Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 277 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 3 2018
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
Extreme Rules was an interesting card. It didn’t have any outstanding bouts, but there were several good ones, some hair-raising spots, and moments of frustration caused by both the booking team and the live audience. Sounds just like a typical WWE PPV in 2018 then, but let’s take a closer look at the show on DVD.
The opener between The Deleters Of Worlds and The B-Team is a Raw-level opener that has a shock result, though it seems to dilute the value of the Raw Tag Team Titles. Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin is average, and Asuka’s decline increases against Carmella, where she takes one blow (being shoved into the shark cage above the ring holding James Ellsworth) and loses, which considering that she once went several years without losing at all is just terrible.
Things do improve, though. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy is quick-fire due to Hardy’s injuries, but features a post-match heel turn by Randy Orton, who in doing so makes a surprise return. Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens is an odd Cage match, since the heel is more sympathetic than the babyface, but it features the high spot of the year when Strowman tosses KO off the cage through an announcer’s table in a homage to Mankind’s death-defying bumps at King Of The Ring 1998 just over 20 years earlier.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No feels a bit weird, though a legitimate injury to Kane likely altered both the set-up and outcome of the match (a Tag Team Title win for Kane and Daniel Bryan, with a title loss to The Bludgeons on SmackDown thanks to interference from The Miz, seems to be a more suitable result and fall-out). Fans are again attempting to spoil a Roman Reigns match when he faces Bobby Lashley, but it’s less annoying than normal and the match itself surpasses expectations. The focus of Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax is the interfering Ronda Rousey, though it doesn’t stop Bliss retaining her Raw Women’s Championship. AJ Styles vs. Rusev for the WWE Championship is a hidden gem, and is not only Rusev’s best match yet but another string to AJ’s considerable bow.
Unfortunately, the headlining Iron Man match between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler disappoints. I wouldn’t criticise the stipulation, though WWE has entered a formula where such bouts start very slowly and build to a fast finish, making the first 15-20 minutes irrelevant. The action is good, but they have had better bouts (their recent SummerSlam clash being one example). But the big reason why it underwhelms (other than the strange decision to have an Intercontinental Championship match close the show for the first time in many years) concerns the crowd, who count down the final seconds of each minute and make a buzzer noise after every minute. It’s amusing at first, but it gets tiresome to the point that WWE removed the clock from the big screen, resulting in further hostility, all of which overshadows the in-ring action.
The DVD extras here are the two Kick-Off Show bouts between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Sin Cara (which is pretty good) and Sanity and The New Day (under Tables rules, which is okay), as well as the Braun-Owens match from the July 2 Raw that ended with Strowman shoving a portable toilet off the stage with KO inside (seriously), the pull-apart brawl between Roman and Lashley on the July 9 Raw, and Miz TV w/ Team Hell No on the July 10 SmackDown (during which we learn of Kane’s sudden fascination with N*SYNC).
Some people really crapped on Extreme Rules in its aftermath, whereas others were more concerned with the audience once again taking over a match for their own entertainment, regardless of the efforts of the wrestlers or the people watching at home. Having watched it again, it’s a decent show but not a great card; a couple of exciting matches, and the massive fall taken by Owens, are the big positives; some questionable booking, several rushed matches and the smarky audience are the low points. On the 2018 scale, this falls somewhere in the middle, and it’s not must-see by any means. But Extreme Rules 2018 does have some entertaining content that, along with the extras, just about make it worth a gander on DVD.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay