The WWE Raw brand presented Extreme Rules Sunday night on WWE Network. The crowd in Baltimore was lively all night, even though it was just an average pay-per-view with some bizarre booking decisions and an outstanding main event match. It was also a great night for heel performers because they won every match on the show except for the two matches that mattered the least.

Here’s a rundown of every match in the order they took place and I’ll look at what’s next for the performers as well.

Kalisto defeated Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil) on the Kickoff Show

Crews is still in his role as the guy who wrestles like a face even though he has a heel “coach” in O’Neil. They had a good match for about 10 minutes with some cool aerial moves. Best spot was when Kalisto countered a sitout slam with a sweet looking DDT. After Crews almost won, O’Neil yelled at him to do something else, so Crews argued with him and Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol to win.

What’s Next: I think it’s time for Kalisto to head to the cruiserweight division. He could have some great matches with Neville. Crews needs to embrace being a heel with O’Neil as a tag team and maybe they’ll have some success together.

The Miz (w/Maryse) defeated Dean Ambrose to win the Intercontinental Championship

I’m not sure how many Miz/Ambrose matches I’ve reviewed this year, but it’s at least three and maybe as many as five. I’m tired of seeing them wrestle each other. To their credit, they had an entertaining match that went 20 minutes and the crowd was into it.

The stipulation on this match was that Ambrose could lose if he was disqualified, so they really pushed that when it came to the finish. Maryse was on the apron, so Miz told his wife to slap him and the ref almost called for a disqualification before realizing what Miz was attempting. The ref ejected Maryse for it. Miz sent Ambrose into the ref John Cone, who bumped to the floor and barely sold anything as he nearly disqualified Ambrose for it. Ambrose pleaded with him not to disqualify him, so Miz capitalized with a Skull Crushing finale finisher to win. I thought it was booked well. Crafty finish for Miz, who won his seventh IC Title.

What’s Next: I assume there will be a rematch very soon and Miz will retain, so they can move on. After that, there are rumors that Miz may feud with Roman Reigns over the IC Title. I don’t know if that will actually happen, though. I’m not sure what’s next for Ambrose. Maybe he’ll feud with Elias Samson since that was teased a few weeks ago. Turning Ambrose heel may be the best thing for him, but I have also written that for over a year now.

Rich Swann & Sasha Banks defeated Noam Dar & Alicia Fox

The face duo of Swann and Banks won as expected. Swann is from Baltimore, which is where the event took place, so he was cheered more than normal. The interaction between Banks and Fox was sloppy at times. The guys did better, though. The finish saw Banks hit a double knee attack on Dar on the floor leading to Swann hitting a Phoenix Splash to win. It went about eight minutes.

What’s Next: It’s possible that Swann gets back into the Cruiserweight Title future. Banks could also get into the Raw Women’s Title scene again because this feud felt like a month thing to keep her out of the picture. Dar and Fox are just there to put others over.

Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Title in a Kendo Stick on a Pole match

Worst match of the night and the shortest at around five minutes. They battled for the kendo stick. Bliss used it willingly. Bayley was hesitant to do so, even though she did a promo earlier in the night saying she watched guys like Tommy Dreamer, Sandman and Steve Blackman use it to get ready. In other words, Bayley was booked like a total idiot as she usually is. Who thought this match format was a good idea? It was terrible and did nothing for Bayley. Bliss hit her with kendo stick shots some more and hit a DDT to retain the title. Can we stop having “on a pole” matches? They are stupid. You’re better than that, WWE.

Look at Smackdown’s women having great brawls and they will be in a Money in the Bank ladder match in two weeks. Then look at this. It’s embarrassing to see how bad this storyline was and the match was awful too.

What’s Next: This feud is likely over, which is good for both women because it didn’t help either of them. I assume Bliss feuds with Sasha Banks next, although I’d prefer if it was Mickie James. As for Bayley, WWE creative has done a terrible job with her. They need to regroup and get her on the right page again.

Cesaro & Sheamus defeated The Hardy Boyz in a Steel Cage match to win the Raw Tag Team Titles

This was a match that left me with mixed feelings because the effort of the guys was good, but the rules of the match were confusing and I didn’t like the finish. The rules stated that all four guys would start in the ring. In order to win, both partners had to leave the cage at the same time… or something like that. I’ll try to explain.

They didn’t use the cage as a weapon that often, but when they did all four of them sold it well. Jeff got out of the cage first while Matt was unable to do so. After Matt was double-teamed (he took some big moves including a double-team Razor’s Edge), Jeff realized he had to help his brother out and did his Whisper in the Wind dive off the top of the cage to take out both heels. However, the move took a lot out of Jeff. That led to Sheamus and Cesaro climbing out of the cage while Matt tried to pull Jeff out of the cage with him. Sheamus & Cesaro hit the floor before both Hardys got out, but Matt was out of the cage before the two opponents.

It was explained (poorly, mind you) during the match that Jeff had to exit the cage for a second time since he went out and went back in. That likely confused a lot of viewers because we saw Jeff leave the cage. Why would he have to leave again? Weird. Anyway, that finish was done to protect the Hardys because they weren’t pinned, yet they still lost their titles.

