Grading Every WWE Extreme Rules Match
There had been a long buildup going into Extreme Rules, but the first pay-per-view following WrestleMania finally took place. The card was headlined by a WWE Championship match between John Cena and Ryback, as well as Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar.
With Extreme Rules came matches with, well, extreme rules. Between Last Man Standing and I Quit matches, the card was not shallow on gimmicks.
Here is a recap and letter-grade for each match on the card.
Cody Rhodes vs. the Miz
This was the pre-show match and good thing it was. The match itself was lackluster, lacked electricity and didn't even have an extreme rule-related theme.
There were a couple of real sloppy moments, but I think that had more to do with The Miz than it did with Cody Rhodes. Of course, Rhodes did the job and The Miz came away with a shallow victory.
On to the next one.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
A match with no type of an extreme rule opened the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. That makes no sense.
Anyway, the match between Fandango and Chris Jericho was solid. Fandango is not going to be confused with Bret Hart anytime soon, but he makes matches interesting with his ring psychology and ability to draw heat.
Jericho got the win after a Code Breaker from a top-rope leaping Fandango. Fandango should have probably gone over Jericho, but it will likely extend the feud to the next pay-per-view.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose
Again, there was no extreme rule in this match, but in this case, it is OK. It did not cheapen the match in any way.
Both men had great performances. Dean Ambrose is great at selling, but he also has a great ring psychology.
The Shield continues to stay strong. I have a feeling this won't be the last time Dean Ambrose wears WWE gold around his waist.
The ending was solid. Kofi Kingston missed on a Trouble in Paradise, violently bounced off the ropes and Ambrose hit his finisher.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
I never liked Strap matches for a reason. You are very restricted with what you can do.
Sheamus and Mark Henry's match was no different, as a majority of the match was full of figuring out the best way to touch the four corners instead of wrestling. Sheamus is a brawler, this was an extreme rules-themed pay-per-view and they could have had him in so many different types of matches.
The match was slow, and it could have been better if it were a more physical-themed match. Plus, Henry didn't get the win so it kind of stymies his momentum.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
What a great, intense heel promo Zeb Colter cut before the match. If he did that on a day-in, day-out basis, Swagger would get more heat than ever. Of course, targeting St. Louis for some cheap heat was a great idea (he could do it in every town).
The constant inquiring of whether either Alberto Del Rio or Jack Swagger wanted to quit by referee Mike Chioda was extremely annoying. He should have just put the mix by their mouths like I believe they did back in the day.
The match itself was a good one. It was very physical and had an interesting dimension added to it. The false finish with the towel, the replay-and-restart and finish all added some interest to the bout itself.
Del Rio won, which was kind of disappointing because a feud between Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, his former running buddy, would provide some great matches.
Either way, solid showing from both men (by the way, when did the WWE start using replay?)
Team Hell No vs. the Shield
This match was as advertised. Great action, chaos and a Shield victory made this match one of the best of the night.
Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan work so well together. Rollins sells like a pro and has a great arsenal of moves.
The ending of the match was awesome. Roman Reigns had Bryan in a Torture Rack-like position while Rollins jumped from the top rope and dug his knee into Bryan on the way down.
All in all, great match. The Shield now owns plenty of gold. Its massive push continues and deservedly so.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
The heel turn may be looming for Randy Orton. He defeated the Big Show tonight after nailing the giant with a punt, a classic villain move he used back in the day.
I had low expectations for this match, but it turned out to surprise me. Both men put on a physical, entertaining match.
I like that Orton resorted to the punt. He needs to be in the world-title picture, and the only way he will be is via heel status. Again, that may have been a foreshadowing of Orton's turn to the dark side.
Again, between the weapons and numerous physical moves, this match definitely was good.
John Cena vs. Ryback
That match really exceeded expectations. Ryback and John Cena put on a convincing match with a number of power moves and the nasty use of weapons.
The booking was smart as well. Having neither man win will not only extend the feud, but it will protect both guys as top-billers who will continue to fight moving forward.
Ryback is constantly improving, and he drew some good heat tonight. It is only a matter of time before he gets his first-ever WWE title.
Of course, he will have to wait for now. The ending of the match was brutal and fitting for Extreme Rules.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar-Triple H had its moments, but it was far from the best match of the night. It was slowed down by the fact Lesnar was selling a knee injury the entire match.
I actually thought that Triple H was going to win this match, which wouldn't have been right. The fact Lesnar pulled off the win in brutal fashion was the right way to go, as Lesnar is going to stick around and wrestle while Triple H continues his desk job.
John Cena-Ryback should have ended the show, but I suppose this was OK. This should end the feud, hopefully.