Extreme Rules 2020 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It was broadcast on July 19, 2020. While the majority of the event aired live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the Wyatt Swamp Fight was pre-recorded at an undisclosed location about two hours outside of Orlando on July 16–17. It was the twelfth event under the Extreme Rules chronology, and the first to have an altered title.

The event was originally scheduled to be held at the SAP Center in San Jose, California; however, the Santa Clara County government restricted public gatherings indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, and just like the majority of WWE's other shows since mid-March, the event was moved to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

Eight matches were contested at the event, including one on the Kickoff pre-show. In the main event, Bray Wyatt defeated Braun Strowman in a Wyatt Swamp Fight. In other prominent matches, Drew McIntyre defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship in an Extreme Rules match in which the stipulation only applied to Ziggler, Seth Rollins defeated Rey Mysterio in an Eye for an Eye match, and Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) in a tables match to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

Production

Background

Extreme Rules is an annual gimmick pay-per-view produced by WWE since 2009. The concept of the show is that the event features various matches that are contested under hardcore rules; the defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion originally used the "extreme rules" term to describe the regulations for all of its matches. WWE uses the term in place of "hardcore match" or "hardcore rules". The 2020 event was the twelfth event under the Extreme Rules chronology and will feature wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brands.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Since March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE has had to present the majority of its programming from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida with no fans in attendance, though in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience. Extreme Rules was scheduled to take place on July 19 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. However, on March 17, Santa Clara County issued an indefinite stay-at-home order, followed by the entire state of California on March 19. It is unlikely that the order will be lifted by the time of the Extreme Rules event.

Storylines

The show included matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands, while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.

After being drafted to Raw from NXT in the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up, Drew McIntyre aligned himself with Dolph Ziggler. Although the team saw success in winning the Raw Tag Team Championship, they eventually broke up. Ziggler was moved to SmackDown the following year, while McIntyre remained on Raw and won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 36 Part 2 in early 2020. On the June 22 episode of Raw, Mcintyre was interrupted by Ziggler, who was traded to Raw. Ziggler brought up their history together, claiming credit for McIntyre's success, and stated that McIntyre owed him a title match. McIntyre, noting that he needed an opponent for Extreme Rules, reminded Ziggler that it was he who gave him the nickname the "Scottish Psychopath" and asked if Ziggler still wanted a title match and Ziggler confirmed. During the contract signing the following week, McIntyre told Ziggler that he could choose the stipulation for the match.

On the June 22 episode of Raw, after successfully retaining the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, co-champion Sasha Banks issued a challenge to Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship, which Asuka accepted for Extreme Rules. Though Banks is a SmackDown wrestler, she and partner Bayley can appear on any show as the Women's Tag Team Championship is shared between Raw, SmackDown, and NXT.

On the June 19 episode of SmackDown, Nikki Cross attacked WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks, leading to a match between Cross and Banks that Cross lost. The following week, Cross won a fatal four-way match to earn a SmackDown Women's Championship match against Bayley at Extreme Rules.

At Money in the Bank, Braun Strowman retained the Universal Championship against Bray Wyatt. Wyatt returned on the June 19 episode of SmackDown in a Firefly Fun House segment that was interrupted by Strowman, who declared that Wyatt had his chance at Money in the Bank but failed. Wyatt stated their rivalry was just getting started before appearing as his old cult leader persona of The Wyatt Family. Wyatt stated that since he created Strowman, it was his job to destroy him. The following week, Strowman recounted how he initially joined Wyatt, reciting a story about their time at Wyatt's compound in the Florida swamps. Strowman then challenged Wyatt to return to the swamp for a fight, and a non-title match between the two called the Wyatt Swamp Fight was scheduled for Extreme Rules.

On the May 11 episode of Raw, Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black defeated Seth Rollins and Murphy by disqualification. After the match, an enraged Rollins used the corner of the steel steps to pierce Mysterio's eye, taking Mysterio out of action. During this time, Mysterio's son, Dominik, attempted to stand up to Rollins against Mysterio's wishes. On the June 22 episode, Rollins attempted to pierce Dominik's eye, but was unsuccessful. Mysterio then challenged Rollins to a match at Extreme Rules. On the July 6 episode, Mysterio and Kevin Owens defeated Rollins and Murphy in a tag team match, allowing Mysterio to pick the stipulation for their match at Extreme Rules; Mysterio chose an Eye for an Eye match. WWE later confirmed that in order to win the match, one competitor must extract an eye of their opponent.

On the June 15 episode of Raw, MVP approached United States Champion Apollo Crews and told him that he needed a manager if he wanted to continue his title reign, but Crews declined the offer. The following week, MVP again tried to convince Crews to join, but Crews again declined. MVP then defeated Crews in a non-title match on the June 29 episode. The following week, MVP unveiled a new United States Championship belt design and stated that he would face Crews for the title at Extreme Rules.

