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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Extreme Rules 2017



A little after Extreme Rules ended this morning, I chanced upon this tweet on my timeline, thanks to all my Wrestling Twitter connects. It was a meme of a Hey Arnold! scene where Helga talks to her infamous Arnold locket, saying, "I love you, but I hate you, but I love you"; but instead of Football Head's face, the WWE logo was photoshopped on the locket. It couldn't be any more true about how I feel about, well, RAW and the PPV at the very least.

Stick a whole roster of some of the best wrestlers in the world today on an event card and you're always, always gonna get a good show. Or at least, a show with some damn good, unassailable wrestling. Right now, that part of the program is what WWE does best. Everything else is shaky and inconsistent, despite Extreme Rules being the most "SmackDown-booked" PPV RAW's had so far.


As with many of the company's forced themed events, Extreme Rules was always going to be a clunker when it came to the actual stories. All of the matches being required to find their own niche in the "extreme" branding and have some sort of hardcore stipulation (or not-so-hardcore, in some cases) turns some things into a mess. Take for example the cage match for the tag titles, where Jeff Hardy already managed to escape, but Matt still had to take him after he went back in to try and win. Or the submission match for the Cruiserweight Championship, where countouts and rope breaks were still being counted in a bout where a wrestler can only win by, you know, submission.

On the other hand, big matches not getting an "extreme" branding show how ultimately inconvenient the PPV's theme is. Dean Ambrose losing the Intercontinental Championship should he get disqualified is the exact opposite of extreme, while the Fatal Five-Way for the #1 contendership isn't very hardcore at all.

Despite the awesome moments RAW's wrestlers can create, fans can see right through the bullshit, and it's time WWE cut their losses before we ever get to a point where the wrestlers couldn't carry the burdens of the storytelling. With all the talent on the 2017 roster now, that's going to be a long time before it happens—but you want to help your wrestlers, not bog them down. B+

Match of the Night

In a card where having only six matches means a lot of time for each to breathe and play out the way they should, it's hard to pick a single match of the night. Almost all the title matches were great, the main championship bouts topping each other as the night went on. It looked like the steel cage match for the tag titles was going to go home as the Match of the Night, but luckily, all five men in the main event proved why they were hovering around the Universal Championship scene.

The more I think about it, the more I love the result. Samoa Joe is likely to lose, but he also comes into Great Balls of Fire the most likely out of the five men to beat Brock Lesnar right now. Yes, there are plans for Lesnar to defend the title against Finn Balor at SummerSlam, but Joe going into the minor PPV as the contender is a great piece of reactive booking at Braun Strowman's injury. I'm stoked to see where this goes.




*****

  • Dean Ambrose and the Miz wrestled pretty much a perfect match, and despite the repetitiveness of their rivalry, you can see why they get paired together. They just get each other, and they did enough to make their quirky match stipulation work. (Even if it doesn't fit a PPV that's supposed to be extreme.) My only concern now is that there aren't a lot of babyfaces for Miz to work with if he's going to stay champion, unless a few of the upper midcarders in the main event move down to take Ambrose's place.
  • Drifters don't play in the middle of arenas like rockstars. Why can't anyone shoot an Elias Samson song in some corridor backstage?
  • I feel terrible for Bayley and Alexa, who could've put together a more watchable match with just a few more minutes. What we saw was them milking the stipulation and the time they got, and then it all just suddenly ended. It wasn't much, but only because there wasn't space for it to be much.
  • I'll get into what I thought of the Cruiserweight Championship match's results after the stories get played out in this week's RAW and 205 Live. All I'm gonna say for now is that a third straight Aries loss was a waste of three months.
  • Putting the tag titles back on Cesaro and Sheamus was the right move. At this point, something has to change with the Hardys; it doesn't necessarily have to be a full-on transition to the #Broken gimmick, but everyone knew that 40-somethings can't be "The Hardy Boyz" with a Z anymore. This loss gives them a reason to reinvent themselves one more time, and I trust Matt to be creative enough to make something work.


    Photo from WWE
    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.

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