Although Sunday night’s WWE pay-per-view event was called “Extreme Rules”, only the main event was contested under that stipulation – or, really, any stipulation at all. As a result, the show seemed in some ways like an over-sized episode of weekly TV, but with longer and commercial-free matches. Which is not to say it was a bad show – indeed, most of the matches were good. But when the sole Extreme Rules match ends not as the result of someone exploiting the stipulation, but rather some other deus ex machina reason – which was more goofy than extreme – it does make you wonder if it isn’t time to retire the name.

That sole match was the main event pitting Universal Champion Roman Reigns against the challenger “The Demon” Finn Balor. Just so we knew it was indeed an Extreme Rules match, the ring announcer clarified during the introduction that there were no rules in the match, and so it was clear, he did say that the win by pinfall or submission could only happen in the ring.

Reigns’s facial expressions at the beginning of this one were tremendous – a perfect blend of confusion and concern as if knowing that the animal in front of him was dangerous. Just great.

They were both aggressive early on, with the Demon hitting Roman with some strikes and the clawing at Reigns’ face and eyes. But Reigns fired back with a big punch and a Samoan Drop for an early two-count. Reigns teased the crowd – that had been chanting for tables all night – by going under the ring, but instead of a table, he pulled out a Singapore Cane. But unbeknownst to him, the Demon had also gone under the ring, and he pulled out a bundle of Singapore canes. And the many beat the few in the resulting duel, so Reigns had to absorb a beat-down. Balor trapped Reigns in the apron skirt and then blasted him with a running boot to the head off the apron.

Balor tried to oblige the crowd by getting a table, but Reigns stopped him and denied the crowd yet again. This time, he got a chair and smashed the Demon with it repeatedly. But the Demon fought back and he laid the table on Roman’s chest and hit a Standing Double Stomp to take control.

After whipping Reigns into the ringside barrier, Balor finally did get the table, but as he slid it into the ring, he got hit with the Drive By – that looked good. Reigns threw Balor into the crowd, and then – in a clever heelish move – demanded a facemask from Heyman before he would go into the crowd to beat up Balor some more.

Reigns battered Balor, eventually sending him to the area where the Kickoff panel table was located. Balor used some kicks to get loose and get some distance, and then leaped from the table onto Roman who fell backwards through a table, earning a “Holy s—” chant from the Columbus, Ohio crowd.

Balor chased Reigns back into the ring where he set up the table he’d brought in earlier. But Reigns turned the tables on him (pardon the pun) and drove the Demon through the table with a huge Rock Bottom.


Reigns hit the Superman Punch, but Balor had enough Demon Power to kick out. A fired up Reigns went for the Spear, but Balor blocked it with a boot and hit the Slingblade. Balor tried for his running attack, but Reigns had it scouted and he did hit the Spear. But as Balor kicked out, he used the same tactic that Reigns used on him in their last match, lifting his arm up right into Reigns’ crotchel area and nailing him right in his Little Head of the Table.


Balor sent Reigns to the floor with a big Running Dropkick and followed that up with a running dive to the floor. He threw Reigns back in the ring, and hit the Double Stomp, and got the 1-2-NO! Because the Usos ran to the ring and pulled Balor off of Reigns to break up the count.

They pulled Balor to the floor and leveled him with Double Superkicks. They then set up a table on the floor and went for the Double Chokeslam through the table. But Balor fought back and overpowered them, Spinebusting Jimmy onto the ringside barricade, and then Powerbombing Jey through the announce desk.

But as soon as he turned around, the Demon was Speared through the ringside barrier by a charging Reigns and driven into the timekeeper’s area – that looked great. Both of them were laid out and not moving.


Then, in a cartoonish bit of nonsense, the arena lights turned red and started flashing while a heartbeat sound and spooky music was heard. At every beat, the Demon twitched on the floor, and the commentators said that this was the heart of the Demon. Finally, after a few beats, the Demon popped back up, completely refreshed and looking very angry.

He grabbed a chair and waylaid Reigns with it, while the Demon’s entrance music played. He then hit Reigns with a running dropkick which sent Reigns through a table on the floor. At this point, the lights were red and smoke filled the ringside area, making this very hard to see.

The Demon rolled Reigns back into the ring and climbed to the top turnbuckle, but was completely obscured by smoke.

Suddenly, a loud “thunk” was heard, and arena lights came back on, and we could see that the top rope had snapped, and the Demon had crashed to the mat.

He got back up, but was clutching his leg in pain and couldn’t stand. That left him prone to a Spear from Reigns, which put him down for the pin.

