The first post Wrestlemania pay-per-view is in the books and Extreme Rules had its share of highs and lows but mostly came off as a solid event. The outcomes were mostly predictable and most matches set up for continuation in storylines, likely culminating at WWE Payback in Chicago. The three headlining matches delivered in their own way while the undercard left a lot to be desired.
The evening got started off in the first (and hopefully last) Wee-LC match between Hornswoggle and El Torito. The match itself was fine but not really worthy of a pre-show PPV match, maybe for Main Event. The best part was the mini announce crew: Micro Cole, Jerry Smaller and JB-Elf. Hopefully this was a one off as I don’t think another pay-per-view match would go over too well with the crowd.
Extreme Rules kicked off with a solid triple threat match between RVD, Cesaro and Jack Swagger. Triple threat matches can be awkward to work through but all three competitors did a great job of getting the crowd in to the event. Cesaro pulled off the win and it looks like this three way rivalry could continue with so many past relationships involved.
Next up was the handicapped match between Rusev and the team of R-Truth and Xavier Woods. I had very low expectations for this match other than a squash and that was pretty much what happened. Rusev made short work of Woods and then destroyed R-Truth, much like he had the past few weeks on Raw and Smackdown. It was a decent win for Rusev but hardly elevates him for the time being as Woods and Truth are just above “jobber level”. Rusev definitely has a high ceiling so it will be interesting to see how he’s booked in the future.
Bad News Barrett vs. Big E for the Intercontinental title was up next and it was a very solid match from both competitors. Big E had held the title for quite a while but much like now former U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose, his title defenses were few and very far between. Barrett’s character has definitely caught on with the crowd and hopefully this is the gimmick for Barrett that sticks. Barrett de-throned Big E in a very entertaining match and became a four time Intercontinental champion, and that isn’t bad news for anybody.
The match of the night was up next as the six man match between a newly reformed Evolution took on the Shield. I had high expectations for this match and it surpassed them in every way. Big spots, near falls and tons of chaos made this match an instant classic. Whether it was Dean Ambrose running across the announce tables onto Triple H and Randy Orton or Seth Rollins providing shades of the original ECW by diving off the second level in the stands on to Triple H, Orton and Ambrose. The match concluded with Roman Reigns hitting a Superman Punch and spear on Batista and this feud seems far from over, which is just fine in my book.
Next up was the cage match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. While I was happy with the outcome of Bray winning, I was disappointed about how the rest of the match played out. I have nothing against John Cena himself but more about how his character is booked. For weeks it seemed as though Bray Wyatt had convinced the crowd and Cena himself that the fans are sick of him and that Bray would lead us into a Cena-less WWE. We’d seen The Wyatt Family gang up on Cena for weeks, culminating in a 3 on 1 match on Raw where Cena almost pulled off the victory until Luke Harper and Eric Rowan “interfered” in the pin and the ref rang the bell for a disqualification, which boggles my mind considering it was a 3 on 1 handicap match, but I digress.
Cena began to ask the fans “Why?” and began to show chinks in the armor. It was all setting up for Bray and Cena to square off one on one in a steel cage. However, much like I was dreading, it became a 3 on 1 match of sorts as Cena had plenty of opportunities to win but was negated due to outside interference.
My main problem with how the match was booked was that it makes Bray Wyatt come off as weak because had it not been for continued interference from Rowan and Harper, Cena could have won about 50 different times. It also looks bad that the leader of the Wyatt Family needed so much help to beat a man physically that he had demolished mentally. Again, I’m happy Bray won and this rivalry can continue but I would have liked to have seen a more dominating performance from Bray Wyatt to establish himself as a true contender by taking down the face of the WWE.
The Divas Championship match was up next as newcomer Paige took on Tamina Snuka. Paige is establishing herself as a legit champion after defeating the now absent A.J. Lee and making short work of Divas like Aksana and Alicia Fox. Tamina was her first real threat and it was a decent match. However, without A.J. around the Divas division is noticeably thin at the moment and it will be interesting to see who Paige’s next challenger is. Barring A.J. returning from her hiatus to evoke her rematch clause, I can’t be too sure of who would make a compelling challenger.
Finally, the main event pitting Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in an Extreme Rules match for the World Heavyweight Championship was up. I was hesitant about this match more due to the fact that Kane being booked as “the monster Kane” has fallen flat as of late, most notably in his rivalry with John Cena at Elimination Chamber a couple of years ago. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained as what I thought was going to be a goofy match ended up being very exciting and full of action. I was worried when Daniel Bryan saw the forklift that we were going to have a corny finish like that of the Mankind/Rock “Empty Arena” match from the Attitude Era.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and instead we saw Kane wheeled out on top of the forklift, dumped into the ring and put through a not very TV-PG flaming table before catching a flying knee and Daniel Bryan escaping as champion. This storyline is definitely not over as we saw Kane get up as soon as the match was over and harass Bryan and Brie Bella on Raw last night. Expect this feud to carry over into WWE Payback and a rumored “Buried Alive” match, which would be great.
Overall, Extreme Rules was a solid show. The Shield/Evolution match was the highlight of the night while some of the undercard matches fell a little flat. Things progressed enough to keep even casual post-Wrestlemania audiences intrigued and it will be interesting to see where the Shield/Evolution feud goes, will Daniel Bryan continue to be stalked by Kane? Is that creepy kid going to continue to show his face around the Wyatt Family? Can Wade Barrett finally keep a gimmick that lasts? I say Extreme Rules earned a solid “B” in the ratings department. I’d definitely re-watch the Evolution/Shield match again in an instant. I’m very excited to see where the storylines and rivalries are at when WWE Payback comes to town.
Filed under: Ringside Chicago
Tags: AJ Lee, Attitude Era, Bad News Barrett, Batista, Big E. Langston, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, ECW, El Torito, Elimination Chamber, Eric Rowan, Evolution, Extreme Rules, Hornswoggle, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kane, Luke Harper, Main Event, Mankind, Paige, Payback, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Seth Rollins, Smackdown, Tamina Snuka, The Rock, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Triple H, Wade Barrett, Wrestlemania, WWE, Xavier Woods