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Welcome to a very special edition of the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at Click Here to see highlights of the latest King’s Royal.
So go ahead… Call me a “hypocrite” because I don’t give a damn and will likely tell you that.
I would argue that *I AM* speaking with my wallet… I want to see Rusev vs. Styles, Rollins vs. Ziggler, Owens vs. Strowman in the cage, and 5 hours of wrestling that is close enough for a short drive. I probably wouldn’t spring for the Floor Seats (holy cow, those were expensive), but cheapseats pricing works just fine for me.
I have volumes of Columns that speak for me and a pretty consistent pattern of behavior as well. I’m comfortable in my skin as a wrestling fan, please and thank you.
Onto my show review.
Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Extreme Rules 2018 Review (LIVE in Person!)
I was LIVE Tweeting from my @titowrestling Twitter account and here is what I said as the event was happening:
TARP report… Most of the upper bowl is OPEN except for the 200 sections near the entrance on the non-camera side. MUCH MORE open than the Smackdown Live television show a few months ago before Wrestlemania.
At 6:15, we start with Cien vs. Sin Cara. Arena is still a little empty with everyone outside getting food or merch. Good reactions for both and damn, those chops are loud!
Oh shoot, forgot match ratings. ***1/4 for that. Hot opener that the not filled up Arena popped for.
WWE has regular ring posts up tonight, which means that Kane’s pyro is probably here. (I was wrong, it was for the Cage Match).
WWE’s crew set up a bunch of tables at the entrance way.
Oh, the New Day vs. Sanity TABLES MATCH is up next. That explains it. New Day is crazy over but Sanity’s entrance is theme is badass to hear live.
Sanity defeats New Day in a tables match, as Kofi went through a table near the ring apron. Lots of near Table Spots, good action and good drama. Amazing Spot off the top rope!! Crowd only popped for big moves but not much for Sanity overall. ***1/2
Bruno Sammartino vignette player here before the start… He was very popular here in Pittsburgh.
Holy s**t, this is about to start! House is packed!
Woken/Bray Wyatt vs. Bo Dallas/Curtis Axel is up first, champions coming out first…
They showed Ronda Rousey… Huge pops for that as they start this match. Could have timed that better…
Let’s Go B-Team/B-Team Sucks chants break out… But the “Sucks” ones were way louder.
NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!!! Great well timed finish there to create animosity between Bray and Hardy. **3/4, strong finish to an otherwise OK match.
Kurt Angle on the Titantron and of course, Pittsburgh fans pop… Fans popped harder at Angle’s threat of stripping the title. I mean big time pop!
Finn Balor’s entrance is so badass… And then there is Baron Corbin with just a noisy metal song.
Crowd wakes up with a “Corbin Sucks” chant… Finn really isn’t over and I’m sitting here with 15,000+. Decent pops but nothing special.
Finn Balor rolled up Corbin as he tried the End of Days finisher. Match had repetitive spots and felt like a TV match. Neither guy had much heat. **1/2
Shark Cage is getting lowered… Asuka vs. Carmella is next!
Backstage, the Bludgeon Brothers are attacking Bryan and Kane. Kane is selling a knee injury. Could that mean a Hulk Hogan replacement? (I was wrong!)
CRAZY to see the Shark Cage… Like old school NWA but with female wrestlers…
Carmella RETAINS title after she shoved Asuka into the lowered Shark Cage that James Ellsworth somehow escaped from in the air. Silly match, but live fans bought the goofiness and enjoyed seeing Asuka kick ass afterward.
Oh, my match rating for Asuka vs. Carmella… **1/2
Jeff Hardy is VERY over. Meanwhile, I really dislike the new Nakamura theme probably designed to reduce fans singing along. Didn’t work, fans sang along here anyway.
Nakamura low blowed Jeff Hardy before the match started… Nakamura then wins that match in less than 5 seconds with his kick. NEW champion but then Randy Orton arrives to interrupt the title celebration to a huge pop!
Heel turn! Orton was here to attack Jeff to a stunned crowd. LOL
Nakamura vs. Hardy barely had a match, but I loved the heel move before the bell rang. That is how a heel should operate. *
Cage is getting lowered!
