I dont usually like to give anything away when I do this blurb for a PPV, but let me just say, WATCH THIS SHOW. A public service announcement. No idea where to even start with the awesome.
Sadly I missed the first half of Orton vs Kane, and I do mean sadly because what I saw of it was a damn good brawl. Really fun finishing stretch, and man, one of the safest bets in wrestling is to tell Orton to go have a brawl with someone. I especially liked Orton selling on offense, like after the DDT on the floor or the Superplex. The man is still getting the work done.
I dont actually mind them using the spare slots on this card for something like a Brodus squash, since in this post-Mania period they have been full-on committed to building this new roster of characters. Plus, for weeks I’ve been giddy at the prospect of him working Dolph. To their credit too this was the next step for Brodus, working a longer, competitive match. Dolph looked good getting so much offense in, and then BAM, THAT HEADBUTT BUMP. Thats what I was waiting for. Fun times.
Totally excited for a tables match since it almost confirms my suspicions that Cody is winning the title back. Man, while this lasted it was a tonne of fun. Show just beating the crap out of Cody, tossing him all around the shop. Cody using the table to do the BDK was an amazing spot, made even more amazing in hindsight since it set up the finish perfectly. I know I immediately thought “God, he’s lucky the table held his weight..” Then eventually Show steps down onto the table and BAM. Oh, sh*t. SHOW’S FACE when he realised what happened was IMMENSE. I’ve completely lost track of who currently holds my Title, but with that look I realised Show had either retained or regained his crown as the Greatest Man in the World.
In all honesty I thought that was one of the best ‘slip on a banana peel’ finishes I’ve seen. It was so, like…it just happened. It was so natural and so accidental, but like, rules is rules. I felt so sorry for that poor guy, especially thinking back to the Bryan feud where he was cursing his fate of being a big clumsy oaf all his life. For all the advantages it gives him, sometimes his size is his downfall. Anyway, afterwards Show is pissed off that Cody can get away with that bullsh*t and just KILLS HIM. He gets booed but he doesnt care, he watched MITB ’11, he knew once he killed this guy the crowd would be begging for more, and hey, they did. And Jesus, Cody took some Almighty bumps, especially the last one, and actually looked like quite the badass for refusing help and walking out unaided after all that. Glad Cody has the belt back, and I look forward to them having some sort of blow off.
Bryan’s pre-match promo was some good fun. I cant help but feel sorry for Sheamus sometimes, but the crowd is going to make this. The “18 Seconds” shirt was a cool touch.
HOLY F*CK this was awesome. They had all the time in the world to build this thing, and every single thing they did worked. The early Brogue Kick tease. The early exchanges where Sheamus tried to trade holds with him. Sheamus was also busting out all manner of offense early – the rolling senton, the cloverleaf and what not. It was made clear that they were very evenly matched. The outside spots were awesome – first Bryan going for the diving knee and getting DRILLED into the barricade, and then later going for the tope and getting TENRYU’D! Marked. Finally Bryan takes over by posting Sheamus, grabbing the shoulder and just GOING TO TOWN on it. My favourite thing about the match was the long first fall – its a twist on the established three-fall match concept, and the first fall was such a great struggle that by the end both men looked like supermen, like it was nigh-on impossible for anyone to get ONE fall on the other, let alone two.
Finally Bryan banks on the shoulder strategy and just goes nuts on it and gets DQ’d, then clamps on the Yes Lock and squeezes until he submits. Except, even after all this time and punishment, Sheamus STILL doesnt submit, but rather passes out. I LOVED the falls, they werent so much the usual ‘your turn, my turn’ reset button falls, but rather two inconclusive falls. One was a DQ, the other a ref stoppage caused by an unfair advantage. Neither man had really beaten the other yet, this was merely an interlude in the war that was going on between the two for superiority, and now the third fall is really the only fall – the one that decides who is the better man.
Bryan leading the crowd in a sing-a-long in the meantime was amazing work. I saw Sheamus popping up from the doctors into a Brogue Kick a mile away, but it was still so awesome and Bryan kicking out was awesome as well. Great play off Mania, and it also kind of reminded me of Punk/Orton at WM27 where Orton goes for the first surprise RKO and Punk just avoids it. He was almost caught out. And we have more big shots thrown, and missed, and finally Sheamus makes a comeback and just KILLS this man and pins him. Having such a straight-forward finish sounds kind of weird after such an even contest, but I think Sheamus’ fire and selling on the comeback made it work. Anyway, this was a TREMENDOUS WAR. Just a great f*cking match. Not sure either man has had a better match in the company yet.
