Did The Fatal Five Way Give WWE Extreme Rules A Five Star Rating?
The WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar won the title way back at Wrestlemania in April. He is a part time Champion (Not for the first time) and this always gets a large portion of the WWE fans angry. Another superstar who was a part time champ was The Rock in 2013. Many fans of his opponent CM Punk felt that it was unfair to take the title off Punk after a record breaking 434 days.
The new generation of fan does tend to forget that a "part timer" just means that you used to be full time and you have lightened your schedule because of other ventures. Age can be a factor as well. It also means you might still be able to wrestle part time and draw money on Pay Per View.
As in the Rock's case WWE had a "bigger picture". They were thinking ahead to Wrestlemania so the Rock and John Cena could have their rematch from one year earlier and this time have the title on the line. This is also the case with Lesnar, he draws money on PPV and will bump up ratings on a future show down the track.
Frustrated fans must remember that WWE is consistent and doesn't always give the fans what they want. They have stuck with a very stale John Cena character for around eight years now and are on track to do the same with Roman Reigns. The "babyface" Reigns gets booed louder than any heel in the company and WWE will probably stick with it for the foreseeable future.
So it is June 4 at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland for the WWE Pay Per View Extreme Rules. In the opening package for the show a text comes on the screen that 'History will be made'. The results will be etched into WWE history but it is unlikely anything groundbreaking will be happening tonight. We are reminded that Finn Balor never actually lost the Universal Championship, he relinquished the title through injury. Another wrestler that could benefit from a victory in the main event is Bray Wyatt. His premature loss of the WWE Championship at the "Showcase of the Immortals" was to benefit new Smackdown live Golden boy Jinder Mahal, so a run with the Universal Title could give Wyatt back his momentum.
The Miz v Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship
A match-up we have seen dozens of times on Smackdown Live comes to RAW. This is part of the reason why some angles in WWE get stale very quickly. They have added a stipulation that if Ambrose gets disqualified he loses the title to the Miz. This pretty much gives the ending away one would think. Michael Cole points out the only other time a Championship changed hands through a DQ finish was in 2011 when Christian won the World Title from Randy Orton. It is a good way for the 'Heel' to win the title from the 'Good Guy' without having to pin them.
The match kicks off with the trading of arm locks. Dean nearly gets disqualified early on. A Clothesline is followed by a Suicide Dive by Ambrose. The disqualification teases are coming thick and fast. Commentator Michael Cole reminds the viewers that his commentary partner Booker T is a former Intercontinental Champion.
Miz has tried alot of submission holds to no avail. He smashes Ambrose with three Dropkicks and after a nice set of reversals gets thrown off the tope rope. Dean dives off the third rope onto Miz's limp body. Michael Cole then compares Miz's wife Maryse to Booker T's wife Sharmell. Memories of the fantastic King Booker gimmick.
A stiff elbow to Miz's face rocks the challenger who has some support in the crowd, "let's go Miz" chants can be heard. They may have wrestled plenty of times but this is quite an enjoyable bout. Both competitors try the Figure Four Leg Lock. Maryse slaps Miz to try and trick the ref into ending the match but instead gets ejected. Ambrose gets pushed into the referee and it appeared like the ref was going to call for the disqualification but Miz uses the distraction to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. The Miz becomes a Seven Time Intercontinental Champion. This was a fantastic match and a great way to kick the night off.
Bailey gets interviewed backstage and clearly there are alot of boo's from the crowd.
Noam Dar and Alicia Fox v Rich Swann and Alexa Bliss
Noam Dar's hairstyle is ridiculous. This storyline seems to be below Sasha Banks and hopefully will not continue to long. Swann started the match with some Chops and some wierd screaming. Catfight!! Banks and Fox go at it Hammer and Tongs. Aleisha hyper-extends her knee on the ropes.
Some nice wrestling from Noam and Rich. Sasha hits Dar with Double Knee's from the tope rope which gives Swann the chance to hit his finisher for the win. Sasha dancing after the win, is she becoming a comedy act?.
Elias Samson sings the crowd a tune. His songs are ok, he needs some work on his guitar playing though.
Bayley v Alexa Bliss in a Kendo Stick on a Pole Match for the RAW Womans Championship
Bayley gets another mixed reaction from the crowd, are the older fans growing tired of the kid-friendly gimmick?. The early part of the match finds the two women fighting on the ropes trying to retrieve the Kendo Stick. Bayley knocks the stick from the pole early but it crashes to the mat unretrieved.
Alexa is the first to grasp the Kendo and blasts Bayley. Bliss pushes the challenger head first into the Kendo in the corner of the ring. It only takes one more hit with the Kendo Stick and a DDT for Bliss to retain the Womens Title. Like alot of Women's matches this year this one is short and over to soon. It could have been better with more time.
