2021 WWE Extreme Rules results, recap, grades: Bizarre finish mars outstanding universal title main event

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WWE

Sunday night's WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view delivered plenty of solid in-ring action but the ending of the universal championship main event will be the lasting memory coming out of the event. Despite a spirited effort from "The Demon" Finn Balor, a higher power seemed to intervene to allow Roman Reigns to successfully retain his championship.

Balor overcame interference from The Usos to fire up for a dramatic late comeback against the champion. Just when it seemed Balor may have the match -- and the title -- won, the top rope broke in a bizarre stunt that allowed Reigns to hit a spear to retain the title. The finish sucked the momentum from an otherwise hot pay-per-view featuring plenty of good championship matches from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

 CBS Sports will be with you the whole way through the event, providing updates and highlights in the live blog below.

2021 WWE Extreme Rules results, grades

Carmella vs. Liv Morgan: Carmella got off to a hot start, roughhousing Morgan around the ring. Morgan continued trying to fight back but Carmella continued to maintain control until the match went outside the ring and managed to drive Carmella into the announce table. After taking the match back into the ring, Morgan hit the oblivion slingshot flatliner to score the pinfall and pick up a big win that should put her in line to be a future title challenger on SmackDown. This was the standard 10-ish minute match on the kickoff to get things going and went fairly smoothly. Liv Morgan def. Carmella via pinfall. Grade: B-

The New Day vs. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles & Omos: Styles nearly locked up a calf crusher on Xavier Woods seconds into the match but couldn't get the finish. A bit of trash talk from Styles brought Big E into the ring to briefly take advantage before Lashley began dominating the match. Kingston was cut off in the heel corner, trying -- and failing -- to battle his way through the powerhouse duo of Lashley and Omos. Kingston took a lot of offense while Lashley made sure he could not make the tag to Big E, taking out the men on the apron before trapping Kingston in the corner yet again before a hot tag to Xavier Woods, with Woods going on a brief run before a Lashley powerslam allowed him to take control once again. Woods was eventually able to make the hot tag to Big E, with the WWE champion taking out Omos and Lashley on the ring apron before focusing his attack on Styles. A brawl broke out outside the ring before Lashley attempted a blind tag to enter the match only to have Big E send a Lashley spear into AJ Styles before hitting a Big Ending on Lashley to score the win in a very fun six-man tag match. The New Day def. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles & Omos via pinfall. Grade: B

SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits: Montez Ford had his ribs taped up after he match with -- and post-match attack from -- Roman Reigns on SmackDown. Ford showed a bit of fire in taking the fight to the Usos early before a blind tag allowed The Usos to get an early upper hand. Ford was eventually able to make the hot tag to Angelo Dawkins, with Dawkins going on a hot run before tagging Ford back in to hit a blockbuster for a near fall. The tags continued until Ford returned to the ring with a big frog splash only to have Jimmy Uso get his knees up to counter for a near fall. Ford still managed to hit his massive frog splash on Jey Uso for a near fall before Jimmy broke up the pin. Dawkins made a save from a double superkick only to have Ford eat the kicks anyway before The Usos hit a double splash to score the pin and retain the titles. Solid tag wrestling all around before a nice, clean finish. The Usos (c) def. The Street Profits to retain the titles. Grade: B

Raw Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss: Bliss got off to a good start, taking out Flair on the outside of the ring with a dive, only to have Flair come back with an assault that included repeatedly slamming Bliss' head into the canvas. Bliss tried to fire back but Flair dropped her on the padding at ringside after ragdolling the challenger into the ringside barricade. Bliss and Flair traded pinfall attempts after a Flair moonsault. Bliss fired back with several near falls including after a big DDT where Flair got her foot on the bottom rope. Flair grabbed Lilly and threw the doll at Bliss to allow her to hit a big boot and then Natural Selection to score the pinfall and retain the championship. After the match, Flair ripped Lilly into several pieces before Bliss attacked and beat down the champion only to have Flair toss her around ringside. There wasn't much to this match though there was nothing particularly offensive about it. Charlotte Flair (c) def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: C+

