Sunday, May 1, 2011

WWE Extreme Rules 2011

WWE Extreme Rules 2011
May 1st, 2011
St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
Attendance: 10,000*

The WWE rolls into Tampa, Florida for the all of the fallout from Wrestlemania as grudges are settled and renewed tonight in various gimmick matches. This show always seems to deliver a few entertaining contests, so hopefully this year will be no different.

Your hosts are Josh Matthews and Booker T

Last Man Standing Match
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk

Strange to see this go on first, but I'm not complaining. Punk is accompanied by Nexus (what is this, the first time we've seen them in a month?) but the Anonymous GM quickly sends an email, banning them from ringside. Punk exposes one of the turnbuckle pads before the match starts in an effort to gain an advantage, and it's not long before he's trying to toss Randy head-first into the steel, unsuccessfully. Punk grabs a kendo stick from underneath the ring before long and begins pounding away at Orton's midsection with it, putting Orton down for the first attempted ten count. Punk hits a big running knee into the corner and sets a chair up in the other. Orton avoids being sent into it and both men trade attempts at their finishers until Punk gets sent head-first right into the chair in the corner, tumbling to the outside floor in the process. Punk is down all the way to a 7 count, and he gets tossed back and forth between the ring apron and guard barrier so many times you'd think he was a pinball. Orton hits his snap powerslam right there on the floor and Punk barely makes it up at 8. Back inside the ring Punk avoids the RKO and nails Orton with the GTS, but Orton is back up on his feet by a count of 9. Punk follows up with a nasty Russian leg sweep onto a steel chair, but again Randy is up at the count of 9. Punk tries for the same move again, but Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere! Punk barely makes it up by the count of 9 and tumbles back out of the ring again, where he's promptly met with a clothesline over the guardrail from Randy. Punk wraps a steel chair around Orton's neck though and slams him throat-first into the steel post. Ouch, that always looks painful. Orton is back up by 9 though. Punk tries for the GTS on top of the announce table, which makes zero sense if you really think about it since the move wouldn't put him through the table and he's basically just getting the same impact on a higher ground. Orton counters anyways with the RKO though, and the table still doesn't break. Orton looks to hit the Punt on Punk next, but Punk counters and slams Randy face-first on the steel steps. Back in the ring Punk looks to leap off the top rope with a kendo stick, but Orton leaps to his feet with a kendo stick of his own and just canes the shit out of him repeatedly. Punk is limp on the top rope and he gets nailed with an RKO all the way off the top rope from Orton! Both men are out but Orton is able to get back to his feet at the count of 9 and Punk is counted out, giving Randy the win at 19:26. This was excellent stuff from start to finish and while Punk continuously losing every single month (I believe it's been a year now since he last won a match on PPV) is starting to get old, losing to a guy like Orton doesn't damage him at all. This was their best encounter yet, a fun and well worked LMS match with some nice weapon use and a sick finish. ***¾

Backstage Sheamus complains to Teddy Long about being booked in a last-minute tables match with Kofi Kingston. Not because he has to wrestle, but because he doesn't think Kofi is from the United States, and he wants to see his birth certificate. Yikes, Vince taking a shot at Trump? I'm shocked.

United States Title Tables Match
© vs. Kofi Kingston

This is a last minute addition to the card, as I guess the Daniel Bryan feud is officially over for Sheamus. Lots of fisticuffs to start off (yeah, I'm bringing that word back). Kofi quickly sets up a table on the outside and sets Sheamus up on it for a splash, but the Irishman quickly gets back to his feet and tosses Kofi into the barricade. Sheamus sets up a table of his own and tries for the Celtic Cross on Kofi through the table, but Kingston counters out quickly. Sheamus hits a slingshot shoulder-block back into the ring. He sets another table up in the corner inside the ring and tries for a spinebuster, but Kofi counters with a sunset flip and avoids the table yet again. Kofi launches himself towards the table but Sheamus moves and nearly hits him with the Celtic Cross, but again Kofi escapes. He eats a huge bicycle kick on the apron but smartly jumps over the table set-up on the outside so as not to lose the match. Back inside Sheamus tries to powerslam Kofi off the top rope through a table, but yes, Kofi again counters. Sheamus can't deliver a suplex off the apron on Kofi and Kingston nails him with the Trouble in Paradise! He goes to the top rope and hits the Boom Drop off the top on Sheamus right through a table for the win and the title at 9:11! This had to be one of the most smartly worked tables matches I've seen in ages, with the focus actually being on both men trying to put each other through a table, and constantly countering and evading that table at the last minute. Too often these kinds of matches descended into mindless brawls, but this match had an actual logical flow to it. The action was good through-out and the finish was great as well, so all around quite the "bonus" match. ***

Backstage Todd Grisham catches up with R-Truth, who smells a conspiracy, but apparently can't spell the word. Truth lets us know the one thing he can't stand is a thief, setting his sights on John Morrison obviously. Might as well hold up a large sign that says "Truth will be interfering in the main event" while we're at it guys.

