MIZTV

The Miz opens the show and immediately plugs his new show, Miz and Mrs., on USA. He then welcomes his guests, the newly reunited Team Hell No, ahead of their Tag Team Title match on Sunday. Daniel Bryan definitely still wants to punch The Miz in the face, but he is held back by Kane. They show a clip of Kane turning on Daniel Bryan to remind everyone of how poorly this ended last time. Kane ends up stopping Daniel Bryan from attacking The Miz, but when Kane sets The Miz up for a chokeslam, they are interrupted by the Bludgeon Brothers and Sanity. The New Day quickly comes to their aid, setting up a 10-man tag match later in the night.

This segment has a huge number of verbal botches for some reason, including some from the normally well-spoken Miz. The biggest takeaway from this segment is probably the fact that Kane has a lot of opinions on ‘NSYNC. I think there is a pretty good chance that Team Hell No ends up winning the title at Extreme Rules. The Daniel Bryan-Miz feud is probably being saved for WrestleMania (and also after they figure out Bryan’s contract).

CHAMPS AND CHALLENGERS

Why do I feel like I’ve seen this before? For the 6th time in the last 3 months or so, we get Styles-Nakamura but, this time, we get Rusev on commentary. Once again, they put on a very solid match that is marred by a screwy finish. Styles uses Nakamura’s “Come on!” taunt which elicits a huge pop from the crowd. A Phenomenal Forearm to the outside leads to a confrontation between Styles and Aiden English, which causes Rusev to interfere and end the match. Jeff Hardy comes to the rescue of Styles after the heels team up on him, which prompts GM Paige to turn this into a tag team match.

The match is immediately restarted as Smackdown’s champs, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy, take on their respective challengers on Sunday, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. This is a fun, fast-paced match that ends when Hardy is tripped up by Nakamura as he goes up for a Swanton Bomb and is met with a swift Machka Kick to the head.

Rusev is horribly miscast as a heel. He’s one of the most charismatic guys in WWE when he is given the chance to joke around, but it always seems like he (and the rest of the commentary team) is about to break when he delivers his heel lines. It’s very unfortunate that he has to play the bad guy, seemingly for no other reason than the fact that he has an accent. That being said, I think if either of the challengers has a chance to win a title at Extreme Rules, its Nakamura.

Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura def Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles via pinfall

BATTLE OF THE SEXES PT II

So… this is Asuka vs James Ellsworth in a lumberjack (lumberjill?) match. Great. Ellsworth tries to run away almost immediately but, this being a lumberjack match, he is thrown right back into the ring. Asuka basically just destroys Ellsworth for a few minutes until a brawl breaks out between the lumberjacks. Ellsworth takes this chance to flee, but Becky Lynch and Naomi drag him back, which gives Asuka a chance to hit a big crossbody to the outside. Carmella hands Ellsworth a can of hairspray, which he uses to temporarily blind Asuka, but she puts him in the Asuka Lock anyways.

This was dumb. Saxton even called it “the worst wrestling match [he] had ever seen”. Carmella’s reign as champion has officially gone on long enough, and if Asuka fails to capture the title on Sunday (with Ellsworth suspended above the ring in a shark cage, no less), I truly will be at a loss for words.

Asuka def James Ellsworth via submission

SIN CARA VS ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS

FINALLY, El Idolo is back on tv. Both of these guys explode out of the gates in this one, with quite a few impressive aerial moves from Sin Cara early. Almas tries for the Hammerlock DDT but Sin Cara escapes it continues to display some really impressive moves. He almost ends the match with a splash from the top rope but Almas gets his knees up. Soon after, Almas gets Sin Cara in the corner with his double knees and Sin Cara can’t kick out.

Both of these guys looked really good in this match, and this looks like a feud that will continue for a little while. This should be a pretty solid first official feud on the main roster for Andrade “Cien” Almas, although it could get a little boring if Sin Cara never wins one.

Andrade “Cien” Almas def Sin Cara via pinfall

10-MAN TAG MATCH

This episode’s main event is the huge tag team match that was set up at the end of the MizTV segment. The match devolves into chaos immediately as the faces throw the heels out of the ring right after the bell rings. Bludgeon Brothers and Sanity control much of this match as they isolate Xavier Woods in the ring for a while, but a big tag to Daniel Bryan swings things back to the good guys. Yes Kicks into a chokeslam into Woods off the top rope into Trouble in Paradise was a highlight of the match and the bad guys never recovered from it. Shortly after, Daniel Bryan hits Eric Young with a flying knee and ends the match.

These should be a couple of really fun matches at Extreme Rules. The New Day has a history of putting on great matches on the pre-show, and a tables match with Sanity (remember NXT War Games?) should be another one. Meanwhile, as I’ve said before, I would not be surprised if Team Hell No wins the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. They would probably end up dropping the titles back to the Bludgeon Brothers in their first rematch, but still, it would be something good for Daniel Bryan while his long-term plans are being worked out. The best part of this whole segment is after the match when Daniel Bryan tries several times to trigger Kane’s pyro before finally succeeding on his third attempt.

Team Hell No and The New Day def Sanity and The Bludgeon Brothers via pinfall

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Austin Pagel

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