Once again, as a come-down match, I’m totally up for a Ryback squash. The two jobbers were awesome goofs. And Ryback was, of course, beastly. The mounted Stunner thing always looks like it SUCKS. Just nasty. Anyway, fun times, Ryback needs to keep squashing people for approximately three million more years.
Punk promo did what was required. Have I mentioned how much fun big Punk matches are with big Punk crowds? Because they really are. Punk’s family at ringside. Street fight outfits! Now this sh*t is on.
And what a brawl this was. I liked the way they worked this – immediately throwing down, and then Punk just grabs chairs and sticks and starts swinging. The big baseball swing strikeout was great. Really good brawling around. Also liked how they both used the kendo stick to enhance their kicks. One of the best parts was Jericho jawing with Punk’s sister, her slapping him, Jericho threatening her and Punk going APESH*T and beating the crap out of him, including breaking him over the announce table lid, something you never really see used in that fashion. That monitor shot was different and NASTY as well. A whole bunch of cool spots up in this thing.
Like Punk “slipping” on the ropes for Jericho to get him with the stick and take over. Loved that. Then we get the Jericho Douche Heel spots with the alcohol to set up Punk’s comeback. Punk hitting him in the gut so that he spat out the beer was great. Punk’s comeback into the GTS into the Walls into moves into the CORNER CHAIR was some great escalation to get the match into the final stretch. They did the Walls with a rope non-break for a nice detail and then BAM FIREEXTINGUISHER! Going outside to the announce table you immediately see where this is going, and then we get the final and most brilliant of all the details, Punk almost slipping off the top rope before the elbow. It was one of those moments that, deliberate or not, totally added to the realism of what you’re watching. And BAMELBOWROP!
I would have accepted the match ending there, but these guys still werent done. Awesome nod to HHH/Taker with Jericho in the Vice grabbing the stick and beating his way out. He succeeded where Hunter twice failed. The chair Codebreaker was amazing because I really bought it as the finish even though I knew Jericho was losing. Jericho finally makes a bad heel decision by trying a GTS like a douche, Punk counters and FINALLY hits the move and wins. An exhausting match, in the best possible way. Another really brutal war and another awesome match.
Swerve, Beth out after all! I was wondering why they’d do Kharma so soon until Eve said “LOL, it isnt Kharma.” So either she’s lying, she’ll make them face each other, or…oh God, or…
YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH FOR ME, WOAH-OO-OH!
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!
Oh, MY GOD. Like I wasnt having enough fun already. LAYLA, MY LOVE! MY HEART! MY SOUL! This is officially the GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME.
And there was even a match! I mean, speaking calmly, I promise, considering this is her first match back from major knee surgery, she looked like a million bucks out there. Not a step was missed. And I am completely down with her working babyface matches like a tecnico, with armdrags, wacky lucha rollups and that double springboard dive. We get a payoff to the latest run of Twin Magic as Layla FOILS them and KILLS Nikki with the Layout for the WIN! HEART-STOPPINGLY AMAZING STUFF. I cannot put into words how happy I am that Layla is back. Holy Moses.
Too bad I dont get a come-down match after that, because BROCK VS CENA BITCHES.
And I thought the undercard delivered. Holy Mother of Freaking God.
What a match.
What motherf*cking INSANITY, more accurately. It was just insane. Brock taking him down immediately and DESTROYING Cena with those nasty-as-f*ck ELBOWS and busting him open hardway. Within 30 seconds. Great lariat as well. Doctors are there to clean up the cut and tease an early stoppage. Best open to a match ever. And Brock just goes on to MAUL THE F*CK OUT OF CENA. Completely beats the piss out of him. I mean, Jesus. Cena tries to fight back and dies. His one big offensive move – a shoulder – knocks the ref down. Not helpful. I like how this sent the announcers into a panic, like, there’s no ref there to stop the match in time before Cena is literally beaten to death. All throughout there’s a real, palpable feeling of legitimate danger in this match.
