It’s the one night of the year that WWE Raw superstars will go to the extreme. The Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland will play host to the first ever extreme rules fatal five way, as Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns all compete to determine the number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. But the “reward” of facing The Beast Incarnate is not the only thing on the line, as Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins look to continue their rivalry, and Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor seek to take each other out one more time. Roman Reigns, as the odd man out, is looking to continue his dominance of the WWE Raw roster and prove that the ring is his to own. Four more titles are on the line in Baltimore: Neville defends his cruiserweight title against Austin Aries in a submission match; Dean Ambrose battles The Miz, and if Ambrose is disqualified he will lose his title; Alexa Bliss and Bayley will fight with kendo sticks in their quest to take home the Raw Women’s Championship; and the Hardys go to war with the team of Sheamus and Cesaro inside a steel cage.
+ Kalisto vs Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neil : this was on the kickoff show, and I admit I did come in about half way through, but from what I saw it was a pretty solid match between two severely underappreciated lower-midcard talents. And much like the mixed tag match on the main show, I really enjoy stories that don’t revolve around championships
– Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt vs Samoa Joe (No. 1 Contendership for the Universal Championship): this was such a boring match. Two or three people in the ring at once who would then swap with someone else to rest. Some stupid alliances, considering the past month of TV, made me audibly frustrated, and a few big spots were impressive to watch, but they were all things we see far too often. The winner could mean interesting things, but forgive me if I am not optimistic
– Dean Ambrose (c) vs The Miz (w/ Maryse) (Intercontinental Championship): with a stipulation stating Ambrose would lose his title if he were disqualified, that made for the most major shenanigans. Miz is an incredible, easy-to-hate bad guy, so he was able to make up for much of Ambrose’s apathetic offense, but just not enough to save the match. The threat of a disqualification was apparent for the most part, though I admit I was hoping for a different ending, but as with everything that followed it just felt like a match we had seen so many times before
– Neville (c) vs Austin Aries (Submission Match) (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): this match went on for too long with not nearly exciting enough of a payoff to justify it. None of Aries’ title matches against Neville have excited me thus far, and this was no exception, with an ending that should have happened about ten minutes earlier than it did. Please, WWE, get some new competition for them both
– The Hardys (Jeff & Matt Hardy) (c) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus (Steel Cage Match) (Raw Tag Team Championship): despite this having the always horrible ‘both competitors must escape’ clause, this was still pretty good (not least of all because that silly stipulation came into play). A cliched ending still detracted from a match which could have, and should have been better
– Alexa Bliss (c) vs Bayley (Kendo Stick on a Pole Match) (Raw Women’s Championship): holy crap, this was such a waste of everyone’s time. The match was about three minutes and made at least one of the competitors look like an absolute fool
– Rich Swann & Sasha Banks vs Noam Dar & Alicia Fox: mixed tags are not good concepts for a company that doesn’t allow inter-gender matches, especially when the women end up attacking the men anyway. I am super duper happy that something from 205 Live is getting PPV time outside of the cruiserweight championship, but dammit that almost made me regret that decision
Should you watch this event: THE ONLY GOOD MATCH WAS ON THE BLOODY PRE-SHOW. The theme of this show was touted as “extreme”, but really it was “matches that overstay their welcome’ (except for that ridiculous attempt at a Women’s Championship). This felt like a regular episode of Raw, with a few matches we have even seen already, complete with stupid match winners and waste-of-time segments. Don’t bother watching this event.