Braun is crazy over!
Owens is bumping like a champ.
HOLY S**T!!!!! (My initial reaction to Owens getting tossed from the top of the cage)
My vantage point of that… I’m in shock! (showed a picture)
Question – Where’s your video?!?!? Mr. Tito reply: I was watching the event with my eyes and not a camera phone!!! The way it should me!
Braun vs. Owens… Hot damn! Great action before that sick bump. Loved the heel antics of Owens who was bumping great before that table Spot. ****
This crowd exploded, to say the least, regarding that Owens spot. Wow… Anyone disputing why I attended this show now? WWE can have my money for exciting stuff like that (match before the bump was great).
Daniel Bryan is crazy over… but he comes out alone. Hogan? Mysterio? Ambrose? Or just a one sided beatdown? (None of the above, Kane came back)
Dead silence for the Bludgeon Bros…
“We want Rey” chants break out… But Kane’s music hits and he has a walking boot on. (I’m told that WWE Network was 30 seconds to 2 minutes behind on delay… I spoiled this for man watching my Tweets!)
Bludgeon Bros retain… Kane just couldn’t do much in that protective boot after the brothers attacked it. Bryan eats the pin on the tag team finisher. *3/4. Roman is then shown on the screen to massive boos. LMAO
Wait.. is Roman vs. Lashley up next?!?
Adults are booing HARD for Roman… I mean abnormally hard. Meanwhile, kiddos are screaming. Boos are much louder though.
Kudos to the WWE for not doing Lashley vs. Roman last. Hopefully, AJ Styles finally gets that honor as WWE Champ. (LOL, I was wrong)
Weird reactions for Lashley, though… Focus is on Roman.
Either a “we want tables” or “we want beachballs” chant just broke out?
LOUD “Rusev Day” chants break out.
Now, the Wave arrives…
Pretty nice over the top rope throw by Roman which got a good reaction… fans were chanting “10” for the count on Lashley on the outside. Where is Ty?
Let’s Go Roman / Roman Sucks break out… The “Sucks” half wins but slightly. But fans were very upset when Roman kicked out of that Suplex.
Lashley could be a blowup doll out there and same reaction happens. Everything is about Roman here.
Bobby Lashley hits a Spear when you expected Roman to hit win. Fans pop because Roman lost. **3/4
Question – Has Ronda been sitting ringside all night? Mr. Tito Answer: Yep… Right by the bell table (shows picture).
Alexa and Nia is next… Why yes, I can see Ronda from where I am sitting (gotta squint).
Fans here are liking the Nia vs. Alexa match, perfect comic relief following Roman.
Ronda Rousey attacks to a big pop! She had enough of Bliss and James attacking Natalya! Huge pop! Then James whacked Rousey with a Kendo stick!
Alexa Bliss wins with a DDT on a chair, as Bliss and James were too much for Nia. Silly fun, no real problems because Bliss vs. Rousey is where they are really going. **1/2
2 matches left? (I said that at about 9:30pm, by the way… I was SHOCKED that this event ended by about 10:35pm!)
Nakamura vs Jeff Hardy REMATCH set for Smackdown this Thursday. Rusev vs. AJ Styles is up next! That means that Seth vs. Dolph is main eventing!
Question – This PPV has been a major let down. Mr. Tito Answer – I’ve had fun! 2 matches still ahead!
Aiden English is trying for some anti-Pittsburgh heat but it isn’t working. RUSEV DAY chants are loud!
Pretty even AJ Styles / Rusev Day chants going on.
Rusev seems to be favoring the left leg… (Looked real in person, but he was selling it)
Seems like the same adult fans who booed Roman are for Rusev, kids and girls who cheered for Roman are cheering for AJ Styles. Same fans, it seems.
Fans erupted in what they thought was a Rusev title victory… LOL
Aiden tore off the turnbuckle but Rusev runs into it, 450 Splash, and yet another close 2 count. FANS ARE HYPE!
AJ Styles fends off Aiden English to hit the Phenomenal Forearm to defeat Rusev. ***1/2. Solid overall although AJ Styles isn’t one to work over a limb.
