Preview by Joseph Currier
WWE's final pay-per-view before SummerSlam takes place tonight as the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hosts Extreme Rules.
While the originally announced multi-man number one contender's match was canceled, the show could still get us closer to finding out Brock Lesnar's next challenger. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley have been positioned as two contenders for Lesnar's Universal Championship and will face off tonight.
We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronda Rousey will appear despite her storyline suspension. She'll be front row for Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax's extreme rules match for the Raw Women's Championship. The Intercontinental title will also be on the line as Dolph Ziggler defends against Seth Rollins in a 30-minute Iron Man match.
In Raw's other matches, Braun Strowman faces Kevin Owens inside a steel cage, Finn Balor takes on Baron Corbin, and The B-Team challenge for Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt's Tag Team titles.
On the SmackDown side, AJ Styles will defend his WWE Championship against Rusev, Daniel Bryan & Kane challenge for The Bludgeon Brothers' Tag Team titles, Shinsuke Nakamura gets a shot at United States Champion Jeff Hardy, and, with James Ellsworth above the ring in a shark cage, Carmella defends her Women's Championship against Asuka.
The New Day vs. SAnitY in a tables match and Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Sin Cara are also set for the pre-show, which begins at 6 p.m. Eastern time.
By Dave Meltzer
ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS VS. SIN CARA
Similar to their TV mattch on Tuesday but not quiet as good. Sin Cara got a lot of offense and hit a frog splash but Zelina Vega distracted the ref. Almas won with a running dropkick the double knees into the corner and the hammerlock DDT. A little sloppy as Sin Cara tried a huracanrana off the apron to the floor but completeley missed and Almas took the bump to the floor anyway.
SANITY VS. NEW DAY TABLES MATCH
Eric Young was on the middle rope. Alexander Wolfe was biting Kingston as Kingston tried a German suplex off the apron through a table. Young came off the ropes with an elbow that put Kingston through the table so Sanity won. Kingston, Woods and Killian Dain all did dives early and there was a big spot where Woods & Big E both had Wolfe & Young up on his shoulders and and Kingston came off the top rope with a double foot stomp onto Wolfe & Young when they were in that position. It was really not much except for the stunts but that's what the match is about.
They are pushing that Hulk Hogan and Ronda Rousey are both there and showed Rousey and Travis Browne backstage.
MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT VS. BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL FOR RAW TAG TITLES
Axel & Dallas won the titles when Hardy was knocked into Wyatt and Dallas gave Matt a draping neckbreaker and pinned him. Short match that was fine. It was what you'd think it would be. There was a nice pop for the title change.
Carly Caruso interviewed Dallas & Axel on the stage. Axel talked asked how did Stretch Armstrong feel when he ladned on the moon. Dallas led fans in chanting B Team. Tehy were over as a cult thing.
Kurt Angle interview said Brock Lesnar isn't interested in returning. This is a work. Kurt said Brock refuses to face any opponent. He said that either Brock shows up tomorrow on Raw, or he can come to an agreement for the date of his next title shot, or he'll be stripped of the title. Obviously they are pushing hard to build tomorrow's rating after last week.
FINN BALOR VS. BARON CORBIN
Match was fine. Basically an average match everything looked fine but never got out of second gear. Balor was on the top rope for the coup de grace but Corbin shook the ropes and Balor was crotched. Corbin went for the End of Days and Balor used a small package to get the pin. This is the same thing they did at the house shows.
The Bludeon Brothers are destroying Team Hell No backstage. They threw Bryan into the garage door and then Rowan hit Kane in the knee with his mallet. Paige showed up and and asked for medical help.
CARMELLA VS. ASUKA FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE WITH JAMES ELLSWORTH IN A SHARK CAGE
Carmella retained when Carmella shoved Asuka's head into the shark cage and pinned her. The match was short and there wasn't to it as far as a match went. Ellsworth threw down a chain early but Asuka got it away but didn't use it. Then Ellsworth threw down hair spray but Asuka blocked using that. Ellsworth picked the lock of the shark cage and tried to escape but ended up getting his foot caught on purpose and was hanging upside down. Asuka was kicking the hell out of Ellsworth. A bunch of guys came out to put Ellsworth back in the cage by lowering it and getting him back in. Asuka threw them around and they left. Carmella came from behind and threw Asuka into the shark cage. Carmella came from behind and threw Asuka into the cage. This was more entertaining than their last match becaus of the Ellsworth antics. Also Asuka got more offense..
Asuka kicked the hell out of Ellsworth and gave him two German suplxes and kicked him in the head and finished him with the Asuka lock.
JEFF HARDY VS. SaHINSUKE NAKAMURA FOR U.S. TITLE
Nakamura gave him a low blow before the bell. The bell rang and Nakamura hit the Kinshasa and got the pin in five seconds. Nakamura's mannerisms were great,
This was done to set up Randy Orton coming back. Orton came out and gave Hardy a stomp to the groin. It was supposed to be a heel turn but people didn't boo Orton. Orton then walked out. Nakamura looked like he was confused by all this.