Country Whippin' Match
Jack Swagger/Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler/Jim Ross

Cole comes out wrapped in bubble wrap and gets on the mic to brag about his journalism accomplishments, claiming to have been "at Waco" as well as in Yugoslavia during their civil war. Credit to Cole if that's actually true, and I'll get started on the Waco jokes ASAP. This feud should have ended a month ago, but here we are. Everyone has their own leather strap to whip each other with, but Cole is covered in bubble wrap so the straps seemingly have no effect on him. A right hand to the jaw still works though, and King quickly "unwraps" Cole and whips him until Swagger tags in. Lawler gets beaten down for a bit until the tag is finally made to JR, who pops the crowd by whipping away at Cole. He tries an ankle lock but Swagger breaks it up only to get a low blow from JR. Cole rolls up JR for the win however moments later at 7:02. Boring and Cole wins again, meaning we're clearly going to get atleast another month of this feud. This does not please me. *

Backstage John Cena cuts a quick by-the-numbers promo with Todd Grisham.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio

The video package for this match is simply superb, one of the best the WWE team has put together in a long time. Rhodes is starting to really come into his own in this new twisted Dr. Doom-like heel character, and this feud with Rey has put him over huge so far. Rhodes tells everyone they're "EXTREME-ly ugly" and has some lackeys pass out paper bag masks to fans in the audience. Rey is hot to start, hitting a flying headscissors on Cody out on the floor to start. Cody fires back with a dropkick though and gets the first near fall of the match in the aisle. They brawl up the stage and Rhodes is sent face-first into the titan tron display. Cody tries to escape by hopping off the stage, but Rey follows him with a big running seated senton off the stage for a two count. Rey is crotched on a guard barrier though and Rhodes clotheslines him off it for another near fall as both men begin working their way deeper into the crowd. They fight up the stairs and Rhodes locks on a Boston crab on Rey over the railing in a nifty little spot. They continue fighting up the stairs and into the backstage area as Rey tackles Cody into a pair of garbage cans. Rey hits a cross-body off of a concession stand and the fans backstage start chanting "This is Awesome!". They brawl back down the stairs and through the crowd and eventually make their way back to ringside. Rey gets slammed face-first into the steel steps for a near fall and Booker is in disbelief on commentary. In an unintentionally funny moment, Rhodes just picks up Rey like he was a child and tosses him into the ring. Rey hits a springboard cross-body for another near fall though. He hits a bizarre diving, spear-like headbutt off the top on Rhodes and tries for a springboard leg-drop, but Cody moves out of the way. Rhodes plants Mysterio on the mat with the Alabama Slam for a close two count. I always mark out seeing Cody use the Alabama Slam, showing how much Bob Holly taught him during their tag teaming days. Rey channels his inner Muta next and sprays a green mist right into Cody's eyes, giving him the opportunity to hit the 619 and a springboard splash for the win at 11:43. Another flat-out fun contest here and one that almost felt like a throwback to some of the fun hardcore matches of the Attitude era, with both men brawling into the back and using their surroundings to their advantage before finishing up back in the ring. Another good match in this feud. ***¼

Backstage Layla apologizes to the divas for her past actions and Kelly Kelly gives her some encouragement for her match against Michelle McCool tonight.

