Extreme Notepad

New Japan is so great. Everyone in the world knows that Shota Umino has virtually no chance of beating Hiroshi Tanahashi in the New Japan Cup, and New Japan knows that we know that. But even so, they’re taking the time to build up the match and show us that he’s not intimidated or afraid to get in there with him. I’m actually looking forward to that match now thanks to that little bit of effort. It won’t be the best match on the show, but it doesn’t have to be. Blow away matches are great, but I’d rather a passable match and a decent story every day of the week.

Is there anybody that Okada can’t have a good match with? It doesn’t seem to matter who he’s in there with or what style they work, it always turns out well.

Man, you want to talk about missing the boat on a guy, remember when TNA had him and the best they could come up with was renaming him Okato and using him as Samoa Joe’s camera man?

That was weird. You’ve got an elimination tag match between the Revival and Rowan and Bryan vs. New Day and the Usos. Once Rowan/Bryan and the New Day had been eliminated, they made a big deal of going to break saying that the match would reset and restart when they came back. Then when it did, they rang the bell and we were told that we now had a tag match. Why? Unless it’s now a match for the tag titles, what difference does it make? Tag team elimination matches have historically always been one solid match, because there’s no need for them to become anything else mid stream.

Does it annoy anyone else that they keep suspending the 24/7 title rules during certain matches and interviews? If you can’t book your way out of a thing, don’t do the thing.

Why does WWE have to ruin every bit of comedy they try? Drake Maverick is out here talking about how Truth pinning him at his wedding to win the 24/7 title is ruining his marriage. He eventually admits that his wife is so upset with him that they haven’t even consummated it yet. Truth says something like I hear fiber is good for that. Left alone, that was kind of funny. But of course, because WWE has no sense of subtlety, Miz has to ask what he’s talking about, at which point Truth has to say “he said his marriage was constipated!” That unnecessary bit of over scripting made me hate a joke I didn’t hate.

We need to fire up this Shane, Drew and Roman feud. I know exactly what we need. Someone more elderly than Shane!

I have a lot of respect for the Undertaker, but I never need to see him wrestle again. I can’t remember the last time that watching him wasn’t a little bit sad.

Oh sweet baby jesus no. They are not trying to set up Strowman and Lashley for a blindfold match at Extreme Rules, are they? First it was Strowman getting chalk to the eyes after the arm wrestling match, and now he gets the tug of war rope taken to his face and the announcers are wondering if he’s gotten rope burns in his eyes and talking about how he can’t see. They cannot be doing this. Please. I’ll beg if I have to.

What the fuck was that, interview lady? If you don’t have time to hear about A.J.’s recovery from injury, why did you ask him how he was feeling?

I’m not going to say I didn’t like the A.J. and Ricochet match. It was good. But I don’t like that champions are hardly ever allowed to do champion type things like win matches. There was no reason Ricochet had to lose, especially since he just won the damn belt the night before.

This Smackdown is already not very good, and the addition of the phrase “fall opportunities” to describe each part of a two out of three falls match is not helping.

Why are there so many two out of three falls matches lately? There have been two on this show alone.

Also, why does the ring announcer now say that so and so has been “awarded the fall” instead of saying “the winner of the fall”? Has been awarded sounds like it was controversial and the officials had to decide it with video replay.

I like both of them, but logically why are either Joe or Nakamura getting matches for titles? Neither of them ever wins anything and I can’t even remember the last time Nakamura was on TV.

Why does Dolph A: get another chance to face Kofi now that he’s lost twice and B: why does he have to fight Kofi to get a chance to fight Kofi again when it would be more sensible for him to face Joe with the winner getting the shot?

Shouldn’t Extreme Rules be a show where every rule is strictly enforced?

I’m sorry, but these Aleister Black promos are wretched. Can somebody just please pick a fucking fight with him so he can shut up?

Somebody finally knocked on his door. Thank god.

I know they won’t do it and they probably shouldn’t, but what if every week somebody knocks on his door and it winds up being a different delivery guy?

The match was good and the fans seemed to be enjoying themselves, but lord almighty that was a lot of interference in the Shirai Baszler cage match.