The replay of the rope break was shown from another angle, and it actually looked really good. Balor actually fell straight down onto the middle rope and then fell forwards onto the mat, landing on his face and chest.

With a look of relief and some disbelief on his face, Roman celebrated the win with Heyman and the Usos to end the show.

Everything up to the resurrection of the Demon in the ending minutes was great. The overbooked ending sequence was a bit too cartoony – but that’s inherently a problem with a character like the Demon. Reigns, at this point, may be the best performer in the business these days, and he helped make the ending better than it had any right being.


WWE Extreme Rules – Full Results


Kickoff Match: Liv Morgan vs. Carmella

Carmella cut a promo before the match, basically reinforcing her gimmick that she thinks she’s the most beautiful woman in WWE. Liv started off quick and had an early advantage. But Carmella blocked the Leverage Pump Kick into the corner that she claimed nearly broke her nose a couple of weeks ago, and then she took over. She had Live down with an extended chinlock, and then wrapped Liv’s hair around the bottom rope to hold her there while she stomped on Liv. But Liv fired up and fought back, hitting Carmella with a Thesz Press and then double-stomping Carmella’s face into the mat, which got her a two-count. They exchanged more pinfall attempts, and then the match spilled to the floor. There, Liv was able to use her Leg Pump move to send Carmella face-first into the announce desk.  She then rolled Carmella back into the ring and hit ObLIVion for the pin.

This started off a bit rough, but got good in the final third of the match, and the crowd really got into it.

Winner: Liv Morgan

A Paul Heyman interview ended the pre-show, and – as usual – it was money.


Match 1: AJ Styles, Omos, and Bobby Lashley vs. The New Day

This match was made during the pre-show when AJ and Omos hijacked a backstage interview with the New Day. As the New Day came in, Bobby Lashley attacked Big E and the teams brawled.


For those keeping score, up until then, the WWE Champion wasn’t even booked to compete on this PPV.

AJ and Woods had a nice starting sequence, which led into Big E and Lashley clashing, with Big E able to trap Lashley in the wrong corner, where he was on the wrong end off a Unicorn Stampede. When words got exchanged between both teams on the floor, Lashley recovered and got the better of Kofi, literally heaving him halfway across the ring, where he received an extended beatdown by Omos. AJ tried to continue the beating, but in a weird moment, AJ broke off the attack and then started berating the ref who seemed to be out of position for a spot. This left Kofi free to try for a tag, but Lashley tagged in, yanked Big E off the apron and demolished him with the ringside barrier and ring steps, leaving Kofi with nobody to tag.

After being beaten up some more, Kofi was able to finally escape again and got the tag to Woods. Woods used his speed to rock Lashley, including hitting a Spinning DDT and a Missile Dropkick. Woods then tagged in Big E who took his wrath out on AJ, including hitting a hard improvised Uranage. AJ and Big E exchanged big finisher attempts, but then Kofi blind-tagged himself in and they hit AJ with a double-team move that would have pinned Kofi, but for Lashley breaking it up. Kofi and Big E teamed up for a flying attack to the floor, but Omos swatted Kofi out of the air, and then AJ took out Woods. This left Lashley in the ring with Big E, and he was going for the Spear on Big E, but AJ blind-tagged himself in. AJ set up for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Big E avoided it. Lashley tried to Spear Big E, but E moved again, and Lashley Speared AJ by accident instead. Big E then came up behind Lashley, hit him with the Big Ending, and that was all she wrote.

This was a fun match, though it felt a bit hectic at times. The ending sequence worked well, and it will be interesting to see if there is any fallout between AJ and Lashley after this one.

Winners: The New Day

In the back, Becky Lynch was shown getting prepared for her upcoming title defense against Bianca Belair.


Match 2: The Street Profits vs. the Usos (c) – for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Montez Ford had his ribs heavily-taped to sell the beating the Usos and Roman Reigns gave him on Friday, so they were an obvious target during this match. That happened when he was in control of an Uso for some time, but then the other one kicked him in the ribs from the apron while the referee was looking elsewhere. The Usos then punished him further, including Front Suplexing Ford’s midsection across the top rope before ripping off his protective rib tape.


He eventually go the tag to Dawkins who was on fire, manhandling the Usos both in and out of the ring. At one point, he hit Jimmy with a Superplex and then seamlessly rolled that into a Twisting Neckbreaker, but Jimmy kicked out. The Profits then hit a Doomsday Blockbuster, but again only for the two-count.

