Extreme Rules came and went without much fanfare. Many of the matches ended how I expected them to, and no storylines developed or ended in a satisfying way. That being said, there were some enjoyable matches on the card. Roman Reigns and The Big Show surprised everyone in their Last Man Standing match, for example. The main event was suitably enjoyable until the messy ending. But what will we remember from Extreme Rules a couple of weeks from now? Not much, I suspect…
Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper (Chicago Street Fight)
A match perfect to show off both wrestlers’ craziness, and one of the more enjoyable matches on the card. Ambrose got one of the loudest pops of the night as he made his entrance. He’s lost in every singles PPV match he’s had since last year, yet the crowd still go wild for him. A sign for WWE to give him a push, perhaps? When did the audience know anything?!?!? The match began with a brawl outside, and the quick pace continued from there. Kendo sticks and chairs were the main ingredients for this bout. Harper suplexed Ambrose on an unfolded chair in a particularly nasty-looking spot. The brawl ended up in the backstage production area, as each competitor used pipes, trunks and other objects to their advantage. It ends with Harper getting into a car and Ambrose diving into the car as Harper drives off…
As an end, that didn’t satisfy anyone. ‘CM Punk’ chants and boos rang out amongst the crowd. But it continued over an hour later, after the Tag Team Championship match…
At that point, they supposedly had been brawling for over an hour, but neither man looked exhausted. Shouldn’t they have been falling over, dripping with sweat? Ambrose picks up the win after slamming Harper onto a bunch of chairs from the top rope and hitting Dirty Deeds.
VERDICT: 6/10. An enjoyable match that was spoiled by the long gap in between action. Neither man looked exhausted after brawling around Chicago. But the art of selling is lost in modern WWE. At least Ambrose picked up the win. He needed it!
Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus (Kiss Me Arse Match)
Of course, Ziggler and Sheamus put on a good bout, but they were hamstrung by the lack of time given to them. Five minutes more, this could have been something special. Sheamus battered Ziggler for most of it, to set up Ziggler’s comebacks. Ziggler’s comebacks were great, such as the Swinging DDT off the steps to the ringside floor (the Curb Stomp is banned, yet they let the wrestlers do that? Illogical…). Just as the match was getting going, Ziggler wins with a roll-up out of nowhere. And then we are teased with Sheamus kissing Ziggler’s arse for about as long as this match lasted…until Sheamus does the obvious and low blows Dolph. He then rubs Ziggler’s head on his right butt cheek. So…the new heel Sheamus loses in his first big match after returning? But the stipulation isn’t adhered to, anyway. Why not have Ziggler lose? Silly ending to a decent match.
VERDICT: 5/10. A decent match that never got going. And a silly ending that made the match look pointless.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (c) vs The New Day (Tag Team Championship Match)
I wasn’t expecting much from this match. The New Day have failed to show anything special, even after their heel turn. However, opposite Cesaro and Kidd, they had their best match to date. Even Big E looked impressive. It was one of the better tag team matches I’ve seen in a while. Cesaro and Kidd, of course, make tag team wrestling look easy. They flow and have natural chemistry in the ring. Kidd took the beating, to set up tagging in Cesaro. And when Cesaro tagged in, the crowd went wild. When Kidd first tagged Cesaro in, Big E was the opposite man in the ring. Big E jumped at Cesaro, but Cesaro caught him in mid-air and slammed him. What a spot! Later on, Cesaro was tagged in. He press slammed Kofi Kingston and whipped him into the corner, following him with a running upper cut. And again…and again…and again! Cesaro is simply brilliant. And Kidd is on the same level. The action ramped up tenfold towards the end. Big E speared Kidd through the ropes to the outside in a great spot. The end came after New Day got the cheap roll up. Strange decision, but maybe heel champions are the in-thing in WWE right now?
VERDICT: 7/10. A very good tag team match. Roused me from the awful Kiss Me Arse segment, and showed Kidd and Cesaro can put on a show with anyone.
John Cena (c) vs Rusev (Russian Chain Match for Intercontinental Championship)
The Chain stipulation held down Cena and Rusev, rather than handing them a boost. By far the worst match in their three PPV bouts, it stuttered and stumbled towards the end. Both wrestlers kept getting distracted by the chain, which didn’t help matters. Cena came out smiling and jeering at Rusev, showing no fear whatsoever. So much for Rusev’s big bag heel status. That the crowd started chanting ‘We Want Lana’ should tell you all you need to know. Rusev never looked like he was going to win. Once again, the Accolade failed to hurt Cena as he easily powered out of it. After two straight AAs, Cena hit all the posts and won the match. The end of their feud, perhaps? No. They will face off at Payback in an I Quit Match. Can Rusev recover from three straights losses to Cena? I don’t think so. Look what happened to Bray Wyatt last year after facing Cena…
VERDICT: 4/10. Hampered by the stipulation, the match wasn’t awful, just boring. Rusev never looked like Cena’s equal and was easily defeated. Give him another opponent, quickly!