And I guess we know for sure that Io is a heel now. I think they maybe could have gotten more mileage out of it had they let the frustration build a little while longer with Shirai apologizing for getting upset a few times before eventually doing the big turn, but that said, it was still better thought out than most of the nonsense switches on Raw and Smackdown.

ROH does a lot of things right, but one thing that sometimes gets on my nerves is their tendency to ruin perfectly good matches by letting them drag on for far too long. The latest example of this is the Jay Lethal Matt Taven match I just watched on the 17th Anniversary show. Before I say anything else, I’ll be fair. The crowd seemed to love it, the guys definitely worked hard and the hour long time limit draw made sense in the end since the idea is clearly to keep the feud going. In all of those respects, I have to call it a success. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t fucking hate it with every ounce of energy I had by the end. The more they kicked out of everything, the angrier I became. AT one point I even jumped out of my chair and involuntarily screamed “take it home 15 minutes ago, shitheads!” Little did I know there was like another 25 minutes to go. Had they just wrestled a 60 minute match, that probably would have been ok. But once the outside interference, weapons and shenanigans started, I mentally checked out. You’re telling me that even though I’ve just watched a guy get clonked with a damn baseball bat I’m supposed to believe that he’s still a threat to his opponent for another half hour? No. I am not having that. That should have been your finish. If you want Taven to be a respectable champion even though he’s one of your biggest heels, have him win the inevitable rematch without help. That would have been far more enjoyable than this.

But hey, the show hasn’t been all bad. Jeff Cobb vs. Shane Taylor was one hell of a big dude match. You should all watch it. It’s fun.

Bully Ray is the biggest babyface of my life right now for interrupting that awful Mega Ran performance.

“I’m just trying to do what I came here to do.”

“What’d you come here to do, suck?”

Based on this, I’m guessing the Lashley Strowman blindfold classic is off unless the gimmick is that the resulting explosions and fire blinded both of them.

My guess now is last man standing. That should be fun, although I don’t know how you top a stunt like that. They pretty much have to because that’s how storytelling works, not that they particularly care about that anymore.

But the possibly bigger problem is that this was done to build a match at Extreme Rules in two weeks. That’s pretty ridiculous, especially because they had Cole do a whole shpeel about how WWE does its best to ensure safety but that sometimes unexpected things like this happen. If we’re supposed to take that seriously which I think we are because he used the tragedy voice, how does the company ever logically clear people we shouldn’t be seeing for months if ever again for a match that soon? It’s not like we’re dealing with Kane and the Undertaker, characters who it was long ago established have supernatural abilities.

Oh Christ. The Street Profits are on Raw all of a sudden. I’m happy for them I guess, but we just had the Viking Raiders suddenly drop the tag titles on NXT without losing a few weeks back. I don’t need to ever see that again, but especially not this soon.

Another pointless 2 out of 3 falls match on TV. What are they going to do when they actually need one of these to happen for a reason and be important?

What’d poor Mike Kanellis do to deserve any of this?

And there goes another reason to bother with 205 Live. As if I’m taking their fighting for opportunities and gripes with management seriously after this. I hate to say it, but just take that poor fucking show out behind the shed already.

Wow, what a dick Tom Phillips is. As he’s teeing up the footage of Lashley and Braun going through the electrical panels and blowing everything up, he calls it “arguably the most explosive situation in WWE history” before remembering he’s supposed to be all serious and talking about their injuries. That would be fine if he was supposed to be a heel announcer, but he isn’t. He’s your lead play by play voice. The one you’re supposed to turn to to find out what’s really going on and what’s important.

Um…is Kevin Owens a face again? If so, when did he turn? If it happened at any point before the interview with Shane and Drew when he was verbally poking at them all of a sudden and then happily burying Dolph for losing all the time, I missed it. These shows can be so hard to watch if you do stupid things like think or have a memory.

I haven’t cared for the promos because Aleister Black should just come out to his cool music and silently kick people’s heads off, but I’ll give WWE credit for making us wait until the PPV to find out who knocked instead of giving it away for free.

And here’s his cool music since I’m searching for videos anyway and it’s more fun than paying attention to Smackdown.

