WWE Extreme Rules 2021 Review by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
The time has finally come for Extreme Rules! They’ve been building a match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, which surely would have been a major selling point for this program, but at the last second, they decided to pivot and allow Finn Balor to challenge Roman instead. Now with PAINT! Totally the same thing. Why not? The current WWE champion Big E has been placed in a six-man tag match alongside his New Day teammates against Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, and Omos. I’m so glad Big E could win the belt just so he could team up with New Day again less than two weeks later. One step forward, two steps back. In case you missed it, I’m not the least bit excited for this program, but somebody has to do this job. Maybe Brock Lesnar will show up! He couldn’t find it in his heart to come to Little Rock, which I don’t blame him for, but this show is in Columbus Ohio. All they need to do is perform some kind of rain dance outside his cave in Saskatoon!
New Day vs. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles & Omos
What better place for the brand new world champion than in a six-man opening match? Everybody in this match deserves to be in a better spot than this, except for Kofi. I still haven’t forgiven him for beating Daniel Bryan years ago. What a shame that was. In any event, this match (and for that matter, this entire program) looks like a slightly longer episode of RAW. Let’s see if they can surprise me. New Day enters first. Same as it ever was. Even though one of them is world champion right now, nothing’s changed. If I had to guess, I’d say management has already given up on Big E at this point. He was in a triple threat on RAW last Monday, but he wasn’t involved in the final decision, and now this. No disrespect to Styles, but Lashley and Omos together should be able to handle New Day on their own.
New Day milks the crowd chants for a bit, then Xavier engages Styles. If you’ve been watching weekly, you’ve already seen this several times. The thing I’m most focused on is: why is New Day acting like this is their big reunion, when they never really stopped teaming up or being friends, to begin with? Big E tags in, and the crowd is excited to see him beat up Styles, but Styles immediately tags Lashley in. Here we go! Bobby immediately drops E with a clothesline! E backs Bobby into the corner, where he gets triple-teamed. This only tells me Big E can’t beat Lashley on his own. Remember, he only won the belt after Lashley had already beaten Randy Orton immediately before, and after he sustained a leg injury. Kofi and Lashley are left in the ring alone, while E and Woods get in a standoff on the floor with AJ and Omos. To hell with helping their friend!
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for New Day, here comes Omos! Kofi and Xavier are doing all the work in this match, which is the same as it’s always been. Kofi tries to stand up against Omos, and it goes exactly how you think it would. Omos picks up Kofi for a suplex, but he drops him forward instead of the usual way. Still nothing new or exciting for me in this match. I like Omos, but he’s not quite ready to be in the ring yet. AJ tags in so New Day can make a comeback, but Lashley cuts them off all by himself. What a moose! Bobby sets up for the Ron Simmons Dominator, but Kofi’s able to slip out at the last minute unscathed. Woods tags in for a comeback and looks impressive as always, but Bobby doesn’t leave his feet until Woods gives him a missile dropkick.
Big E is waiting for the tag, and he comes in to do all the cleanup work like usual. Suplexes and a splash. Not much else. No wonder they stuck him in a six-man opening match! AJ charges into the corner, but Big E gives him a Rock Bottom instead. Everyone’s using that now! Rocky’s gonna be pissed when he gets back. Anyway, Big E almost lost him on that move, but he was strong enough to recover nicely. AJ takes a combination powerbomb and double stomp from New Day. Can we end this please? It’s just the opener. Bobby wants the spear so he can end this once and for all, but Kofi avoids contact. Lashley falls to the floor and it looks like his knee is hurt again. Omos finally shows up outside the ring and wrecks Woods and Kofi, while Bobby sets up for the spear on E again. Here comes Styles, who sets up for the forearm smash, but Bobby tags himself in and tries for the spear anyway. He misses and hits Styles, but I bet that was on purpose. Nobody steals Bobby Lashley’s thunder! E wins after the Big Ending. A RAW match, but LONGER! By the way, pinning Lashley in a tag team match means nothing, because he’s not a tag team wrestler. E couldn’t beat him in the triple threat last week either, so he’s really accomplished nothing yet. Same as always.
Usos vs. Street Prophets: Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Speaking of matches we’ve seen on either RAW or Smackdown lately, here’s this. Something different to report this time: Montez Ford has taken on a much more serious attitude after getting his ass kicked last week! His good friend and tag team partner Angelo Dawkins couldn’t make it because he was at a friend’s wedding! Seriously? What a flake! Montez seems perturbed by this, they’re still teaming up for now. Let’s see what happens next!
Dawkins opens this match, which is unusual. That’s normally Ford’s spot! Ford tags in and the Usos get double-teamed, but Ford’s ribs are heavily taped at this point. This match shouldn’t last half an hour like the last one. After this, I’ve had my fill of tag team wrestling for the night. Instead of doing flippy crap, Ford shoots for a takedown on Uso and pounds him! This works well until the other Uso kicks him in the ribs when he tries to go off the ropes. Ford takes a back suplex on the floor, which will only be worse for his injured ribs. Dawkins tags in and has to carry the load for now while his friend recovers. Not a bad comeback, he looks to be improving somewhat! Dawkins does a spinning fisherman suplex for a two count. I like that move! Uso takes a combination powerbomb and flipping neckbreaker! That should have been the end! Ford threw in a DX crotch crop for good measure. Ford goes for his mega frog splash, but Uso blocks with his knees and almost gets the pin.
