The Horror Show At Extreme Rules was a difficult WWE recap. As with most WWE shows, I don’t know quite what to make of it. I’m dumbfounded.
It carries on the grand tradition of idiotic names for WWE pay-per-views. Following in the footsteps of such classics as and Stomping Grounds.
But The Horror Show At Extreme Rules was strange on a whole other level.
Unusual, borderline stupid stipulations and silly cinematic matches made for an unconventional show.
But as strange as it was, it wasn’t awful. It wasn’t so-bad-it’s-funny, and it wasn’t surprisingly awesome. It was standard, unremarkable, middle-of-the-road WWE fare.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tables Match – New Day (C) Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura And Cesaro
Apparently The Horror Show At Extreme Rules is sponsored by Dollar General. Sounds about right. WWE is the most generic promotion in the universe.
Remember when Nakamura was more than an entrance to WWE? Yeah, neither do I. Also, remember when Kofi Kingston was WWE Champion? Yeah, neither do I.
The heels put Kofi and Big E in the corner to start. Nakamura kicks Kofi in one corner while Cesaro hits the uppercut on Big E in the other. Kofi charges out of the corner for a big kick, and Big E spears Cesaro in the corner. Big E gets a belly-to-belly on Cesaro. On the outside, New Day rolls a table into the reing. But Cesaro jumps them, and the heels beat up New Day on the outside. Kofi dropkicks Cesaro into the ringsteps before bashing his head into the plexiglass. Big E starts setting up a table on the outside. They set Cesaro up, but Nakamura makes the save and kicks Kofi in the back of the head.
Nakamura sets up the table, and they prop Kofi on the top turnbuckle. They go for a double superplex, but Big E runs in to make the save. Big E sets Nakamura up for a powerbomb, but Cesaro makes the save. Kofi misses an enziguri badly, but Big E runs through the ropes and spears him to the floor. Everybody’s on the outside again. They lay Cesaro out on a table and head inside. WWE tables are made of paper, just push on him a little bit. Big E launches Kofi over the top rope, but the heels prop the table up and hit him in the face with it.
The heels go for a double suplex to put Kofi through the table, but Big E drags Kofi inside. They hit a double kick to Big E’s head. Now they set Big E for a double suplex, but he fights it off and goes for another spear through the ropes. But Nakamura and Cesaro catch him with a double knee. Another suplex attempt, but Big E reverses and suplexes Cesaro to the inside. But Nakamura answers with a sliding knee. Nakamura sets up another table on the outside, but Kofi dives at him. Inside, Big E gets a belly-to-back and lays in the stomps in the corner. The heels are down at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules, so they set up a table on another table. Big E goes for yet another suplex on Cesaro, but Nakamura breaks it up.
Kofi gets backdropped over the top while Cesaro dumps Big E to the mat. Cesaro hits the swing into a kick to the head from Nakamura. Kofi-Mania runs wild, as he takes out the heels, but Nakamura saves, and the heels powerbomb him through the tables.
This was fine, if uneven. And a title change isn’t the worst way to open The Horror Show At Extreme Rules.
Winners (And NEW Champions): Shinsuka Nakamura And Cesaro
Match Rating: ** 3/4
Meanwhile at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and Kairi give Nikki a pep talk.
But Kairi ruins it by saying, “If you lose we’ll still be friends!”
Well, she tried.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley (C, W/ Sasha Banks) Vs. Nikki Cross (W/ Alexa Bliss)
What’s with Bayley’s generic WCW Saturday Night theme music?
They lock up to start, and Bayley forces Nikki to the corner. After some taunting, Nikki puts Bayley in the corner and slaps her in the face. And Nikki hits a freakin’ crossroads out of nowhere and gets a two-count. That looked ugly. Cool, but ugly.
On the outside, Nikki hits a tornado DDT before throwing Bayley back inside. The challenger hits a crossbody off the top, but it only gets two. She heads back to the top and hits it again for another two-count. Bayley bails as Nikki sets up for a third, but Nikki hits the crossbody from the apron onto the floor.