Event

Pre-show

During the Extreme Rules Kickoff pre-show, Kevin Owens faced Murphy. In the climax, Owens performed a Stunner on Murphy to win the match.

Preliminary matches

The actual pay-per-view opened with The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a tables match—a stipulation that Cesaro and Nakamura chose after defeating New Day on the previous episode of SmackDown. In the end, Cesaro performed a Powerbomb on Kingston through two tables stacked on top of each other to win the title for the first time as a team and second for Cesaro individually.

Next, Bayley (accompanied by Sasha Banks) defended the SmackDown Women's Championship against Nikki Cross (accompanied by Alexa Bliss). Cross dominated Bayley in the first half of the match. Bayley performed a Bayley-to-Belly on Cross for a nearfall. The end came when Banks handed her "boss" brass knuckles to Bayley. While Banks distracted the referee, Bayley attacked Cross with the knuckles and performed a facebuster on Cross to retain the title.

After that, Apollo Crews was originally set to defend the United States Championship against MVP (accompanied by Bobby Lashley), however, the commentary team stated that Crews was unable to compete after failing a pre-match physical due to Lashley's previous attack on Crews. MVP made his entrance, jokingly told Lashley that he should not injure his opponents, and declared himself the winner by forfeit. Lashley then presented MVP with the United States Championship. This title change, however, is not recognized by WWE.

In the next match, Rey Mysterio faced Seth Rollins in an Eye for an Eye match where the only way to win was to extract an opponent's eye. Rollins wielded a pair of pliers while making his entrance. As Rollins waited for Mysterio to make his entrance, Mysterio appeared behind Rollins and attacked him. During the match, Rollins attempted to injure Mysterio's left eye using various weapons, such as the corner of the steel steps, a kendo stick, the point of a steel chair, and a pen. Rollins wedged a kendo stick on a turnbuckle and attempted to injure Mysterio's eye again, however, Mysterio countered and performed a frog splash on Rollins. Mysterio used a kendo stick to injure Rollins' eyes and performed a 619 on him. Mysterio tried to injure Rollins' eye with the corner of the steel steps (just as Rollins had previously injured Mysterio's eye), however, Rollins perfomed a low blow on Mysterio. Rollins then performed The Stomp on Mysterio and again pierced Mysterio's already injured eye on the corner of the steel steps, causing Mysterio's eye to pop out, thus giving the win to Rollins. Following the match, medical personnel tended to Mysterio while Rollins vomited at ringside.

Next, Asuka (accompanied by Kairi Sane) defended the Raw Women's Championship against Sasha Banks (accompanied by Bayley). In the climax, Asuka attempted to spit green mist on Banks, however, Banks avoided the mist and Asuka inadvertently spat mist on the referee's face. As Asuka applied the Asuka Lock on Banks, Bayley attacked Asuka with a Women's Tag Team Championship belt. Bayley then removed the shirt off the referee, put it on and counted the pin for Banks to "win". WWE, however, declared the match a no-contest, and therefore Asuka retained the championship, however, Banks took the physical belt.

Backstage, interviewer Charly Caruso gave a medical update on Rey Mysterio. She said that if the damage to his eye was minimal, it would heal and he would regain his vision.

In the penultimate match, Drew McIntyre defended the WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler. After making their respective entrances, Ziggler revealed the stipulation that he had chosen: an Extreme Rules match but in which the Extreme Rules stipulation only applied to him while McIntyre had to wrestle under normal singles match rules, with the additional stipulation that if McIntyre was disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title. Ziggler used multiple weapons throughout the match, taking advantage of the one-sided rules. In the end, McIntyre countered a Superkick into a Claymore Kick on Ziggler to retain the title.

Main event

In the main event, Universal Champion Braun Strowman faced Bray Wyatt in a non-title Wyatt Swamp Fight. At the swamp, Wyatt sat in his old rocking chair waiting for Strowman to arrive. After arriving in a vehicle, Strowman walked towards Wyatt, however, it suddenly went dark and Wyatt vanished, after which, an enraged Strowman obliterated the rocking chair. In search of Wyatt, Strowman fought off a couple of masked men, but a third attacked Strowman with a spade, who was revealed as Strowman's own doppelganger of his past self from The Wyatt Family. The doppelganger attacked Strowman again with the spade, knocking him unconscious. After regaining consciousness, Strowman found himself chained to a chair in a house adorned with Wyatt's eerie dolls. Wyatt then approached Strowman to his old theme music, carrying his lantern, and welcomed Strowman home. Wyatt spoke about how he created Strowman and that he would destroy him to make him anew. He also stated that his old self had been trapped inside his mind thanks to "The Fiend". A female figure with a black veil then appeared with a snake that bit Strowman, rendering him unconscious.

