Let’s be honest. Could there be any less excitement going into a Pay Per View?
You’re already bound to take a hit coming off the inevitable WrestleMania letdown. Then throw in all the names not scheduled to appear (including the concussed Dolph Ziggler) and you have a card built around a third Triple H/Brock Lesnar match (which Lesnar looks set to win since Triple H was booked as if he was the monster last week instead of Brock) and John Cena versus Ryback, which just isn’t doing it for anybody. The only saving grace seems to be the Shield on the verge of brining multiple titles into their stable (tag and US belts). Let’s see if that can make up for not having a World Heavyweight Championship match, although hopefully Dolph can steal the show again via twitter (SPOILER ALERT: he does not).
Extreme Rules starts off with a non Extreme Rules match as Chris Jericho takes on Fandango. I wonder if this time instead of a match a dance off will break out, going full circle from last week. I’m most curious if Jericho will put Fandango over again in back to back PPV’s. Fandango needs to be built as a legitimate wrestler (or they can just keep him as a gimmick) but how much can Jericho lose? Summer Rae comes out wearing essentially a cooking apron and nothing else. This better not be the highlight of the match. The match starts off with some grappling followed by Jericho slapping Fandango, who escapes the ring only to be pursued by Chris and hit with an elbow once he is chased by inside. A baseball slide and splash from the top rope has Jericho dominating early on. It’s a lot like their ‘Mania match. ‘Dango finally puts together some offense when he gets a boot up on Jericho running into the corner. He props Chris up on the second rope and hits him with a swinging kick from outside the ring. He lands a springboard legrop but can’t get the pin, and Jericho gets his signature move set going. He hits the running bulldog but can’t apply the Walls of Jericho. Chris hits a cross body splash from the top rope but Fandango rolls him over for a two count and again is in control. Jericho moves away from the top rope legdrop and hits the lionsault for two. Fandango gets thrown into the corner but jumps over Jericho to attempt a nice roll up, but Jericho counters with the Boston Crab. Fandango reaches the rope and takes Jericho down with another boot in the corner. Fandango goes to the top rope, but Jericho counters with a codebreaker and hands Fandango his first career defeat. Solid match. There was nothing overly impressive about it but both met did their thing. ‘Dango still hasn’t shown a whole lot of offense, but everything he did do was good enough. Jericho was Jericho. You know what you’re getting there.
Backstage Josh Matthews is asking Sheamus how he expects to drag Mark Henry around the ring in their strap match. Sheamus responds by saying he’s going to get “extreme” in the most perverted tone possible. This strap match is going to get “extreme”-ly rapey.
Believe in the Shield
Up next is Kofi Kingston putting his United States Championship on the line against Dean Ambrose. No way in hell Kofi walks out of here with the belt around his waist. Rollins and Reigns start to walk down with Ambrose, but turn around and let him go alone for the match. They start off with some mat wrestling and arm bars, with Dean holding the ropes to avoid running into Trouble in Paradise. Kingston goes on the offensive first with punches in the corner, but Ambrose responds quickly with a boot and a clothesline running out of the corner. From here Ambrose takes full control. He drags Kofi’s face against the rope (old school heel move) and drop kicks him for a two count. Dean then avoids a leaping attack from Kofi and applies a crossface chicken wing in the middle of the ring. Kingston gets out of it however and fights back with a mixture of boos. Pro Shield crowd. After a Boom drop Ambrose avoids the Trouble in Paradise but gets hit with an SOS for a two count. Dean then stops Kofi from coming off the top rope, hitting him with a full nelson superplex for a two count. Kofi counters Dean with a swinging kick followed by a springboard cross body splash. With Ambrose on the apron, Kofi hits him with Trouble in Paradise. Ambrose falls down to the floor however, and instead of letting Ambrose be counted out, Kofi drags him back in to pin him. Dean kicks out on two, then ducks away from Trouble in Paradise and hits with reverse DDT to win the United States Championship. I really enjoyed this match. Both men looked good and it had tempo and story the whole way. Ambrose is awesome.
