World Wrestling Entertainment presents Extreme Rules, a heavily gimmicked event tonight on the WWE Network and pay-per-view live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the Undertaker and Roman Reigns facing Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins teaming with real life girlfriend Becky Lynch against Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans in the evening’s top two attractions.
Philadelphia, which has a rich pro wrestling tradition of fan support, will provide a sizeable, lively crowd, but it is not expected to be close to a sell out. The Wells Fargo Center doesn’t seem to have the mystique the Spectrum once had for wrestling, or for that matter, for the Flyers with hockey, but there is no major draw right now in WWE like a Bruno Sammartino or Hulk Hogan that can virtually ensure an automatic sellout at large arenas. The UT/Reigns vs McMahon and McIntyre is a No Hold Barred match, while the Rollins/Lynch vs. Corbin/Evans mixed tag has the stipulation that if Rollins or Evans get beat, they lose both their titles.
Kofi Kingston defends the WWE championship against Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman miraculously returns to face Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing bout. Drew Gulak defends the cruiserweight crown in his hometown against former champ Tony Neese. The Revival tangles with the Usos for Raw tag team gold and Bayley faces Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in a handicap match with her belt on the line. Ricochet and A.J. Styles battle over the U.S. title. Bryan and Rowan defend the Smackdown tag straps against Heavy Machinery and Big E and Xavier Woods in a three-way tag team affair. Cesaro squares off with Aleister Black in a bout that could steal the show if given the opportunity, but don’t hold your breath. WWE visits Reading this Friday and Wildwood on Saturday. The company reportedly drew only about 1,200 fans to Mohegan Son in Wilkes-Barre for a show last week. It will be doing TV, Raw and Smackdown, at Madison Square Garden in September.
The go-home shows of Raw and Smackdown this past week were pretty average fare. Shinsuke Nakamura, who has been flying way under the radar for a while now, picked up a big non-title win over Finn Balor, the Intercontinental champion. Nakamura looked more motivated and his moves more crisp than usual, as if he might be in line for bigger things than mid-card matches he had been relegated to before sort of disappearing completely in recent weeks. Kevin Owens did a strong promo downing Shane McMahon in what could signal some involvement on his part in the main event finish in Philly and a renewed babyface push for Owens in the near future. Paul Heyman teased a Brock Lesnar cash-in possibility for Extreme Rules, something that has become rather common in recent weeks.
All Elite Wrestling had a sellout crowd at last night’s Fight For The Fallen show in a 5,000 seat Jacksonville, Florida venue. It was headlined by a tag team main event between The Young Bucks and Cody and Dustin Runnels (Rhodes). Kenny Omega was slated to face Cima and Chris Jericho was scheduled to be there for a promo, but not expected to wrestle. Results from the card came in too late for deadline.