Bayley takes over and bashes Nikki into the plexiglass before tossing her back inside for a two-count. The champion chokes Nikki over the bottom rope and kicks her while she’s gone. She drops a standing elbow for two. Bayley goes back to the choke on the ropes. The champion beats Nikki down in the corner and hits a snapmare for a one-count. Bayley locks in a chinlock. She pins Nikki between the ring and the apron skirt before throwing down some forearms. Nikki slides to the other side of the ring, and now they’re both fighting between the ring and the skirt.
Nikki hits a jawbreaker on the ropes and hits an elbow on Bayley in the corner. Bayley goes for the Bayley-to-belly, but Nikki cinches in a crossface. The champ escapes and hits the Bayley-to-belly, but it only gets two. Bayley props Nikki up on the top rope and hits a superplex. Nikki kicks out. Bayley wastes time taunting Michael Cole, so Nikki sneaks in a cradle for two. I don’t blame Bayley, to be honest. On the outside, Nikki bounces Bayley’s ribs off the ringpost. Back inside, Nikki goes after the midsection. Bayley goes for another Bayley-to-belly, but Nikki hits an inverted DDT. Both women are down.
Now Nikki digs deep and calls upon the power of crazy. She hits the running bulldog and heads to the top turnbuckle. Nikki leaps, but Bayley dodges. They trade reversals, and Nikki hits a ripcord for two. The challenger hits a pair of back suplexes, but Bayley kicks out. Bayley gets frustrated and charges at Nikki in the corner. Nikki dodges, and Bayley lands face-first on the turnbuckle. On the outside, Nikki hits a neckbreaker off the apron. Back inside, Bayley hits a clothesline, but Nikki answers with one of her own for two.
Sasha slips Bayley the Boss knuckles and distracts the referee. Bayley waylays Nikki and gets the pin. Finish was a little goofy, but the right woman went over.
Winner (And STILL Champion): Bayley
Match Rating: *** 3/4
Firefly Funhouse Sketch
Meanwhile, we get an actual horror show at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules.
Bray’s wearing a Dracula cape in his laboratory. He promises to unveil the most horrific thing ever, and they show the karaoke contest from two weeks ago. That was funny.
But now he talks about the “real” horror – the swampy fate that Braun can’t escape.
Nah, the first thing was way scarier.
So the U.S. title match isn’t happening, because Apollo Crews is injured. Well that sucks, considering he already missed Money In The Bank to injury.
MVP and Lashley come out and make fun of Crews and claims he’s the new champ via forfeit.
Well, that was worth TV time. Thanks, The Horror Show At Extreme Rules.
‘Eye For An Eye’ Match – Rey Mysterio Vs. Seth Rollins
Speaking of stuff too stupid to be on television.
Rey sneaks up behind Rollins off the bell. But Rollins hits a sling blade. He goes after Rey’s good eye in the corner, but Rey ducks behind and clutches at Rollins’s eye.
A headscissors drives Rollins’s shoulder into the post, so Rey goes for the pliers. Rollins brushes it off, so Rey gets a toolbox from under the ring. He comes into the ring with a piece of rebar, but Rollins counters with a kendo stick shot. Rey goes for the 619, but Rollins rolls out of the ring. Rey bounces off the ropes and goes for a huricanrana, but Rollins catches him and hits the Falcon Arrow on the apron. Holy hell.
On the outside, Rollins gouges at Rey’s left eye, but Rey escapes. “AH’M GONNA GET THAT AH!” So eloquent.
Rey tries to roll back inside, but Rollins drags him out and tries to drive his eye into the steps. Rey fights out only to get thrown into hte plexiglass. Rollins throws Rey back inside and grabs the kendo stick, but Rey fights it off. But Rollins slides Rey out of the ring, and Rey’s face just collides with a table. Rollins grabs a chair and lowers the leg toward Rey’s eye. That doesn’t work, so he pins Rey under the chair and gouges at the eye. Rey escapes and goes after Rollins with the chair, but Rollins hits a double ax handle from behind.
Rollins rushes at Rey, but Rey hits a drop toe-hold sending Rollins’s face into the corner of the announce desk. Rey tries to dig through the toolbox, but Rollins hits him from behind with the chair. Rollins pulls tag ropes out of the box and ties Rey’s arm to the bottom rope. He gouges at the eye, but Rey punches and kicks him away. Rey headscissors Rollins face-first into the post. Mysterio frees himself, and both guys head back ot the ring where Rollins swings at Rey’s ribs with the kendo stick. Rollins props the kendo stick on the top of the ring post. He tries to drive Rey’s eye into it, but Rey stops just short. Rey hits a seated senton followed by a rana and a standing dropkick. Rey goes back up top and hits a frog splash.
