Bray Wyatt’s epic WWE return lifted up an Extreme Rules show that didn’t feel as good as the company’s previous outings under Triple H.
Wyatt paying off WWE’s “White Rabbit” teases and thoughts of what to come certainly sent fans home happy from the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday but that didn’t mean there were some decisions that needed to be questioned on an overall solid night. Matt Riddle defeated Seth Rollins in the Fit Pit main event, leaving you wondering what’s next for the Original Bro, who has already lost a match to Roman Reigns. The Judgment Day left with some next-level heat but WWE took the long road to get there and the finish to Carrion Cross and Drew McIntyre’s strap match made me think Vince McMahon was back booking again.
On the bright side, both women’s matches really delivered, Bianca Belair continues to be much-watched and Imperium and The Brawling Brutes dam well stole the show. Here are five takeaways from Extreme Rules.
What’s next for Riddle?
Matt Riddle left with his hand raised by special guest referee Daniel Cormier after tapping out Seth Rollins with a triangle lock that his opponent was unable to break despite slamming him against the Fit Pit. It gave the babyface the win in a feud that turned very personal but didn’t leave me needing to see another Fit Pit match.
The match itself wasn’t anything special outside of the last maybe third. After what looked like MMA with strikes and submissions early in the pit, things picked up when Rollins and Riddle went to the top platform. Rollins hit a buckle bomb into the corner and then a stomp. Riddle delivered an RKO and then once Rollins fell off back into the ring the Original Bro hit a Floating Bro for the moment of the bout before getting the win.
But where does WWE go with Riddle after what should be a star-making victory? He’s not getting Reigns. Maybe he’s Wyatt’s first feud or maybe after a draft he dethrones Gunther as Intercontinental champion. There doesn’t seem to be a clear next step. Rollins, who paid tribute to Rob Van Dam with his attire, can easily rebound by beating Bobby Lashley for the United States title on Monday
The only thing certain about Bray Wyatt’s return was WWE delivered what was expected after weeks of “White Rabbit” teases and righted the wrong of his release with the segment that closed the show. Outside of the mask reveal feeling similar to what we saw from MJF at All Out, it was well done and got a huge pop from the crowd in Philly.
It left you needing to watch Raw and SmackDown to see exactly what we’re getting from Wyatt. Is The Fiend character over (Man, I hope so)? It at least appears he is going back to some version of his Wyatt Family/Eater of Worlds character. Are the people dressed as the “Firefly Funhouse” character in the crowd going to turn out to be actual wrestlers in some new faction? Riddle or Rollins would make fine first feuds. Riddle has ties to Wyatt’s nemesis Randy Orton and Rollins and Wyatt have some unfinished business after the debacle in Saudi Arabia.
Bianca Belair and Bayley did the last proud in the first-ever women’s ladder match on the main roster. The finish itself was pretty innovative as Belair lifted Bayley up on her shoulders for a K. 0. D. as the challenger grabbed a ladder. She ended up delivering the move to Bayley on the ladder as she flipped over. It gave her the opening she needed to climb the ladder and retain. It was one of a number of cool spots in one of the night’s best matches.
Bayley delivered a driving elbow off the apron onto Belair, who was laid out on a ladder propped up between the barricade and the ring steps. It seemed to hurt both equally and both made failed attempts to get up the ladder. Belair at one point got to the top but Damage CTRL hit the ring and knocked her off. Belair neutralized them with a ridiculous double KOD of Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai from the top rope Bayley and Belair’s singles program may end here, but Damage CTL vs. Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Candice LeRae feel headed for WarGames at Survivor Series.
The Judgment Day feels like it grew up after this match and has some nuclear heat, but WWE could have cut a lot of the shenanigans in Edge and Finn Balor’s match and gotten the same result. All it needed was the finish, Edge finally saying “I quit” after Rhea Ripley threatened to deliver a conchair to his wife Beth Phoenix after she decked her with brass knuckles. Ripley delivered it anyway and the Philly crowd rained down boos.
After plenty of “I Quit” back and forth that even spilled deep in the stands, Dominic Mysterio and Damian Priest eventually interfered in the match and Edge speared Balor to the outside into his mates from The Judgment Day. It didn’t stop Ripley from coming to the ringside and handcuffing Edge to the ropes, but he refused to quit as Balor unloaded kendo stick shots to his back. Ray Mysterio came out, but Dominic laid out his dad. It sent Michael Cole into a fun tirade on the kid.
Phoenix came into the ring from the crowd to finally go at it with Ripley. She picked up the key and freed Edge, who went some revenge with a kick to the nether region off Dominic. Edge proceeded to deliver three straight spears to Balor then ripped a piece of a chair off but never got to use it as Ripley led the match to its finish.
It took a long time to get there but this added a new level of viciousness to The Judgment Day and Balor. His music got a bit of an ominous remix and the Prince wore a spiked-filled black mask to the ring. There were reports that Balor could be in for a big push and this was the first sign of it. This feud feels destined for some sort of mixed tag match, maybe as a traditional Survivor Series match that allows WWE a touch of inter-gender wrestling
The closest Morgan came to retaining her SmackDown women’s championship was a senton onto Rousey through a table. Morgan struggled to lift Rousey up on one arm. The first time she slammed her into a broken table and Rousey got the arm up after her shoulders went down. It took a little time to get to the finish, but Rousey was able to contort her body to put a biceps crusher on Morgan. As she pushed her back towards Morgan’s head, the champ didn’t tap but instead passed out with a smile on her face. That was a fun way to protect Morgan’s resiliency while putting the belt back on Rousey in a well laid out match.
Carrion Cross over Drew McIntyre (Strap match)
Carrion Cross’s win over Drew McIntyre ended with Scarlett stepping in front of McIntyre to thwart a Claymore attempt. She then proceeded to pepper spray him in the face allowing Kross to hit his finisher for the win. One, Kross needing as much help as he got from Scarlett in this match felt like too much for his character. And if she has the pepper spray, why not just use it earlier and get this thing over with?
It got off to a weird start with Kross refusing to put on his end of the strap in the early potion of the match. Scarlett opened the door for Cross getting an early advantage and working McIntyre’s left shoulder, whipping him with the strap. If this feud continues, do you bar Scarlett from ringside or put McIntyre and Kross in a cage? This now doesn’t feel over by a long shot now.
The Brawling Brutes over Imperium (Good Old Fashion Donnybrook Match)
While I’d rather keep more of a sense of invincibility around imperium, having the babyface Brutes win in a fun opening match made a lot of sense to get the crowd into it. This one started slow and then the big spots followed as each team traded false finishes. Imperium appeared to have the match won following plenty of chaos after Gunther hit Sheamus over the head with a sheleigh, but the Celtic Warrior kicked out.
Sheamus eventually put Gunther through the announce table with a Celtic cross, freeing him, Butch and Ridge Holland to dispense Ludwig Kaiser and then hold out Giovani Vince to take a Brogue Kick for the 1-2-3. Expect more encounters from these three, especially with the controversial finish to Sheamus and Gunther’s Intercontinental championship match on Friday.
The Miz getting hounded by Grtitty to wear his shirt all night and finally beating him up only to get choked out by Dexter Lumis was fun stuff and a good way to promote Raw.
Biggest Winner: Matt Riddle
Biggest Loser: Drew McIntyre
Match of the Night: Bianca Belair vs. Bailey