One of the Usos gets set up for the Doomsday Device, but he’s able to block it with his brother’s help. Uso goes to the top rope and does the big splash, but gets a two count. This has become another match like you see every week, but longer. Just like the last one! And for a show called Extreme Rules, I haven’t seen anything that can be defined as extreme yet, unless they’re trying to make me pass out from extreme boredom. Ford dives all over the place. The Usos go to the top rope for a double splash and nail Ford for the win. After all that, hopefully, we’ll get more of the story between Ford and Dawkins. If they’re gonna stop teaming up, it better happen soon. After this match, Bobby Lashley calls Big E a chicken shit and challenges him to a match tomorrow. Terrifying! MVP was nowhere to be found here, but Bobby did a nice job. Great intensity! The next match is Charlotte against Bliss, which I’m skipping for reasons I’ve already talked about.
Damian Priest vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy: United States Championship
Another match we’ve already seen in some variation in RAW in recent weeks. And another triple threat, no less. I’ve seen enough of these, but I think this may be the match of the night. At least there’s no disqualification in this, so it fits the bill. Priest enters last, which is the right choice since he’s the defending champion. If he doesn’t win this, it’ll be a disappointment. As soon as the bell rings, Sheamus blasts Jeff Hardy, so we’re down to a singles match, as this should be. It just makes more sense! Priest and Sheamus leave the ring and we have a brawl now. Jeff flies in from offscreen before Sheamus shit cans him into the barricade wall. Just get out of the way Jeff! Jeff does a dive on Sheamus, then Priest does a dive on Jeff. I’d still rather see Priest vs. Sheamus every week than watch this match once, but at least Priest looks good when he fires up on both guys.
All three guys spend several minutes on the floor, but nobody has the foresight to grab a weapon and obliterate both opponents with it. Jeff takes a big backbreaker from Sheamus while Priest stands outside and watches. Priest tries to hang Sheamus up on the ropes, but he drops to the floor and falls down. Don’t try that again! Jeff flies in with a dropkick to Sheamus’s face, then does the same comeback we’ve seen for about 17 years now. Jeff tries for slingshot corner dropkick, but Sheamus rejects him. Everybody takes a turn doing their big moves. Priest goes for the Cross Rhodes and Jeff tries to turn it around, but both guys fall down. I blame Jeff for that one! Sheamus goes to the top rope and drops a knee on Priest for a two count. Sheamus goes for the big boot, but he misses. He goes to the top again, but Priest chokeslams him down. Cool! Jeff comes down on both guys with a Flippity Flop, but he’s too busy playing to the crowd to make the pin.
It’s down to Priest and Jeff now for the time being. They trade punches, then Priest starts throwing kicks. Jeff can’t take much more of this. Sheamus intervenes and almost gets pinned by Jeff, but he kicks out and responds with a big boot. Priest wins shortly afterward with a rollup. The finish was totally flat, and this was essentially another long RAW match. Jeff was careless, as he has been for many years now. The only good thing about this is that Priest won, but he wasn’t flawless. He should try to avoid Jeff Hardy at all costs from now on. After this, we get a rebuttal from Big E. He accepts Big E’s challenge and now we have a title match tomorrow. I sure hope Bobby wins. I’m already getting annoyed with E in this spot.
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair: Smackdown Ladies Championship
I’ve already skipped one match with females in it, so I won’t skip this one. At Summerslam, Becky made her comeback after being absent for almost two years just so she could have a baby at the worst possible time she could have chosen. Becky challenged for the belt and won it in about 14 seconds, so Bianca’s been trying hard to get a rematch. It’s finally here, and I sincerely hope for two things. I hope Becky loses and retires forever, and I hope this match is shorter than the last one they had. I’ve already been here for three hours. It’s getting late. Even though Becky is supposed to be the villain here, the crowd still cheers her. They’re so stupid! After the bell rings, they cheer for Bianca now. The crowd doesn’t know what they want.
Becky wants a handshake at the start just like last time, but Bianca’s not falling for it this time. She sets up for her reverse death valley driver, but Becky bails out of the ring. I don’t know who did Becky’s hair for this, but it’s atrocious. Was it Edward Scissorhands? Bianca gets the better of Becky for minutes, then Becky bails out of the ring to yell at Michael Cole. That’s totally more important right now! Everything works out nicely for Bianca before her hair gets used against her, just like in every other match. Maybe she should pick a different style that’s less of a handicap in matches like this. I’ve seen her with her hair down and she looks gorgeous! Becky shoots for a takedown, but Bianca overpowers her easily. Becky gets back on top by yanking Bianca’s hair again. That’s getting old already. Becky unloads on Bianca in the corner, then throws her halfway across the ring. She can’t get the pin yet, which shouldn’t be too surprising since that’s not her finishing move. Becky puts on a sleeper, but Bianca turns it around and suplexes her instead. It takes a lot of strength to do that!