Wow, they actually acknowledged the Mike Kanellis stuff from Raw on 205 Live. I fully expected them to ignore it like they generally do with contradictary things that happen on Raw or Smackdown. Mike’s promo was pretty good, too. My only issue is that even though he’s supposed to be out here pouring his heart out, he still had to say “WWE Universe” and kill any believability he had and any connection I may have made with him.

Haven’t seen a squash like Bianca Belair vs. Priscilla Zuniga in a while.

The stupid is strong out of the gate on Raw this week. How can a mixed tag match where the two men can only fight each other and the same goes for the two women be an elimination match? Once one person gets pinned it has no choice but to be over. If we take the match as two halves (a men’s and a women’s), what happens if each team wins one? Is it a draw and I’ve watched this dumb ass thing for no reason?

This 2 out of 3 falls obsession is getting out of hand. I’m now watching a 2 out of 3 falls 6 man tag for literally no reason. And why are Miz and Elias in 99% of these things?

At least they seem to have ditched “fall opportunity.”

So as if it wasn’t bad enough that Lashley and Strowman have been announced for that Last Man Standing match I figured on two weeks after those injuries that supposedly killed them, here Lashley is willingly answering an open challenge from Rey Mysterio one week later. He is the heel, remember. The one who is supposed to not want to wrestle so he can get as much rest as possible. And he won! Quickly and easily! And then destroyed him afterwards! So we’ve created a situation where not only did a cool stunt and serious injuries turn out to mean nothing, but also one in which Rey Mysterio is a geek. What in the hell am I watching? Why do I do this to myself?

Wow. They actually kind of explained what the useless opponent in a beat the clock match might get out of it. Perhaps, since it relates to a title match, if she plays spoiler, it will put her in line for a shot later on. This really isn’t that hard.

WWE is so stupid that I actually had the beat the clock figured out in my head as Bayley wins, gets to pick the stipulation for her title defense against Alexa and chooses to make it a 3-way by adding Nikki, thereby making it harder for her to win just so that she can prove that Alexa isn’t really her friend. For once they proved me wrong. Nikki won and made it a 2 on one match so she could help Alexa win. But just to make sure I didn’t forget that the show sucks, they then had Bayley beat up Nikki for no reason like a total asshole.

It’s been two weeks and main roster WWE has already made me hate the Street Profits.

And it’s only fitting that since we came in stupid that we go out the same way. We were rolling along just fine with Drew and Shane vs. Roman Reigns and Gary the arena worker. It’s supposed to be a slaughter, but clearly, somebody is under the mask they gave to the real Gary because he’s flying all over the ring, taking both guys on and doing better than Drew, Shane or anyone else expected. But then he gets kicked in the face once and pinned. Ok then. That wasn’t quite what I expected, but that’s fine. Maybe we’re setting up to bring Gary back down the line because he impressed people enough that he gets a second chance to be a wrestler. Interesting way to introduce a new character. But then the mask comes off and it’s Cedric Alexander. What? I’m supposed to be all like “Wow! What a performance!” once I find out that the dude who got kicked once and folded like a cheap suit is a former cruiserweight champion? Fuck this show.

Yup, Kevin Owens is definitely a babyface again.

Pretty good segment, partly because just about everything Owens touches he can turn to gold and partly because it was nice to see something that looked a little different and didn’t come off as completely scripted.

Wait, so now they’re revealing who knocked on Black’s door tonight instead of at the PPV? We can’t have two smart things in a row on one show, I guess. Him and Cesaro could be a hell of a match though.

Miz, Roman, Undertaker, Owens…pretty soon I’m going to need a flowchart to keep track of everyone feuding with Shane McMahon.

Shinsuke Nakamura, who apparently still works here, is now the IC champion. Good for him. Wake me up when WWE remembers how to treat a champion, especially a secondary one.

I like that they put two matches on the preshow and that they chose a couple of reasonably important ones. If they insist on doing these kickoff shows, might as well give people a reason to watch them. Not sure how well it will work with so much product out there and with everything being so long, but it’s worth a try.

It wasn’t a bad match, but I was hoping for more out of Gulak and Nese. Gulak retaining is the right choice.

It took nearly 20 minutes from the time I hit play on Extreme Rules for the bell to ring to start the opening match. I’ll allow you the Undertaker entrance, but the opening video package immediately followed by one hyping the match was just unnecessary. Who can watch this stuff live? If I weren’t able to skip over all of that I think I may have given up. I’m not super stoked going in to this show, and that would not have helped my mood had I been forced to sit through it.

