Although it's not October yet, Extreme Rules seemed to be celebrating Halloween with spooky lights, music, and music that seemingly revived Finn Balor. However, a phantom movement caused the top turnbuckle of Finn Balor to snap, and Roman Reigns was able to defend his title.
Extreme Rules was a night full of unexpected outcomes that resulted from unexpected journeys. All five title matches ended in the champion's favor, after strong matches.
The main event between Balor & Reigns was the most surprising. Although it might have seemed a bit too cheesy to some, the outcome was already set by Reigns' current standing, future plans and the fact that there were few other options to create drama.
Balor suffered his first defeat in the WWE's "Demon" role. It was also only Balor's second loss under the paint since joining WWE. The first came against Samoa Joe in June 2016.
Balor and Reigns were able to have a great match, despite the inevitable outcome. Even though they were able to provoke significant reactions to an inanimate object, the fans called out for tables in Extreme Rules' match. Balor tried to grab one and Reigns denied Balor.
Instead, they used a steel chair that Reigns had first used on Balor before everything went upside down. Balor won the match with a double stomp on Reigns' chest, as the chair was placed on top of him. Balor managed to get the table into the Ring, and was greeted with great applause. He then had his head sent straight into the Ringpost via a Drive by kick.
Reigns sent Balor into a crowd. But, before Reigns followed him, he wore a facemask so he could continue the attack with more responsibility. Balor still fell off the WWE Kickoff Show stage, but he hit a crossbody that sent Reigns through the table on the floor.
Balor returned to the ring and was confronted by Reigns, who lifted him with a Uranage, before smashing him through the table. Reigns got two more points after a Superman Reigns punch was missed. A Balor Pele Kick was landed, and another Superman punch was connected.
Reigns became cocky and Balor hit him with a Slingblade. Reigns managed to get to his feet and, with the help of a spear, it appeared that the match was won. Balor struck a low blow, throwing his arm up and kicking out of the pinfall attempt.
Balor jumped onto Reigns on the top rope and connected with his double Coup de Grace stomp from above the rope. Balor was able to grab The Usos, his cousins, and drag him out of the ring. Balor was dealt a double Superkick, but he was able fight off the Usos from the outside and Powerbomb the other through the commentary table.
Reigns speared Balor through the barrier as he retreated from the Powerbomb. Balor, who was motionless, saw the arena lights turn red and he convulsed to the entrance music. He then rose to his feet. As Reigns was being assaulted by steel chair shots, the lights remained red and smoke machines filled the area around him.
Balor was ready for another Coup de Grace and it seemed for a split second that the impossible might happen. Balor was balancing himself on the top rope when the rope snapped and sent Balor to the ground. Reigns turned Balor’s lights on with a spear and won the three-count.
Next: Reigns will be facing Brock Lesnar on Thursday Oct. 21 at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. Balor may be out for a while, or, despite his recent appearance on SmackDown and Crown Jewel, could be in the WWE Draft.
Smackdown women’s championship: Becky Lynch (c), vs. Bianca Belair finishes in disqualification
It was difficult to predict how WWE would navigate the SmackDown women’s championship match at Extreme Rules. Becky Lynch, one the biggest stars in the company, was not going to return and instantly lose her title. Bianca Belair was already rolling after a 26 second loss to Lynch at SummerSlam. A further defeat would have severe consequences.
In the end, none of these things would happen. Just as Belair lifted Lynch up for her K.O.D., a returning Sasha Banks intervened. Final move that triggered a disqualification
The match was a high-energy affair with excitement and energy. Both women exchanged chants, and Lynch leaning into her new evil persona, Belair was awarded at least 50% -- not a small amount considering Lynch's popularity.
The pace was steady and measured, but not slowing down in any way. Lynch used Belair's aggression, ponytail and hairstyle on several occasions. This was a way for Lynch to use what is usually a benefit for Belair as an attack weapon.
Belair won again and again. A vertical suplex was rolled into a delayed, stalling suplex. Lynch grabbed Lynch's ponytail and pulled Belair from the top rope as she began to fly. There was a tug-of-war, but Belair won the fight and lifted Lynch up to get a Spinebuster.
After a Fallaway Slam, Belair was the first to cover the match. Lynch however managed to get her foot on the rope. Lynch was lifted by Belair off the top turnbuckle to make a Press Slam. Lynch, however, slipped off and into a Disarm-her submission. Belair placed Lynch's leg on the bottom rope in order to release the hold.
Lynch connected on a top-rope leg drop to Belair, then another leg drop to Belair while she was draped over her middle rope. However, only Lynch got a two count.
Belair stumbled to her feet but Lynch's delayed vertical suplex turned into an armbar. Lynch held her grip while Belair rolled Lynch up to a two count. After Belair's powerbomb, Lynch finally lost her grip. However, a deep stack-up resulted in a two-count.