With Rollins hurting, Rey goes after the eye with his bare hands, but Rollins fights him off. He rushes at Rollins for a rana, but Rollins counters and plants Rey face-first on the mat. Rollins goes for the stomp, but Rey dodges and hits a tornado DDT. Rollins rolls to the outside. He picks Rey up on his shoulders, but Rey hits him in the head with the kendo stick and throws Rollins into the plexiglass. Rey slams Rollins into the plexiglass again. Rey snaps the kendo stick in half and digs it at Rollins’s eye. The ref declares the eye still there. I can’t believe I typed that.
Rey hits the 619. They brawl on the outside, and Rey hits the curb stomp on Rollins. He pulls the eye patch off and jabs Seth’s eye into the ring step, but Rollins gets a mule kick. With Rey’s head pinned against the barricade, Seth hits a knee to the head. Now Rollins hits the curb stomp. He drags Rey toward the steps, and Rey tries to block, but Rollins just keeps pushing. Rollins gets a look at the aftermath and literally vomits at ringside. Blink and you’ll miss the not-that-bad prosthetic. The referee calls for the bell, and the referees carry Rey to the back.
So, somehow, these guys managed to rise above an idiotic stipulation at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules. They managed to make an uncomfortable fight and an even more uncomfortable finish. And they sold it. It wasn’t the best match in the world, but given how stupid all of this was, I’ll call it a win.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Match Rating: *** 1/2
Raw Women’s Championship – Asuka (C, W/ Kairi Sane) Vs. Sasha Banks (W/ Bayley)
In any other universe, this would be a guaranteed classic at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules. We’ll see.
Lock-up to start. Sasha cinches in a headlock and hits a couple knees to the jaw of the champion. Asuka escapes only to get her head driven into the mat. Sasha goes for the Bank Statement early. Asuka goes for the ropes, but Sasha breaks the hold to stomp on Asuka’s hand. Meteora gets two for Sasha. puts all her weight on Asuka, who tries to bridge out. But Sasha drives the knees into the gut. Asuka manages to reverse into an armbar, but Sasha rolls under the ropes to break the hold.
Sasha gets a running armdrag off the top. She chops at Asuka, but it makes Asuka start to hulk up. Sasha cuts off the momentum and goes for another running armdrag, but Asuka gets a knee up into Sasha’s jaw. With Sasha on the apron, Asuka hits a running hip thrust to knock the challenger off. Sasha goes for a sunset flip through the ropes, but Asuka fights free and stomps Sasha. She hits a running knee off the apron, sending Sasha to the floor. Back inside, the champion tries to set up the Asuka lock, but Sasha sends her into the corner followed by a double knee to Asuka’s ribs. Sasha goes for the cover but only gets two.
The challenger starts bending Asuka’s fingers backward, but the ref breaks it up. Asuka tries to fight back with punches from behind, but Sasha goes for a double armbar. That looks wicked – she stands up, putting her full weight and leverage on the arms. Stomps follow from the challenger. Sasha goes for the cover, but Asuka kicks out. They fight in the corner, but Sasha hits a double knee followed by a falling double knee for two. Sasha goes back to work on the arms, stomping at Asuka’s throat. Asuka fights up with kicks to the ribs. Sasha catches the leg on a kick attempt, but Sasha hits a Jericho back elbow.
She charges at Sasha in the corner, but Sasha dodges only to get hit with a codebreaker. Asuka is Jericho!
They fight onto the apron, and Sasha teases a German onto the floor, but Asuka reverses. Sasha fights out and ducks under, powerbombing Asuka into the plexiglass. Damn. Back inside, Sasha goes for the frog splash, but Asuka kicks out only to get locked in the Bank Statement.