Two matches through and we’re finally getting to the first non-traditional match of the evening with Sheamus and Mark Henry competing in an S&M match (otherwise known as a strap match). The idea is to drag your opponent to all four corners and touch them in succession (there are also lights at each corner to make it look more ridiculous). It’s never mentioned that the strap seems long enough to hit all four corners while your opponent is in the middle of the ring. Once the strap is tied to each man’s wrist, Sheamus snaps the strap into Henry’s face. Great White already playing games. Henry tries to stop him by putting his foot on the strap, so Sheamus yanks it and brings Mark down. Finally Henry pulls Sheamus in close (yikes!) and they start trading blows (YIKES!). Sheamus takes Henry down by attacking his legs and hits the first turnbuckle. Sheamus then walks to the next one but Henry pulls him back toward him and drops him with a clothesline. Henry then ties Sheamus’ legs together with the strap and tries dragging him around the ring. After two posts, Sheamus holds on to the bottom rope to stop Henry from reaching a third. Mark then clotheslines Sheamus outside the ring, so Sheamus starts running around the ring on the apron, and hits three turnbuckles before Henry pushes him back down to the floor. Back in the ring, Mark stars whipping Sheamus with the strap. Henry then carries Sheamus on his shoulder, going to the corners. Sheamus however hits every corner at the same time Henry does, and after three corners they both only need to hit one more (somehow this doesn’t count against one man hitting all three in a row). Henry realizes this at the last minute thanks to the lights going off and drops Sheamus to negate it. With Mark turned away from Sheamus, Sheamus yanks the strap while it is between Henry’s legs (SAFETY WORD!). Sheamus hits a running double axe handle and goes on the offensive, hitting Henry with the strap. Sheamus then hits three corners before Henry gets up, leading to an awkward confrontation into a spinebuster to stop Sheamus. Now outside the ring, Sheamus wraps Mark around the ringpost, kicking him in the head and pulling Henry into the post. Back in the ring, Sheamus hits three corners and has Henry right in the way of the fourth. Sheamus tries to jump over him to the corner but Henry catches him and tries to hit the World’s Strongest Slam. Sheamus leaps out of his however and hits the Brogue Kick, giving him the opening to hit the final corner and win the match. Aside from a few moments this was kind of a dud. It’s just such a goofy match. The end was a bit rough too.
Backstage, AJ is on the phone with Dolph when Kaitlyn finds her. AJ and Dolph play the “you hang up first” game when Kaitlyn says that Vickie informed her that AJ said she was too distraught over Ziggler’s concussion to wrestle (does this mean no AJ match? bummer). AJ starts talking smack about the secret admirer which may or may not exist, which Kaitlyn tries to respond to by saying at least she isn’t dating the Coppertone baby. This got no reaction because nobody who watching wrestling knows who that is (FYI: it’s this). Kaitlyn then calls her Looney Tunes (which is code for crazy) which starts to set AJ off (it’s like someone calling Marty McFly a chicken). AJ dares her to call her than one more time, but instead Kaitlyn does a Porky Pig impression and runs off (kind of heelish). AJ then says that it’s fitting for Kaitlyn to impersonate a pig (OH SNAP!) and Kaitlyn goes off and attacks AJ. The Bellas and Tamina (who is holding a banana for some reason) watch and laugh while the refs break it up.
I Quit match next between Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio to determine the number one contender to Dolph Ziggler’s World Heavyweight Championship (at least Ziggler will definitely hold on to his title past tonight). Zeb Colter walks Swagger down the ramp to talk about real American’s and how there are too many foreigners playing baseball, and that rooting for Del Rio means you turned your back on America. It really went on for a long time, ending with Zeb saying that after Jack wins they are going to hunt Dolph Ziggler (not a foreigner). Ricardo then gets introduced in spanish, so that he can introduce Del Rio in spanish. The english only audience might have no idea who is in the ring. Seconds into the match Alberto clotheslines Swagger over the top rope and leaps through the ropes to attack him. Swagger then hits a belly to belly suplex ont the outside floor. The ref then keeps asking Del Rio if he wants to quit, which Alberto of course says “No” to. Del Rio then drives Swagger into the steel steps. The ref asks these guys every five seconds if they want to quit. It’s ridiculously irritating. Swagger starts using a kendo stick and we finally have some Extreme Rules type action. Meanwhile, the crowd is chanting for Ziggler and I couldn’t agree more. This match sucks. Del Rio gets tied up into the ropes and asked if he wants to quit every time he gets hit with a kendo stick. Del Rio then yells “NOOOO” each time like a kid