No DQ Loser Leaves WWE Match
Michelle McCool vs. Layla

Rumor is that McCool is looking to take some time off to be at home with Mark, so I expect her to lose here. Michelle attacks before the bell even rings, kicking Layla around for a near fall, but Layla counters back with some rights and lefts. A portion of this crowd is, surprisingly, behind Layla here. Michelle tries to sucker Layla in with a fake apology and nails her with a nice belly-to-belly suplex. McCool misses a boot to the barricade but is able to toss Layla off the barricade by her hair. Layla's offense just looks pitiful in this match and McCool practically looks like Manami Toyota in comparison to her. Layla kind-of hits a diamond dust but she quickly eats a superkick from McCool for another near fall. McCool looks to set up for her Styles Clash rip-off, but Layla escapes and nails her with a neckbreaker, but McCool gets her foot on the rope at the count of two. McCool nails Layla with her Styles Clash ripoff and tries for the cover, but Layla cradles her and gets the upset win at 5:23. McCool is gone from the WWE, and no one cares. This was surprisingly decent thanks to McCool carrying Layla around and making her offense look formidable. Layla was exposed here though, and any hopes of her being a big babyface in the divas division are dead I'd say. **

After the match Michelle McCool is crying int he ring when suddenly we hear the sound of a laughing woman...and it's the debut of Aweesome Kong AKA Kharma as she will now be known as! The fans seem in awe over the size of Kong as she hits the ring and nails McCool with a modified gourdbuster and cackles away like an evil witch as the divas look on in shock from the back. This would have been better if Kharma was beating up, say, a face, but it's a minor complaint. Glad to see Kong/Kharma finally making her TV debut and I look forward to her running roughshod over the entire women's division.

World Heavyweight Title Ladder Match
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio

Another excellent video package to hype this one. As a huge fan of Christian's for nearly thirteen years now, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't emotionally invested in this one before the bell even rings. Cole puts over Del Rio's legit fighting background before the match. Mirko Cro Cop says Hello Alberto. Crowd is hugely behind Christian from the get-go as you'd expect. Booker calls Christian the single most experienced ladder match wrestler in the business, which is a good point as Del Rio tosses Christian underneath the ring. Del Rio grabs a ladder and Christian comes out the other side of the ring and nails him with a dropkick onto the ladder. Back inside Christian sets up a ladder and tries to climb it but Del Rio tosses him off quickly. Cole goes back into heel mode on commentary while Del Rio sweeps Christian's legs out from under him, slamming him into a ladder. Del Rio sets up another ladder between the ring apron and the announcer's table. Del Rio blocks a splash off the top onto the ladder and tosses Christian off the top rope, but he lands right on a ladder and hits a big cross-body off the ladder on Del Rio anyways! Back inside the ring Christian tries for the Unprettier, but settles for launching Alberto into a ladder in the corner instead. Christian climbs the ladder again but Del Rio delivers a huge armbreaker off the ladder to him! Del Rio eats a face-full of ladder (step-ladder to be specific) moments later though and Christian once again tries to climb but Del Rio catches him in a powerbomb that Christian counters with a hurricanrana. He backdrops Del Rio back into the ring back-first onto a steel ladder. Christian goes to the top with a ladder but Del Rio nails him with the running enziguri and Christian falls to the mat on top of the ladder he was just wielding. Christian hits a spear on Del Rio and the place explodes. I sincerely hope those people who thought Christian wouldn't get over as a babyface are watching this match. Christian climbs the ladder but Del Rio grabs him and hangs him from the inside of the ladder while he climbs. Christian tips the ladder over though and Del Rio falls to the canvas. Del Rio is right back up though, slamming the step ladder into Christian's face and setting him up on the ladder between the apron and table again. Del Rio goes for an elbow drop off the top but Christian moves and Del Rio takes an absolutely sickening bump on the ladder! That was a CRAZY bump. Christian sets up the ladder back in the ring and climbs to the top to grab the title, but Brodus Clay hits the ring and pulls Christian down from the top. Christian disposes of him quickly but eats a big dropkick from Del Rio. Del Rio locks in the armbar finisher on Christian's arm through the small step ladder, but there are no pins or submissions here obviously. Del Rio sets up a ladder and begins climbing it as the fans chant "We Want Edge!"...and here he is in a jeep, honking his horn at the entrance ramp! Christian uses the distraction to toss Del Rio off the ladder and climb to the top and grab the title for the win at 20:59. First things first, OH MY GAWD YES! Christian has finally silenced the critics and is your new World Heavyweight champion. Although things did get awkward a few times from Del Rio's inexperience in ladder matches, Christian held the whole thing together and guided his younger opponent to an entertaining match with the usual sick bumps and the sheer emotion and story of the whole thing put it over the top. Work was probably ***1/2-***3/4 ish, but the drama puts it over the top. I imagine I'll get a few e-mails over my generosity here, but I'll go ****.

