WWE The Horror Show At Extreme Rules 2020
Running Time: 163 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: August 31 2020
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
In a year where wrestling has had to adapt and change its presentation due to the lack of a proper live audience, WWE did something different with its annual Extreme Rules card. For reasons that were never truly explained, it became The Horror Show At Extreme Rules, and what followed was an event that had some memorable moments, but not necessarily all for positive reasons.
The opening contest, held under Tables rules for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, is an entertaining brawl between The New Day and the thrown-together yet effective combo of Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. The latter side have shown surprising chemistry, and with New Day being amongst WWE’s most reliable acts, that made for a strong start to the show. Next up, Bayley battles Nikki Cross for the SmackDown Women’s Title, and though Cross put up a good fight, she was unable to end Bayley’s long reign. Apollo Crews vs. MVP didn’t happen due to a supposed injury to Crews, so this was replaced by MVP simply trying to award himself the United States Championship.
Next up, we had a truly bizarre match. Seth Rollins had targeted Rey Mysterio’s eye in a vicious attack back in May, so they met here in an Eye For An Eye bout. But whereas the tagline has previously been used to merely demonstrate one’s desire to injure their opponent, here the stipulation stated that the winner had to quite literally extract an eye from their adversary’s face. Yes, you had to rip someone’s bloody (again literally) eye out to win! Fans were wondering how WWE would achieve this (and why they would present such a bout in what’s supposedly still a PG environment). As it turned out, after a fairly good back-and-forth encounter, we were left with the visual of Rey holding what appeared to be his eyeball (I kid you not) in front of his mask (a convenient way to disguise the “damage”, incidentally), leading Seth to win, though he “celebrated” by vomiting. I have no idea why WWE did this, but I strongly doubt we’ll see it again, as it takes the make-believe world of sports entertainment to a place that is simply not believable. (I do enjoy matches that are out of the box, but this went over the line in my opinion.)
Next up, we had Asuka vs. Sasha Banks, another decent effort with a bit of a dodgy ending as Bayley masqueraded as the referee to count Asuka’s shoulders down for Banks to “win”. This served a storyline purpose heading into SummerSlam, but it was still a bit meh, especially coming right after the Eye For An Eye match. Drew McIntyre then clashed with Dolph Ziggler in a bout where Extreme Rules applied only in the favour of Ziggler. This was the best bout on the card, and another example of why Drew’s WWE Title has artistically been very successful indeed. He remains WWE Champion as I write this review, and I hope his reign continues for a good while longer.
Finally, we had a Swamp Fight between Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt, though Strowman’s Universal Title was not on the line. This was a cinematic battle that featured Wyatt’s original Eater Of Worlds persona, which added a unique touch to their storyline. Previous cinematic contests varied in terms of entertainment; for example, the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36 was largely praised, whereas The Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders at Backlash was almost unanimously panned. This Swamp Fight sits somewhere in the middle; it had some interesting visuals, but it still felt a bit underwhelming, despite the return of The Fiend character at the very end. Part of the issue is that everybody knew The Fiend would come back, which took away some of the drama from what could have potentially been a feud-ending collision.
So, The Horror Show At Extreme Rules was WWE’s most unusual PPV yet in 2020. Watching it back on DVD, this feels less like a wrestling event and more like a mini-movie, which was probably the intention. But even when factoring that in mind when rewatching it on DVD, this still could have been a lot better, with the main takeaways being the strange booking and the truly strange Eye For An Eye match, as opposed to the great efforts shown in the Tables and WWE Title bouts.
Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average