- I've recently come to a conclussion that should've been obvious after all these years. The WWE, or for that matter, any company or promotion, will never give me the 100% perfect show. There will always be people used I don't like, people unused that I do appreciate, booking choices that could've been done a little better, and a whole list of things that we can gripe about. Do I want the championships to be nothing but props for guys going out to the ring every night and doing clean jobs? No. I do want good wrestling, and if that result is the trade-off for a really good wrestling match, I'll take it. As of now, honestly, that's all we can hope for: getting a little of what we want in exchange for something else.
However... the "I'll accept this in exchange for that" theory will not hold true to what we are about to witness. Extreme Rules, a show titled as such in the era of PG television, an era without blood, and handfuls of special stipulations that have little meaning or lack any interest without the previously mentioned blood. Extreme Rules, with very few exceptions, is such a poorly put together card with lackluster build and ho-hum expectations, it's no surprise I forgot this was on PPV last night.
- Originally broadcasted live on Pay-Per-View on May 19th, 2013. We're at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and JBL are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. For those who care about the YouTube Pre-Show, the Miz defeated Cody Rhodes to warm up the crowd.
Lockup into the corner and Jericho gives a clean break. Shoving and slaps, Fandango grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. Jericho with a dropkick, and Fandango decides to take a breather. Back inside, Jericho sends him back, only to send him back to the floor and follows from the top rope with a body press. Story of the match: Jericho kicking Fandango to the floor. Fandango takes control with a bunch of kicking and grabs a chinlock. So far, the highspot that deserve replay is a KICK. They look like they blow a roll up spot. Fandango with a slingshot leg drop for two, then goes back to the chinlock. Jericho escapes with a back suplex, comes off the ropes with shoulder tackles, and finally off the top with a sledge. He comes off the ropes with the bulldog and goes for the Walls of Jericho, but Fandango kicks him off. jericho with a body press from the top, but Fandango rolls through (sloppily) for two. Fandango to the top for the Alabama Jam, but Jericho rolls away and hits the Lionsault for two. Slow motion whip to the corner turns into a Walls of Jericho, but Fandango makes it to the ropes. Jericho sleepwalks into an enziguri, but still has enough in him to catch Dodongo in midair with the Code Breaker, and that gets three at 8:37. Solid opener, but why job Fandango so soon after his official in-ring debut, and to a part-timer? I don't understand that at all. 50/50 booking, even for Vince McMahon's pet projects, is EXTREME!
- Backstage, Kaitlyn and A.J. have words about... nothing. So how long until they start calling Kaitlyn fat for being a Size 3. The entire divas locker room (a.k.a The Bellas and Tamina) watch as they attempt to have a brawl backstage. I never though I'd long for the days of Victoria vs. Molly Holly, but, yeah, I kind of miss the days of Victoria vs. Molly Holly, or any other combination of trained "Divas'" from that era.
Slugfest to start, with Del Rio sending Swagger to the floor and following with a dive through the ropes. Del Rio pulls out a kendo stick, but Swagger quickly takes him down with a belly-to-belly suplex. WHY IS THE REFEREE ASKING HIM ALREADY?! What is this, the excellerated version of stipulations that would normally go 30-minutes, crammed into ten? The kendo stick finally gets used, because Kendo Sticks are EXTREME! The crowd is chanting they want something. Hopefully it's a refund. Del Rio gets trapped in the Andre Special, and takes a caning across the chest. Tommy Dreamer would be proud that two people with actual wrestling ability would stoop to this level of junk brawling instead of making this is a submission match. Del Rio locks on the armbreaker in the ropes, but can't hold on after taking a microphone to the face. Swagger takes his time grabbing a chair, and ends up eating an enziguri. ADR with clotheslines and a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker. This crowd is deathly silent unless a weapon is used. ADR with the back stabber. Unfortunately, pinfalls don't count. Swagger turns the tide with a powerslam and gutwrench powerbomb. ADR won't quit. Another powerbomb, and he still won't give up. ADR locks on the cross armbreaker, and Swagger counters into the Ankle Lock. Shenanigans happen, Zeb throws in Ricardo's towel, making Swagger the winner... but WAIT! WE HAVE INSTANT REPLAY! Since when is there Instant Replay used in WWE? Match gets restarted, Del Rio overcomes the obstacles of being hurt, and the cross armbreaker makes Swagger scream like a girl for the victory at 13:43. Really, Instant Replay? Match was OK at times, but constantly breaking things up to ask someone if they quit, starting 30-seconds into the match, got old, fast.
Orton gets introduced to the post and choked with Show'ssize 20-whatever boots. Show must be feeling the workrate tonight, slapping on the ARMBAR. Show with the avalanche, but misses a clothesline. Orton with a clothesline and dropkick, taking the big man off his feet. Orton with a bastard-ized version of a Stinger Splash,and Show responds with an EXTREMEly lazy chokeslam for two. Show with a ladder and two chairs. We're only a table away from behind reminded of better, more EXTREME days. Show with a side suplex for two. He lays Orton across his little set up of the ladder, and to the surprise of no one, Show's splash meets nothing but ladder. Orton with a boot to the face and the rope assisted DDT. He conncts with the RKO, but only gets two. Orton with a series of chair shots across the back (where else?) to bring the action back into the ring. He winds up for a head shot, but a spear takes him down. Orton with another RKO, this time on the chair. Show crawls into the corner, so Orton channels his awesomeness and hits the Concussion Kick for the victory at 13:01. Typical Big Show vs. Guy Who Has To Adjust To His Style, match. Very much watchable, and GWHTATHS looked like he gave a crap tonight, which is always a positive. Unfortunately, nothing we haven't seen on free television countless times between them.
