Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Winners & Losers: Extreme Rules 07.19.20

Last night’s Extreme Rules was anything but a horror show. As the event featured two excellent matches from the women among a plethora of exciting and crazy matches.

Nikki Cross challenged Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a really strong and entertaining bout. And the RAW Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Sasha Banks was the fantastic affair that we all expected. But the ending of the match was controversial and the result is to be confirmed on tonight’s episode of RAW. Read all about it here.

Lets delve deeper into the action.

Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

The first women’s match was that of Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the SmackDown title. As mentioned in the discussion post, Bayley and Nikki Cross have crossed paths many times. So both competitors were very familiar with one another. This made for a very exciting match up.

Before the match, we saw Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Kairi Sane hyping up Cross with words of encouragement. This support continued as Cross was accompanied to the ring by Bliss. Bayley and Banks then sauntered their way to ring mocking and taunting all with each and every step.

The match began with Bayley continuing to taunt a visibly nervous Cross. Bayley’s mind games worked at first until Cross attacks with a vicious swinging neck breaker for a two count. Followed by a tornado DDT to the outside and two flying crossbody blocks to two more near-falls. Cross hots a third flying crossbody to the outside. Cross celebrates this flurry of offence, which allows Bayley to slam her into the ring and then into the plexiglass.

Back in the ring the action continues with Bayley firmly in control beating and battering Cross mercilessly. Cross would take back the advantage by crawling under the ring to the other side. Bayley ends up caught in the ring apron and open to a frenzy of fists from Cross.

Back in the ring Cross mocks Bayley with the old wavey arms taunts but eats a Bayley to Belly. Cross kicked out from the pinfall attempt, which causes serious concern from both Bayley and Banks. This frustration would cause Bayley to add further force to her attacks. Each and every fist, forearm and knee going forward had a lot more bang behind them. But this extra didn’t seem to deter the fierce and feisty challenger.

Nikki Cross would kick out of a pin after a big Superplex and manage roll Bayley up for a pin. The Scot would make a comeback after slamming Bayley’s ribs into the turnbuckle, which allows her to drop Bayley with a backwards DDT. Cross would follow up with a running bulldog and a ripcord neck breaker for a close fall.

Nikki would continue to target Bayley’s neck with two consecutive backdrops and another near fall. A frustrated Cross goes to the top rope but Bayley counters with a running knee. Another kick out from Cross causes Banks to scream “what the hell” from ringside. Bayley pondered what she has to do to put the tenacious Cross away.

Bayley would miss an attack. Cross would take advantage with a spinning neck breaker off the ring to the outside. Back in the ring, Bayley would kick out of another close fall while an exasperated Banks looks on.

Banks then slipped her ‘Boss’ ring to Bayley, which allowed Bayley to strike Cross in the ribs with a ringed fist followed by the Rose Plant for the hard-fought victory.

This was a really good, fun and entertaining match with both performers performing incredibly well. The outcome may have been predictable but there were moments during the match that had the viewer on the edge of their seat at the possibility of a major upset. Nikki Cross looked great here and gave Bayley her toughest challenge to date.

Asuka vs. Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship

This match had all the ingreidnets to be a classic match. Both competitors are two of the best and headed into the match on tremendous form.

The match kicked off with the two competitors jostling for position in an intense and furious tie-up. Banks would get the early upper hand by slamming Asuka to the mat only to eat a kick in return.

This allowed Asuka to unleash a round of strikes and a hip toss that Banks expertly countered into the Banks Statement. As Asuka desperately clawed her way to the ropes, Banks would release the hold and viciously stamp on the champion’s hand a number of times.

Banks would hit a bicycle kick and Meteora for the first two-count of the match. Banks would keep up the pressure and pin Asuka’s hands to the mat for a number of pinfall attempts. Asuka would reverse the fourth attempt and lock in an armbar.

After reaching the ropes Banks attacks Asuka with a furious windmill of wince-inducing slaps and chops. Banks would then attempt a top rope arm drag but crash and burn into the beautiful knee strike from Asuka, which just showed how quickly these two fighters are able turn in the match in their favour. Excellent stuff.

The action would spill to the outside and they would trade offence until Asuka absolutely wiped out Banks with a super stiff running knee.

Back in the ring, Asuka would attempt an Asuka Lock but Banks would counter with a knee attack and some torturous joint manipulation to Asuka’s fingers. Banks would continue the torture with an array of different armbars, forearm and big knee strikes.