Nikki Bella (c) vs Naomi (Divas Championship Match)
Nikki has held the belt since Survivor Series last year. And yes, she has improved in the ring. Not greatly, but at least she can hold together a match. Both Divas showed off some good moves, such as Nikki’s springboard kick and Naomi’s split-legged moonsault. Of course, they weren’t given enough time to flesh out the match, but they managed to concoct a decent bout in the time given to them. Nikki won after Brie kicked Naomi in the face behind the ref’s back. Nikki hit the Rack Attack for the victory.
VERDICT: 5/10. A decent match, but needed more time. And isn’t it time for a new Divas Champion?
Roman Reigns vs The Big Show (Last Man Standing Match)
The winner of the match was obvious as soon as it was announced. The Big Show doesn’t need wins anymore. He just needs to lose and retire. There’s nothing more for him to do, and nothing more for him to contribute, to the WWE. His feud with Reigns has dragged Reigns down, at a time where Reigns needs to be fighting main eventers to regain his stature after WrestleMania. Some of Big Show’s offence looked terrible during the match. His Yokozuna splash from the corner didn’t even hit Reigns. It was the match I least looked forward to, but perhaps the match I was most entertained by! Yes, it quickly descended into a spotfest, as most Last Man Standing Matches tend to do. Bu the high spots were nothing less than brilliant. Big Show’s chokeslam on Reigns through tables outside the ring was particularly impressive. Although we’ve seen in plenty of times before, Reign’s spear through the barricade always lights up a match. But that wasn’t the best Spear in the match…Reigns Spear to Big Show through the announce table was the spot of the night. The set-up for it looked dodgy, as Big Show stood there and rubbed his head as he waited for Reigns, but the pay-off was spectacular. I found it odd that Big Show got up before the ten count after it. Reigns throws the other announce table onto Big Show to finally put him down for the ten count. Reigns looked impressive throughout the match, constantly getting up after everything Big Show threw at him. Hopefully their feud has been put to rest…
VERDICT: 7/10. Best match on the card? I think so…which tells you a lot about the rest of the card!!! Reigns needs to move on now, to better opponents.
Seth Rollins (c) vs Randy Orton (Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship-The RKO Is Banned)
(Note: The Curb Stomp has officially been Benoited out of existence. In the promo package before the match, we saw Rollins pinning Reigns at Mania without anything else. Did Reigns trip over?!??!?)
Why didn’t Orton’s stipulation be that The Authority were banned from ringside for this match? At every cage match we are told that it stops outside interference. But it never does! Of course, Rollins and Orton put on a quality match, but one that never reached the heights of their Mania match. Maybe they, like Cena and Rusev, were hampered by the cage. Rollins ring style doesn’t mesh particularly well with a cage stipulation. That isn’t to say it wasn’t entertaining. Until the interference started, it was a very good match. But after J+J Security came down, it all went to pieces. In the end, J+J got into the ring. Kane followed them and chokeslammed both of them. Kane then chokeslammed Orton, but turned on Rollins and chokeslammed him. Kane tries to drag Rollins out of the ring, but Orton hits Kane with an RKO. Rollins then hits Orton with an RKO and escapes the cage. A pathetic finish that ruined the match. Why is Kane give such prominence? Just get rid of him! Rollins’ victory was further diminished when the announcers questioned whether Rollins should have been disqualified for using the RKO. After a month of being a champion, Rollins still isn’t presented as one. And this match did him no favours…
VERDICT: 6/10. Would be one higher if not for the awful ending. Orton and Rollins gelled perfectly at Mania, but something seemed off between them in the cage match. And along with Big Show, just retire Kane. Now. He should be nowhere near the main event…
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. Two very good matches elevated an otherwise stale PPV. The Last Man Standing Match and the Tag Team Championship Match surpassed low expectation to become the matches of the night. The other matches ranged from rushed to boring. The main event never felt like a main event, even more so after the interference filled ending. WWE always get lazy after WrestleMania…