Ryback sets the table in the corner as Cena gets to his feet. Cena with his pathetic shoulder tackles, but Ryback no-sells and gives him the fallaway slam through the table! OK, Ryback scored cool points with that spot. Unfortunately, Cena gets up at 8. Ryback posts himself on a charge, allowing Cena to take him down with a back/side suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle connects, but the AA once again fails, and Goldback runs through him with a spear. He sets up for a powerbomb, but Cena counters with one of his own. Ryback's break of the count is somewhat questionable. Maybe he blew the spot of standing up. Cena tries for what looked like a Cena-canrana, but instead it's a front-mounted sleeper. Ryberg once again powers to his feet and slams Cena down hard to the canvas. Ryback measures up and connects with the Meat Hook, but surprise, that doesn't keep Cena down. Cena ducks another Meat hook, brings Ryback to his knees with a drop toe hold, and slaps on the STF. Submission moves in LMS Matches? Whatever floats your boat. Cena pulls out another table (really?), and right on cue, Ryback starts no-selling the previous damage. Cena escapes the Shell Shock and puts Ryback through the table with the AA. Cena to the top rope, but Ryback slugs him down and connects with the Shell Shock.
Both men have officially "gotten up" from each other's finisher, so it's anyones ball game, now. Ryback FINALLY remembers to go after the bad ankle, FIFTEEN MINUTES IN, but Cena is aware of it and tackles Ryback through the timekeepers wall that is broken through on a weekly basis, thus killing the appeal of the spot. Does Lilian Garcia age? I just noticed her hanging around, and she still looks as good as she did 14 years ago. Oh, back to the match: They brawl through the part of the crowd that doesn't have any traffic, ramming each other into things. Ryback rips off a piece of the security rail and bops Cena with it quite gently, because it's clearly not gimmicked, judging by the loud thud from hitting the ground. Cena gets up at 9 and grabs another sleeper. Or maybe he's too lazy to get to his marker, and is forcing Ryback to piggyback him to the next spot. Cena lays Ryback across another table (overkill?) and splashes him through it from off a balcony. A balcony that was about two feet off the ground, but a balcony, nonetheless. Then a fire extinguisher gets used. It's like a child spraying a bug with air freshener, because they're too afraid to get it themselves. Ryback escapes the AA and spinebuster slams Cena THROUGH the set, complete with pyro... and yes, this is our finish: A no decision, at around the 21:30 mark. All jokes aside, this was looking like a pretty good match, but that bullshit finish? How hard is it to not book stupid finishes for a Last Man Standing Match? ESPECIALLY When it's the main event on a $55 PPV! The crowd thankfully boo's the finish out of the building for me. WWE Could've easily put the belt on Ryback here, and had Cena make the Superman return from "injury" and won his 12th title, because clearly excessive amounts of reigns mean nothing, anyway.
Lesnar calls for a chair and lays into Hunter like a baseball on a tee. Lesnar goes for another F5, but the knee gives out and Hunter clips him again. Hunter with the chair, swinging away at the leg. I like that he's dominating the middle portion of the match, just like any other babyface would (sarcasm!). Shouldn't the heel be in control of the second act of a match? Triple H with the Figure-Four, ripping off the Miz's finisher, except performing it about 670 times better. Lesnar grabs the ropes, but last I checked, there's No Disqualification. Lesnar tries climbing out, but a chair to the bad leg keeps him from going further. Triple H pulls out the magic Sledgehammer, but gets tripped up before he can use it. Triple H sweeps the legs and slaps on a SHARPSHOOTER?! Well, that makes it 5 out of 10, I guess. Has he ever used that move before? Heyman breaks into the cage to act as a sacrificial lamb, taking the Pedigree. Lesnar takes it too, but kicks out at two. Heyman makes the Superhuman comeback, going low on Hunter, forcing him to drop the sledgehammer. Lesnar retrieves it and smacks him across the face with it. Lesnar takes a moment to bask in the moment, does the old Ken Shamrock "snap", and connects with the F5 for three at 20:10. Lesnar lays the sledgehammer across the chest as a symbol of "just fucking die", although the smart mark interpretration might be different than what they were going for. Nice of Hunter to milk his defeat until the close of the show. Match was technically a decent brawl, but the booking was, as predicted, so ass backwards, it doesn't matter. I couldn't find a moment of enjoyment, other than Heyman's low blow.
Final Thoughts: We'll break things down as simple as pros and cons. Pros: The Shield went over in both their matches, cleanly, and considering their role in the company right now, could lead to properly using the US and Tag Titles as something more than useless props for Jobbers. The opener was fun with a hot crowd, and Randy Orton tried his best to get something out of Big Show. Now, the cons: The strap match sucked, period. Del Rio going over Swagger was pointless, throw-away garbage without the participation of Dolph Ziggler and having the Title on the line, with an added stipulation that held zero interest for the live crowd. Cena and Ryback managed to put on a good match until shitting all over anyone who spent hard-earned money on this PPV, only to get the laziest, most recycled, bullshit finish they can do for Last Man Standing without having an actual winner. Finally, Lesnar and Triple H. Everything about it was wrong, and that's all I will say about it. Strongest Recommendation to Avoid. Let's hope for better for Payback (spoiler: We'll probably get a bunch of rematches).