KEVIN OWENS VS. BRAUN STROWMAN CAGE MATCH
Owens won the match when both were standing on the top of the cage and Strowman threw Owens off and Owens fell back first through a table. That was a completely unnecessary risk. The match itself wasn't much. Mostly Strowman throwing him aorund until Owens handcuffed him to the corner. Owens beat him up and went to climb out of the cage when Strowman broke the handcuffs, climbed to the top of the cage and they went right to the finish. Owens went out on a stretcher. The impression I had is that there was no great concern nor did it appear to be a real injury but you can't take a bump like that without taking a big risk. It was basically a copy of the 1998 Mick Foley bump.
LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN VS. DANIEL BRYAN FOR THE TAG TITLES IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE A HANDICAP MATCH UNTIL KANE COMES OUT
Good for what it was. They beat up Bryan until a dive spot where Bryan did a tope on Rowan, but Rowan held Bryan for Harper to do a tope. Kane then came out with a walking boot out. He made a hot tag and choke slammed both Harper and Rowan. He tried for a tombstone but couldn't get it. Bryan tagged in and the place went nuts for his yes kick comeback. But Rowan took him out with a spin kick and they used a doomsday device on Bryan and Harper pinned him.
Roman Reigns was backstage. The B team said if you beat Bobby we can all be part of the B Team. Reigns looked at them like they were goofs. They kept celebrating.
ROMAN REIGNS VS. BOBBY LASHLEY
This was a very good match. The crowd tried to crap on it early but they were really into it in the last few minutes. The finish was Reigns going for the spear but instead Lashley hit him with a spear and got the pin. There were some cool spots iincluding Lashley doing an overhead belly-to-belly onto the German announce table. Lashley went for a spear but was hit with a Superman punch. Reigns also gave him a Superman punch when Lashley was on the top rope. Reigns kicked out of Lashley's vertical suplex. Lashley took a fireman's carry and was dropped over the top rope and landed hard on his shoulder which was a bad looking fall..
ALEXA BLISS VS. NIA JAX FOR THE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE IN AN EXTREME RULES MATCH
This was pure chaos. Lots of weapons were used. Mickie James kept interfering and Natlaya tried to stop James from interfering. Bliss & James were beating on Natalya when Ronda Rousey hopped the rail and she threw James around., The crowd went nuts for Rouseuy and she showed great intensity as she threw James into the barricade, the German table and gave her a judo throw in the ring. They got Rousey out of there and Bliss came off the top rope but Jax caught her. Jax went to give her a Samoan drop but James started hitting Jax with chair shots. Bliss hit her Jax with a few chair shots and then pinned her after a DDT on a chair. This was a short match and all chaos so it was good for what it was supposed to be. Rousey again went over Bliss after the match. .
They announced Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. title on Tuesday.
A.J. STYLES VS. RUSEV FOR THE WWE TITLE
This was easily the best match so far. Good story telling, great excecution, both worked great. Rusev has dropped a lot of weight and was easily in the best shape since he's been with the company. Styles worked him over with low kicks and it paid off later as Rusev sold the leg and could never fully get the accolade. Aiden English undid the padding on one turnbuckle. Rusev in chasing Styles ran into the turnbuckle. Styles hit a springboard 450 but Rusev kicked out. Styles gave English a sliding kick to knock him to the floor and pinned Ruseve clean with a phenomenal forearm.
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. SETH ROLLINS FOR THE IC TITLE IN AN IRON MAN MATCH
So this was something. The match was a big disappointment for a lot of reasons. The story behind the match is that the crowd kept reacting to the clock and backstage they didn't like it so they took the clock off the screen in the arena. Then fans started doing countdowns and fake buzzers over and over and didn't care about the match. Then Kevin Dunn made the call to put the clock back up and the crowd still did countdowns and fake buzzer sounds. The guys worked hard and showed good stamina but the crowd lack of reaction made the match seem like a backdrop. Then the finish made no sense.
Rollins won the first fall with a buckle bomb and la magistral cradle. He won the second fall with a curb stomp. He won the third fall via DQ when Drew McIntyre destroyed him including using a Claymore kick. McIntyre was thrown out. Ziggler then got his first pin. He got his second pin with a superkick and a third pin with a zig zag. For the seventh fall, Rollins went for a tope but Ziggler hit him with a palm thrust and pinned him using the ropes making it 4-3 for Ziggler. Rollins catapulted Ziggler into the corner and pinned him to tie it up. Time ran out and it looked like it was tied. Kurt Angle then came out and said fans in Pittsburgh deserve a winner and restarted it. So it started and then Rollins went after McIntyre, who came back out and Ziggler used a zig zag and got the pin. It made no sense that Angle restarted it but then didn't restart it after that interference finish. We'll talk about the announcing later.