It was gimmick match overload time again, but on this occasion it was WWE’s turn as they presented their latest pay-per-view, Extreme Rules, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.
The show began with Randy Orton facing C.M. Punk in a last man standing match.
Punk came down to the ring with his Nexus lackeys in tow. This didn’t sit too well with Raw’s mystery general manager, who promptly sent an e-mail ordering them backstage. Nothing like a nasty e-mail to get your point across!
These two easily picked up where they’d left off at Wrestlemania, putting together a hard hitting and highly entertaining affair.
They hit each other with chairs and kendo sticks, threw each other into the ring steps and barricades, and they just couldn’t put each other away. Not even an RKO on the announcer’s table did it.
It was only when Orton stopped a Punk top rope attack that the end was in sight. A super RKO later and that was it. Punk failed to make the ten count, giving Orton the win.
The first title match of the show saw Kofi Kingston challenging Sheamus for the United States title in a tables match.
This was another good match, although it may have suffered a little because of the match it followed.
Both guys put in good performances in what was essentially a speed versus power battle, and once again Kingston used his aerial ability to good effect, especially when using it to prevent himself going through a couple of tables.
A new champion was crowned when Kingston came down from the top rope and put the Irishman through a table at ringside. Nice stuff all round.
Then it was on to the country whipping match as Michael Cole and Jack Swagger faced Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross.
I had thought about fast forwarding through this match, but I decided to give it a go. I wish I hadn’t when Cole came out wrapped up in bubble wrap.
This was absolutely bloody awful. A couple of the sequences between Lawler and Swagger were okay, but the rest was the pits.
I really can’t believe they gave ten minutes to this. Thankfully they didn’t give it longer as Cole got the win with a roll-up on JR. Let’s just hope that this ridiculous feud is over now.
The falls count anywhere match followed as Cody Rhodes went up against Rey Mysterio.
This was a very entertaining encounter. It wasn’t long before they left the ring and began brawling up the ramp, going through the crowd, up a flight of steps, through a concorse, down another flight of steps before they eventually returned to the ring.
It was there that the action was turned up a notch, and just as Rhodes was about to take his man down with a top rope move Mysterio invoked the spirit of the Great Muta and sprayed green mist into Rhodes’ face. Moments later Mysterio took the pin after a 619.
The Divas were up next as Michelle McCool faced her former buddy Layla in a no count out no disqualification loser leaves WWE match.
This was actually quite good, a lot better than I thought it would be, with some nice brawling mixed in with some good wrestling action, and some highly emotional moments. It certainly wasn’t filler material this month.
The end came when McCool took Layla down with her version of the Styles clash, only for Layla to reverse the pin toe get the win, sending McCool back to a cosy warm life with her husband, trailing after him while he’s interviewed at MMA shows.
But after Layla left her beaten for in the ring McCool got a nice going away present in the form of the former Awesome Kong, now known as Kharma. The monster came down to the ring and took McCool down with the implant buster to announce her arrival on the scene.
The first main event saw Alberto Del Rio facing Christian for the vacant World title in a ladder match.
This was great. It took a little while to get going but when it did these two really tore into each other, using the various ladders to good affect and with plenty of big bumps, the biggest being when Del Rio landed on a ladder perched between the ring and the announcers table after Christian rolled out of the way.
We also saw the attempted interference from Brodus Clay (why doesn’t he get to ride in those flash cars?) before none other than Edge appeared to distract Del Rio just as he was about to grab the belt.
This gave Christian time to recover as he knocked Del Rio off the ladder and claimed the belt for his own. You know, this could be the feel good moment of the wrestling year.
The penultimate match saw Intercontinental Champion Wade Barratt and Ezekiel Jackson challenging Kane and the Big Show for the Tag Team titles in a lumberjack match.
A quickie here before the main course. Some nice sequences here, as well as the obligatory action from the lumberjacks, as well as some dissention from the Corre cohorts.
After Jackson used his tremendous strength to body slam Show Barratt tagged himself in, much to Jackson’s disgust.
Barratt then tried to life the big guy onto his shoulders, only to find himself on the receiving end of a choke slam and a pin.
Then the lumberjacks began to brawl around ringside while the champions took down Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel with stereo choke slams.
The main event saw John Morrison and John Cena challenging the Miz for the WWE title in a cage match.
This was a fine way to end the show. All three men put in good performances, making for a very enjoyable encounter.
Morrison, of course, pulled off some good aerial moves, while all three were involved when Cena and Morrison took Miz down with a sick looking superplex from the top of the cage.
R-Truth made an appearance, attacking Morrison for taking his title shot and taking him out of the remainder of the match before climbing out of the cage in a symbolic act of defiance.
The end came when Cena, having stopped Miz from escaping, took his man down with an attitude adjuster from the top rope. A three count later and we had a new champion.
In conclusion – unlike TNA’s gimmick-laden Lockdown WWE’s Extreme Rules proved to be a highly enjoyable affair, and the reason for this was quite simple, because unlike Lockdown Extreme Rules offered variety.
Apart from the awful announcers match each encounter delivered, with the two main events the highlights of the night for me, with Christian’s World title win particularly refreshing.
So in all this year’s Extreme Rules gets the thumbs up. But if you haven’t seen the announcers match yet do what I should have done and fast forward through it, because that’s ten minutes or so of your lives that you’ll never get back.