being told to eat his veggies. Del Rio then applies the armbreaker on Swagger while hanging on the top rope, only broken up when Jack punches Alberto in the head to send him to the floor. Swagger grabs a chair (ignoring a guy in a Hulk Hogan shirt who yells “Jack Swagger, you’re not a real American!”) but gets hit with an enziguri on the way back in. Del Rio then starts to come back, hitting the tilt-a-wirl back breaker and side kick to the face, yet Swagger won’t quit! Del Rio then goes to work on Jack with the kendo stick on the ropes and hits a back stabber. Del Rio then calls for the arm breaker but Swagger escapes it and hits a power slam and a Swagger Bomb and a gut wrench power bomb. Del Rio says he doesn’t quit and gets hit with another gut wrench power bomb. For some reason he doesn’t go for the ankle lock. Del Rio then sneaks in an arm breaker but Swagger reverses it and finally locks in the Patriot Lock. Swagger clinches the hold in the middle of the ring and Ricardo grabs the white towel. Del Rio tells him not to throw it (how convenient that he had it) but while the ref is watching Del Rio, Colter grabs the white towel and throws it in the ring and the ref gives the match the Swagger thinking it was Ricardo giving up for Alberto. Doesn’t that go against the “I quit” rules? Anyway before I can talk about how I’m surprised that they would set up a heel versus heel title match another ref runs in to reveal what happened. The official asks for a replay of the match (take that MLB!) and says that if Del Rio can continue than the match will continue. Del Rio gets up and Swagger attacks him as soon as the bell rings again. Del Rio hits a side kick to Swagger’s arm out of nowhere and applies the cross arm breaker. Swagger looks like he is going to break out of it but Alberto powers Jack back down, and Swagger is forced to say “I quit.” Decent ending to a match that didn’t hold my attention too much. The idea of using replay in a match should mean that all dirty finishes are abolished. That won’t be the case of course, but now I get to complain about how they didn’t go to replay every time a heel gets away with something. Should managers get challenge flags now?
Let’s go to the video tape
Backstage, Josh Matthews is talking to Ryback who says he tells the truth while Cena is a liar. Apparently Cena lies because he thinks he is going to win and Ryback isn’t the champion because people play by different rules, but Ryback rules tonight. Or something. Is it weird that I kind of miss him talking about food?
Time for Rollins and Reigns to claim the tag team championships as they face Kane and Daniel Bryan in a tornado tag team match. Ambrose is nowhere to be seen as the rest of the Shield heads toward the ring. The Shield starts off in control with Reigns taking on Kane and Rollins fighting Bryan in opposing corners. Kane hits a running DDT though as Bryan does his summersault over Rollins into a jumping clothesline and a mexican surfboard, with Kane clocking Seth with a big boot while still in the surfboard. Pretty strong start. Rollins and Reigns then start fighting back, working over Bryan before hitting a double suplex on Kane. Rollins puts Bryan on Reigns shoulders on the top rope, presumably for a super power bomb, but Bryan pulls off a hurricarana to send Roman back to the floor. Kane then grabs both Shield members by the throat to shove them out of the ring. Back in the ring, Kane hits a sidewalk slam on Reigns while Daniel hits an elbow drop at the same time. They both hit top rope moves on Rollins but the pin is stopped by Roman. What followed was my favorite sequence of the show to this point. Bryan tries to apply and NO Lock to Reigns. Rollins tries to run in to stop it but Kane guards the ropes to keep him out (he looked like Dikembe Mutombo defending in the paint). Seth then pulls Kane’s throat onto the rope and hits a springboard axe handle to break the hold. Kane then hits Rollins with a choke slam but Reigns hits Kane with a spear. Great spot. Reigns tries to revive Rollins, who is knocked out outside the ring. Roman then tries attacking Bryan but Kane steps in and tries to hit a chokeslam. Seth gets up and hits Kane with a flying knee to he head, followed by a Reigns spear but Bryan stops the count at two. Daniel then starts hitting Reigns with kicks, but misses on the round house and ends up getting sling shotted into the corner. Roman then puts Bryan on hits shoulders for Rollins to knock down with a flying knee off the top rope, pinning Bryan to win the tag team championships. Ambrose runs out to celebrate with his boys, and each member of the Shield now has a belt around his waist. Pretty cool stuff. The Shield needed something like this to go to the next level and they have done just that. Match of the night so far. Bonus points to Kane and Bryan for looking good in defeat. I’m sure they’ll have a rematch coming up soon.
BELIEVE IN THE SHIELD!
Quick callback to the preshow match which saw the Miz beat Cody Rhodes with a figure four. After seeing the highlights, I’m not very inclined to go back and watch it.