Brock was such an incredible monster in this. Everything he did was badass. I have to say I’d never thought I’d see someone wipe someone’s blood on their chest and lick it up in modern day WWE. Brock was just on a whole other level of animal here. Tying Cena up by the feet with his own chain and hanging him upside down on the turnbuckle to tee off on like a piece of meat was pretty chilling. And hoisting Referee Charles Robinson up by his belt and tossing him one handed into the ring was unreal. Well, I mean, the whole thing was unreal. And it shouldnt be undersold, John freaking Cena took the most Almighty of sh*t kickings ever seen. He was completely obliterated in this match, no Superman comeback, no comeback at all really – every time he manned up and got a shot or two in he’d be immediately pummeled. He was utterly sonned.
The final stretch with the stairs was incredible in every way. Brock bringing them in just so he could stand atop them and laugh at Cena. Getting the kimura and cranking it until Cena screamed, before he CENA’D UP AND SLAMMED HIM DOWN. Cena goes up top (because only a big bomb is going to save him) and MISSES a leg drop of certain death. More Brock ‘King of the Mountain’ taunting, until suddenly he turns into Sabu and LAUNCHES OFF THE STAIRS AND OVER THE TOP ROPE! Jesus f*cking sh*t, the man is INSANE. He lands on his knee, then stands up and laughs at the idea of feeling pain. He’s completely insane, and unstoppable. He goes for it again but Cena grabbed the chain and BAM, STEEL CHAIN KO OF DOOM! Man he freaking levelled Brock with that shot. More blood. Cena completely going off, the crowd going off with him, Brock takes forever to struggle to his feet, he’s been knocked goofy, and BAMFUONTHESTAIRS. HE WINS! He actually won. Lord Almighty.
People are going to bitch at this finish until the end of time, I imagine, but you really needed to have watched this match to understand it. I was 100% certain Brock was winning, even after how hard they buried Cena going in, and on paper I’d think this was moronic, but man, when that match was over I was completely in awe. Cena, again, took the most amazingly brutal beating I can remember ever seeing in WWE, to the point where I was marking out when he managed to catch Brock with that shot and actually survive and pull the match out. In terms of the odds overcome by someone to come back and win a match, it was one of the more impressive underdog victories you will see.
It was also one of the more impressive main event matches you’ll see in WWE. It was a completely unique match in this environment, and one of the best examples of adding a realistic, MMA element to prowres I’ve yet seen in a big company. The beating was unbelievably…believable. It was at once both a legitimate fight and a pro wrestling spectacle, and it was utterly compelling in every way. Going in I was wondering how Brock would work in a wrestling ring after all this time, but man, this way surpassed my expectations. It was a perfect style for him to work, believable and impactful, recognisable and unique, and both he and Cena worked for a thousand men.
They were both just as amazing after the match as well. Brock stumbling around putting his hands up in front of fans, having been knocked completely f*cking loopy. Cena was the victim of pretty much a legal mugging, but still smiling in a kind of “glad to be alive” way. Cutting the “shoot” promo because his arm was f*cked up and he didnt give a damn anymore was an awesome, awesome touch, as was him chatting about his arm on the way out. I mean, that is EXACTLY how John Cena would sell an injury, isnt it? He was superb. I still dont know whether he really hurt something in the match or not.
What an amazing capper to an amazing show. One last thing I want to say about the show in general is that, pardon the cliche, it really felt “Extreme”. I remember back to MITB ’11 (the comparison keeps coming up a lot today) and one of the little things I noticed was that all of the hellish bumps and botched ladder spots and injuries on the show were a great overall selljob of the danger of a ladder match PPV. Similarly, I thought up and down the card everyone did an excellent job of selling the danger of the Extreme Rules PPV. From Orton selling his own moves on the outside, to Sheamus and Bryan having a war without any weapons, to Punk and Jericho going through their crazy war with weapons, to finally Brock and Cena having the mother of all insanely brutal battles with blood and Cena going out injured. Even though if you think about it, only half the card was made up of actual hardcore gimmick matches, it all felt very violent and much more dangerous than every other show, moreso than any previous Extreme Rules incarnation. All in all, an extremely (oops) entertaining and satisfying show.