WWE Extreme Rules: The Return of Seth Rollins

Published On May 23, 2016 | Wrestling News

CBS Sports – The surprise return of Seth Rollins turned an uneventful and predictable — seriously, we predicted every match result perfectly — WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, into a show that will be discussed around water coolers on Monday.

Rollins, the crowd favorite and former World Heavyweight Champion out since suffering a serious knee injury in November 2015, returned to thunderous cheers following a main event that saw much-maligned champion Roman Reigns retain his title against challenger A.J. Styles.

Following Reigns’ hard-fought win over Styles (more on that below), Reigns remained in the ring grimacing before rising to get his hand raised by the referee. Rollins charged to the ring — sans the signature blonde streak in his hair — kicked Reigns, delivered The Pedigree and slowly raised the belt above his head with the crowd cheering him on.

The return of Rollins is an important one for WWE, which has been lacking star power due to a rash of injuries that hit the company before WrestleMania 32. Rollins is arguably the most “over” performer in WWE, and he will likely immediately be thrust back into the title picture now that Reigns has dispatched of Styles twice in a month.

Where does that leave Styles, exactly? It’s a good question, one that will likely be answered on Monday Night Raw. Styles was quickly elevated from new superstar to legit main eventer. It would be a shame for him to fall back into mid-card status after a couple great months.

With Money in the Bank next up in June, it would certainly be something to see Rollins, Styles and a couple other top performers all competing for the chance to get the ever-important briefcase that Rollins cashed in so successfully at WrestleMania 31.


World Heavyweight Championship — Roman Reigns (c) def. A.J. Styles via pinfall to retain the title (Extreme Rules Match): The crowd spent most of the start of the match running through anti-Reigns chants, but it did not take long for the action to take over and those jeers to subside. The vast majority of the match actually took place outside the ring. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm by production, and Reigns responded with a back body drop to Styles on the announce table. Reigns sold a knee injury during the match but looked to be in control after first connecting with his Superman Punch when Styles tried to leap into the ring and then nailing a spear outside the ring.

It was at that point that the interferences began. Anderson and Gallows knocked out Reigns before The Usos entered to wipe the ring out, hit Styles with two superkicks and then nail a frog splash. Reigns knocked Anderson and Gallows out with consecutive Superman Punches. Styles hit his Styles Clash for a two count, then doubled up with it on a chair for another two count (following a slight interference to delay the pin attempt). That’s when Styles “lost it,” grabbing a chair to wipe out The Usos and Reigns and make it a one-on-one match again.

The finish was ultimately a clean one as Styles attempted to take advantage of Reigns’ situation with his Phenomenal Forearm, which Reigns caught in mid-air to deliver a thunderous spear and earn the 1-2-3.

Women’s Championship — Charlotte (c) def. Natalya via submission to retain the title (Submission Match): Quality outing as to be expected from these two women; unfortunately, WWE still refuses to allow its reigning champion to get even one clean victory. Natalya had the Sharpshooter locked in on Charlotte when the music of Ric Flair, who was banned from ringside as an added match stipulation, hit and it was made to look like he was coming to the ring. Instead, it was Dana Brooke dressed up as Flair. Natalya bit on the distraction (of course), allowing Charlotte to take advantage. The reigning champion locked in her impressive Figure Eight submission and got the tap out to hold onto the strap.

Dean Ambrose def. Chris Jericho via pinfall (Asylum Match): Slow and plodding in the early going, the match really picked up its pace once all of the weapons were brought down from atop the asylum (steel cage painted black) and the gimmick of reaching for them was over. There were a couple nice surprises from the weapons including Jericho using the straight jacket as a way to blind Ambrose for a moment, but the highlight came when Ambrose grabbed a black bag and revealed thumbtacks, which he dumped all over the mat. It was obvious from there that the thumbtacks would factor into the finish, but it took five minutes for it to go down. Ambrose caught Jericho’s attempted Code Braker and slammed Jericho’s back right into the pile before hitting his Dirty Deeds finisher for the pin. Unlike WWE’s barbed wire (which these days is rubber-tipped), the thumbtacks were absolutely real. Jericho had dozens of them stuck all over his back and arms, and blood was visible, too. Nice “extreme” payoff considering it’s probably going to be the only such moment on a pay-per-view carrying that name.

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Another good PPV overall by WWE. Aside from some throw away or ill-conceived matches, WWE Extreme Rules was full of good wrestling and memorable moments. The stage is starting to be set for Summerslam, which all of a sudden is right around the corner. The internet seemed split last night, so I’m not sure how I should feel today. Am I mad because AJ Styles didn’t win the WWE Championship or happy because Seth Rollins returned?

How can you be upset about Styles losing? Did you really think he was going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship already? Did you think that after a near year long build that WWE was already going to have Roman Reigns lose the WWE Title? We were treated to two very good to excellent matches between these two guys. I kind of wish there was less outside nonsense from The Club and The Bloodline, frankly it wasn’t needed and these guys tore the house down both times. AJ Styles is now established as a Main Event guy in WWE. Coming out of it, where does The Club go from here? You now also finally have the long-anticipated feud between two of the founding members of The Shield.

The Fatal 4-Way match between The Miz, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Sami Zayn was amazing. These guys stole the show, and based on the crowd reaction, the right guy won the match. This match was exactly what WWE can be each and every night.

Overall WWE Extreme Rules was very good and if you weren’t mostly happy coming out of this, well then, you just like to complain. Stop focusing on the results and what you want to see while you fantasy book in your head. Instead, watch, be entertained and let them take you on a ride. I promise, you’ll be much happier.

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