Asuka makes it to the rope. With Sasha on the apron, Asuka suplexes her over the top and bridges into a pin, but Sasha kicks out. The champion hits a German suplex followed by a sliding kick to the face, but Sasha kicks out at two. A kick fight ensues, but Asuka hits another German suplex. She hits a running hip attack, but Sasha kicks out. Asuka heads to the top rope and goes for a dropkick, but Sasha dodges and gets a running knee for two. Sasha goes up top, but Asuka intercepts and goes for a superplex, but Sasha holds onto the rope. She fights Asuka off with elbows to the head. Sasha sets up a Vader bomb, but Asuka rushes up top and hits an inverted suplex. But Sasha rolls out of the way.
The challenger goes to the top, but she slips on the rope and bangs up her knee. Both women punch each other on the mat. Sasha goes for the Bank Statement, but Asuka counters with the Asuka lock. Bayley climbs up on the apron, but Kairi fights her off, and they brawl outside. Inside, both women trade roll-ups and evade each others’ submissions, but Asuka manages to cinch the Asuka lock. Bayley throws her tag belt in the ring to distract the ref. Sasha taps, but the referee doesn’t see it. Asuka hammers Bayley.
Sasha gets up and tries to hit Asuka with the belt, but the referee wrestles it away from her. Asuka goes for the green mist, but she spits it at the referee by mistake. Bayley takes advantage and strips the referee’s shirt off and counts the fall for Sasha.
Wow. Way to waste an absolutely fire match between these two at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules. This finish makes me legit angry.
Winner (And NEW Champion): Sasha Banks
Match Rating: ****
WWE Championship, Secret Stipulation Of Ziggler’s Choosing – Drew McIntyre (C) Vs. Dolph Ziggler
After all the build-up, Ziggler says the title match at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules will be an Extreme Rules – but just for Ziggler. And if Drew gets counted out or DQ’d, he loses the title. See, that’s a stipulation you need to build for, because that’s a cool idea.
Why would you tell Drew (or the audience) at the show? Also, WHY AM I WATCHING THIS?
Ziggler goes for weapons under the ring, but Drew beats him on the announce desk and throws him into the ring post. The champion throws Ziggler back inside and beats him down in the corner. On the outside, Ziggler gouges at Drew’s eye and pulls a chair from under the ring. He swings at Drew, but Drew catches it and tosses it away. Ziggler goes for a superkick, but Drew catches it and tosses him outside. Inside, Ziggler goes for a kick but gets clotheslined over the top. So this is extraordinarily boring.
Back on the outside, Ziggler drives Drew into the ring post and the barricade. Ziggler sets up a table on the outside, and Drew rolls back inside to break the count at six. Drew teases suplexing Ziggler through the table, but turns around and suplexes him onto the floor. The champion tosses Ziggler back inside and powerbombs him for two. Drew pulls Ziggler up and takes a Greco-Roman Ballshot. Ziggler heads outside and grabs four chairs. He goes to town on the champion with one of them. Drew tries to climb up on one of the chairs, but Ziggler hits him in the back, driving Drew’s throat into the chair. That gets a two-count.
With Drew on the outside, Ziggler goes for a double ax handle. But Drew counters with an overhead throw, sending Ziggler over the announce table. Drew rolls back in to reset the count. The champion clears the announce table and goes for a belly-to-belly off the table, but Ziggler counters and hits the Fame-Asser off the table. Ziggler rolls back inside, but Drew beats the count at eight.
Back inside, Drew heads to the top rope and goes for a diving clothesline, but Ziggler dodges and hooks in a sleeper. Drew grabs the ropes, but Ziggler doesn’t have to let go. The champion starts to fade, but Drew throws Ziggler off. He charges at Ziggler, but the challenger dodges and tosses Drew into the post. Drew comes running out of the corner with a big clothesline. Both guys are down now. Zigger rolls to the outside, and Drew follows.
Outside, Drew slingshots Ziggler into the plexiglass. The champ tosses Ziggler back inside and hits the reverse Alabama slam. Drew calls for the Claymore, but Ziggler cuts him off with a chairshot to the knee followed by a Zig-Zag. But Drew kicks out. The fight returns to the outside, and Drew gets superkicked onto the table. Ziggler heads to the top rope and hits a Macho Man elbow through the table. Drew just barely beats the 10-count, and Ziggler is despondent.
Ziggler climbs back inside but eats a Glasgow Kiss. Drew sets up for the Future Shock, but Ziggler hits the Fame-Asser and follows with the Zig-Zag. A Rock Bottom onto the chair only gets two, and Ziggler can’t believe it. The challenger staggers around the ring and throws all the chairs out, because he’s an idiot. He calls for the superkick but Drew pops up out of nowhere and hits the Claymore to retain.