WWE ring crew is changing up the apron before the match.
Fun show… But hey, we still have an Ironman match! Rollins out first and he is very over!
I want to emphasize this as a live attendee of #wweextremerules. NOBODY is leaving early for Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins as the Main Event. Everybody is glued to their seats!
Rollins first fall via roll up following Bucklebomb.
Trolling fans are counting down the last 10 seconds of each minute, LMAO (I said this during the 2nd time the fans started counting down…)
Curb Stomp by Rollins, up 2-0!
Drew McIntyre attacks to score Rollins another fall, 3-0.
Drew got thrown out. Huh? I thought he won a match to be at ringside.
WWE just REMOVED the timeclock because fans were counting down! #wweextremerules
“Where’s the Clock?” chants erupt! #wweextremerules (screenshot of missing timer from scoreboard shown)
“Where’s the clock at?” chants break out with many homemade countdowns. Fans are crapping all over this match! #wweextremerules
“No clocks for you, Pittsburgh!” #wweextremerules (WWE removed the timer from the ceiling screen)
Rollins and Ziggler have no energy out there… fans might be taking them out of the game.
Clock has returned! And fans are even louder! #wweextremerules
Rollins is getting cheers but no heat for Ziggler. Maybe that is why fans are bored and are counting down?
Curb Stomp hit but not enough time for Rollins to make a cover… Draw rules. Fans are booooooing that result.
“I know WWE universe doesn’t want to see a tie” Kurt Angle restarts match for overtime but Drew McIntyre sneaks in for the attack to help Ziggler win. *** Not much energy until the end.
That is it for my live Tweeting of #WWEExtremeRules! Hope that you enjoyed! Column to be posted on @lordsofpain.net when I get home. Great show overall.
And here are my thoughts, in column form, following that event…
Wow… First and foremost, I was in SHOCK at seeing Kevin Owens tossed from the top of the cage by Braun Strowman. My vantage point was from the upper decks on the non-camera side, centered with the ring. Thus, I saw 100% of the fall going from left to right onto the announcers table. I couldn’t believe what I just saw and this helps make up for the fact that I missed King of the Ring 1998 that was in Pittsburgh, PA. Before that huge spot, the cage match was excellent and it was based on the performance of Owens. He was bumping great and using lots of heel antics to survive that match. Easily, MATCH OF THE NIGHT for me. Braun Strowman is CRAZY over and should be the #1 star of this company.
The Roman Reigns chants were bizarre for me… Everything was 100% pointed towards Roman and NOT for his opponent, Bobby Lashley. Massive boos by the adult fans with a mix of kids and teenage girls screaming faintly for Roman. The boos were loud… But Bobby Lashley was NOT over. Everything was 100% focused on Roman. That has given me a slightly different perspective on the “heat” of Roman Reigns. Still weak in the ring, as this match with Lashley was not spectacular. Lashley winning was more about the fans “sticking it” to Roman than being happy for Lashley. Not good at all for Bobby… The heat for Roman is very intense, though.
I felt bad for Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler. From what I could hear, the Pittsburgh, PA fans were popping big for Rollins but not so much for Ziggler. I think that just a long night of wrestling, being slightly disappointed that Rusev lost and that Styles/Rusev weren’t in the Main Event, and possibly a lack of heat for a long-time damaged creatively Dolph Ziggler caused this weird countdown to occur by Pittsburgh fans. Anytime we were down to 10 seconds on the scoreboard, fans would chant 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and they’d make the buzzer sound. It kept getting louder and louder to the point where WWE actually REMOVED the clock from the scoreboard. That just made it worse…. I could only imagine that Rollins and Ziggler were deflated by the chants but at the same time, the match was kind of dull. I’m just not into the Dolph and Drew pairing and I believe that Pittsburgh fans weren’t either. 30 Minute Ironman Match just didn’t have much “pop” to it, as the match was too much about the Drew McIntyre involvement than the drama of racking up wins/losses within 30 minutes.
