WWE Extreme Rules made its pay-per-view debut in June 2009, promising to entertain fans by having an "extreme" stipulation in each match on the card.
While several matches, including a handicap Hog pen match and a submission match between John Cena and Big Show failed to be very entertaining, the main event delivered in a big way.
Edge went into the event as the WWE World Champion. His challenge would come in the form of Jeff Hardy.
Hardy won the right to select the stipulation for the title bout, choosing a Ladder match. That was a risky decision on his part as Edge was every bit as good in those matches as he was.
Both men were part of the first two TLC matches, which are now legendary. Fans knew this would be an exciting championship contest.
For over 20 minutes, Edge and Hardy battled inside and outside the ring, using the ladders as a weapon with every opportunity they got.
Both men had several chances to climb the ladder and grab hold of the title, but the end came with both men on the ladder. In one of the most unique spots in ladder match history, Hardy was actually able to pull the legs of Edge through the rungs of the ladder, trapping him.
This allowed Hardy the time he needed to climb up and grab the title to win the match. But the night wouldn't end there.
CM Punk emerged from the backstage area, carrying with him the Money in the Bank briefcase he had won at WrestleMania XXV. In one horrific instant, a hobbled Hardy knew that Punk was cashing it in.
Hardy fought for his newly won title as best he could, but it was futile. Punk put him away to steal the title from him.
The win for Punk would mark an important time in WWE. He and Hardy continued their feud over the title.
Hardy defeated Punk by disqualification at The Bash in June before getting another shot at the title at Night of Champions in July. On that night, Hardy was able to pin Punk to win the title back.
Another rematch was scheduled for SummerSlam in August. This time, the two would do battle in a TLC match.
In one of the better main event matches in SummerSlam history, Punk took back the title that night.
On the very next episode of SmackDown (air date 8/28/09), Punk and Hardy had their final encounter, squaring off inside a steel cage. Per a pre-match stipulation, the loser would be forced to leave WWE.
Unfortunately for Hardy and his fans, that was him.
The beginning of the end of Hardy's WWE career can all be traced back to that fateful night in New Orleans in June 2009.
Punk cashing in Money in the Bank on Hardy led to one of the best rivalries in WWE over the course of the last 10 years.
The two put on multiple excellent matches. The fact that Punk touted his straight edge lifestyle while Hardy couldn't be further from that made for a very compelling story.
The key point here is the fact that Punk's win over Hardy in the steel cage on SmackDown should not only be remembered as the night Hardy left WWE, but also as the moment Punk solidified his status as a full-time main event Superstar.
Prior to that win at Extreme Rules, Punk was considered one of the best wrestlers on the roster, but he watched many other Superstars in the main event at pay-per-views despite the fact that he was a former WWE World Champion.
After dispatching Hardy, Punk formed the Straight Edge Society, a highly successful group on the SmackDown brand. After showing how good he was while leading that group, Punk went over to Raw and became WWE Champion.
He would go on to have a title reign that spanned 434 days, well over a calendar year.
Looking back now at the first main event in the history of Extreme Rules, it did lead to the eventual departure of Hardy, but more importantly, it led to the moment that Punk broke through the proverbial glass ceiling.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!