Saturday, September 18, 2021

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Extreme Rules in review: Still not extreme enough


Extreme Rules is supposed to be an homage to the days of ECW. During this ‘Women’s Evolution’ era, it was only right that the women of RAW got a chance to get extreme too! Sure it wasn’t a hardcore match… or ladders match… or tables match, but hey there’s a kendo stick in the mix tonight. Let’s see how ‘extreme’ our ladies of RAW managed to get!

First up, on the Extreme Rules Kick-Off show, we’re treated to a build up promo hyping up tonight’s match between the Huggable challenger Bayley and the RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss.

Nia Jax joins the discussion panel to share her predictions. It’s pretty clear that Nia is behind her ally, Alexa to retain the title. When asked about Bayley, she shrugs her off and throws in the ‘not extreme enough’ line that seems to be the theme for this feud. She praises Alexa’s psychological advantage, as well as taking an opportunity to pop off at panelist Sam Roberts, stealing one from Naomi and saying she’ll ‘snatch him’.

Nia brings up the agreement that she made with Alexa a couple weeks ago on RAW, stating that she’s next in line for a shot at her title – so they’re both keeping it warm for her. also feature a segment with Noam Dar and his girlfriend Alicia Fox who have arrived at the arena. Despite the bitter rivalry between the 4, the couple say that they are keeping it classy tonight.

Fast forward to the main show! Our first glimpse of women’s action comes from the devious Maryse, who’s out to accompany her husband The Miz as he challenges Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship!

In the final stages of the match, Maryse jumps onto the apron when it seems that Ambrose is ready to put away The Miz with the Dirty Deeds. As the referee is distracted, The Miz manages to wriggle out and asks Maryse to slap him so he can get disqualified… and she does! All attention focuses on the referee – The Miz is on the floor, Ambrose is saying that he’s not involved and Maryse is trying to say vice versa! As a result, the referee bans Maryse from the ring and sends her to the back!

Maryse isn’t playing back though, she heads towards the ramp but keeps running back to the ring. While the referee is shouting at her to get to the back, The Miz slams Ambrose into him, which sends the referee out of the ring. Once again, the referee is close to disqualifying Ambrose, but as he argues, The Miz nails his Skull Crushing Finale for the finish! Your NEW Intercontinental Champion is The Miz! He celebrates with his wife and it looks like the IC Tour has begun again!

Backstage, catch up with our new 7-time IC Champ and Maryse, the two are clearly in high spirits as they run off the celebrate!

Next up, Charly Caruso catches up with tonight’s challenger Bayley, who oddly receives a very mixed reaction. In awkward fashion, Bayley tries to make a light joke over the terrible ‘This Is Your Life’ segment from last week’s RAW. When questioned about not being extreme enough, Bayley mentions that she’s been brushing up on her ECW knowledge and says that she’s ‘here to inspire people and not to hurt’… but will do what it takes to get her title back.

Up next, our Scottish Supernova Noam Dar and his girlfriend Alicia Fox make their way down to the ring. A recap is shown of the post match beatdown on Sasha from a couple weeks back and the couple seem smug about their actions.

Cue the music of our hometown boy, Rich Swann who groves to the stage with a great reaction! Even more cheers as he’s joined by The Boss, Sasha Banks!

The women are quick to start off the action and there’s clearly no love lost as Alicia goes straight for Sasha’s wig. In a sort of cute way, Dar and Fox seem to tag each other in by running to the corner and hugging each other in protection. When Fox enters the match again, her and Sasha start swinging haymakers once again. Sasha counters Alicia’s tilt-a-whirl slam with a Banks Statement, but Dar manages to pull Foxy’s leg to the bottom rope to break the hold and save the match. Alicia takes control of the match following a brutal big boot, but when Sasha ducks a big boot in the corner, she buys herself enough time to get the hot tag to Swann.

When it looks like Swann is about to put away Dar, Foxy runs into the ring to try make the save but gets caught by the wig by Sasha. The two brawl to the outside, but Sasha throws Alicia into the monitor along the side of the ring. During the chaos, Sasha climbs up to the top rope and launches herself onto Dar with a double knees to the outside! Swann throws a dazed Dar into the ring and hits the Phoenix Splash to get the win in his hometown!

The winning duo of Swann and Banks, both decked in matching green, celebrate together by hitting some dance moves in the ring and also continue the celebrations backstage with even more dancing!