The pop for Kurt Angle announcing that he’d “strip the title from Lesnar” was deafening. Seriously…
Speaking of deafening, things got very loud for Ronda Rousey when she got involved and fans were in shock when Mickie James boldly hit Ronda Rousey with that Kendo Stick (I think that was the object). Fans were receptive to the comedy of BOTH women’s matches from the weapons in Nia vs. Alexa to the goofy Shark Cage antics of James Ellsworth for Asuka vs. Carmella. It seemed to be much needed comic relief to add to the many serious men’s matches in place. Fans were really receptive about James Ellsworth and him “getting his”. See why that guy has a WWE job? I personally liked Carmella shoving Asuka into the lowered Shark Cage, good ending.
Opening matches on the Pre-Game show were both great… Sin Cara looked very polished but Cien was selling everything perfectly. What a talent. The Sanity vs. New Day match was fun, lots of tension as they tried to throw each other through tables. Sanity, after their entrance, it was kind of quiet. Speaking of quiet, Finn Balor and Baron Corbin had some real silence to it. If you wonder why both guys have been pushed and then quickly depushed, well, it’s their lack of heat within matches. I heard it first hand.
In my opinion, they should have went with AJ Styles vs. Rusev for the WWE Title as the Main Event. You know, since it was the ONLY World Title on the show. That and the match delivered for the most part. The most fascinating thing is that the same adult voices that I heard booing Roman Reigns, I heard changing “Rusev Day”. The same kids and teenage girls screaming for Roman were chanting “AJ Styles”. That was interesting to me. The match was good but it seemed like the psychology of working on the leg was odd provided that is not what AJ Styles normally does.
I was fine with Shinsuke Nakamura‘s dirty heel win… Perfectly acceptable to generate some heat as Jeff Hardy was very over with the fans. Then, Randy Orton came down to a big pop and fans were SHOCKED when he also took a shot at Jeff Hardy’s nards to turn heel.
The B-Team winning the tag titles… Reminds of Zack Ryder winning the Intercontinental Title a few years ago on Wrestlemania. What blew my mind was how brothers Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas were working together without much thought of them being actual brothers.
Bludgeon Brothers, for the second time now that I’ve seen them in person, wrestled to utter silence. Daniel Bryan was over and his various comebacks got pops, but when the brothers were on offense, it was blatantly obvious how much these two lack heat. And of course, Daniel Bryan eats the pin even though Kane had the more serious “injury” before the the match. I hope that the rumors of Bryan signing a new contract are UNTRUE because that way, he can join Ring of Honor and stick it to the WWE at Madison Square Garden next year!
Crowd was full and there were much more seats opened up for WWE Extreme Rules versus the Smackdown LIVE event that I saw just before Wrestlemania 34. For the most part, the “U” that surrounds the WWE ring was open and seats were filled. There was a slight section on the non-camera side of the upper deck that was tarped up. Still, it was quite full… PPG Paints Arena for basketball can hold close to 20,000 seats. But for WWE events, 1/4 of the arena is blocked out for the entrance way. So, I’d guess at least 15,000 fans present? I did notice that many of those price gouging floor seats were empty in parts but paying $350 to $1,000 for some of those floor seats was ridiculous.
So yeah… I HAD FUN! Was it a perfect event? No, but the event was loaded with chaos in parts and the finishes were done well to build some heat moving forward. Just a ton of matches crammed into less than 5 hours here and it makes me wonder if the Countdown stuff by Pittsburgh fans during Rollins vs. Ziggler was just out of boredom. That cage match is worth going out of your way to see, GOOD GOD that was crazy to see that big bump in person!
LAST WORD: Lots of booking decisions to make here… Who gets Lesnar? What is going on with Daniel Bryan? What is the point of Kevin Owens being a punching bag and will he ever get a reward for his efforts? It was good to watch the event in-person to get a perspective on how crowds react and I should probably do that more often. Anyway, I give this show a [ B ]. Entertaining but I would have liked more from the Women’s matches, something unique from Ziggler/Rollins, and maybe a little more seriousness for some of the matches. Lots of “Sports Entertainment” tonight… But I had fun attending a LIVE event and got my money’s worth, I thought. Give me an electric match like Owens vs. Strowman, I’ll hand you my money every time.
SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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