Sometime later, Strowman awoke in a field where he was attacked by another man who Strowman set ablaze. The female figure appeared again and unveiled herself to be an illusion of Alexa Bliss, his old tag team partner from Season 1 of Mixed Match Challenge. The illusion implied Strowman's love interest for her and implored him to come home. Wyatt appeared once again and the two fought until Strowman performed a chokeslam on Wyatt into a boat that sailed off into the darkness. Thinking that the fight was over, Strowman began to depart only for the boat to return. Strowman went to investigate, but found it empty. Wyatt then suddenly appeared and attacked Strowman with an oar before attempting to drown him. As Wyatt then disappeared, Strowman emerged from the water, gasping for air, and made his way back onto the dock. Wyatt appeared once again and attacked Strowman further. After beating Strowman with a kendo stick, Wyatt spoke reluctantly about what he had just done to Strowman, but Strowman rose to his feet and kicked Wyatt through a barricade into the swampy water. Strowman then surveyed the water and after seeing no signs of Wyatt, he declared it was over. However, Wyatt suddenly emerged from the water and used the Mandible Claw to pull Strowman into the water. Wyatt then attempted to come out of the water but was pulled back in. The water then turned red and began bubbling. Wyatt's alter ego "The Fiend" then peered over the dock, laughing manically before proclaiming "Let Me In" as the screen went to black to end the show.

Aftermath

Raw

On the following Raw, Seth Rollins prided himself in defeating Rey Mysterio and put the blame of his horrendous actions on the WWE Universe before Aleister Black interrupted. Black condemned Rollins for the events of the past few weeks, leading to a match between the two which Rollins won, capitalizing off of weakening Black's arm. After the match, Rollins and his disciple Murphy continued their assault on Black, targeting his injured arm.

Following his unrecognized forfeit win over Apollo Crews, MVP, Bobby Lashley, and new faction member Shelton Benjamin, who had just won the 24/7 Championship in a backstage attack from R-Truth, challenged Ricochet and Cedric Alexander to a 3-on-2 handicap match due to them not having a third partner, who would have been Crews. Alexander and Ricochet revealed that they did have a partner, the returning Mustafa Ali, who was traded from SmackDown. The newly-formed trio then defeated MVP, Lashley, and Benjamin in the ensuing six-man tag team match.

WWE Champion Drew McIntyre cut a promo on his win over Dolph Ziggler before Ziggler interrupted and demanded another title opportunity to which McIntyre initially denied. Ziggler tried to cheap shot McIntyre only for McIntyre to perform a Glasgow Kiss on Ziggler. A weakened Ziggler continued his plea, allowing McIntyre to choose the time, place, as well as the stipulation for the title match, which intrigued McIntyre enough to accept the challenge. McIntyre then said that he needed two weeks to decide on a stipulation and that he would reveal the stipulation just prior to the match, just as Ziggler had done at Extreme Rules.

While Sasha Banks and Bayley were celebrating Banks' unofficial title win over Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship, they were interrupted by Asuka, who claimed that Banks did not win. WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon then appeared on the TitanTron and told Banks that she did not win at Extreme Rules, but also said that Asuka did not win and then announced a rematch between Banks and Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship for the following week.

SmackDown

On the following SmackDown, Kofi Kingston was evaluated backstage by medical personnel and informed Big E that he was injured and would be out for at least 6–8 weeks before encouraging E to pursue a solo run. The two embraced afterwards.

Despite what Stephanie McMahon had said on Raw, Bayley and Sasha Banks continued celebrating as if they held all the women's championships for Raw and SmackDown, and labeled themselves as the definition of "greatness". An irate Nikki Cross, accompanied by Alexa Bliss, demanded a rematch for the SmackDown Women's Championship. Instead, Bayley set up a match between Bliss and Cross where the winner would face Bayley for the title on the following week's SmackDown. Cross defeated her tag team partner Bliss to earn a rematch.

Bray Wyatt appeared in the Firefly Fun House and said that his old Eater of Worlds self was done for now and assured that Braun Strowman had come back home and was "reunited" with his family. He then declared that The Fiend had been unleashed.

Match Preview

Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler Preview
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks Preview
Bayley vs. Nikki Cross Preview
Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt Preview
Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins Preview
Apollo Crews vs. MVP Preview
The New Day vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura Preview

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
  • Info: This match was taped on 16.07.2020.

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Pre-show Panel
Referees

See also

DVD release

External links

Extreme Rules 2020 previews

Drew McIntyre v Dolph ZigglerAsuka v Sasha BanksBayley v Nikki CrossBraun Strowman v Bray WyattRey Mysterio v Seth RollinsApollo Crews v Montel Vontavious PorterThe New Day v Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura

Extreme Rules
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