I may have mentioned this somewhere before, but why, in a tag match that’s no holds barred, do dudes often stand in the corner obediently waiting to be tagged in? You’re not getting disqualified. Get in there and punch someone in the face.

That was a much better match than I expected it would be, but I’m just so burned out on all things Shane McMahon that I was never able to fully enjoy it to the level it probably deserved.

Undertaker looked better here than he has in years.

Shane should be gone for a while after this loss, but I fully expect him to show up on Raw to keep sucking the life out of everything. He still has to finish that feud with the Miz, so there’s the excuse for bringing him back.

Raw Reunion? Sweet. If I’ve learned anything from similar legends nights of the past, it’s to expect a bad show full of guys from the days when the shows were good. I hope I’m wrong, but I know better than to get excited.

If we’re in for more stuff on the level of Usos revival and Black Cesaro, this is going to be a fine show. When WWE keeps the bad writing out of the way and just lets wrestlers wrestle like this, it generally ends well.

Wonders never cease. Bayley just straight up won a 2 on 1 match with no silliness as if she were a babyface or something. She gains some credibility, plus you have the cliffhanger of what happens next between Nikki and Alexa now that they’ve lost an unloseable match. Nicely done.

Subtract the fact that the match shouldn’t be taking place because both guys died two weeks ago and you’re left with a very good last man standing match. Braun and Lashley went all over the building and pretty well beat the hell out of each other. I’m sure it was done as safely as possible, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to take that powerslam out of the concourse, let me tell you. I once let a friend powerslam me into the grass and my tailbone hurt for a day and a half.

I liked the match, but I don’t understand why we’re going back down the new day are tag champs road again. They’re the ones who needed the win the least. I’d have gone with Heavy Machinery, but I also would have been completely fine with Bryan and Rowan winning and carrying on with their quest to have the tag belts taken seriously. This feels like a been there done that even with Kofi also holding a title.

Styles and Ricochet had a solid match. Seems to be a theme on this show. But as good as it was, what did Ricochet gain from being United States champion? And what is A.J. going to get out of it now that he has it? These belts are treated like such jokes with champions losing non-title constantly and switches every few weeks. I’m so tired of hoping that this will be the time that they finally get it right.

Um…so is Dolph going away again? Owens just beat him in like 10 seconds.

And then he told Shane McMahon to kiss his ass. God dammit.

I’m not upset that Kofi won because we’ve only scratched the surface of this title run, but how many times are we going to keep doing the exact same thing with Samoa Joe? He tries to play mind games, attacks, gets title match, loses. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Main event wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. Not saying it was all that great, but I was certain I was in for so much worse than we got. Why would Corbin hit Becky with end of days though? Yeah dumb heel is dumb, but he had to know Seth was going to kill him. And why wouldn’t Lacey come back in and try to protect Baron from getting killed if winning the belts was as important to them as we’ve been lead to believe the last few weeks?

Oh hey, here’s Brock to cash in Money In the Bank.

He wins.

And now I get to hear everyone complain that Brock has the belt again and is never around even though not being on the show every week is the best thing about him.

This isn’t an exact comparison, but I think it works. Think back to when Hulk Hogan was WWF champion in the 80s. If you take out the house shows and only think about TV and PPV, how often did you see him wrestle? It was a handful of times a year. He only showed up for angles now and then to set up the few big matches he had. But it didn’t matter. Why? Because there was enough going on on the rest of the card to distract people from the champion not being there all the time. You had two secondary titles that people cared about and fairly healthy competition underneath to keep people entertained. Yes there are more hours to fill now, but so what? The roster is huge, I think bigger than it’s ever been. It’s also overflowing with potential stars. If you didn’t book nine tenths of that roster and the titles they have to fight for like absolute shit and do your best to make sure nobody gets over, you wouldn’t have this problem. Brock could disappear for months and you would have IC, U.S. and tag title programs that could take the spotlight. You would have more room for big women’s main events, too. Nobody minds that somebody’s gone when the product is good. Right now it isn’t, and that’s not Brock’s fault. It’s Vince’s. Be mad at him.

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