Asuka would eventually fight back with a barrage of brutal looking kicks and finish off with a spinning back fist to floor Banks. Asuka would corner the dazed Banks into the corner and plant her with a nasty double-knee attack that took both warriors out.

After a struggle on the ring apron, Banks would painfully powerbomb Asuka into the plexiglass, hockey fight style. Banks would then hit a frog splash for a two-count and straight into the Banks Statement. Banks had it synched in tight and there was a brief moment when Asuka looked as though she was in danger but she managed to scramble her way to the ropes to break the hold.

Asuka was able to recover to some strikes and two big German suplexes followed by a quartet of kicks and a pinfall attempt. Another German suplex and a hip attack would cause another near fall. A desperate Asuka would go to the top but miss the dropkick and eat a knee to the face but still managed to kick out of a pinfall attempt.

Asuka would attempt a top rope German Supersuplex that Banks somehow flipped out of. With passions running high, Banks would head to the top rope for another attack but lose her footing, grasping her knee.

Banks would scream that she was the next champion as the two warriors rose to their feet. Bayley would take out Sane with a Bayley to Belly outside while Banks and Asuka went through a series of desperate pinfall attempts. The sequence ended with Asuka getting the Asuka Lock on Banks. Bayley would slide in one of the tag team championships to cause a distraction. Bayley, now in the ring would break up the submission as Banks was tapping out. A furious Asuka would take her out a swift kick to the head.

Banks then went to attack Asuka with the title belt but the referee stopped her. While they argued, Asuka would approach Banks who evaded the green mist, which covered the referee taking him out of the match and this is where the confusion begins.

Bayley would take out Asuka with a title belt and remove the referee’s jersey and put it on. Now the unofficial referee of the match, Bayley counts to three and demands the bell to be rang and declares Sasha Banks as the new RAW Women’s Champion leaving everyone aghast and confused as they celebrated up the ramp.

This was an absolute cracker of a match. Asuka and Banks are absolute warriors. The vicious, intense and constant back and forth action never slowed.The punishment they dished out to each other was breathtaking. The trades of submissions, strikes and all types of offence was slick, smooth and stiff was tremendous to watch.

Yes, the ending was a little crazy, and it would’ve been nice to have a clean finish. But it adds further intrigue into the storyline going forward and gives the Golden Role Models more ammunition to be the amazingly obnoxious and wonderfully arrogant heels they are. And if we get another Sasha Banks and Asuka match out of it that most certainly isn’t a bad thing. It also seems as if the actions will have consequences. The decision will most likely be reversed due to Bayley’s actions. This could possibly cause the breakup between her and Banks that we have all been waiting for for a very long time.

The Ghost of Alexa Bliss

Later on the night during the Swamp Match between Braun Strowman and Bray Watt, we got to see an rather spooky appearance from Alexa Bliss.

This was good fun and really interesting addition into the weird and wonderful world of Bray Wyatt/The Feind. The use of Bliss and Strowman’s time as Team Little-Big as a weapon was very effective and intriguing. Is there something brewing between Braun and Bliss? We’ll have wait until Friday to find out.

Lets get to the winners of the night;

Winners: Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nikki Cross

All four wreslters were fantastic and put on great performances throughout the night.

Asuka was as amazing as she always is. She came to the ring dancing and having fun. But as soon as the bell rang she became the clinical striker and submission guru that pushed Banks to her limit. Not only did she dish out brutal punishment but she also took it as well. This was a gruelling match that once again proved the ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ is right where she belongs, at the top of the mountain.

Bayley was, as always on top form. Her heel work is exceptional and her ring work is clever, methodical and highly effective. Bayley has not only found her groove in this heel role but she excelled in it and became the most entertaining performer in the company.

This was Nikki Cross’ best main roster performance. She was quick, fierce and sharp. Her barrage of offence caught Bayley completely unaware and there were genuine moments when it looked as though she could end Bayley’s title reign.

Sasha Banks continued her tremendous run of amazing matches. Banks has been on fire both in and out of the ring and shows no signs of slowing down. And if we finally to get the break up of the Gold Role Models then the highly-anticipated and long-awaited feud and eventual match up against Bayley will be pure gold.

No losers tonight as stated earlier, all four women were excellent.

What did you make of the matches and what will happen tonight on RAW regarding the title? Let us know in the comments below. As always stay tuned to Diva Dirt for all of your WWE news, reviews and updates.

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