United States Championship -- Damian Priest (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy -- Sheamus took out Hardy the moment the match began quickly breaking the match down to one-on-one with the champion. Hardy quickly found his way back into the match as chaos broke out at ringside with all three men having moments of taking the others out. The action continued to swing wildly in standard WWE triple threat ways with the men pairing off two at a time and each getting a bit of momentum for a near fall or two before Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind on both men for a near fall on Sheamus. Hardy eventually went to the top rope in an attempt to hit a swanton on Priest but Sheamus shoved him before hitting his own jumping knee for a two count. Hardy did eventually hit a swanton, using the move to break a Priest pin on Sheamus. After a series of big moves from all three men, Priest rolled up Sheamus with a schoolboy pin to score the win to hold on to his championship. This was sloppy early before settling into a much better rhythm for a fairly hot finish. Without the early issues, it'd have been a much more solid match overall. Damian Priest (c) def. Sheamus and Jeff Hardy via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B

SmackDown Women's Championship -- Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair: Lynch extended her hand for a handshake as she has for weeks before trying to sneak in a Manhandle Slam only to nearly eat a Kiss of Death from Belair. Belair put Lynch on the defensive with a big slam and a splash for an early near fall. Lynch used Belair's hair to take the match over, pulling her back over the top rope to score a near fall. Both women went back and forth with near falls before heading outside the ring where Lynch was able to counter a Belair slam to slam the challenger into the ring steps. Lynch tried several times to lock up Belair's arm but Belair fought back and hit a big spinebuster for a two count to nearly win the title. Belair continued to fight back until she put Lynch up for the Kiss of Death when Sasha Banks ran in to deliver a shove and draw the disqualification. Lynch gave Banks a nod but Banks attacked, laying both women out and posing over the title. This is the rare good disqualification finish given Belair shouldn't take another loss and Lynch also can't lose in her first title defense. It's cheap, but a sensible way of handling things. Lynch doesn't fully have her ring legs back under her, but the match was fine considering. Becky Lynch (c) retained her title against Bianca Belair after interference from Sasha Banks. Grade: B

Universal Championship -- Roman Reigns (c) vs. "The Demon" Finn Balor (Extreme Rules Match): Balor came out fast and raked at the eyes and face of Reigns in the early going, taking advantage of the lack of rules. Reigns was quick to slide out of the ring and grab a kendo stick but Balor slid out of the ring and grabbed a bundle of several sticks, which he used to wear out Reigns with several shots to the midsection. A chair was introduced into the match, with Balor managing to stomp it into Reigns' midsection before taking the champion to ringside and driving him into the steel steps. The brawl went into the crowd, with Reigns, a real-life cancer survivor, putting on a mask as he continued to assault Balor in the crowd.

Balor was able to swing momentum back his way as the match went back to the ring, setting up a table in the ring. It was Balor, however, who was driven through the table with a big slam for a two count. The two men traded strikes before Reigns hit a Superman punch to score a near fall. Reigns went for a spear only to be countered by a kick and a slingblade. Balor tried to line up a dropkick but was met by a spear for a near fall, with Balor breaking the pin with a low blow, just as Reigns had in their SmackDown match. Balor managed to hit the Coup de Grace but The Usos ran in to break the pin, pulling Balor out of the ring and hitting a double superkick. Balor fought back, driving Jey Uso through the announce table with a powerbomb before reigns hit a spear through the ringside barricade. The lights went out and the sound of a heartbeat and Balor's music hit as he got back to his feet and drove Reigns through a table with a dropkick, throwing the champion back into the ring and setting up to hit the Coup de Grace only for the top rope to break, sending Balor crashing to the canvas before a Reigns spear to score the win. The match was outstanding until the ridiculous ending, moving from corny with the heartbeat and music to the completely ridiculous with the broken top rope. That's a shame because the rest of the match was very good. Roman Reigns (c) def. Finn Balor to retain the title. Grade: B-


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Universal Championship -- Roman Reigns (c) vs. "The Demon" Finn Balor (Extreme Rules Match): Balor came out fast and raked at the eyes and face of Reigns in the early going, taking advantage of the lack of rules. Reigns was quick to slide out of the ring and grab a kendo stick but Balor slid out of the ring and grabbed a bundle of several sticks, which he used to wear out Reigns with several shots to the midsection. A chair was introduced into the match, with Balor managing to stomp it into Reigns' midsection before taking the champion to ringside and driving him into the steel steps. The brawl went into the crowd, with Reigns, a cancer survivor, putting on a mask as he continued to assault Balor in the crowd.