This was fine, and both guys looked pretty good. But seriously, this stipulation should’ve been the whole story. It shouldn’t have been sprung at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules.
Winner (And STILL Champion): Drew McIntyre
Match Rating: *** 1/4
Swamp Fight – Bray Wyatt Vs. Braun Strowman
And now to the cinematic main event for The Horror Show At Extreme Rules.
Braun pulls up to the swamp in his truck to find Bray waiting in a rocking chair. Also, there’s a boom mic shadow visible. Production value!
Everything goes dark, and when the light comes back up, Bray is gone. Braun chucks the empty rocking chair, because large angry man.
Braun wanders around the swamp an sees buzzards, rabbits, and warthogs. A bunch of random hillbillies jump him from the trees, and we cut back to Bray cheering from the Funhouse. Back to the fight, and Braun destroys the thugs. Braun screams for Bray to show himself, but something off-camera knocks him down. And it’s Braun himself in the black sheep mask. Evil Braun swings a shovel at Good Braun, and the screen goes dark.
When Braun comes to, he’s chained up in Bray’s shack, surrounded by dolls and other assorted creepy things. Bray’s old swamp theme plays, and the Eater Of Worlds approaches with the lantern. And because we’re not in an arena, it’s an actual lantern. Bray taunts Braun, saying Braun can’t hurt him because he’s already dead. Swamp Bray expresses his pride in Braun’s accomplishments but insists his success is temporary. He makes another attempt to make Braun turn on the people and rejoin the family, and together they can rule the galaxy as father and son. Or something.
Bray declares that he’s free, and he’s not “going back.” He says that Braun is a weapon for Bray to wield. Braun swears that he’ll never go back to doing Bray’s dirty work. So one of Bray’s henchmen has a snake bite Braun.
Braun comes to around a campfire and fights off some more stuntmen. He sets one of them on fire and laughs like a crazy person. A woman’s voice calls to him from off-screen, and it’s a vision of Alexa Bliss, dressed as Sister Abigail. Okay, credit to WWE for remembering that story that never went anywhere. Braun considers taking the bait, but Bray pops up from out of nowhere and tries to gouge his eyes out. Lot of that going around lately.
After suplexing Bray into a boat, Braun sends it up the swamp and laughs. But when he turns around, the boat is coming back down the swamp. He wades into the swamp to find the boat empty, and Bray jumps him from behind with the oar. Bray tries to drown Braun in the swamp. Braun finally surfaces, but Bray is gone again. When he climbs to the dock, Bray is waiting with the oar. Bray swings and misses, and Braun chases him into the shack only to get beaten silly with the oar.
Bray lets out a scream and laments what Braun made him do. But Braun comes up from behind and kicks Bray into the swamp again. Braun looks to make sure it’s over, but Bray’s hand comes up and locks in the mandible claw and drags Braun into the swamp.
The water turns red, and the Fiend surfaces without Braun, laughing.
Winner: The Fiend? I guess?
Match Rating: Um. Yeah, I dunno.
The only “horror” at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules was WWE’s lack of enthusiasm for its own product.
I feel like I say this every month, but I don’t think I’ve ever cared less about a WWE card. And somehow, this show came away with a few wins. Despite the dumb stipulation, Mysterio vs. Rollins delivered, and both women’s matches were good in spite of their silly finishes.
But it’s the same old story with WWE. We saw this show last month, we’ll see it again next month, and we’ll forget all of the above within three months.
As for the Swamp Fight, it was as weird as it needed to be. But it didn’t seem to have any story beyond “Bray wants Braun to come home.” And the end with the Fiend didn’t seem like it was earned.
Again, though, it doesn’t matter. Because we won’t remember any of this in two months. WWE is forgettable. Then, now, forever.
All images courtesy of WWE.
The Horror Show At Extreme Rules
- Rollins Vs. Mysterio was awesome, dumb stipulation notwithstanding
- Both women's title matches were awesome
- Shoddy booking ultimately ruined both women's matches
- Everybody on this card deserves better
- The Swamp Fight had no point and went nowhere