The Hardys v Sheamus and Cesaro in a Steel Cage for the RAW Tag Team Championships
The Challengers' entrance has become quite epic. A good combination of their singles entrance tunes. "Delete" chants from the crowd as the Hardys arrive. The bad guys try to escape as soon as the bell rings to no avail. Matt Hardy takes a head first bump into the Steel Cage. Matt looks alot like Mick Foley when he is walking, does this mean he has bad knees?. "Brother Nero" chants from the crowd. Matt does a flying elbow drop from the top rope that completely misses Cesaro.
Jeff has been quiet so far, is he saving his big moves for the finale perhaps?. He scales the cage like Spiderman and nearly escapes. Sheamus cops a Tornado DDT from Matt which floors the Irishman. Jeff is the first man to escape the cage. The Challengers Powerbomb Matt which momentarily puts him out of action. Hardy takes another huge bump with White Noise from the tope rope. Jeff Hardy delivers his "Oh My God" moment with a Whisper In The Wind from the top of the cage. Much like The Attitude Era Jeff's big dive from the cage costs the Hardy Boyz the titles. Sheamus and Cesaro are your New RAW Tag Team Champions.
Now that the Hardys have dropped the titles will we see the 'Broken' Hardys gimmick?.
Neville v Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship
In the last two matches, Neville has cheated to retain at Wrestlemania and Payback respectively to defeat Austin Aries. The Challenger enters with a dorky looking fluffy coat. Some very stiff kicks from both men to start the match. A very nice roll up submission move from Aries puts Neville under pressure. The match moves at a very fast pace. 'The King of the Cruiserweights' takes a heavy neck first bump on the outside.
Austin starts selling an injured knee which unfortunately slows the pace down. Some huge Chops rain down on the chest of Neville. Despite slowing down a little the pace stays on the quicker side. The injuries continue for Double A, this time being a shoulder. A very slick shoulder slam to the mat shows why Neville is one of the premier wrestlers in the world today. A Figure Four Leg Lock can't force the Champion to Tap Out.
Superkick to Aries' chin rocks the Challenger. Guillotine on the tope rope followed by a Powerbomb to the mat enables Aries to lock on his 'Last Chance'ry' move outside the ring. Neville taps but the match continues because they were outside the ring where you can not get a win from a tapout or pinfall. Neville hits his signature moves Red Arrow followed by The Rings Of Saturn to force Aries to tap out. Neville retains, it is a shame one man had to lose this rivalry because Austin deserves a run with the title. This was an outstanding match.
Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt v Samoa Joe v Roman Reigns v Finn Balor and The Winner Becomes The Number One Contender for the Universal Championship
The match begins and Roman is left standing alone in the ring, is this an omen for what will happen at the end of the match?. Former Shield members Seth and Roman face off to very little crowd reaction. Balor begins with the high risk manouvers and does a Suicide Dive onto the other four competitors. Reigns then manhandles Balor while they are on the outside of the ring. Joe hits a huge Double Fisted Clothesline on Roman for a huge crowd "pop".
Joe and Wyatt come face to face in the ring while the other three competitors are recovering outside the 'squared circle'. They decide the most intelligent decision is to not fight but form an Alliance. They take out the other guys with help from the Steel Ring Stairs. This also gets a huge reaction from the crowd. Joe and Finn have a nice little exchange before Bray takes out Balor with a Steel Chair Shot. The communication and teasing of betrayal between Wyatt and Joe is very entertaining. Finn Balor is taking some major bumps in this match, hopefully he does not get injured.
Reigns gets slammed onto the announce table by The Eater Of Worlds. Beautiful Neckbreaker from Seth Rollins followed by a not so pretty Suicide Dive. Joe finally breaks up the alliance when he interrupts a pin involving Bray. A spear from Roman sends Finn and Joe crashing through the barricade quickly followed by a Frog Splash from Rollins to Wyatt through the announce table.
The second tease of Reigns v Rollins gets a slightly bigger reception from the crowd. The Superman Punch cannot keep Rollins down. Roman kicks out of a Frog Splash from his old partner. We reach the 'Business End' of the match with a flurry of fast paced signature moves and finishers but just when the contest started to reach amazing levels Samoa Joe comes out of nowhere to apply the Coquina Clutch on Finn Balor forcing him to tap out. The Number One Contender to Brock Lesnar's Universal Championship is Samoa Joe. And so begins the long and winding road to Samoa Joe v Brock Lesnar, a match that hopefully will be a high impact clash between two Super Heavyweights that should leave most fans thoroughly anxious and excited to witness.
As touched on earlier, the Fatal Five Way only needed a few more minutes of fast paced exchanges and it instantly would have become a classic. Taking nothing away from the competitors this definitely was an amazing contest and was one of the matches of the year so far.
Did the Fatal Five Way Match give Extreme Rules the Five Star Rating WWE was looking for?. Sadly no, it did not but it was a solid show and easily the best WWE Pay Per View of the year so far. I would give it Three And A Half Stars overall with The Main Event scoring Four Stars. So close but yet so far!.