Big Show up next for an Extreme Rules match against Randy Orton, who is in his home town of St. Louis. The start with Randy using his speed to evade Show (and tell the hometown crowd to get loud) before Big Show finally lands a headbutt and takes things outside. Orton then grabs a kendo stick (weapon of choice so far) and tries to chop Show down. Show drops Orton with one blow however and breaks the kendo stick over his knee. Orton then grabs another kendo stick and attacks the knees, before Show breaks that stick as well. Show then lands a couple of big chops on Orton and looks to drive his head into the steel post, but Randy escapes and pushes Show into the post instead. Orton then pulls out a ladder but Big Show kicks it into Randy’s face. Back in the ring it’s all Big Show. He throws Orton into the post and works the left arm. Orton then ducks under a clothesline and hits a dropkick to bring Show down. Randy then gets Show in the corner but Show chokeslammed Randy for a two count. Big Show then gets a ladder and two chairs in the ring and it finally looks like the name of the PPV is going to come into play. Show lays the ladder across the two chairs and hits a sidewalk slam on the mat before laying Orton on the ladder. Show then goes to hit a Swagger Bomb but Orton moves away and Show is down. Orton then drops Show with a top rope DDT and taunts the RKO. He hits it but Big Show kicks out on two and escapes the ring. Orton then pulls out a chair and starts hitting Show in the back outside the ring. Back inside, Orton looks to hit him again but Show answers with a spear, laying them both out. Orton then hits Show with a second RKO onto the chair which was on the mat. With Big Show down, Randy moves back, taunts the punt and hits it! That move was banned! It got a huge pop and Orton got the win. Nobody saw that coming. I’m sure it helped that it was in front of his home crowd, but I haven’t seen Orton look this good in a while.
It seems that CM Punk isn’t the only one who can complain about not main eventing because the WWE Championship match is not main eventing Extreme Rules. John Cena will defend his title against Ryback in a last man standing match now, meaning that Triple H versus Brock Lesnar will close the show. I’m pretty surprised. Who does this benefit? I see the short term boost but long term what is the point? Who is better for this feud a month from now when neither man is on TV? I really don’t get it. Anyway on to the match. They start with Ryback overpowering Cena and acting more like the Ultimate Warrior than Goldberg. Cena then hits a bulldog but Ryback doesn’t sell it and clotheslines Cena. So now Ryback is invincible again? This is the same guy who has never won a PPV against a regular opponent right? Cena tries to attack Ryback from the top rope but he gets caught in mid air and spun around into a power slam. The announcers meanwhile are still trying to sell Cena’s ankle injury, with Cole bringing up how Cena keeps getting up on the other leg. Ryback hit a pull up power bomb and yell “Ryback Rules.” Cena pulls himself up on seven and pulls down the ropes to send the rushing Ryback outside the ring. Cena brings a table into the ring and then tries for an AA. Ryback escapes it however and lifts up Cena, dropping him on his jaw. Ryback then props up the table in the corner. Ryback then catches Cena jumping into him, and hurls John through the table with a fallaway slam. Cena gets up on eight and evades Ryback running in on him to set up a five knuckle shuffle to jeers from a crowd that doesn’t like Ryback or Cena. It’s amazing how Cena’s moves devolve over time. All he tries to do now his hit an AA or the five knuckle shuffle whenever possible. It just looks bad. Anyway Cena goes for the AA but Ryback escapes it again and hits a spear. Ryback clears the ring of furniture goes for a powerbomb. Cena reverses it however and hits a powerbomb on Ryback, who just barely gets up on eight only to fall down again. Cena jumps into Ryback as he gets up and tries to squeeze the life out of his head (it looked a lot like when AJ jumps into someone’s arms). Ryback started to go down but powered out of it and hit a meathook clothesline. Cena got up on nine and ducked under a second clothesline to apply the STF. Ryback looks to go to sleep and the ref starts counting. Cena brings in a table and Ryback gets up to throw Cena’s face into the mat. Ryback calls for Shell Shock but Cena escapes it and hits the AA through the table. Cena gets up on seven and Ryback gets up on nine (drat, I was kind of hoping that was it). Cena then climbs to the top rope and Ryback grabs him to hit Shell Shock.
Doesn’t sell clotheslines, sells smoke
Now it’s Cena getting up on nine and Ryback grabs a chair outside the ring in an attempt to take out Cena’s ankle. John kicks Ryback away and spears him through the barrier in the time keeper’s area. Both men get up on seven and the fighting goes to the crowd. Now it is getting like the Kane/Cena match I hated so much. Ryback pulls up a piece of the hockey boards out and hits Cena with it. John then applies a sleeper hold which brings Ryback down until eight. Cena puts Ryback on a table and climbs to the seats about five feet above the table and jumps into it. There was barely any reaction to what I’m sure they were hoping was a big spot. It would have been more impactful if he did it from the top rope into the ring. Ryback gets up and Cena starts spraying him with a fire extinguisher, which Ryback actually sells (it’s kind of like this). He then clocks Cena with it but Ryback gets up, escapes an AA and drives Cena through the electric stage wall. Okay, that was pretty cool. The ref now has to go back with a cameraman and find them. Going behind the stage, we find Cena and Ryback both totally knocked out, being worked on by the medical staff. Ryback walks away with some help while Cena leaves the arena on a stretcher. So we get a non-finish to a mostly crap match and a very angry crowd who sat through this debacle and got no payoff. Very lame. This all means that we’ll probably get Cena versus Ryback again next month and this all just reeks of horrible. I want the money I didn’t pay back.
