Extreme Rules was a very solid all-around pay-per-view with several good matches and sensible results, but there are always a few decisions that leave fans scratching their heads. Not even Extreme Rules was able to escape that fate.
The Shield winning the United States and Tag Team Championships, Brock Lesnar going over Triple H and John Cena and Ryback fighting to a draw were perfectly logical conclusions; however, the same can't be said for a handful of other matches on the card.
Here is some further analysis on the three strangest booking decisions that prevented Extreme Rules from being even better than it could have been.
Instant Replay in Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
Most fans expected Alberto Del Rio to defeat Jack Swagger in an "I Quit" match at Extreme Rules to become No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, but the manner in which it happened was beyond bizarre.
Swagger had Del Rio in the Patriot Lock during the latter stages of the match. Del Rio didn't quit, but Zeb Colter grabbed the towel Ricardo Rodriguez was holding and threw it in the ring. This prompted referee Mike Chioda to rule Swagger the winner.
Another official ran to the ring after the decision was made, however, and told Chioda that Colter threw in the towel. Chioda then went to the timekeeper's area and requested to see a replay. After watching the replay, he restarted the match and Del Rio won with a Cross Armbreaker. Colter was none too pleased with the reversal as he vented his frustrations on Twitter.
CAN WE SAY "CONSPIRACY"?NEVER SEEN INSTANT REPLAY BEFORE?AND THE REF WHO CAME DOWN WAS A FRIEND OF DEL RIO.WTF?— Zeb Colter (@WWEZeb) May 20, 2013
Viewing a replay during a match sets a very bad precedent. The WWE can now pull that rule from out of nowhere at any time, which could become quite maddening. As annoying as that was, the worse thing is that Chioda initially called the match when a towel was thrown into the ring. An "I Quit" match can't end unless one of the competitors says that they quit, so that decision made absolutely no sense. Hopefully this entire situation was just a one-off thing that will be forgotten about moving forward.
What was the strangest booking decision at Extreme Rules?
Sheamus Defeating Mark Henry
For several weeks leading up to Extreme Rules, Sheamus and Mark Henry engaged in a bitter, heated rivalry. It involved both men exchanging backstage attacks and engaging in feats of strength such as tug of war and arm wrestling. The Celtic Warrior ultimately got the last laugh as he defeated The World's Strongest Man in a strap match. Perhaps having Sheamus win wasn't an egregious error, but it certainly wasn't the right decision.
Henry was coming off a victory over Ryback at WrestleMania XXIX, and instead of simply letting him build on that momentum, he was handed a loss. Sheamus is one of the WWE's top faces, but he wins so often that he could have easily rebounded from a defeat. He was able to touch all four corners after blasting Henry with a Brogue Kick, though, and he made sure Henry heard about it on Twitter.
"Sheamus has defeated The World's Strongest Man in a Strap-Match!" Quote of the night. #ExtremeRules— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) May 20, 2013
The only logical explanation for having Sheamus win is that Henry is either taking time off or perhaps leaving for good. In a WWE app exclusive following the loss, Henry stated that he was "going home." If that means that an extended or permanent break is forthcoming, then giving Sheamus the win was the right decision. If Henry is going to return soon, however, the move didn't make much sense.
Chris Jericho Defeating Fandango
It seems like no veteran in wrestling is more ready and willing to put over his opponents than Chris Jericho, so his victory over Fandango at Extreme Rules came as a surprise to many. Fandango defeated Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX in his first match, but his progress was somewhat halted by Jericho on Sunday.
That doesn't mean Fandango can't bounce back from a loss, but most wrestling fans are probably in agreement that Fandango would have benefited from the win much more than Y2J.
Jericho has lost the bulk of his matches since returning to the WWE at the Royal Rumble, but he has put on a great show and has been one of the company's most consistent in-ring workers.
Having Jericho win seemed more like a way to reward his fans than anything. Many of Jericho's followers complain that he doesn't win enough, but that argument is no longer valid. Jericho gave a shoutout to his fans after the big victory on Twitter.
The loss won't necessarily cripple Fandango, but it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. A blow-off match against Jericho at Payback is certainly possible and a win there would pretty much erase his Extreme Rules loss. If they don't wrestle again, though, the feud ends in a stalemate.
Fandango doesn't have to win every match he's in; however, a triumph at Extreme Rules would have given him the decisive edge in his rivalry with Jericho.
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