For those who didn't watch Extreme Rules, I advise you to drop whatever you are doing and immediately check it out. In my opinion, as well as the opinion of many dedicated wrestling fans, this pay-per-view event was one of the best showings of the last few years, and without a doubt out-did Wrestlemania 27. Here is an in-depth match by match review of this very satisfying event.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk (Last Man Standing Match)
This match outdid their Wrestlemania match in my opinion, and was an excellent choice as an opener. Featuring a kendo stick as the main weapon of use, this match contained lots of hard and fast hits, as well as a few creative spots. CM Punk's GTS to Randy Orton on the steel steps was brilliant, along with Randy Orton's attempt to DDT CM Punk from the barrier. And while we all may get tired of the always expected "RKO out of nowhere," Orton's finisher on the table to a disgruntled Punk was great.
Although there were a few slow spots in the mix, this match served it's purpose as a good opener, although personally, I believe that the wrong man won. With this match over, Orton goes to Smackdown with a nice momentum boost, while Punk continues his pay-per-view losing streak.
Match Rating: 3 stars
Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston (Tables Match for the United States Championship)
The WWE really needs to announce all of the matches before the event starts, especially when titles are on the line. However, despite being an unannounced and un-promoted match, it still managed to deliver. The best thing about this match was how the table was the actual focus of the match, with Kofi Kingston managing to escape death in many clever spots.
This match, thankfully, did not go into mindless fighting with no focus on the actual point of the match, and was smartly centered around the premise of "put your opponent through a table." Kingston and Sheamus both did a good job of keeping us glued to our television sets (or computers), and hopefully this match is the start of a new push for Kofi.
Match Rating: 3 stars
Michael Cole & Jack Swagger vs. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (Country Whipping Match)
Go away Michael Cole. It was funny when you were a prick on RAW, but you are getting way too much screen time. It really irks me that guys like Daniel Bryan and Ted Dibiase are kept off a pay-per-view card, while useless matches like this take up valuable time. Commentators are supposed to call matches, not fight in them. If you want to use them in angles or something, go right ahead, but don't go this far.
This match was boring, mixed with painful, and it's just aggravating to see Jack Swagger (a former World Heavyweight Champion) actually sell the offense by some of these men. With Michael Cole winning this match (which I honestly do not feel like describing), this horrible feud will most likely continue. Yay.
Match Rating: 1 star
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio (Falls Count Anywhere)
I've noticed that Rhodes' matches are usually rated either very low or very high. I'm with the latter crowd, as I found this to be one hell of a match. This match continued the pattern of Extreme Rules matches outshining their Wrestlemania 27 counterparts. Rhodes and Mysterio brawled in the ring, on the stage, through the crowd, and in a backstage area with tons of excited (and perhaps planted) fans. Maybe I'm just a sucker for old attitude era matches, but this bout really reminded me of old hardcore matches where the backstage areas were used quite commonly.
While Mysterio managed to score a win by using a move straight out Tajiri's arsenal, I'm sure that both men came out of this match looking strong, with tons of memorable spots to recall, including Mysterio's dive off of the stage onto Rhodes, as well as the awesome segment in the backstage area. Hopefully this push for Rhodes continues, as he is currently my favorite wrestler in the WWE. The promo he delivered at the beginning of the match is a testament to him being one hell of a talented superstar.
Match Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Michelle McCool vs. Layla (Loser Leaves WWE)
For everybody who had already heard the rumors, the outcome of this match was pretty predictable. Regardless, it was a pretty solid showing, with Michelle selling Layla's offense quite well. The crowd reaction was solid, and it wasn't a bad match by any means. It did, however, highlight some of Layla's faults, and showed that she'll definitely need some in-ring improvement to become a bigger player in the Diva category. Although Kharma's appearance was after the match, I'll include it in my rating.
Match Rating: 2 1/4 stars
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio (Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship)
You did it, Vince. You gave Christian the title. I will proudly say that I was jumping up and down at the finish of the match—a match that I believe should have closed the show.
Alberto really stepped up to the plate in this match, showing that he can take some big bumps. With some great chemistry between these two wrestlers, a great story to tell, as well as interference that actually helped add depth to the match, I can easily say that this was the match of the night. The ladder spots were well thought out and well executed, and at many points, I was convinced that Del Rio was going to take the title home.
Edge congratulating Christian at the end of the match was one hell of an emotional moment. The torch has officially been passed, and let's hope that Christian is given a solid reign as Champion.
Match Rating: 4 stars
Big Show & Kane vs. Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson (Tag Team Lumberjack Match for the Tag Team Championships)
I complained earlier that the WWE should announce it's matches before an event. In this case, the match just shouldn't have happened. It's depressing to see just how far Wade Barrett has fallen, but I guess it was good that he made the pay-per-view card, at least. The booking in this match was pretty damn terrible, and the lumberjacks served little-to-no purpose, with Kane and Big Show no-selling an assault and managing to get a clean win in the match.
My biggest complaint about it: where the hell was Zack Ryder?!
Match Rating: 1 star
John Cena vs. John Morrison vs. The Miz (Triple Threat Cage Match for the WWE Title)
A solid main event, in a very natural flowing and exciting match. I really liked how—much like the Tables match—the focus of the match was on the premise of the match (escape the cage to win), although I felt having a door to escape from really ruined the magic.
There are lots of great spots to recall, including Morrison's Star Ship Pain from the top of the cage, as well as the Double Suplex to the Miz (which looked like a painful botch). While I have to lower points on a few ridiculous areas, such as Morrison being able to simply drop down and win the match, but choosing not to, it still stood as a better-than-expected main event. All three guys played their part, and the R-Truth interference wasn't bad my any means (although it should have been shorter).
I am disappointed, however, that Cena took home the title. But that's a discussion for another day.
Match Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Feel free to share your opinion on this pay-per-view event, whether you agree or disagree with me. Also be sure to share what your favorite match from this pay-per-view was, along with how you feel about long walks on the beach.