Extreme Rules 2019: Results, recap, analysis, ratings

What a night in Philadelphia it was. Let’s get down to business.

Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura - Intercontinental Championship

Chris Novak: Shock championship change! Shinsuke Nakamura has won the Intercontinental Championship away from Finn Balor. This was a fun little match, although I think their match on SmackDown was better. That being said, hey, this is cool! I suspect they’re gonna run this back in some way shape or form at SummerSlam in Toronto. Which is OK by me! ***¼ for me. 

Robert O’Neill: That was fun! Wasn’t expecting a title switch. I also liked the match on Smackdown more but I’ll go ***. It was fun for what it was and the title change was cool.

Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese - Cruiserweight Championship

Chris Novak: Okay, this was pretty good. Gulak retained his Cruiserweight Championship, as expected. I think these two went a little bit lightly all things considered. Maybe it was a time crunch, maybe not. But I definitely expected a bit more here. That being said, it was still pretty good. ***½ for me here. Good start to the show with these Kickoff matches.

Robert O’Neill: Going to be interested to see where Tony Nese goes next and who Gulak’s next opponent is. I think this match was good but their match at Stomping Grounds was better. ***¼ 

Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns and The Undertaker

Chris Novak: That… was… really fun? That was really fun! The Undertaker pinned Shane McMahon after hitting him with a Tombstone Piledriver. That superseded my expectations in a large way. Elias had a nice run-in and there was some good action and plunder here. Great sequence at the end, as Drew Mac went for a Claymore, but Reigns came in to spear him. ***¾ here. Super fun opener! 

Robert O’Neill: That was more fun than it had the right to be. That’s the perfect way to use Shane McMahon, Undertaker looked good, and the right team won. The passing of the torch sort of thing they did at the end between Taker and Roman was awesome, too. ***¾ 

The Revival vs. The Usos - Raw Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: I had high expectations for this match. They were not met. It wasn’t outright bad, and still pretty good. But there was some sloppiness and awkwardness abound here. Thought these two teams definitely have better in them and it’s a little disappointing that it didn’t really go down that way. ***¼ for me.

Robert O’Neill: I like The Revival and The Usos a lot but yeah this match was just kinda there for me. A rare miss from these teams. **½ 

Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

Chris Novak: Big surprise… this was really good. Black won via the Black Mass. This match got a good amount of time and both were able to showcase their stuff. **** for me here. I’m not the high man though evidently. But this was kick ass and is, so far, the MOTN. 

Robert O’Neill: I loved this match! Both guys got to show just how good they are, and Aleister looks great with the victory. ****½ 

Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross - SmackDown Live Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: Bayley wins. Seven stars. In all seriousness, this was super fun. Handicap matches tend to be weird, but they absolutely made this work and then some. Bayley won with an Elbow Drop off the top rope. Everyone got some good moments and spots. ***¾ for me here.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah this was quite good. Sometimes these handicap matches are bad, but this one definitely worked for me. Like the other matches, I’m excited to see what comes next for these three. ***½

Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman - Last Man Standing

Chris Novak: This match absolutely ruled. Braun Strowman won after busting through a wall (yes) and beat the 10 count in the process. Strowman and Bob Lashley beat the absolute shit out of each other all over the arena. That is exactly how those matches should go and this one did not spare any bones. There was a great spot that brought them into an enclosed platform or whatever, which is where Strowman broke free from. I’m going ****½ on this. This is not only one of the best matches of the entire year, but one of the best Last Man Standing Matches ever, too.

Robert O’Neill: Chris pretty much nailed it. This match was everything a LMS match should be. ****

Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery vs. The New Day - SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships 

Chris Novak: The New Day are six-time Tag Team Champions! This was a fantastic match. Everybody got their licks in here and looked great. There were some great sequences here with a very nice payoff between Big E and Daniel Bryan. I’m going ****¼ here. This was fan-freaking-tastic.

Robert O’Neill: Wow, the New Day has all the gold! For now, at least… Great match. ****¼ 

Ricochet vs. AJ Styles - United States Championship

Chris Novak: AJ Styles won the United States Championship after hitting a REVERSE Styles Clash OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE! A sick spot ended what was a really awesome match. A bit slower than I expected it to be, but that’s okay. These two still had a lot of great spots here and the finish ruled. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows’ involvement helped add yet another layer. ****¼ for me. 

Robert O’Neill: I liked their Raw match more, but I also liked the ending there. That reverse Styles Clash was NASTY. ***¾ here. Think they can run it back at Summerslam. 

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens

Chris Novak: Kevin Owens won after one (1) Stunner within a couple of seconds. Seven stars.

Robert O’Neill: This is the greatest night in the history of our sport. 

Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe - WWE Championship

Chris Novak: Kofi Kingston retained yet again! Kofi’s heater continues with yet another really good match against Samoa Joe. Joe had plenty of great offense in here and got in some good beat downs. But, Kingston survives yet again and the beat goes on. ***¾ for me here.

Robert O’Neill: I didn’t think it was Joe’s time to win because they didn’t do a great job on the build to this, but the match was good for what it was! Joe will win the title eventually and Kofi still has all-time great face champion booking. ***¾ 

Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans - Universal/Raw Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: This match, like the opener, had no business being as good and as fun as it was. And yet, it was! Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch retained their titles after Rollins hit Corbin with three Stomps. THAT came after Corbin hit Becky with the End of Days! This match was filled with great spots and action. This was very well put together and super fun. ***½ for me. 

Robert O’Neill: You said on the preview that if they leaned into the stipulation and let this be a mess, it would be good. They did! Becky taking the End Of Days was an amazing spot, and Seth showing a whole new level of intensity after that was a side of him we haven’t seen much of. ***½ 

But…

Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar - Universal Championship

Chris Novak: Paul Heyman wasn’t lying. Brock Lesnar cashed in his MITB contract, and defeated Seth Rollins to win the Universal Championship! 

Robert O’Neill: We’re not star rating this one because it was too short obviously but what a great ending to the show. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: What a fun show. Top to bottom, the most consistent show of the entire year. There wasn’t a single cooldown match here, which really worked to their benefits. I think there’ve been “better” shows in terms of compellingness and drama. But this one was one of the very best this year. A- for me. 

Robert O’Neill: You nailed it. I loved this show start to finish and they had no down periods. While there likely wasn’t an all-time great match on this show, everything was very good and fun. That’s all we can ask for. Can’t wait for Raw and Smackdown. A