By Steve Ward
WWE returned to pay per view this evening as Extreme Rules emanated from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. This evening’s card featured only six bouts - rather slim for a pay per view - with only one contested under the show’s moniker. The aforementioned lone Extreme Rules match would be the main event where Roman Reigns defended the WWE Universal Championship against “The Demon” Finn Balor. Another disappointing facet of the card was the lack of star power as the WWE seemed set on reserving marquee matches for their return to Saudi Arabia for next month’s Crown Jewel event where Brock Lesnar will likely make his in-ring return following his return at Summerslam.
The New Day vs. A.J. Styles, Omos, & Bobby Lashley
Winners: The New Day via pinfall
Rather than book a return bout for the WWE Championship, WWE elected to place Bobby Lashley and new champion (following his cash-in of the Money In The Bank briefcase two weeks ago) Big E on opposite sides of a six man tag team encounter. The closing moments of the bout saw dissonance ensue between Styles and Lashley which ultimately cost their team the match. Lashley was sizing up Big E for a spear as Styles blind-tagged himself into the match. Styles then attempted a Phenomenal Forearm only to have Lashley follow suit and blind tag himself in. Styles missed the attempt and Lashley then attempted a spear only to have Bug E sidestep him making Styles the unfortunate recipient. Big E took advantage of the chaos and executed the Big Ending on Lashley for the win.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
Winners: The Usos via pinfall
The Street Profits gave The Usos a run for their money, however, Jimmy and Jey used effective teamwork to first neutralize Angelo Dawkins outside the ring before they turned their attention to Montez Ford. First, Ford received a super kick to his injured ribs buckling him in half before The Usos delivered simultaneous splashes from opposite turnbuckles to seal the victory.
RAW Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Winner: Charlotte Flair via pinfall
This match came to fruition after Flair’s recent appearance on Alexa’s Playground where the champ ridiculed Bliss’ current persona to the point Alexa snapped and assaulted Charlotte. Bliss appeared poised to score the upset in this contest until she missed a late attempt at the Twisted Bliss. Charlotte responded with a kick to the face followed by the Natural Selection to secure the victory.
United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Damien Priest ( c ) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
Winner: Damien Priest via pinfall
Sheamus was scheduled to receive an opportunity to regain his title which he lost at Summerslam in a singles match tonight until a loss to Jeff Hardy this past Monday transformed this into a triple threat affair. Jeff Hardy appeared moments from victory late in this bout after he landed a Swanton Bomb on Priest who was attempting a pinfall on Sheamus. After a couple failed pinfall attempts, Hardy became the recipient of a Brogue Kick to the face from Sheamus which effectively knocked him out of the match. Priest next capitalized and rolled up The Celtic Warrior for the pinfall to retain his title.
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Winner: No contest
After “The Man” made her miraculous return at Summerslam to defeat Belair in less than a minute and reclaim championship gold, Belair found herself with a rematch this evening for the title. Lynch spent much of the early going of the match baiting Belair into a game of cat and mouse as she continued to escape to the arena floor before finally returning to the ring where she attempted to slow down the tempo of the match. Belair turned the momentum back in her favor shortly thereafter until Becky turned her attention to her arm. Lynch cinched in the Disarm Her only to have Belair reverse the submission attempt and hoist her up for the KOD. Before she was able to finish the move, Sasha Banks rushed the ring and laid waste to both women leading to a no contest.
WWE Universal Championship Extreme Rules Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall
After Finn Balor’s championship opportunity was spoiled recently on Smackdown by The Usos, he reintroduced his Demon persona for his return to pay per view. Late in the match Balor appeared poised to score the upset multiple times. First, Balor attempted the Coup de Grace only to be thwarted by The Usos. Moments later, Balor, after disposing of The Usos, again found himself on the top rope ready to attempt the Coup de Grace before the top rope mysteriously snapped and caused Balor to fall to the canvas injuring his leg. As The Demon got back to his feet, he was met with a spear from The Tribal Chief putting an end to his title hopes.