WWE presented ‘The Horror Show at Extreme Rules’ this week, and as was the case with several other PPVs in the Pandemic Era, the latest event managed to deliver the goods. WWE has moved onto a shorter card for these empty-arena PPVs, which are much more refreshing.
The show was filed with really intriguing stipulations, with three of those being never-seen-before gimmick matchups. With the absence of fans in the arena, WWE has dialed down on giving big surprise moments in PPVs such as big returns or debuts, but are constantly trying to deliver a proper story through the matchups.
We look at how the Horror Show went down and determine whether it was horrific or terrific for the fans watching at home.
Kickoff Show: Kevin Owens vs. Murphy
The last-minute matchup between Owens and Murphy kicked off the proceedings, with the two stars going at each other right out of the gate. They continued their high intense bout, with both the stars delivering several moves out of their arsenal. Murphy delivered knee strikes and a brainbuster, and went for a superplex which was blocked by the former Universal Champion.
Owens delivered a moonsault followed by the Stunner to pick up the win.
Result: Kevin Owens def. Murphy
Analysis: The match thoroughly deserved to be on the main card instead of the pre-show, as the two supremely talented wrestlers displayed their fantastic wrestling acumen in this randomly thrown together matchup. Although there isn’t much story behind the match apart from the Rollins-Owens rivalry from earlier this year, they both managed to create a great in-ring performance.
Tables Match for SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The New Day(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
The two teams faced off in the tables match as the champions were the first to introduce the match-winning predicament into the ring. However, Cesaro and Nakamura quickly gained the upper hand and took out Kingston. Kingston rallied a comeback, but a hurricanrana attempt by the former WWE Champion proved costly, as Cesaro countered it into a powerbomb through a stack of tables.
Results: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro are the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions
Analysis: The two teams have had a surprisingly good rivalry, with Cesaro proving his usefulness in the tag division once again. After teaming with Sheamus, Tyson Kidd, and Jack Swagger, Cesaro once again excelled in his tag-team specialist role alongside Nakamura.
The New Day doesn’t really need the titles at this point, but the heels will have to struggle for a proper challenger in the absence of the Usos and Heavy Machinery.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley(c) vs. Nikki Cross
A fired-up Nikki Cross took down Bayley early on in the match, by dropping her with a neckbreaker followed by a Tornado DDT. Cross continued to have the upper-hand until Bayley smashed her head into the plexiglass, and took control with her slow methodical pace.
Bayely delivered her signature Bayley-to-Belly but couldn’t keep the challenger down. The finish saw Banks throw in her ‘BOSS’ ring to Bayley, who took advantage of the referee distraction to retain her title.
Result: Bayley def. Nikki Cross to retain the title
Analysis: The match was quite good when it comes to in-ring performances of the two stars, but it largely stood out for the great story-telling by Cross and Bayley. With each passing moment, the Role Model’s frustration kept on increasing, as she was unable to keep the Scottish Psychopath of the Women’s Division down.
United States Championship Match: Apollo Crews(c) vs. MVP
Prior to the match, the commentary team revealed that Crews failed his medical test and wouldn’t be able to compete. Lashley’s Full Nelson submission was given as the reason behind Crews’ absence, who hasn’t been seen since the COVID-19 tests started in WWE.
MVP declared himself the winner by forfeit, and continued carrying his brand-new title belt.
Eye for an Eye Match: Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio
The strange stipulation behind the match gave rise to an interesting yet weird matchup. Mysterio attacked Rollins even before the match started, but Rollins recovered and started using various objects in order to remove Mysterio’s eye. Rollins used pen, kendo stick, screwdrivers, etc., in an attempt to retrieve Mysterio’s eyeball.
Mysterio delivered a 619 with kendo stick pieces in Rollins’ eye but wasn’t able to keep the Messiah down. Rollins delivered a low-blow, a stomp, and then drove Mysterio into the ring steps head-first, popping out his eyeball. The referee called for the bell as Rollins vomited at the sight of Mysterio’s eye popping out.
Result: Seth Rollins def. Rey Mysterio
Analysis: The match had two extremely talented competitors, putting an end to a great storyline, in a horribly themed matchup. The constant focus on removing each other’s eyes made for awkward viewing, but the two stars tried their best to integrate their maneuvers into eye-popping stunts.
It will be interesting to see how WWE plays Mysterio’s eye being removed from the socket, and whether this rivalry continues beyond this point.
RAW Women’s Championship: Asuka(c) vs. Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks and Asuka battled it out as their friends Bayley and Kairi Sane looked on from ringside. Banks went for the Banks Statement early, but the champ made it to the bottom rope. Banks continued to dominate by targeting Asuka’s arm and powerbombed the champ into the plexiglass before delivering the Banks Statement. Asuka recovered and hit a series of suplexes and kicks.
After Bayley got involved, Asuka mistakenly put the green mist in the referee’s eyes. Bayley took advantage of the distraction, hit Asuka with a belt, put on the referee shirt herself, and delivered the three-count to give Banks the win.
Result: Sasha Banks is the new Raw Women’s Champion? (Questionable)
Analysis: This match could’ve been rated higher, if not for the abysmal overbooked ending. The ending certainly protects both the competitors but makes no sense to the viewer. WWE didn’t even make the win official, as Asuka is still the champion. Banks continued her streak of impressive matchups, and is having a fantastic run in 2020, despite not winning a lot.
The rivalry will now continue on to Summerslam, which effectively kills all hopes of a Banks vs Bayley match at the show.
Extreme Rules for the Challenger | WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre(c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler promised a never-seen-before stipulation and he delivered one, as he made it into an Extreme Rules match for himself, and McIntyre did not have the champion’s advantage in the match, meaning he could lose the title if he is counted out or disqualified.
Ziggler used the stipulation quite well by delivering several chair shots, low-blows, and using tables. McIntyre almost suplexed Ziggler into a table but instead turned around to avoid it. Ziggler delivered an elbow-drop, sending McIntyre crashing into a table, but the champ couldn’t be put down.
A superkick attempt by Ziggler led him straight into a Claymore Kick, ending his title aspirations.
Result: Drew McIntyre retains the title
Analysis: This was the perfect way to make McIntyre look even bigger deal than he already is, and Ziggler did his job to a T. Ziggler is hardly known to give out underwhelming matches, and he once again displayed his class inside the ring.
McIntyre continued his run as a champ, which is arguably one of the best in recent memory. It is a shame that his prowess doesn’t come in front of capacity crowds, but it is great to watch nonetheless.
Swamp Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt
Strowman drove into the arena in his truck, as Wyatt sat on his rocking chair. Strowman was attacked by masked men, and he ended up chained to a chair. Wyatt appeared and once again gave him a proposition of joining forces, continuing to play with Strowman’s head. A scary-looking woman brought in a snake which bit the Monster Among Men.
Strowman was haunted by Alexa Bliss’ visions in the form of Sister Abigail. Strowman thought he won the match when he put Wyatt into the swamp, but Wyatt reappeared and delivered the Mandible Claw. Both the stars went under the water before the haunting frame of The Fiend reappeared for the first time since WrestleMania to close the show.
Result: It looks like Wyatt won but the decision is unclear
Analysis: Bray Wyatt’s haunting character was tailor-made for cinematic matches. His promos have always felt different and quite dramatic, and are perfect to bring in cinematic matches. Wyatt played mind-games with Strowman throughout the match, especially the bit with Strowman’s love interest Alexa Bliss.
The Fiend will most likely capture the title back at Summerslam, and go back to the top of the card, where he rightfully belongs. However, Strowman has emerged as a great monstrous personality in the last few weeks, which bodes well for his character.