After reluctantly purchasing the 2011 Extreme Rules pay-per-view and coming away fairly pleased, here are five things that would have made it that much better:
1. Announce All of the Matches
This aspect of the PPV setup is really frustrating. Someone needs to explain or demonstrate the benefits of not telling the viewers what will be on the card.
Does it create a better buyrate? Is the suspense intended to keep viewers buying even when they're not completely satisfied with the pre-purchase card, in hopes that others will compete (only to be inevitably disappointed at least some of the time)? Do they just not know what the plan is until literally that late?
Whatever it is, it doesn't seem productive and can be quite frustrating for the fan and potential viewer. Having names like Sheamus, Kingston, Big Show and Kane on the card surely would have increased the buyrate at least a bit. What was gained from keeping them off.
2. Make Layla Look Good (Since She's The One Sticking Around)
Michelle beat on Layla their entire match, only for Layla to get an out-of-nowhere pin that even surprised her out of her sleeve. If she is the one staying on TV, why not make her look better? Now, one diva is gone and the other one looks extremely weak.
Perhaps that was the trade-off for getting McCool to take a finisher from Kharma (which she did not take well—Maryse looked 10 times better the next night on Raw). Layla deserves better.
3. Keep the Falls Count Anywhere Match Where the Fans Can See It
Matches that leave the arena altogether are such a rip-off for the fan in attendance. They can still be engaging and relevant without having to leave the arena. When Cody and Rey headed out to the concession area, they were only in view of a few dozen who were out buying popcorn, leaving several thousand to watch on a monitor as if they were at home.
At least they came back out (more than Hardy and Umaga did at this same PPV a few years back—in the crowd and disappointed!), but the match could still have been just as good had they never left.
4. Get JR Out of the Damn Ring
The country-whoopin' match was awful, awful, awful. There was no payoff of seeing JR unload on Cole—what little of this they did offer was weak. He should have been removed from the match and King should have fought it alone. He still could have interfered or gotten licks in afterwards, but is the average WWE fan supposed to buy the pushing around he did of Swagger?
This is an unnecessarily frustrating part of the WWE at the moment and here's to hoping it goes away soon—not the storyline so much as the involvement of non-wrestlers.
5. Edge Should Have Been Advertised
Edge being at the PPV would have made sense—he came to see his best friend's best shot at the world title he had to vacate. Having him show up unannounced was one of those unexpected moments that instead of creating a lot of excitement instead makes a fan question, "huh?" Why is he there? (And why is he driving a jeep?)
Christian was in his corner at WMXXVII, it would only make sense for Edge to be in his at this PPV. Plus, wouldn't that sell more buys? While PPV's can be overloaded at times, that doesn't seem to be the WWE's problem right now, so if it helps, why not do it?
The big matches on the card were quite entertaining, particularly Orton-Punk. The triple threat cage match may have had a few too many close calls that were a bit unrealistic—why didn't Morrison just fall to the ground while perched on the cage door? But the title matches kept the viewer guessing and the undercard matches weren't too bad (with some nice spots—especially that Kingston leap!)
Kudos to a pretty good PPV, but until the WWE puts this writer on the staff, there will always be room for growth.