The match was good, but not great and they got 15 minutes, which is good. I’m not a fan of tag team cage matches. They work much better as singles matches.

What’s Next: I thought the Hardys would retain since they had possible feuds with Gallows and Anderson as well as The Revival to look forward to. Now that Sheamus & Cesaro have the titles, I wonder if it means the feud with the Hardys will continue or if they move on. There aren’t a lot of viable face teams out there since it looks like Enzo & Cass are going to split soon with Cass turning heel. Perhaps the team of Heath Slater & Rhyno will get a push. I don’t know yet.

Neville defeated Austin Aries in a Submission Match to retain the Cruiserweight Championship

I mentioned in the preview that I didn’t like the stipulation because the crowd rarely gets excited for a submission match no matter who is in it. You can’t tell the fans that cruiserweight is so exciting only to have these guys work a submission-based match with not a lot of aerial stuff in 17 minutes of action. Fans know that guys aren’t going to win with anything other than their finishers, so none of the other submissions worked. Neville worked on the knee of Aries, which didn’t factor into the finish.

You would think that a match that long with performers as good as these two would be amazing, but it was one of the most boring nearly 20-minute matches I’ve seen. I think the Baltimore crowd would agree because they weren’t into it that much either.

What’s Next: Neville’s CW Title reign continues. There are a lot of possible opponents for him such as Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa and maybe Kalisto, who I mentioned earlier. Neville should have a long title reign. As for Aries, he has always been better as a heel and hinted at a “career re-evaluation” on Twitter, so maybe he’ll turn soon.

Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & Bray Wyatt in a Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules Match to become the No. 1 Contender to the WWE Universal Title

Going into Extreme Rules, I expected this match to get a lot of time and figured it would be great. I was right in thinking that because they went 29 minutes and had one of the best PPV matches of the year. Essentially, this match saved the event from being a stinker because this match was awesome. While I wouldn’t say it’s a match of the year contender, it was excellent.

The first third of the match featured the two heels, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt, working together to systematically beat down the faces. It worked for a while as they did double-team moves, used weapons like the steel steps and chairs as well. Ego got in the way a bit because Wyatt shoved Joe into a Finn Balor suicide dive, which ended that alliance.

There were two big spots late in the match. Roman Reigns, who was booed most of the match, hit a huge Spear on the floor that took out Balor and Joe as all three guys went through the barricade at ringside. Those barricades are really thin, so it doesn’t hurt much at all, but it looks cool. Moments later, Rollins went to the top rope and hit a Frog Splash that sent Wyatt through one of the announce tables. Wyatt was there because Balor attacked him outside the ring. That was an impressive move by Rollins. The crowd was really into both spots as they chanted “holy shit” and “this is awesome” for it.

The final few minutes saw a bunch of big spots from everybody. Reigns hit a Spear on Wyatt at one point. Rollins hit a Buckle Bomb on Reigns and Reigns came back with a Superman Punch on Rollins. Balor got back in the ring with a Slingblade and dropkick on Reigns leading to Balor’s Coup de Grace (double foot stomp off the top rope) for a two-count because Samoa Joe made the save. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission on Balor, who ended up passing out from the pain (not a tap out) and Joe won by submission.

The fans were really into it and I thought the finish was done well. Kudos to all five guys for meeting my high expectations.

What’s Next: Samoa Joe is now the No. 1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title. Their title match will take place at the poorly named Great Balls of Fire PPV on July 9 in Dallas. That’s a dream match for a lot of people. I’m looking forward to it. I doubt Lesnar is going to lose the title to Joe. That would be a major surprise. I loved Joe’s promo on Raw Talk, which is posted above.

I think Wyatt and Balor will continue their rivalry that was started when Wyatt was moved to Raw. That should lead to a PPV match between them.

As for Reigns and Rollins, I’m not sure what’s next for them. As mentioned earlier, there was a Reigns vs. Miz feud rumor, so maybe that’s next for Reigns. Rollins would need a new rival from there. Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Too bad Seth’s good friend Cesaro isn’t a singles wrestler because that would be an awesome feud to do.

In Closing

Extreme Rules was an average show that was saved by a great main event match. Considering the name of the show was Extreme Rules, fans might have had high expectations that WWE might do some crazy things. Instead, the stipulations were generally lame and it was a big night for the bad guys as I mentioned earlier. It’s hard to get excited about the Raw brand when they put on shows like this one as well as Payback and Fastlane earlier this year. They are the three worst WWE PPVs this year, in my opinion.

Raw is in a lull right now. I hope things pick up this month with Brock Lesnar returning to TV next week, but they’ll need to do much more than that. If you missed the show, I would recommend the main event because it was fun. Nothing else really stood out.

I’ll be back Tuesday with a review of Raw.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at Cheap pop!

3 thoughts on “WWE Extreme Rules review: Samoa Joe wins 5-Way main event to earn Universal Title match

  1. I’d have Neville and Aries form an alliance out of mutual respect (or some such) and have them run roughshod over the CW division. But they have to find a way over face to face Neville (or Aries if there’s a heel turn). I like your Kalisto idea. Maybe it’ll be Aleistair Black or someone else from NXT.

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