Bianca finally makes a comeback with some dropkicks and a big suplex. Bianca does the corner ten punch, but Becky escapes by yanking her hair AGAIN. This has just gotten silly for me at this point. Becky does a cross body, but Bianca catches her and tosses her over her head instead. Bianca goes for a press slam, but Becky slips out the back and puts on an armbar. Bianca’s able to get the rope break, so this match continues. Bianca tries to Glam Slam Becky on the floor, but Becky makes her eat the stairs instead. Becky drops a leg from the top rope for a two count. Hulk Hogan would be SHOCKED! After some more moves that don’t mean much in the big picture of this match, Becky tries for a cross armbreaker. Bianca’s strong enough to turn it around, but now both ladies are down.
Becky is the first to her feet, but Bianca still has some fight left. They trade pin attempts, then Becky tries for her armbar again. Bianca powers out and tries to drop Becky with the reverse death valley driver, but here comes Sasha Banks! She was supposed to be at Summerslam, but she couldn’t wrestle for some mysterious reason. Sasha’s outfit is fantastic. This match actually had a chance to be the best of the night, but it was ruined by the disqualification at the end. I’m largely indifferent toward ladies wrestling these days, largely as a result of Alexa Bliss’s nonsense, but these ladies were serious and everything they did made sense. I just don’t think a disqualification finish at Extreme Rules is the way to go.
Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor: Universal Championship- EXTREME RULES!
It looks like we’ve finally reached the main event of this swirling vortex of terror! Nothing extreme has happened yet. You may be asking yourself, why is Roman defending the belt against Finn Balor, when Brock Lesnar is available for a title match at any time? Well, I guess they decided nobody wants to see that, so let’s put Roman against a midget with a fetish for body paint. Totally! This one shouldn’t last too long either, but Roman’s entrance will be at least three minutes long. The good news is, anything goes! Will Brock Lesnar show up? I hope so because I can take or leave both Reigns and Balor at this point. I want Brock to crush them both! They actually cut to commercial during Roman’s entrance. When we come back about three minutes later, he’s only just entering the ring. This is getting ridiculous.
They keep calling Finn The Demon during his entrance, but I refuse to acknowledge that. There’s only one Demon in this house, and that’s Gene Simmons! He’d be ashamed of this display. I think the paint and every other thing surrounding this is silly. If he were more aggressive during his matches, maybe I’d buy it. It’s the same thing over and over. He can paint himself however he wants, but that won’t save him if Brock decides to break him in half like a toothpick. Roman appears to be perplexed by Finn’s display, but why? It’s literally the same thing as before, with a new coat of paint! He’s not any stronger or tougher than he was yesterday. Finn can’t match power with Roman, so he has to throw leg kicks. Roman starts throwing hands, but they have no effect. Oh god, it’s The Fiend all over again! Only more ridiculous! At least Bray Wyatt’s got about 280 pounds to throw around. Reigns gives Finn a Samoan drop for a two-count. Roman leaves the ring and grabs an ugly stick, then Finn grabs a few of his own to use all at once. Finn gets the better of Roman until he gets overpowered, but nothing Roman does has any long-term effects. I’m about to turn this showoff!
Finn grabs a table from under the ring, then Roman drops him with a clothesline before he puts the table away. No weapons necessary! Roman grabs a chair instead and bashes Finn with it. He used the edge of the chair, which always looks silly to me. If you’re not allowed to hit somebody in the head with a chair, don’t use a chair. Finn goes back for a table again, but he takes a dropkick to the face before he can set it up. Roman hucks Finn into the crowd, then proceeds to kick his ass all over the place. Roman tries to give Finn the Rock Bottom through the kickoff show desk, but it fails. All of this for naught of course, because a pin or submission can only take place in the ring.
They finally make it back to the ring after several minutes and Finn sets up the table he’s been trying for since the start of this thing. Roman promptly gives him the Rock Bottom through it. At least Finn stayed down this time! Roman sets up for a Superman punch and nails it for a two-count. This match needs Brock badly. Roman stops for another dramatic reading. Shut the fuck up! Spear time, but it’s blocked. Finn called for his big dropkick, but Roman spears him instead. Finn hits Roman in the balls on the kickout, which didn’t need to be concealed to begin with because anything goes in this match. Finn does a flip dive to the floor, then goes for his stomp off the top rope. He nails it, but the Usos are here to even the score. Finn fights off both Usos by himself, then gets speared through the barricade by Roman. This match may never end! The lights turn red and Finn reanimates, which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen since Bray Wyatt was here. Turns out all they had to do was play his music to wake him up! How silly. Fuck all this. Balor goes for his top rope double stomp, but the corner collapses under his 187 pounds, and Roman wins with a spear. Totally preposterous. A lackluster show overall if I’ve ever seen one, but let’s hope tomorrow night’s title match is better.