Honestly, it is time for WWE to get some credit. Their pay-per-views show have been on a roll the past six months. From Survivor Series to Extreme Rules, all of them have delivered the goods.
Last night, the company even came through in a tough spot. After WrestleMania is always the toughest time to keep viewers interested in the product.
In front of a great Chicago live audience, they pulled out all the stops. While some decisions will be questioned (what else is new?), not many can deny the quality of in-ring action.
With that being said, let's try and figure out the best match of the night. There are three very likely candidates, but here are my quick thoughts on the previous battles:
Santino Marella defeating The Miz was fine. The action was kept short, but that was to be expected on the pre-show.
Brodus Clay crushing Dolph Ziggler was great. Both men will be just fine in their futures, so there is no worry over the outcome.
I liked Cody Rhodes getting his Intercontinental Title back from Big Show. The table stipulation allowed for a cheap finish, and it was clear from the beginning Show wasn't going to do anything with the belt.
Ryback pinning two opponents at once was very impressive. Yes, they were simply local talents. That doesn't matter. Two was not greater than one, as Ryback continues to look good out there.
The Divas Championship match went as expected. Nikki Bella had to drop the title. It was either Layla or Kharma taking the belt, so this was a fine segment.
OK, now let's get to the real options!
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Thankfully, AJ stayed backstage. That story can be told on Smackdown in the coming weeks. There was no need for her to come out and "ruin" this match.
With a two out of three falls match, it is always interesting to see how the crowd reacts. Knowing you are in for a long match, a live audience can often pick its spots to react.
Not in Chicago.
From the opening bell, the crowd was right there with them. Sheamus and Bryan has a great back and forth match for twenty minutes, and the battle was intense.
Nobody is going to doubt their abilities inside the ring. The only problem with this match was the outcome being so predictable. At least in my mind, I have had Sheamus losing.
Maybe in some "fantasy booking" world?
Sorry, I live in the real world, where Bryan had no shot of winning. That does not always hurt a match's presentation, but it did here a little bit. I just couldn't believe a title change was happening.
It was furthered by the fact that Sheamus was never pinned, not did he submit. It the usual cheap tactic Bryan used for three months as champion. Now, it is all over.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Their Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Title was excellent. With the crowd fully invested, it makes things that much better. However, this match also had the same problem with the World Title feud.
I never convinced myself Jericho has a realistic shot at winning. It was definitely a long, long, long shot, but his near falls never made me jump out of my seat. Punk was going to win, just like the Celtic Warrior.
My guess comparison is to the WWE in 2005. Batista ran with the World Title for nine straight months, just like John Cena. It is going to be tough for me to believe that the WWE or World titles are changing anytime soon in 2012.
Either way, both title match were very entertaining at Extreme Rules. The champions (rightfully) retained, and it should end each feud. We will have to wait and see though...
This is what a main event should be like. Two big names going at each other and a loud crowd behind both of them. It definitely had a "real" UFC-like feel to the match.
The 17-minute match went just as most expected. Lesnar dominated and bloodied Cena for over 90 percent of the battle. While he did not "win" the match, everybody saw who truly was better last night.
Match of the Night?
If it were up to me, the match of the night competition could go to any of the three main events. That is what has made WWE events so great as of late. As a paying customer, I love that!
Not just one match performed at a high level. Not just one title match was fun. Nearly every single match had been well done and told a great story.
What do you folks think? Which match was the most entertaining last night at Extreme Rules? Let's discuss below...