As this foul year of 2017 rolls on as does the search for The Beast. Unlike Big Foot, Chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster, we know The Beast exists. As actual footage of the Suplex Super Freak has been documented.
The last sighting of The Beast came this past April. Since then, we have only heard from the elusive animals handler once on live television, as Paul Heyman would in fact sing the praises of one Finn Balor on Monday Night Raw.
So, could The Demon be in line for an opportunity at The Beast and the Universal Championship? Find out what went down in Baltimore and who escaped the Fatal 5-Way match as the new #1 Contender.
Perhaps it had something to do with the association with Seth Rollins but once upon, Dean Ambrose seemed like a cool character. However, somewhere along the line, Ambrose became "unhinged." Thus "The Lunatic Fringe" was born. So, what do we have now? Some sort of half-crazy, half-childish Superstar with a twitch. Where is the lunacy? Sure, we live within this new PG environment but ever now and again provide us with some Attitude.
Remember how Stephanie McMahon once pegged Daniel Bryan as a "B+ Player?" Well, Steph was right. And it now seems fitting that The Miz stole Bryan's move-set as The Miz himself is a "B+ Player." While The Miz will continue referring to himself as an "A Lister," anyone with functional eyeballs can clearly see that "B+" label. Oh yeah, and The Miz is once again Intercontinental Champion. So, that happened.
In a winning effort at Extreme Rules, Sasha Banks and Rich Swann would defeat Alicia Fox and Noam Dar. Yes, Sasha Banks - one of the best female wrestlers on the current WWE roster - has been reduced to dancing and hanging out on 205 Live. Sure, Banks was victorious tonight but did she really win? Banks needs something new; a heel turn or a switch over to the Blue Brand.
Oh, sweet little Bayley. The starry-eyed girl who was once the Darling of NXT. Well, on the main stage, Bayley is less of a darling and more of a drag. Hug. Smile. Hug. Smile. The formula is boring. Provide us with a little bit of doom. Life isn't lived in Bayley's vision. Life is a wasteland and Bayley is delusional. Tonight, without much surprise, Bayley failed to "get extreme" and Alexa Bliss took advantage.
All right. So, the recent "This is Your Life" segment was a complete flop (nobody can re-create what Mick Foley and The Rock pulled off back in 1999). However, this should not be a reflection on Alexa Bliss who has proven to be the gem of the Women's Division. At Extreme Rules - with crowd support from those who recognized the better woman - Bliss was once again on top of her game.
The Hardy Boyz (specifically Jeff) are without a doubt, in the words of Paul Simon: "still crazy after all these years." While The Hardys would drop the Raw Tag Team Championship to Sheamus and Cesaro, Jeff's Whisper in the Wind from the top of the steel cage was a sight of pure DELIGHT. While we continue to wait for The Hardys to break, we still takeaway moments like these. Moments that are, dare we say, extreme?
Well, Sheamus and Cesaro have once again captured the Raw Tag Team Championship. But do you care? While the international due are not an awful pairing, they are not exactly the personification of excitement. Of course, things for the Raw Tag Team Division could be a lot worse. Breezange could have defeated The Hardy Boyz. "They don't set the bar. They are the bar?" Not really.
Neville vs. Austin Aries in a Submission match at Extreme Rules was definitely not "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 but it served its purpose. The Cruiserweight Filler match once again allowed fans enough time to pee and reload their beer cups prior to the main event. All told, Neville is a solid champion (much better than T.J. Perkins) ever was but there is nothing worth while about this division.
You can piss and moan all you want on wrestling message boards but there is a harsh reality to face here: Roman Reigns is the new John Cena. And every time Vince McMahon hears the echoing sounds of the "let's go, Roman! ... Roman sucks!" chants, he achieves gratification. You all buy the ticket. So, sit back and take the ride as we live through what is now the Reigns Era.
Bray Wyatt should have never lose the WWE Championship to Randy Orton at WrestleMania. If WWE was looking for something different for the top of the card, they had it and lost it with Wyatt. Jinder Mahal is a joke. One we will look back on and laugh at for years to come. Since the Brand Split, WWE has made two very good decisions with the WWE Championship: A.J. Styles and Wyatt. However, Mahal has ruined that momentum.
At what was a lackluster event, one man managed to shine through: Finn Balor. While many were betting on Balor to emerge as the new #1 Contender, "The Demon" would fall short. However, we have to believe that a showdown with Brock Lesnar awaits Balor in the future. This will likely take place at SummerSlam; the very even where Balor became the inaugural Universal Champion.
Samoa Joe coming out of the Fatal 5-Way as the new #1 Contender came as somewhat of a surprise. And in all honesty, it was kind of refreshing for a moment; until you realize what lies ahead of Joe. At the inaugural Great Ball of Fire Event (why the hell is this a name?), Joe will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Yes, Joe will go head to Suplex City ... and lose!
In case you forgot, the Extreme Rules concept was born out of the chaos that was the ECW One Night Stand Pay-Per-View events. However, there is nothing that extreme about this night. The entire event should consist of anarchy. No rules, no order, pure mayhem. Instead we are "treated" to a water-down version of hardcore wrestling. Just the way Vince McMahon likes his programming. This is "sports entertainment" after all.
This is a completely personal entry and you can disagree if Extreme Rules actually made you happy. However, there are not many things about this company that make me smile anymore. What made me happy on Sunday night? Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles cosplaying Virgil with full commitment. Sometimes these little things can provide a brief moment of joy while suffering through WWE drivel. I need to kick this habit.
With the Universal Champion sitting at home and likely tuning out of Monday Night Raw and the WWE Championship being represented by a sub-par performer over on SmackDown Live, WWE as a whole looks to be in rough condition. Hopefully, some sort of blockbuster summer angle can change that but as of right now, there isn't much promise. Can we watch A.J. Styles wrestle for five hours a week?
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