I was in the building for this one; Baltimore has been a good wrestling town for as long as I can remember and they/we didn’t disappoint this time either. Before I get into the show a few things:
- The ‘Delete!’ chants were huge, so much that my seven year old son picked it up real easy and was going with it in no time.
- Big dueling chants of ‘Let go Roman! Roman sucks!’ broke out several times during the show including during the preshow, totally unprompted. Whatever you think about him, people react to him and it’s not Go Away heat, either. Go Away heat doesn’t break out during the preshow with no trigger. Also, I noticed that the dueling chants are very often being said by the same person. Take that for what it’s worth.
- If you can avoid it, don’t sit near the pyro. Your ears will thank you for it. At least I was on the side where the wrestlers came out so I got some good entrance shots.
And now onto the show….
Kalisto vs Apollo Crews
I don’t always include preshow matches but I am here because the card was short (only seven matches including this one) and because it was that good. Hopefully they’ve found an angle that works for Crews; having someone talk for him is the right move. Kalisto and Crews are a good match together in the ring and it showed here. I’m not sure where this is all going but they have my attention.
Intercontinental Title Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs The Miz
Perfect choice to open the show with and get the crowd hyped from jump. Dean has been accused of being lazy but he and Miz came to work. Miz is one of the best performers going right now anyone who wants to learn how to work heel needs to watch him work. Great match with the appropriate screwjob finish for a Miz title win.
Rich Swan and Sasha Banks vs Noam Dar and Alicia Fox
Hometown boy Swan got a good reaction from the crowd. Fun and entertaining match that did what it supposed to do, showcase Sasha and give the crowd in Swan a reason to cheer a quickly built midcard match. Six minutes was just about right here.
Women’s Title Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs Bayley
This was the first Extreme Rules match, a kendo stick on a pole match. It was also the only real disappointment of the night. Match was very short, only five minutes long, and that hurt. It played better when I watched it on TV Monday but in the arena there was a big ‘wtf?’ when it ended. Bayley came out of this looking like kindy wimpy and I do wonder if and when Alexa is going to get to work a longer one on one match.
Tag Team Title Match: The Hardys (c) vs Sheamus and Cesaro
I haven’t seen many cage matches worth remembering since I got back into full time wrestling fandom in 2012. This was different. They mixed the standard escape attempts with some good double team work and some good spots from both teams. That Jeff Hardy can still do the things he does after 20 years of insane bumps and offstage issues is a miracle. And Cesaro has quietly put together one of the better tag team careers of the last 10 years. The photo finish, while not a new thing for cage matches, was the right choice here. Really good match.
Cruiserweight Title Match: Neville (c) vs Austin Aries
This was a submission match. It was the opposite of the Women’s Title Match in that it was a few minutes too long. It wasn’t bad but I felt like they didn’t play up the submission stipulation enough throughout until the last couple of minutes, and seemed like they were playing for a pinfall victory in some spots. Neville retaining was a bit of a surprise.
Fatal Five Way Match: Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins
Great match here. Roman started off playing to the people that boo him by letting the other four guys fight and just watching. That was a perfect way to work those guys, too. You don’t see these kind of matches much outside of WWE; it’s one of many things they do that are unique and the people involved all played their parts well. There were some really exciting and excellent spots throughout, and this match alone was worth the ticket price or the pay per view fee.
The finish was well done, with Roman, Bray and Finn Balor each getting a chance to look like they would win. The false finishes for Roman seemed to me like they were set up specifically to needle at his naysayers, which is a good thing in my book. And the ending was great, with Samoa Joe pulling off the surprise win. I did not have Joe winning at all, and the crowd seemed pleasantly surprised as well. And to be honest I think it was the best choice. Joe poses a legit threat and isn’t someone we’ve seen with Brock Lesnar yet. If Brock comes to work we could have a really good match between the two.
Really good show. Great opener, great closer and some good matches in between. Even the preshow match was good. I would have shaved a few minutes off the cruiserweight title match and added them to the Women’s Title Match but otherwise no real complaints here. The talent level on the roster make it almost impossible to put on crap pay per view shows; the only real questions going in will be the finishes and how much time each match gets. Of course you’ll have bad matches here and there but every show this year has had something worth watching on it. Also, check out my full photo album for the show on my Facebook page.