Last up is the RAW Women’s Title match and first out is our challenger Bayley, who gets a very smarky reaction from the crowd. Nothing compared to the positive pop that Alexa receives and she makes her way down with the gold ‘or red’ wrapped around her waist.

Like all pole matches, the majority of this action is based with spots involving that corner of the ring. Both of them trying to scrap to race up the pole, and throwing each other off the buckles to try and put them away for long enough.

The first turning point of the match comes when Alexa sidelines Bayley with a forearm that would have made Nikki Bella proud. As Bayley rolls out of the ring, Alexa has enough time to climb up to try and reach for the kendo stick… not so fast though as Bayley is right up there on the turnbuckle and the two start trading blows. Eventually, Bayley grabs the kendo stick, but Alexa hits her with one more blow with causes her to drop the kendo stick in the ring, while the two women fall to the outside.

Now, by 2002 paddle on a pole match rules, Bayley would have won this match, but apparently it’s the first person to use the kendo stick that wins. It’s a race to grabbing the kendo stick, which is interesting as it has got the crowd excited (although they’re not really cheering for who they’re supposed to be!). After throwing Alexa into the ring barricade and hitting a belly to back suplex on the outside, it’s Bayley who gets ahold of the kendo stick first.

After a quick game of cat and mouse, Bayley manages to corner Alexa, who is pleading for Bayley not to attack her. Bayley has a pensive look on her face and takes her time to raise the kendo stick up. When she finally strikes, she’s taken too long and Alexa is able to avoid the attack with a spear.

The end is near as Alexa reigns in with blows to Bayley’s back with the kendo stick. She strikes her a good couple times and it looks like it’s curtains for Bayley… until she hits a Bayley-to-belly! But the damage has been done, the pain from the kendo shots mean that she can’t get a pin. Alexa crawls over to the corner of the ring and props up the kendo stick. Bayley attends one last roll up, but Alexa rolls out and manages to push Bayley shoulder first into the kendo stick. She brings her into the centre of the ring to finally end the match with her signature DDT. 1, 2… 3 Miss Bliss is still your current RAW Women’s Champion! Kendo stick in one hand, RAW Women’s Championship in the other, Alexa exits the ring while a fallen Bayley is left writhing in pain following the kendo stick attacks.

Thoughts: A couple of weeks ago on my RAW redux, I remember being thrilled with the outcome of the Superstar Shakeup and seeing the new landscape of women to change up what was quite a stagnant scene of the same 4 women. Safe to say that following this PPV, I’m back to square one with the RAW Women’s Division. The build up to these matches and the actual quality of both left a lot to be desired.

Each week, I’ve commented on the crowd reaction that Bayley receives and her reaction at Extreme Rules has finally signalled that Bayley has fallen into John Cena/Roman Reigns territory. It’s such a shame because she has literally just been a victim of terrible booking. Alexa has been given funny lines, ample mic time and has come out on stronger side of this feud, but with no real return factor for Bayley. Then when they tried to get some emotional steam… they did the ‘This Is Your Life’ segment.

The biggest downfall for me was the in-ring action across the board for the women at this PPV. The kendo stick match felt like the shortest women’s title match at a PPV in a very long time. Now the rumours are floating around about why it was kept short, but even if this was going to signal the end of the feud, they could have at least let the women end on a decent note with a decent match. However, there was none of that! The amount of storytelling they missed out on, throughout was a shame: imagine Alexa beating Bayley all the way through the match and then Bayley going on a kendo stick rampage? Or in my predictions, with Nia coming out to lay out Bayley and have the two dominate her with kendo sticks? Even a spot where Alexa is too short to grab the kendo stick?

So much that was missed out on! The same goes for the mixed tag match too. As mentioned in my RAW reduxes, Alicia and Sasha don’t have the best chemistry, but they could have done something new. Sure Sasha did a spot off onto Dar… but that’s it? I just felt so underwhelmed! A spot with Dar trying to kiss Sasha? A high flying spot with both Swann and Banks? Such a missed opportunity to see two exciting divisions collide.

Overall, this PPV was ‘extreme’-ly poor (terrible pun for a terrible PPV). If the book is being closed on this feud, then the WWE have a lot of work to do to try and bring these two characters back up and be taken seriously – Bayley moreso than Alexa.

Do you agree that none of the women were extreme enough? What do you think will happen with Bayley next? Is Nia going to be the next challenger? Comment below!

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