Technically Cena should have lost since he wasn’t standing
At worst, we will at least have a winner to the Triple H/Lesnar cage match right? We’ll find out now as Brock comes to the ring with Paul Heyman at his side. He doesn’t even get into the cage before Triple H attacks him from behind. He doesn’t even have his entrance music. I already like this match. Triple H throws Brock into the barrier and knocks out Heyman, then finally pulling Brock into the cage and hitting him with a chop off the top rope and continuing the assault by throwing him into the cage and hitting a spinebuster. Just a minute into the match he goes for a pedigree but Brock fights it off and hurls Triple H into the cage. Lesnar then goes on he offensive, driving the back of Hunter’s head into the cage. He does this for about a minute until Triple H fights back and we get something resembling a wrestling match. Kneelift from Hunter, german suplex from Brock and we’re back to Lesnar throwing Triple H into the cage. The crowd is just starting to lose interest when Triple H dodges Lesnar jumping into him and Brock injures his knee against the cage. He yells at Heyman that he hurt his knee and Paul tells him to power through it. Lesnar then hits a power slam and scream in agony over the injury. Triple H sees it and starts working the knee. Triple H goes for a Pedigree but Lesnar locks in the Kimura lock. Triple H gets out of it by attacking the knee and Brock lays out Triple H with a clothesline. Brock tries to walk toward the cage door but can’t move fast enough and Triple H takes hit leg out from under him. Triple H then goes for the door but Heyman slams the door in his face, giving Lesnar the opening to hit a wobbly F-5 for a two count. The injury is throwing a nice wrinkle in the match, making you kind of get behind the injured Lesnar.
insert Peter Gabriel lyric here
Brock has Heyman give him a chair and he goes to work on Triple H with it. He tells Heyman that his knee is hurt bad and he’s not sure if he can go on. Heyman tells him to shake it off and Brock’s knee buckles as he goes for a second F-5. Triple H then starts hitting Brock in the leg with the chair, then using elbow drops as both Brock and Heyman beg him to stop. Brock then applies a Kimura lock again, which is broken when Triple H drives him into the corner and drops his knee onto Lesnar’s leg. Triple H then applies the figure four leglock in the middle of the ring but Brock doesn’t tap, instead rolling it over at the advice of Heyman. Brock then tries to climb the cage with one leg, almost getting over when Triple H hits the bad leg with the chair. Triple H then pulls Lesnar down pulls a hidden sledgehammer from the top of the cage. Before he can use it though, Lesnar pulls him down to the mat. Brock then takes the sledgehammer and goes to use it. Triple H ducks out of it though and applies the Sharpshooter. Lesnar still doesn’t tap, and Paul Heyman runs into the cage to try to break the hold. Triple H gets up, hits a Pedigree on Heyman, then dodges a sledgehammer swing from Lesnar to hit a Pedigree on him too, yet Brock kicks out on two! How can you not be pulling for Lesnar now? He’s been the underdog since the opening bell, and even back to last week’s Raw. Triple H grabs the sledgehammer but Heyman hits a low blow from behind. Lesnar then makes it to the sledgehammer and knocks out Triple H. Hobbled, Lesnar pulls up an unconscious Triple H and hits a big F-5 on him to win the match via pinfall. Much much much better match that I thought I would see. Seeing the bad guy play the underdog the entire way made for a much more interesting match than I thought I would see, and Brock was brought all the way back to monster status. If you were going to have these guys face off again, this was a great way to do it. After the match, Lesnar laid the sledgehammer on Triple H’s chest and limped back to the stage.
The final match was almost enough to make up for the Cena/Ryback match. Overall it was wasn’t a bad card. The Shield was the story of the night as they won some titles and looked good doing it. The finishes somewhat saved Orton and Del Rio’s matches and the rest of the undercard was fine. That Cena/Ryback match really killed the show though. That and no Ziggler. Oh man did I miss Ziggler.
The last image of the show was Triple H being helped up the ramp looking all defeated while his music played. At least we know he and Lesnar won’t be facing off again for a while. Maybe if Cena and Ryback make the only rematch, next month’s Payback PPV can be saved.
Good grief that was a bad match.