Balor was able to swing momentum back his way as the match went back to the ring, setting up a table in the ring. It was Balor, however, who was driven through the table with a big slam for a two count. The two men traded strikes before Reigns hit a Superman punch to score a near fall. Reigns went for a spear only to be countered by a kick and a slingblade. Balor tried to line up a dropkick but was met by a spear for a near fall, with Balor breaking the pin with a low blow, just as Reigns had in their SmackDown match. Balor managed to hit the Coup de Grace but The Usos ran in to break the pin, pulling Balor out of the ring and hitting a double superkick. Balor fought back, driving Jey Uso through the announce table with a powerbomb before reigns hit a spear through the ringside barricade. The lights went out and the sound of a heartbeat and Balor's music hit as he got back to his feet and drove Reigns through a table with a dropkick, throwing the champion back into the ring and setting up to hit the Coup de Grace only for the top rope to break, sending Balor crashing to the canvas before a Reigns spear to score the win. The match was outstanding until the ridiculous ending, moving from corny with the heartbeat and music to the completely ridiculous with the broken top rope. That's a shame because the rest of the match was very good. Roman Reigns (c) def. Finn Balor to retain the title. Grade: B-

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SmackDown Women's Championship -- Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair: Lynch extended her hand for a handshake as she has for weeks before trying to sneak in a Manhandle Slam only to nearly eat a Kiss of Death from Belair. Belair put Lynch on the defensive with a big slam and a splash for an early near fall. Lynch used Belair's hair to take the match over, pulling her back over the top rope to score a near fall. Both women went back and forth with near falls before heading outside the ring where Lynch was able to counter a Belair slam to slam the challenger into the ring steps. Lynch tried several times to lock up Belair's arm but Belair fought back and hit a big spinebuster for a two count to nearly win the title. Belair continued to fight back until putting Lynch up for the Kiss of Death when Sasha Banks ran in to deliver a shove and draw the disqualification. Lynch gave Banks a nod but Banks attacked, laying both women out and posing over the title. This is the rare good disqualification finish given Belair shouldn't take another loss and Lynch also can't lose in her first title defense. It's cheap, but a sensible way of handling things. Lynch doesn't fully have her ring legs back under her, but the match was fine considering. Becky Lynch retained her title against Bianca Belair after interference from Sasha Banks. Grade: B

Pinned

United States Championship -- Damian Priest (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy -- Sheamus took out Hardy the moment the match began quickly breaking the match down to one-on-one with the champion. Hardy quickly found his way back into the match as chaos broke out at ringside with all three men having moments of taking the others out. The action continued to swing wildly in standard WWE triple threat ways with the men pairing off two at a time and each getting a bit of momentum for a near fall or two before Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wild on both men for a near fall on Sheamus. Hardy eventually went to the top rope in an attempt to hit a swanton on Priest but Sheamus shoved him before hitting his own jumping knee for a two count. Hardy did eventually hit a swanton, using the move to break a Priest pin on Sheamus. After a series of big moves from all three men, Priest rolled up Sheamus with a schoolboy pin to score the win to hold on to his championship. This was sloppy early before settling into a much better rhythm for a fairly hot finish. Without the early issues, it'd have been a much more solid match overall. Damian Priest def. Sheamus and Jeff Hardy via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B

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Raw Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss: Bliss got off to a good start, taking out Flair on the outside of the ring with a dive, only to have Flair come back with an assault that included repeatedly slamming Bliss' head into the canvas. Bliss tried to fire back but Flair dropped her on the padding at ringside after ragdolling the challenger into the ringside barricade. Bliss and Flair traded pinfall attempts after a Flair moonsault. Bliss fired back with several near falls including after a big DDT where Flair got her foot on the bottom rope. Flair grabbed Lilly and threw the doll at Bliss to allow her to hit a big boot and then Natural Selection to score the pinfall and retain the championship. After the match, Flair ripped Lilly into several pieces before Bliss attacked and beat down the champion only to have Flair toss her around ringside. There wasn't much to this match though there was nothing particularly offensive about it. Charlotte Flair def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: C+

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SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits: Montez Ford had his ribs taped up after he match with -- and post-match attack from -- Roman Reigns on SmackDown. Ford showed a bit of fire in taking the fight to the Usos early before a blind tag allowed The Usos to get an early upper hand. Ford was eventually able to make the hot tag to Angelo Dawkins, with Dawkins going on a hot run before tagging Ford back in to hit a blockbuster for a near fall. The tags continued until Ford returned to the ring with a big frog splash only to have Jimmy Uso get his knees up to counter for a near fall. Ford still managed to hit his massive frog splash on Jey Uso for a near fall before Jimmy broke up the pin. Dawkins made a save from a double superkick only to have Ford eat the kicks anyway before The Usos hit a double splash to score the pin and retain the titles. Solid tag wrestling all around before a nice, clean finish. The Usos (c) def. The Street Profits to retain the titles. Grade: B

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