After some further exchanges, the Profits went for another Doomsday Blockbuster, but Jey slipped out and threw Dawkins into the rope, causing Ford to fall and crotch himself. Dawkins was then left in a 2-on-1 situation, and couldn’t overcome the odds. A big kick to the chest by Jey followed by a Superfly by Jimmy put him – no, wait, Dawkins kicked out!

The Usos took him to the floor, but they got caught by a Flying Somersault Dive by Ford. Ford then threw Jimmy back into the ring and hit a Ford Frog Splash – but Jey made the save!
The Usos then went back to Ford’s ribs, kicking him there, sending him to his knees. Double Superkicks and a Double Superfly combo put Ford down for the count.

This was another strong match, and even though it seemed unlikely to happen, there were times that it looked like the Profits might actually pull off the win. It has to be said that Montez Ford’s Frog Splash is truly a thing of beauty.

Winners, and still Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos

In the back, Lashley cut a furious promo on Big E, even swearing at one point, calling Big E a chickens—. #TheAttitudeEraIsComingBack. He said that Big E is too scared to face him one-on-one, and challenged Big E to a title match tomorrow on RAW.


Match 3: Alexa Bliss (w/ Lily) vs. Charlotte Flair (c) – for the RAW Women’s Championship

The crowd was solidly behind Bliss in this one, starting the match with “Let’s go Bliss” chants. Bliss tried to reward them with an early win, but Flair effectively played defense to avoid numerous attacks. Flair finally caught Alexa, and then used her power advantage to lay a beating on the challenger, including with a nice Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. She cranked on a deep shoulder submission move, and then a Back Rack that stretched out Bliss. Bliss was able to escape that with a Hurancarana that sent Charlotte nose-first into the bottom turnbuckle. And with Charlotte hurt, Bliss went on the attack. But she got caught on a dive attempt, and Charlotte swung her hard into to the ringside barrier.


She continued her assault with a Standing Moonsault, but Bliss avoided Natural Selection. They exchanged roll-ups and pinfall attempts, and Charlotte’s frustration grew. She went for a Moonsault, but Bliss got her boots up and kicked Charlotte in the face. A Code Red by Bliss couldn’t hold Charlotte down, and she was unable to hit Twisted Bliss, so the action continued. Bliss hit a couple of other moves, including a big DDT, and Flair had to grab the rope to break the count lest her title reign be ended.

Frustrated, Charlotte then went after Lily, plucking her from the corner post. She threw Lily at Bliss, and when Bliss caught her, Charlotte ran in for the kill with a Pump Kick to the face. She followed that up with Natural Selection and that was enough.

After the match, Charlotte retrieved Lily and tore her to pieces. She posed with the dismembered doll until she was attacked by an enraged Alexa. But, of course Charlotte has to always be dominant, and she was able to fight off Alexa and threw her unceremoniously onto and over the announce table.

After Charlotte left, Alexa climbed on top fo the annnounc table and screamed in frustration. She went into the ring and angry-cried as she gathered up the pieces of Lily. The crowd chanted “Thank you, Lily” as Alexa broke down in tears as she headed up the ramp. She foamed at the mouth, ostensibly due to her anger, but really due to some kind of wafer that she had in her mouth and was visible when she screamed.

The match was good enough, but the post-match stuff went long and wasn’t particularly well acted.

Winner, and still RAW Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

Paul Heyman was on a phone backstage – sadly, it wasn’t his old-school Paul E. Dangerously phone, because that would have been awesome – talking to someone about the draft which happens this Friday and next Monday. Kayla Braxton came up to him and asked who he was talking to. Heyman refused to answer and was trying to throw up a smokescreen, when the Usos came by and he left Kayla to hang with them.


Match 4: Damian Priest (c) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus – Triple Threat match for the United States Championship

Well, judging from Jeff Hardy’s subdued entrance and the dull look on his face, he’s not winning tonight. Seriously, this guy must suck at poker.

In a great visual, immediately at the bell, Sheamus hit a huge running knee to Jeff Hardy’s face, sending Hardy tumbling to the floor.


Then Sheamus and Priest went to the floor and fought ringside. Hardy joined them and soon everyone was hurting after whips into the ringside barrier, and otherwise using their own bodies as weapons.

After that, they followed the typical three-way formula, with two men fighting while the other was hurt on the outside.

At one point, Priest tried to reverse Sheamus’ Beats in the Bowery move, but slipped off the apron, which he’ll likely get ribbed for on TV this week, despite managing to improvise a decent follow-up. Later, Hardy hit a huge Dropkick out of nowhere into Sheamus’ face. Later, he hit both Sheamus and Priest at the same time with a Double Whisper in the Wind.

