett, which distracted McIntyre and allowed Kross to attack. Kross sent McIntyre into the ring post and over the barricade. They fought up into the crowd -- the match hadn't even officially started -- before eventually returning to the ringside area. McIntyre reversed a suplex on the floor into one of his own before planting Kross on the apron with a sidewalk slam.
Finally, back inside the ring, McIntyre put the strap on Kross, and the match was under way. McIntyre dominated until another Scarlett distraction allowed Kross to pull McIntyre repeatedly into the ring post. McIntyre sold his left arm and shoulder hard.
Kross attacked at McIntyre's arm for a long time, driving him into the announce table at one point. He eventually started whipping McIntyre, with Scarlett cheering him on. Inside the ring, Kross hit the Doomsday Saito for two.
After a long beatdown -- I'm talking 6-7 minutes -- McIntyre started a comeback with lariats. He wanted the Future Shock DDT, but Kross fought out, forcing McIntyre to re-position and land a spinebuster for two. They laid into each other with strikes before whipping each other. McIntyre got the advantage, hitting the Future Shock DDT and kipping up.
McIntyre counted down to the Claymore Kick, but Scarlett entered the ring and got in between them. She blasted McIntyre with pepper spray, then Kross hit the Kross Hammer for the win.
The Miz was backstage again, trying to find Triple H. He was interrupted by Gritty for a second time.
WWE RAW Women's Championship: Bianca Belair (c) defeated Bayley in a Ladder Match [16:11]
This was pretty good overall. The creativity of some of the spots was really cool, especially Bianca pressing out of being trapped and hitting the double KOD on Damage CTRL. However, there were also multiple minutes-long stretches where nothing really happened due to indecision or the props not cooperating.
No Damage CTRL out with Bayley. Both women went for ladders right away and jockeyed for position. After an extended exchange of climbing and pulling each other off, Bianca slammed Bayley onto a ladder and followed it up with a springboard moonsault. Bayley returned fire by driving Bianca into the corner with a ladder. She then landed a sunset flip into the ladder in a cool spot.
There was a long period of time where it seemed like Bayley couldn't decide what she wanted to do next. She eventually set up a ladder bridge between the steps and the barricade, propped Bianca onto it, and landed a running elbow drop.
Back in the ring, they both traded climb attempts, with Bayley dumping Bianca out of the ring on one. Bayley altered her knee brace, but Bianca avoided a knee strike in the corner and hit the KOD. She made it to the top of the ladder, but Damage CTRL ran out and pushed the ladder over.
Bianca made a comeback and was able to hit a double KOD on Dakota and IYO. However, her strength was sapped, and Bayley took advantage with a ladder shot. Bayley then hit the Rose Plant and set up a ladder, trapping Bianca underneath. Bianca bench pressed herself out of the ladder, sending Bayley crashing into the ropes.
Once they both recovered, they raced to the top of the ladder. Bayley grabbed Bianca's hair and used it to send her down, but Bianca recovered and whipped Bayley with her hair. She hit Bayley with a KOD onto a ladder, then climbed and retrieved the championship to retain.
WWE Monday Night RAW Season Premiere lineup --
- Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Theory
- WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Seth Rollins
- D-Generation X Reunion
Finn Bálor defeated Edge in an "I Quit" Match [29:39]
This ended up being so much fun. Classic WWE hokey melodrama, in a good way. The early portions of the match were nothing special -- the crowd brawling was just okay -- but I was so entertained by the Judgment Day, Rey, and Beth run-ins. Turning Bálor and Judgment Day into a legitimate heel stable is miracle work after how dead they were just a couple months ago.
The official had a microphone in hand to hear the loser say "I quit" as is tradition. Edge went right after Bálor at the start, but Bálor was able to come back and target Edge's left knee. He locked on a figure four, but Edge wouldn't quit. Bálor continued to dominate for a really long extended period, but Edge was defiant.
Edge finally started a comeback by driving Bálor through the barricade. They brawled into a floor area near the pre-show set and Edge hit a vertical suplex on the floor. Edge found a hockey stick (we are in the Flyers' arena, after all) and choked Bálor with it.
They climbed up towards the concourse, where Bálor repeatedly sent Edge into the wall. Edge countered a running attack by sending Bálor into a concrete overhang. They made their way back towards the ring, with Bálor regaining control as Edge sold his midsection.
