The night belonged to Samoa Joe at Extreme Rules, as the Samoan Destroyer overcame four other men in a thrilling main event to earn a Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar.
The first-ever Universal Champion Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe all locked horns in a hard-hitting Fatal 5 Way match, but in the end it was Joe who came out on top to head to Great Balls of Fire for a clash with The Beast.
In a frantic start to the match, Roman Reigns showed his strength early on with Samoan drops to Joe and Wyatt, while he also nailed Balor with a right hand before he came to face-to-face with former Shield brother Rollins.
Wyatt and Joe would form a partnership to gain control of the Fatal 5 Way after Joe launched into Reigns countering the Drive By on Wyatt, before they double teamed all their opponents nailing them with the steel steps.
Rollins tried to take the fight to Wyatt but his suicide dive attempt was countered by the Eater of Worlds, who nailed Rollins with a DDT on the steel steps, before he ambushed Balor and Reigns with a steel chair.
Wyatt and Joe continued working together both hitting sentons onto Balor driving the chair into his chest, but when the Samoan Destroyer went head first into the chair wedged between the turnbuckles, the momentum started to shift.
Reigns took control by nailing Wyatt with Drive-By and powerbombed Balor but as he lined up for a Superman punch on Samoa Joe, Wyatt pulled him out of the ring and hit him with a chokeslam onto the announcers desk.
Rollins then enjoyed some momentum after taking out Wyatt and Joe with the double blockbuster, hit the suicide dive on Joe as Wyatt pushed him into the path of the Kingslayer, before gaining a near fall after the Phoenix Splash on Wyatt.
Wyatt and Joe’s partnership went up in smoke after Joe interrupted Wyatt’s pinfall on Rollins after Sister Abigail and Joe reversed Wyatt’s finisher into the coquina clutch, before Balor unloaded on them with a chair.
The Irishman enjoyed some momentum dropkicking Bray and Joe into the barricade but after Joe caught him into the Coquina clutch, Reigns stunned both men by spearing them through the barricade.
It was Rollins and Reigns slugging out in the ring after Seth frog splashed Wyatt through the announcer’s table, and Reigns reversed the pedigree into the superman punch for a near fall.
Rollins fought back to gain a near fall of his own with the frog splash, but his buckle bomb to the Big Dog did no damage as he thundered back with another superman punch.
Balor countered Reigns’ superman punch into the slingblade before hitting the Coupe de Grace. However, Joe got back up to make the Demon pass out to the rear naked choke to score the biggest win of his WWE career.
It was a very good main event with all men getting the chance to shine in a near 30 minute battle and after a back-and-forth and hard-hitting match, Samoa Joe denied fan favourite Balor the win.
I am glad Balor did not win because a match between Lesnar and Balor is a bit of a mismatch and with the Beast most likely to win at Great Balls of Fire, Balor’s momentum would have been all undone with a loss to the Beast.
Despite Balor losing to Joe at Extreme Rules, it did not do him any harm as he proved he can definitely hang with the much stronger guys and definitely be in line for a Universal Championship shot in the future.
So it is Samoa Joe vs Lesnar we get at Great Balls of Fire and although it is very predictable Lesnar will come out on top, it should be a hard-hitting slugfest between the two MMA style fighters.
There were new Raw Tag Team Champions crowned in Baltimore, as Cesaro and Sheamus climbed back to the top of the Raw Tag Team division by ending The Hardy Boys‘ reign in a brilliant Steel Cage match.
The challengers went straight for the escape as soon as the bell rang and despite the champions pulling right back into the ring, the Europeans enjoyed early momentum as they drove Matt into the steel and Sheamus hit the Irish Curse backbreaker on Jeff.
The Hardy’s would fight back and bounce Cesaro and Sheamus heads of the steel repeatedly, before dropkicking them back first into the steel and following up with a pair of Poetry in Motions.
The action swung back and forth as Matt Hardy hit the elbow drop on Cesaro after Sheamus suplexed his partner and Jeff off the cage, before Sheamus nailed Matt with the rolling senton and Matt hit back with a tornado DDT on the Irishman.
All four men battled on top of the cage and as Cesaro held onto Jeff by one arm, Jeff headbutted the Swiss cyborg to fall to the floor leaving Matt in the ring all alone against Cesaro and Sheamus.
Jeff desperately tried to get back but was denied when Sheamus brogue kicked the door into his face, as Sheamus and Cesaro dominated Matt hitting a double Celtic Cross and white noise off the top rope.
Jeff took a risk by going up top and hit whisper in the wind off the top of the cage, but Cesaro and Sheamus managed to beat them to the win by climbing out and hitting the floor, before Matt could drag Jeff out the door.
It was a great match between the two of the best teams in the WWE and it was the right choice for Sheamus and Cesaro to become two-time Raw Tag Team Champions to keep momentum on their side as the top heel team on the red brand.
It has been a brilliant rivalry between the two teams and after an exciting cage match, I reckon they will do it one more time but The Hardy’s possibly go their separate ways.