Sheamus hit an Alabama Slam on Hardy, but in doing so, his protective mask flew off. But he didn’t seem too worried, and shortly thereafter took some hits and kicks to the face and didn’t play it up.

Hardy reversed Priest’s finisher but then botched on the follow-up Twist of Fate, but they eventually got there after some impromptu jockeying – and some great covering by Corey Graves on commentary. Hardy tried to end things with the Swanton on a downed Priest, but Sheamus threw him off the top.

Sheamus then climbed up top himself, and after some showboating, hit a Flying Kneedrop to Priest, but Priest kicked out. Sheamus then turned the showboating knob up to 11, doing it way too much so that you knew it was going to lead to his eventual downfall. It indeed happened when Sheamus went up top again and wasted time showing off. Priest caught him by the throat and hit a huge Chokeslam. But Hardy broke up the pin with a Swanton  that landed right on top of Priest – that looked gross.

The three of them tried for a parade of finishers and rollups. In the end, Sheamus hit Hardy with a Brogue Kick that sent Hardy rolling out of the ring. Sheamus bent down to try to grab him and maybe pin him, but then Priest rolled up Sheamus for the pin. After the match, Priest and Hardy embraced in a show of mutual respect.

There were some notable botches in this one, but overall this was good – and really got exciting in the closing minutes. The crowd was majorly-behind Hardy, so possibly they may go in that direction and have him face Priest in a face vs. face feud for the title?

Winner, and still United States Champion: Damian Priest

Big E cut a promo in the locker room, accepting Lashley’s challenge for tomorrow night. He said, and the commentators confirmed, that the match will kick off the show.

Backstage, Bianca Belair was shown getting ready for her title match against Becky, which is up next.


Match 5: Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch (c) – for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

They really should consider changing Becky’s entrance music if they want her to be presented as a heel – when the crowd is singing along to it, it’s hard for them to not like you. And many of them do, based on the dueling chants at the beginning of the match.

Bianca nearly got the KOD in the opening seconds, but Becky scrambled away. They exchanged flurries, with Bianca getting the better of things for the most part, outthinking, out-muscling, and out-moving Becky. Until Becky used some aggressive tactics, pulling Bianca’s ponytail to whiplash her back off the top rope. With Bianca stunned, Becky put the boots to her and hitting some other vicious shots – employing some dirty tactics to do so.

Bianca powered back, and was able to buy herself some with a nice Snap Suplex, and then turn the tide with some big Dropkicks and a Successive Suplex combo. Becky again grabbed the hair, but lost the tug-of-war and got pulled into a Spinebuster for a close count. Bianca then caught a Becky dive attempt and hit an Overhead Slam that forced Becky to escape the count by getting her foot on the ropes.

Becky escaped a Gorilla Press and locked on the Disarmer, but this time it was Bianca who grabbed the rope to break the hold. The match spilled to the floor, and Becky was able to send Bianca face-first into the ring steps, but even that and a Flying Legdrop wasn’t enough to get the pin. Becky tied Bianca in the ropes and hit another Flying Legdrop, but Bianca had no quit in her.

A nice sequence saw Bianca fighting out of the Disarmer repeatedly and turning things into a pinning combination, with Becky narrowly kicking out each time. Then they slugged it out in the middle of the ring. The crowd seemed to be tired at this point, even though the women were giving it their all.

Finally, Bianca was able to power out of another Disarmer and lifted Becky up for the KOD. Before she could hit it, though, Sasha Banks ran into the ring and clocked Bianca, resulting the disqualification. Sasha beat down Bianca with running kicks to the face. When Bianca was downed, Becky went to show her some respect, but Sasha attacked her, too, flattening Lynch with the Backstabber.


In the end, Sasha stood triumphant all alone in the ring. As she headed back up the ramp, she said she’d see Becky and Bianca on Friday.

This was a really good match, though they seemed to lose the crowd in the closing minutes. They perked up for Sasha’s return, but the finish itself wasn’t satisfying. With Sasha now in the title hunt and solidly a heel, perhaps they can use this as a way to course-correct and turn Becky face again like the fans clearly want?

Winner, by disqualification: Bianca Belair

Still the Smackdown Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch

 Match 6: “The Demon” Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman) (c) – Extreme Rules match for the Universal Championship


Winner, and still Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

WWE Extreme Rules - Sep 26th, 2021

Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH

While all of the matches on the show were pretty good overall, the name of the PPV implies that the show will be full of gimmick matches with violent stipulations. The main event – which did include those elements – tried to live up to the billing, but was hampered by the over-the-top ending. Everything else was done well, but there was nothing about the show that people will be talking about for years to come – or maybe even after this week.