“Extreme Rules” was an exciting pay-per-view for the fans in Philadelphia, one that featured several surprises and had one good match after another. However, WWE saved one final surprise for the end, as Brock Lesnar cashed in his briefcase on Seth Rollins to become a three-time Universal Champion.
For the most part, the mixed tag “Winner Take All” match in the main event wasn’t anything to write home about. However, a few spots at the end, including Becky Lynch taking an End of Days from Baron Corbin, perked the crowd up. That move fired up Rollins, who flew into a rage and pinned Corbin after multiple stomps. However, Lesnar’s music hit fairly quickly after, as Lesnar and Paul Heyman came down the ramp. As Lesnar entered the ring, Rollins charged. Lesnar sidestepped him and delivered a couple of German suplexes while Heyman walked around the ring and delivered the briefcase to the timekeeper. The match began, Lesnar F5′d Rollins, and Lesnar once again became Universal Champion.
It’s interesting timing for the cash-in by Lesnar. I’d argue the will-he-won’t-he storyline was one of the best uses of the briefcase in quite a while. It continued to build suspense around the briefcase while the title was constantly a presence on the show. Rollins, admittedly, felt like he had lost a little bit of steam since Wrestlemania, but it’s still fairly surprising to see him lose the belt this quickly after such a big moment in New York in April. And now the belt is back on Lesnar.
So what happens from here? Are we going to see the typical Lesnar title reign that we have gotten used to over the past few years where he and the title disappear entirely from RAW for months at a time? Granted, you can do that a little bit easier now with the brand split slowly disappearing. If the WWE title appears on the show, it makes the Universal title’s disappearance a little easier to handle. However, with the new TV contracts kicking in during the fall, it’s hard to see the USA Network being happy if the champion isn’t fairly regularly on the show. Perhaps RAW getting a new executive director in the form of Heyman could keep Lesnar around more often.
It’s hard to call a Lesnar cash-in shocking. After all, Heyman did give us a “spoiler” last week. However, the timing is certainly odd as we head into “Summerslam.” We’ll have to see exactly what Heyman has up his sleeve as RAW really becomes his, with his beast now as the champion.
The Rest of “Extreme Rules”
-The night started off with the tag match that put the unlikely pairing of Roman Reigns and The Undertaker against Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. There was a lot of groaning about this one after The Undertaker’s last outing in Saudi Arabia, but he bounced back in a big way in this match. The match used all the competitors perfectly, allowing Shane to hit some big spots without overusing him and Undertaker to get in his spots, while allowing McIntyre and Reigns to really carry most of the action. Undertaker and Reigns finally won when Taker Tombstoned Shane after Reigns hit a Spear on McIntyre.
-Kofi Kingston defeated Samoa Joe in a fairly straightforward match to retain his WWE title. Kofi got the pin cleanly after hitting Joe with the Trouble In Paradise. With such a clean pin, it seems likely that Kofi will move on to another opponent for “Summerslam.”
-The New Day won the Smackdown tag titles for the fourth time (their sixth tag title reign overall) after beating Daniel Bryan and Rowan and Heavy Machinery. The New Day celebration will certainly be one to remember when they all hold their belts on Tuesday night.
-AJ Styles beat Ricochet to win the U.S. title for the third time in his career. Of course, the win didn’t happen without a lot of shenanigans from the other members of The Club. The finish came when Karl Anderson tried to interfere, but Ricochet was able to neutralize him by kicking him into the ring. While the ref tried to get Anderson out of the ring, Gallows attacked, hanging Ricochet on the top turnbuckle. This allowed Styles to hit a super-Styles Clash for the win.
-Braun Strowman beat Bobby Lashley in a wild Last Man Standing match that saw the two brawl all around the arena and the concourse. The finish came when the two went into the stands, Strowman powerslammed Lashley off of it, and while the ref started counting both of them, Strowman burst through a wall to show he was still standing.
-Bayley beat Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to retain the Smackdown women's title after Bayley pinned Nikki.
-Aleister Black beat Cesaro in his first match since April.
-The Revival successfully retained their titles in a great match against The Usos.
-Shinsuke Nakamura beat Finn Balor decisively to win the IC title for the first time. While not quite the same as his win on Smackdown, it was a fairly one-sided match that once again saw Shinsuke dominate large chunks before finally hitting the Kinshasa for the win.
-Drew Gulak retained the Cruiserweight title against Tony Nese.
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