Go-home shows can either create a lot of interest for a pay-per view, or not so much, even though you know you’re watching it either way. While I wasn’t particularly blown away by a lot of things tonight, they clearly gave each program the final push into Sunday, even highlighting the Women’s Title match as the very last segment of the show. Pretty amazing for a division that a year ago no one cared about. We’ll get to that later, but lets kick things off with the Phenomenal One.
AJ Styles promo with Roman Reigns
I love AJ Styles, but I’m just a little confused right now. Is he a heel, or is he a face? I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that question, even though the guys he is working with, Anderson and Gallows, are clearly heels. Not only has he not done anything that would make me think he IS a heel, but he’s all concerned about the whole “Everyone thinks I’m a liar” thing, and is making us sit through awkward silences as we read mean tweets people are sending him: not the actions of a heel if you ask me.
Anyway, Roman interrupts and after acknowledging the Seth Rollins chants, delivers another slightly underwhelming, slightly emotion-less promo. The Uso’s as well as Anderson and Gallows come out to back up their boys, and with the exception of one right hand from Roman to AJ, we see no action. I appreciated that at that moment, and I appreciated it later as well.
Cesaro vs Sami Zayn
My friend Graham (@WrestleRant) practically read my mind, tweeting right as this match was starting “Their first match on the main roster should be saved.” I thought it was a bit premature as well, so I was very pleased when after maybe three minutes, things blew up between the four men in the IC Title match on Sunday. I liked it; gave you a taste of the magic you’ll be seeing somewhere down the line, and you got a non-stereotypical tag match out of it. Thanks Stephanie.
Winner: No contest
Cesaro and The Miz vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens AND Sami Zayn. Doesn’t that give you chills? WWE, think about that when these two need something fresh to do in a few years. I loved the complete face pop Owens was getting throughout the entire match, and I also liked seeing them all take it easy for once. Clearly, they’re all going to be working hard Sunday and maybe the rumors of Owens suffering some sort of an injury the other night at a live event were true (even though he didn’t look it at all), but they still put on a fun match. The Owens/Zayn antics while tagging in and out was especially entertaining. Cesaro would hit Miz with his Skull-Crushing Finale after a failed attempt at Miz going for the Cesaro Swing on him, before taking a Helluva Kick from Sami Zayn for the win.
Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Primo and Epico vs The Locals
I was afraid that they would not refer to themselves as Primo and Epico but rather the Shining Stars as their video packages led me to believe, but that was not the case. They were good back when I saw them at WrestleMania 25, but they look even better now. Perhaps a few years away did them some good. They hit hard and fast, just the way I like it. Good re-debut for the boys.
Winners: Primo and Epico
Dean Ambrose promo with Chris Jericho
Ambrose called Chris out almost immediately, which I thought was good, until he started screaming about the jacket for five minutes. Then I didn’t care. The concept of an Asylum match is really cool, and goes well with Ambrose’s character. It’s not like Khali and the Punjabi Prison or anything like that, it’s actually something I think about with some excitement. Granted, I’ve always preferred the Cell over the cage, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m excited to see it. I think both will thrive in there.
Dana Brook vs Becky Lynch
Well, I’m sure that before Emma got injured there was some sort of plan of where they wanted to go with this, but it looks like we’ll be seeing this match a lot from now on. Becky looked good as always, but to be honest, Dana had a better showing in her first match. Maybe the novelty wore off for me or something, but I thought she looked generic. She scored another cheap win, but Becky really needs a better program.
Winner: Dana Brooke
Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs Goldust and R-Truth
Goldust was the only one who put an effort into this match, and yet he gets pinned, again, to a heel kick he should have recovered enough from in the 10 seconds it took for Fandango to get Truth out of the ring. Just really hard to watch.
New Day Promo
Greensboro is apparently a New Day town, cause they popped the loudest for them then they did anyone else on the show. And for good reason, because the “2009 was my best year” line from Kofi and quite frankly, the entire time travel segment was absolutely on point. Good that the Vaudevillians got the attack from behind in: they look like a threat going into Sunday. We’ll see what happens.
The Usos vs Anderson and Gallows
I didn’t really take a lot of notes for this one even though it was considerably long in terms of tonight’s matches, but I enjoyed this. Its clear that the two teams are done feeling each other out and are ready to go for real. Jey (I think) looked really good after the hot tag, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Club boys, and the Uso’s actually get a CLEAN win after some Superkicks and a splash. Loved the post-match stuff with them and Roman/AJ of course; I would have liked for them to have saved the Styles Clash on the chair for Sunday, but I guess they wanted to leave the biggest impression.
Winner: The Uso’s
Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio
God, I’m tired of seeing this match. I used the word novelty before; THIS is novelty. It honestly never changes. Del Rio works on Kalisto for a majority of the match, Kalisto comes back and flies around a little bit, Del Rio gets back in control, Kalisto wins. The only reason why he didn’t win tonight is because Rusev, a former League of Nations member as well; you know, the group the broke up a few weeks ago, assisted Del Rio and distracted Kalisto enough for him to fall prey to Del Rio’s Backstabber. The match itself was WAY too long, and so was the Sin Cara beatdown. I mean really.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Charlotte/Nattie contract signing with Ric Flair, Stephanie and Shane McMahon
For Greensboro, North Carolina, Ric Flair did not get the thunderous ovation I thought he would. However, that is not the main story here. What is the main story is that these two incredibly talented women are essentially main-eventing Raw. What a difference a year makes. Sure, Nattie barely did anything, Charlotte’s line delivery was a bit awkward, and Ric Flair really does not need to be falling down to the ground like a child after one slap, but I digress. It honestly makes me think that he’s not playing the “deranged old man” but that he actually is and that’s what they tell him to go out there and do, but I gotta, say, its good TV. The submission match stipulation is interesting, even though that is their go-to way of ending matches anyway, but maybe we’ll see some unorthodox stuff from them on Sunday. Honestly, Nattie holding the belt high is not a bad way to end the show.
Extreme Rules really is always a fun watch, and I think this one will be too. I’d love to see an Anderson and Gallows vs Usos Street Fight added to the card, but even if there’s nothing like that on there, the card is solid enough. Sure, it’s a lot of retreads from Payback, but stipulations are fun sometimes. Lets hope it delivers.