20th Jun2015

‘Extreme Rules 2015′ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

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WrestleMania 31, the WWE’s biggest event of the year is over and we arrive at Extreme Rules, the pay per view that WWE claim is their time once a year to “go extreme”. The PG era has meant that “extreme” in the current WWE climate is very different to what it meant back in ECW or during WWE’s TV-14 run, but there’s still some interesting stuff booked for this PPV, so let’s see how it all plays out.

On paper this is a mixture of rematches and feuds we’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean that the matches are going to be bad. The PPV opens with the Chicago crowd popping for Neville, who wrestles Bad News Barrett on the “Kick-off Show”. Daniel Bryan was pulled from the show, so his Intercontinental Title defence against Barrett never happened. Neville got a good reception from the fans and had a decent, though fairly short, match with Barrett. Newcastle vs. Preston – on a WWE pay-per-view! Barrett hit some signature moves, but Neville scored the win after hitting his Red Arrow finisher, a corkscrew shooting-star press.

Winner: Neville

The PPV opens proper with the “Chicago Street Fight” between “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose and former Wyatt Family member, Luke Harper. Harper is one of my favourite guys on the whole WWE roster. His character, his unique in-ring style, and his experience make him one of the guys I always enjoy watching. Ambrose isn’t far behind either, another worker I truly respect and enjoy. They brawled, threw one another around, and took it to the crowd. The match went backstage which reminded me of the hardcore title matches from 1999/2000/2001. Harper and Ambrose then took off in a car, and the match was put on hold until later. The two men returned three matches in to the show, and headed back to the ring, throwing dozens of chairs at each other. Harper was thrown onto a pile of them and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for the victory. A fun and interestingly booked brawl, the two showed how you can do some original things with weapons in a PG environment.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

The recently returned Sheamus, complete with a new Mohawk hairstyle and braided beard, which I personally think works really well. I’m enjoying Sheamus more than I have in a long, long time, right now, takes on Dolph Ziggler in a “Kiss my Arse” match. The loser must kiss the victors arse. Okay. The two men put on a great one-on-one contest. They began slowly and the tension and story grew as it went on. These two have wrestled so many times over the years, but they have a great chemistry, and they still managed to make it feel fresh. Signature and finishers exchanges, with near falls and exciting kick-outs, the match ended with Dolph Ziggler rolling Sheamus up and surprising him with a quick three-count victory. Sheamus looked shocked after the match and threw a tantrum as the referee demanded that he kiss Ziggler’s “arse”. Eventually, it looked like Sheamus was going to adhere to the stipulation of the match, but instead he kicked Ziggler and beat him up. He then grabbed Dolph and forced his face into his bare arse before leaving with a smile on his face. A good way to end this, it keeps Sheamus as a dastardly heel, but gives Ziggler a strong win. A top notch match, regardless of the bizarre stipulation.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

The New Day hit the ring to plenty of boos from the crowd. They clapped, the fans chanted “New Day Sucks” in time with the clapping. It’s fun to see. Big E and Kofi awaited their opponents, the WWE Tag Champions, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. Natalya and Xavier Woods stood at ringside. This was a very, very good match. Tyson and Cesaro are one of my personal favourite teams of the last decade in WWE. I am a fan of both men, and they have a great chemistry together. Kidd and Cesaro played the babyfaces here, with New Day cheating and scheming throughout. The final moments of the match saw lots of interference and confusion, with Cesaro getting rolled up by Kingston who pulled on his tights and scored a cheating victory, winning the Tag belts for The New Day. The fans booed loudly, and Cesaro and Kidd stood shocked in the ring while The New Day celebrated jubilantly on the aisle.

Winners: The New Day

The Russian Chain Match between Rusev and the United Stated Champion John Cena was next. The two men have worked the three PPV’s in a row including this one, and Rusev is losing his powerful stature the more he works with Cena. This was the typical chain or strap match. The two men traded being in charge, and hit three of the turnbuckles, only to be cut-off by their opponent before they hit the fourth and final one. This repeated in various ways, with the two hitting the moves and holds they are known for, until Cena, obviously, hit his AA and hit the final turnbuckle. Rusev had told Lana to leave the ringside area during the match, perhaps hinting at a break between the two soon. Cena won, again, and Rusev lost. It’s a shame to see Rusev being treated like Bray Wyatt was last year. No trading of wins, no dominance from the heel for three PPV’s leading to an eventual babyface win. Just Cena kicking ass and posing with a smile on his face afterwards. Meh.

Winner: John Cena

Nikki Bella defended her Divas Title against Naomi next. Naomi had recently turned heel by beating up Paige on RAW lately. This kind of made The Bellas the faces here, but WWE did little to point this out, and so the crowd was fairly silent during this match. It was given an okay amount of time, but the two women struggled to put on anything more than a mediocre and clumsy contest. Lots of slipping and awkward reversals and missed spots. When there are talented people in the main roster and NXT capable of putting on amazing women’s matches, it’s a shame to see such a poor match being given PPV time. Nikki Bella scored the victory after hitting The Rack Attack on Naomi. Most notable thing of the match? Naomi’s light-up boots, which the announcers talked about more than the match itself. Oh dear.

Winner: Nikki Bella

Roman Reigns, the “chosen one” of WWE’s current crop, takes on The Big Show, a man who has been given main event pushes and high-card matches since he debuted in WWE in February 1999, in a last man standing match. The match wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Reigns and Show relied on the safe route, using the shortcuts such as the announce tables, chairs, tables, kendo-sticks and the outside of the ring. There was very little “wrestling” here, but anyone could have predicted that. There were spots in which both Show and Reigns fell through wooden tables, and the two hit at each other with other items. The end sequence saw Reigns spear Show on top of the Spanish announce table, destroying it, and flipping another announce desk on top of the giant to keep him down for the ten count. It was okay, and the right man won, but I am tired of seeing The Big Show now.

Winner: Roman Reigns

The main event of Extreme Rules saw “The Viper” Randy Orton challenge the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, in a Steel Cage Match, with Kane acting as the “gatekeeper” for the door of the cage. These two have had plenty of matches in the last couple of years, so I’m hoping we see a new feud for the two of them after this is done. The two put on an entertaining, though limited, match in which they worked their usual back and forth before Kane became involved. Kane refused to let Orton out of the cage, he then got knocked down accidentally by Rollins, so Kane hit the ring and nailed both Orton and Rollins with a chokeslam. Orton hit the RKO on Kane soon afterwards, and Rollins hit the RKO (a move that had – apparently – been banned) on Orton and then escaped the cage to win the match. The announcers bickered over what the RKO being banned actually meant, and we went off the air with Rollins holding his title in the air successfully.

Winner: Seth Rollins
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Extreme Rules 2015 was an okay pay per view and some of the matches, such as the main event, the tag title match, the street fight and the “Kiss me Arse” match had plenty to offer. There were some duds, and some that were run of the mill, but in the ring, this pay per view delivered more than it failed. It still wasn’t exciting though. The show ended and all I could think about was how the next PPV, Payback, will likely be full of more rematches between the same guys, and I want to see something new, something fresh and something interesting now. We’ll see what happens…

WWE Extreme Rules 2015 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, courtesy of FremantleMedia.

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