By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins Interrupted Randy Orton
The feud between Orton and Rollins has been heating up nicely and they've done a good job of making viewers forget the crappy build we saw before WrestleMania. Their latest back-and-forth on the mic was solid that effectively hyped their Steel Cage match on Sunday. While Orton emphasized that he doesn't need the RKO to put Rollins away at Extreme Rules, he still threatened to hit the move at some point during the night, providing a hook through the rest of the show. Rollins continues to shine on the mic and as a character as seen by the way he exudes confidence, but you already knew that.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper Ended in a No Contest
Both of these guys are extremely underutilized, so I'm happy to see WWE finally doing something with them. Granted, they're not at the level they deserve to be at, but I'll settle for anything. I was glad the match didn't come to fruition as they can really go all out in some sort of gimmick match at Extreme Rules and their subsequent brawl gave a nice preview of that. Their similar hardcore styles would make for one hell of a Falls Count Anywhere match or something along those lines.
The New Day def. The Lucha Dragons by Count-out in a No. 1 Contender's Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Lucha Dragons have been on fire since arriving on the main roster the night after WrestleMania and the crowds have really taken a liking to their offense. They were once again really over in front of this audience and worked a fun match against The New Day. The final few minutes were fun, and although I initially groaned at the finish, it makes sense. It protected The Lucha Dragons in defeated, they'll get their shot eventually, and Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are going to be babyfaces by default at Extreme Rules because they'll be in Chicago and you know they'll be cheered over whoever their opponents are.
Fandango def. Curtis Axel
As expected, the Fandangoing wasn't nearly as over as it was last week in England. Did anyone honestly think it was going to last? I like Johnny Curtis, but he won't be successful until he drops the dancing gimmick. The match was a total squash, which is a shame for Axel who has gotten himself over as of late. I'd like to see Fandango's popularity last, but I don't have much hope. Perhaps the most notable part of the match came afterward when Fandango's old entrance theme played by accident.
Triple H Made a Tough Enough Announcement
The announcement itself was disappointing because it wasn't anything we didn't already hear in the video put out by Triple H earlier in the day. I assumed they'd be naming the new head coach, but no such luck. The face-to-face confrontation between Rollins and Kane, though, was well done. Kane showed fire (no pun intended) here and the seeds for his face turn were nicely planted. I wouldn't want to see a pay-per-view match between Kane and Rollins, but Kane's split from The Authority will mean more if they continue to take their time with it.
Naomi def. Brie Bella
As much as I liked the Paige/Naomi angle last week, it puts the Divas Championship match at Extreme Rules in a weird spot. Naomi vs. Nikki Bella makes sense, but who is the crowd supposed to cheer for? Naomi acted like a complete heel in this match and The Bellas aren't very likable characters, so if anything, I'm interested to see how it plays out on Sunday. As for this match, it was fine for what it was, but the crowd couldn't have cared less.
Bo Dallas Interrupted Roman Reigns
Any segment where Reigns' mic work is limited is a good segment. In all seriousness, it was smart to keep this short and sweet, but it was odd for Dallas to be the one to interrupt him. I guess they wanted someone who doesn't mean anything to take a quick beating from Reigns, but there's also the small chance they did it just so Reigns could say the "BOlieve that" line. At the very least, Reigns and Big Show went a week without interacting with each other, so that's a plus.
Sheamus def. Zack Ryder by Disqualification
For anyone who misuses the term "burial," well, this basically was one. Ryder hasn't meant anything in ages, so at least he was the right person for the job. They were in New York, too, so it was fitting. Sheamus has come across like an absolute beast since his return and I've been loving his work as of late. Dolph Ziggler coming to Ryder's aid made him look good and it made sense given their real life friendship. The Kiss Me Arse stipulation is still stupid as hell, bu the match itself should be excellent.
United States Champion John Cena def. Kane
Well, they can't all be winners. I know Kane was a bit of a letdown for some, but as I said last week, we can't keep getting the same thing every week, so I liked that this was something different. Kane wasn't squashed by Cena, but he's more of a notable name than Heath Slater or someone like that. Additionally, Kane didn't kick out of Cena's finisher, so that was refreshing. It was a decent match, but easily the worst of the Open Challenges so far. That's saying more about the past great matches Cena has had in recent weeks than this bout, though.
The Miz def. Damien Mizdow to Keep the "Miz" Brand
I'm shocked how much this feud has died down since WrestleMania. Needless to say, the crowd was very much behind Mizdow in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but they've been mostly silent since then. The match was rushed beyond belief and ultimately a disappointment. The Summer Rae turn could be seen coming from a mile away, but it was had to be done. Mizdow has to go back to being Sandow now. Will the RKO to Miz write him off TV for the foreseeable future so he can go film his new movie?
Ryback def. Adam Rose
This was a glorified squash and nothing else. I'm a major Ryback supporter, but this felt like a waste of time and merely filler. They really need to find a new direction for him as he doesn't deserve to be marginalized right now. For what it was worth, Ryback going old school with the double Shell Shocked to the two rosebuds afterward was a cool visual for those who remember when it did it years ago.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler (Non-title)
It feels like these two have had a million matches together, but they never seem to get old. They always have great in-ring chemistry and that shined through in this match. It was a bit slow early on, but they picked up the pace down the stretch and delivered a fantastic finishing sequence. Ziggler didn't lose anything by being cost the match by Sheamus (which helped further their feud) and Rollins picked up a nice win before Sunday. Rollins' new finisher isn't terrible, but it's nowhere near as good as the now banned Curb Stomp. The post-match bit with Orton laying out Rollins with that sweet RKO was a good pay-off to what the night was centered around, also giving Orton some more momentum before he presumably loses at the pay-per-view.
While I didn't think it was as hot of a show as last week, it was certainly solid and did a decent job of building toward Extreme Rules on Sunday. I love Rollins' work as much as the next guy, but he, Kane and Orton felt overexposed on this show. Other than that, the RKO story was well told and made the main event of the event mean more than it did before while the rest of the card was hyped accordingly. The lack of Daniel Bryan was my only complaint, but as it's been reported, his health issues might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, I look forward to what should be an entertaining Extreme Rules show on Sunday.