115. Imperium vs The Brawling Brutes (Good Old-Fashioned Donnybrook, WWE Extreme Rules 2022)

Extreme Rules 2022 has been and gone…and all abyone can talk to about is the return of Bray Wyatt! Weeks of QR codes and references to White Rabbit culminated in one of the most memorable wrestling returns ever. Almost immediately, all of the wrestling bouts had been forgotten. There were no awful bouts on the show, but neither were there any great bouts. The only bout that approached greatness was the opening bout, pitting The Brawling Brutes against Imperium.

I suppose a case could be made for the Fight Pit main event, or the ladder match between Bianca Belair and Bayley. Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle did their best in a unique gimmick match, but at times failed to keep the audience’s (and my) attention. Partly due to the audience chanting for Bray Wyatt (all clues led to him returning), and partly due to this main event having no real stakes on the line (no title or anything like that), it was hard to focus on the action. Belair and Bayley put on a solid Ladder match, but not a spectacular one. One less focused on high spots and more focused on  atory and psychology, this lacked cohesion and excitement.

The ‘Good Old-Fashioned Donnybrook Brawl’ between The Brawling Brutes (consisting of Sheamus, Butch and Ridge Holland) and Imperium (consisting of Gunther, Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser), however, got the show off to a cracking start. A good old-fashioned, chaotic slobberknocker, this bout saw stiff-as-hell action at a frenetic pace. Of course, we’ve already been treated to two great bouts between Gunther and Sheamus, full of hard-hitting strikes and blows.

And this one was no different. This feud with Gunther has made Sheamus relevant again. Always a reliable mid-carder, always worling his socks off, Sheamus’ hard work is finally paying off (in terms of audience reaction). Of course, Walter/Gunther has been elevated as well, finally giving the Intercontinental title the respect it deserves as well. Butch/Pete Dunne is one of the best talents of his generation…and the other three wrestlers? They played a vital part as well (although I still don’t know which Imperium member is Vinci or Kaiser… but that’s on me for not paying attention).

The six together created a No DQ bout that didn’t rely too much on weapons, but rather relied on brutality and chaotic action. Weapons served their purpose, but weren’t the crux of the bout. The point of Imperium is that they don’t need weapons…until they have no other choice, of course. While ot started off hot, I felt that the last five minutes failed to provide the heat of the previous twenty. And that’s about the only thing I didn’t like about this bout!

Unlike the previous two WWE PLEs, Extreme Rules failed to give is a contender for Match of the Year. It did, however, provide much entertainment. The highest form of entertainment it gave us eas this opening bout, a wondrous brawl between two hard-hitting teams. Now when can we expect that third bout between Sheamus and Gunther?!?

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)

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