Lynch put Belair in Dis-arm-her once more, but Belair displayed impressive strength as Belair slowly lifted Lynch up to the K.O.D. Banks arrived, and Belair was stunned by her throat strike.
Next: Things fell apart quickly after Banks teased a uneasy truce with Lynch following the match. Banks connected on Backstabbers for both women and caused chaos in the division. Although a triple threat is possible, we have already said that the WWE Draft could cause some problems.
Charlotte Flair beat Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules. Bliss then tore apart Bliss doll Lily. WWE
After her entanglements at Extreme Rules with Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss has been leaning into the supernatural for the past year. After her defeat in Charlotte Flair's Raw women’s championship at Extreme Rules and the aftermath, it seems like she will become totally unhinged.
Bliss tried valiantly to win, but Lily, her demonic doll, was ultimately her downfall. Flair pulled the doll out of the corner and tossed it to Bliss. In the confusion, Flair connected on a big boot, sending Bliss flying. This led to Flair winning the pinfall by connecting with a Natural Selection.
Bliss had a difficult match. She tried to grab every inch of advantage and frustrate Flair when she could not keep the edge. Flair was sent to the outside by a pair of headshots and a basement kick. However, this match would not be a success, just as many of Bliss’ other positive moments. Flair converted a Headscissors running attempt into a Powerbomb and drove Bliss into the ring barrier head-first.
Flair's top rope moonsault was missed but a standing one followed. Flair's first attempt to a Natural Selection failed with Bliss, but Flair traded roll-ups and earned a two count for a one-armed Powerbomb.
Flair was thrown into the boot of a grounded Bliss by another missed moonsault. Bliss immediately placed herself for a Code Red flipping powerbomb but this too was worth only a two-count.
Bliss attempted Twisted Bliss, Flair tried Figure Eight, but it was unsuccessful. Flair's attempt at a Bliss Bliss DDT seemed to be able to tilt the tide in her favor until Flair's foot touched the ropes, breaking the referee's count.
Flair grabbed Lily shortly thereafter and caused Bliss to fall. Flair grabbed Lily and kicked Bliss from the ring. Flair tore off Lily's arm, then tore the rest from the doll limb, then ripped out the stuffing, and held the title and deflated doll high.
Flair was attacked by Bliss with a chaotic urgency. Flair threw Bliss across the commentary table and into the Raw announcer team. Flair fell and Bliss pulled out her hair as she looked at the wreckage of Lily. She then took the stuffing and tried to put it back. As she cradled her doll, she broke down in tears and began to scream.
What's next? The post-match fracas points towards another chapter of this rivalry. Given how this match turned out, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Raw and Smackdown's women's rosters may look different over the next few weeks, but this seems like a conflict which could easily last at least one more match.
Big E dominated Bobby Lashley's Big Ending to win the Extreme Rules victory. WWE
Thanks to a backstage scuffle, the six-man tag team match was added on to the card. The match was well-organized and delivered both bell-to-bell action and an unexpected ending.
Big E won another pinfall win over Bobby Lashley. However, this confusion cast some doubt about whether Lashley will be able to find his way to a rematch to defend the WWE title as the WWE draft approaches.
There was never a dull moment with four world champions and strong team dynamics. Styles and Big E posed opposite each other, hinting at a potential match in the future that could be something special. Fans were particularly vocal.
After Xavier Woods was forced to leave an early Calf Crusher attempt. New Day quickly took control. Kingston was then blindsided by Lashley, who turned the tide. Both sides seemed in no danger until Woods was caught spinning in midair, and Lashley made it into a powerslam.
Woods finally fought his way out of the corner, and Big E was tagged in. He displayed tremendous strength and avoided a dangerous miss in corner. Styles was then deadlifted with one arm for a Uranage.
Styles avoided Big E’s trademark spear through the ropes. Kingston blind tagged himself into the New Day and they connected on a double stomp/Big E powerbomb. Styles was dragged by one arm back into his corner to tag in. Lashley then interrupted the pinfall.
The Lashley Dominator on Kingston gave his team a two count, but Lashley missed a spear and fell to the outside. Styles was also thrown over the top rope by Kingston, but Big E launched Kofi to the top to attack Styles and Lashley. Omos then interrupted the thought with a huge slap to Kingston’s chest.
Lashley's flatliner from Big E to New Day while the rest of New Day were incapacitated appeared to spell doom. But as Lashley lined up his spear, Styles blind-tagged in. Styles was searching for Phenomenal Forearm and Lashley blind-tagged himself in. In the chaos, Lashley accidentally speared Styles. Lashley was left speechless after Big E pronounced the Big Ending to Lashley.
What's next? This match seemed to be a pit stop along the way towards a Big E/Lashley match for the WWE championship. With Lashley asking for that match for Monday's Extreme Rules edition, the runway for this story seems very short. Big E has already pin Lashley twice. With the draft coming, it could be an opportunity for both men to move quickly to something else, unless there is an unexpected title change.