Back inside the ring, Bálor attacked with repeated chair shots. "Screw you, Finn," was Edge's response. "I don't quit." Bálor locked Edge in a crossface, but Edge still wouldn't quit. Edge regained control by sending Bálor into a chair that had been propped up in the corner.
Edge laid in chair shots on Bálor's left leg. He locked on an inverted crab, but Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio ran out to break it up. Edge fought them off and Speared Bálor through the ropes onto Priest and Dominik. He set up for another Spear, but Rhea Ripley appeared and handcuffed Edge to the ropes.
Judgement Day surrounded Edge, who fought valiantly but was eventually overwhelmed. Bálor attacked with a kendo stick until Rey Mysterio ran out to make the save. Rey took out Bálor and hit a 619 on Priest but was attacked by his son. Dominik beat Rey down.
Bálor resumed attacking Edge with the kendo stick until Beth Phoenix, Edge's wife, showed up and dispatched everyone -- except Rhea, leading to the two women brawling. Beth took out Rhea with a Spear and freed Edge from the handcuffs, allowing him to Spear Priest.
Edge and Dominik were alone in the ring. Dominik pleaded his case, but Edge low-blowed him; however, the distraction was enough to allow Bálor to hit a Sling Blade. Edge fired back with a Spear out of nowhere, then a second, then a third. Edge was about to try and win with a crossface, but Rhea took out Beth with brass knuckles and Priest and Dominik leveled Edge.
Bálor landed three Coups de Grâce. He demanded Edge say it, but Edge told him to "go to hell." The three Judgment Day men restrained Edge as Rhea was about to con-chair-to Beth, leading to Edge quitting to save his wife.
– After the match, Rhea hit Beth with the con-chair-to anyway.
Backstage, Miz had had it with Gritty, attacking him (it?). Dexter Lumis appeared behind him and choked him out. Lumis helped Gritty up, and Gritty got a shot in before they walked off.
Matt Riddle defeated Seth "FREAKIN" Rollins in the Fight Pit (special guest referee: Daniel Cormier) [16:54]
This was a strong main event with some major high spots and cool sequences, but I can't help but feel they left a big on the table. Some of the Cormier stuff was oddly paced too.
Riddle quickly used the cage structure to his advantage with a step-up enzuigiri. He laid in palm strikes, leading to Cormier pulling him off, and the momentary distraction allowed Rollins to attack and gain the upper hand. Cormier had to lay the law down on Rollins as well. Riddle attacked with overhand chops, but Rollins sent him into the cage.
Cormier made it to an eight count before Riddle got up. Rollins attacked with superkicks and laid in rabbit punches to the back of Riddle's head. He then suplexed Riddle into the cage. Rollins took too long to capitalize, allowing Riddle to surprise him with an RKO out of nowhere.
Rollins reversed a second RKO attempt and hit the Stomp. He went for a Stomp from the top of the cage, but Riddle avoided it; however, Rollins was able to climb up to the top of the pit. Riddle pursued him and locked on a jumping rear naked choke around a one of the structure's chains. Rollins escaped and repeatedly drove Riddle into the cage before hitting a powerbomb into the cage wall. He followed it up with a Pedigree on the platform.
Cormier wouldn't count Riddle out, as he wasn't in the ring. Rollins continued to plead his case with Cormier, allowing Riddle to hit an RKO on the platform, which sent Rollins back down to the mat. Riddle then hit a Bro-ton from the top of the pit.
Riddle went for a flying triangle, maintaining the hold even after Rollins tried to send him into the cage walls. Riddle eventually forced Rollins to tap for the win.
Bray Wyatt return
– After the match, as the end-of-show logo came on the screen, the lights in the arena went out. A recording of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" played. Various people in creepy costumes were shown around the building. A Fiend mask was on the announcer's table, then The Fiend showed up at ringside briefly before a door appeared on the entrance ramp.
The broadcast cut to a video, presumably at the Firefly Funhouse. A broadcast played on a TV with someone in a creepy mask talking and laughing (a different mask than the Fiend one). The door on the entrance ramp opened, a light shined, and the new-masked man emerged with a lantern. He unmasked as Bray Wyatt, blew out his lantern, and the show ended.
Final Thoughts --
Extreme Rules 2022 was a middling show with six matches: a stellar opener, three good-to-very good showcases, and two absolute duds. The live crowd adored the Bray Wyatt return; I'll wait and see if it translates to entertaining wrestling matches.