WWE Tag Team Title Lumberjack Match
Big Show/Kane
© vs. Wade Barrett/Ezekiel Jackson

Either this just got added to the show ten minutes ago, or they really dropped the ball on advertising this match. Slater and Gabriel, the former champs, are part of the lumberjacks alongside a slew of curtain jerkers, jobbers, and NXT rookies. Kane is the first to taste the cruel hand of the lumberjacks, but Big Show breaks it up moments later. Kane gets nailed by Big Zeke with a clothesline though. Zeke and Kane brawl for a bit before clotheslining each other and each man tags their partner in. Show finishes Barrett clean with the choke slam moments later to retain at 4:17. Just a match to throw out there and let the fans catch their breath in-between gimmick matches. These kinds of matches are very useful, but also usually very poor. *

WWE Title Cage Match
The Miz
© vs. John Cena vs. John Morrison

Miz is rocking a new leather jacket and his badass credibility immediately goes up. Miz tries to escape as soon as the bell rings but the two Johns quickly bring him down before going into a nice sequence of moves with one another. Morrison hits a nice Russian leg sweep on Cena for a two count while Miz tries to climb out. Cena meets him up there though and nails him with a Bulldog off the top. Cena looks for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Miz hits him with the Skull Crashing Finale, but he jumps up the cage to prevent Morrison from escaping instead of trying to pin Cena. Miz nearly climbs out but Morrison and Cena both grab him and give him a double suplerplex off the top of the cage, but Miz lands RIGHT on his fucking head, taking the move awkwardly. That was a cringe-worthy bump that silences the announcers and gets multiple replays. Morrison hits a springboard flying kick to the Miz and then nails Cena with the C4 Suplex (Spanish Fly for you SAT marks) for a close two count. Cena locks on the STFU on Miz, but the Miz crawls to the cage's door and almost climbs right out. Cena tries the same and fails, so he delivers a beautiful gut wrench suplex variation to Miz instead and then climbs to the top of the cage, following John Morrison who has reached the top. Miz goes to crawl out but Morrison slams the door in his face with his feet! Morrison gets racked on top of the cage door though. Miz grabs a hold of JoMo's leg and drags him back in just in time for John Cena to give Morrison a MONKEY FLIP. What the hell, did I really just see John Cena deliver a monkey flip?! Miz nails Cena with a big DDT for a near fall while Morrison recovers. Miz scrapes Cena's face against the cage for a bit until Morrison tries to climb out, but Miz follows him to the top and hauls him back in. Morrison springboards into a front facelock on top of the cage and then slams Miz's face into the steel, sending him crashing to the mat. Cena climbs up next but gets shoved off and Morrison just sits back and hits the Starship Pain off the top of the cage on both men! Incredible visual. Morrison tries to crawl out the front door, but R-Truth runs down and nails him with a knee. Truth jumps into the cage and closes the door behind him, as apparently he didn't get the memo that he's not booked in this match. He beats down Morrison for a bit and then nails Cena with a big scissors kick! Truth hits his reverse STO finisher on Morrison and then climbs out of the cage to a chorus of boos. All three men are down for a painfully long amount of time, until finally The Miz climbs to the top, but Cena meets him up there and both men trade shots on top of the cage. Miz tries to give Cena the Skull Crushing Finale off the top, but Cena counters with a super Attitude Adjustment off the top rope and gets the win and his 10th WWE title at 19:53. This didn't look very promising on paper, but luckily these matches don't take place on paper. Morrison brought the insane high spots, Miz brought the heat, and Cena brought the wrestling to tie it all together for a great main event. ***¾

And as I type this, Osama Bin Laden has been killed by the US military, dominating all channels on my television. Christian finally wins his world title, Cena brings the gold home for the women and children, and Osama Bin Laden is dead. Now is that a feel good end to a show or what?

Bottom Line: Extreme Rules continues it's streak of being one of the most consistent WWE PPVs of the year once again as they delivered a great show here that definitely picked up the slack from Wrestlemania. Not only is this show chock full of great gimmick matches though, it's also quite the feel-good show with Christian finally achieving his dream with his best friend looking on and Cena solidifying his spot in the WWE history books with his 10th WWE title win. Extremely entertaining show, Thumbs Up.

Score: 8.5/10

*Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter September 12th, 2011 by Dave Meltzer


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