Triple threat match for United States Championship: Damian Priest (c), def. Jeff Hardy and Sheamus
Jeff Hardy maintained a high level of performance with a variety of aerial moves during the triple threat match for America's championship. WWE
Fans may find it difficult to get excited about secondary titles of WWE, as they often fade away during long weekly broadcasts.
However, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, and Damian Priest put their best into a triple threat match that was intensely physical. The crowd's reactions were a testament to how proud they were. Priest retained the title with a roll up at the end. However, it was not cheap.
Triple threat matches can feel contrived, as some moves require precise positioning. However, the pace and execution of the moves was excellent throughout. Sheamus ended the match after a Broken Arrow went from Priest to Hardy. Hardy got up quickly and connected on a Whisper of the Wind to Priest and Sheamus.
It was also easy to fit the one-on-one segments. Priest was out of the picture so Sheamus locked in Cloverleaf to Hardy in middle of the ring. The lack of disqualification in a Triple Threat match allowed for more drama.
Priest went after the nose that had been broken by Sheamus and took off Sheamus' protective cover. This led to Sheamus landing White Noise to Priest. Hardy was able to stop a pinfall attempt.
Hardy connected on Twists Of Fate to both his opponents. However, Sheamus shoved him off the top rope as he attempted a Swanton Bomb. Priest landed a flying knee, followed by a miss Brogue Kick, and Sheamus was pushed off the top rope. It felt like Priest had everything under control.
Hardy broke the count by landing a Swanton Bomb on Priest's back, breaking up a pinfall. Priest jumped off the middle rope, blindly falling into a Brogue Kick after trying to set Hardy up. Hardy shoved Sheamus from the ring but was unable to get a two count.
Priest stole the win in a flash after Hardy fell to the ring.
Next: Despite the fact that the crowd seemed somewhat uninterested in the match from the beginning, the performances of the three men raised the energy level by the end. Hardy was cheered loudly in the last stages of the match. Sheamus fumed afterwards, which could have easily led to a Hardy-Priest one-on-one match on Raw.
Priest might still be with Sheamus, but she's not done yet. However, secondary titles in WWE Draft season are possible.
The Usos secured another title defense with a Double Uso Splash on Montez Ford. WWE
Although The Street Profits have done a lot since their move to SmackDown as tag champions, they were unable to win the title against The Usos.
After a Smackdown match that went sour due to Roman Reigns' intervention, The Usos prevailed in this matchup. This was despite The Street Profits' best efforts in a match which really picked up in its final minutes.
Angelo Dawkins began to increase that energy with a combination Suplerplex off the top rope, which he transformed into a twisting double underhook neckbreaker for Jimmy Uso. Montez Ford followed up with a Blockbuster, but Ford began to show signs that he had suffered a rib injury from The Usos and Reigns.
Street Profits had the first close call when Ford blindly tagged himself in. Dawkins, however, landed his trademark anointment to Jey Uzo. Ford tried to make a frog splash, but Jey was able to get his knees up.
After a Superkick by Jey and a top-rope splash from Jimmy, Dawkins was in serious trouble. He was kicked out at 2. As they pulled Dawkins from the ring, the Usos failed to place a blind tag and Ford got a running start. He landed directly on their heads and over the turnbuckles.
Ford quickly threw Jey back in the ring and connected with his frog splash. However, the damage to his own body makes it slow to cover. Jimmy was able to end the count just in time.
Ford was saved by Dawkins, who pushed him out of his way and took a double Superkick. However, after Ford's roll-up, which only got a two count, things spiralled. Ford was kicked in the torso with a kick. Then came a double Superkick, and stereo top rope Uso Splash. Jimmy took over Ford's three-count and The Usos were retained.
What's next? The Street Profits are in dire need of a new start and Raw is desperate for tag teams. With the draft next week, there is an easy solution. Roman Reigns will likely turn toward Brock Lesnar in October and the Usos will play a major role. They may not have any new challenges immediately.
Liv Morgan, along with Riott Squad compatriots Ruby Riott or Sarah Logan, made their debut on SmackDown in Nov 2017. Although the group had momentum and a lot of support initially, and again when Riott joined Morgan, it was never able to make it big. Morgan, a solo performer, has been unable to make it big, but she is now a long-standing fan favorite.
Morgan won her first 1-on-1 match of her career on Extreme Rules. Morgan displayed an increasing number of moves throughout the match. These included a step up Enzuigiri and a corner double-foot stomp. There were also creative backbreakers and facebreakers. Morgan grabbed Carmella from behind, and then she fell to the floor with her boot in Carmella’s back. This sent Carmella face first into the commentary.
Morgan won the win with her suspended Flatliner middle rope as they rolled back into each other's ring.
What's next? Morgan is finally getting her feet under her on SmackDown, even with the draft next week. Morgan will likely have to work with Zelina Vega and Carmella to resolve any tensions. Or she may be confronted by a new face on the Raw roster.