WWE Extreme Rules 2012
April 29th, 2012
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
April 29th, 2012
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Just when you thought it couldn't get any bigger than Rock/Cena at Wrestlemania last month, here we are less than a month later with the in-ring wrestling return of newly returned Brock Lesnar against John Cena in our main event tonight in an Extreme Rules match. Throw in several Wrestlemania rematches like Sheamus/Bryan, Jericho/Punk, and Kane/Orton that all have gimmicks and look to get time, and this looks like a pretty solid show on paper. We're in smark haven Chicago tonight (or Rosemont, rather) and this show has been highly anticipated since Lesnar's post-Mania return, so let's get under way with the pre-show streaming live on YouTube.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and Matt Striker
Pre-Show WWE United States Title Match
Santino Marella © vs. The Miz
I know it's old news at this point but boy has Miz fallen down the card. He comes out with a mic before the match to complain about being on the pre-show this year when he main evented this show last year is interrupted by Santino before he can get his catch-phrase out. Santino low-bridges Miz to start and sends him out of the ring. Miz narrowly avoids the Cobra back inside and bails for a breather. He boots Santino in the face and then follows up with a high knee. Running clothesline in the corner from Miz and he follows with a double axe handle off the top for a two count. He knees Santino over the apron but gets caught with a shot to the gut on his way back into the ring. Santino starts his comeback, hitting the splits before following with the hip-toss/diving headbutt combo. Santino tries for The Cobra but Miz blocks it. Miz misses a clothesline in the corner and Santino nails him with the Cobra to retain at 4:39. Your typical quickie pre-show match here, but Santino always does a good job to get the fans fired up to start the show. Poor Miz. *1/2
Backstage during the pre-show we see Eve Torres and Teddy Long alongside Cody Rhodes and Big Show and an EXTREME roulette wheel (all rights reserved, JD Dunn) to pick what stipulation their IC title match will have later. Teddy spins the wheel and it lands on a Tables Match. Now onto the main show.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T
Falls Count Anywhere Match
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Lots of brawling to start from these two as Kane sends Orton to the floor early for a near fall on the floor. Kane grabs a lead pipe from under the ring but Orton cuts him off in the ring before he can use it and then grabs it and nails Kane with it a few times, bumping him back out to the floor. Both men start brawling into the crowd now, which you knew was coming. Orton knees Kane against a barricade for his own two count and the crowd's strongly behind him here. Kane bodyslams him on the concrete and then hits a nice running dropkick for two. They make their way out of the crowd over to the entrance ramp now where Orton hits a dropkick of his own on the concrete. Kane blocks an RKO attempt with a big boot. Both men begin brawling backstage now and I'm having flashbacks to your standard Attitude Era brawl. Backstage Zack Ryder pops up out of nowhere to jump Kane, though his punches only serve as a distraction for Orton to give him a backbreaker and don't actually do any damage. Kane tosses Orton into a series of steel pipes and then slams him into a doorway. Finally they make heir way back to the ring and "YES!" chants break out with every blow Randy delivers. Kane no-sells a clothesline but eats a powerslam. Orton grabs a steel chair and waffles Kane with it a half dozen or so times. The action spills back outside the ring as Randy strips the commentary table before giving Kane his trademark elevated DDT off of the table, but it only gets a two count. Kane blocks the RKO again and sends Orton into the steel post for another hot near fall. Kane tries to go for his top rope clothesline but Orton crotches him and superplexes him back into the ring. Kane blocks the RKO for a third time and gives him the chokeslam, but Orton barely manages to kick out as the crowd really bought into that near fall. Kane tries for a tombstone on the steel chair, but Orton wriggles out of his grip and gives him the RKO on the chair for the win at 16:46. This one took a bit to get going as the first portion of the match was mainly brawling but once they returned back to ringside and started trading hot near falls this one picked up in a hurry. Hopefully this puts an end to this feud, and if so they went out with a good one. ***1/4
Backstage Eve and John Laurinaitis toast with champagne that Teddy Long serves them. Teddy's ridiculously oversized name-tag is pretty funny. Johnny answers a cell phone call from Triple H after the toast and takes off to talk privately.
"The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler
Bonus match time, but what a freaking waste of the pure money that is Ziggler. Big "Let's Go Ziggler!" chant starts up from the smarks. Jack Swagger is outside the ring and briefly distracts Clay long enough for Dolph to dropkick him out the ring and allow Swagger to give him a football tackle behind the ref's back. Ziggler applies his sleeper hold back in the ring but Clay tosses him off eventually. Clay blocks a suplex with a gourdbuster and blocks the sleeper hold again with a stiff headbutt before finishing Ziggler off with the What the Funk splash at 4:17. Unless they plan on pushing Clay to the upper midcard and into the main event (not likely), I hate that they just fed Ziggler to him like he was a jobber. Clay is quickly starting to outstay his welcome and the crowd was not into him at all here, chanting for Ziggler the entire match. *
WWE Intercontinental Title Tables Match
Big Show © vs. Cody Rhodes
Total domination from Show to start as usual, airing Cody out with a huge back body drop that might have legit sent him 10 feet into the air and out to the floor. Show sets up a table outside the ring and then beal tosses Cody like a sack of potatoes. Show sets up another table in a corner in the ring but when he tries to toss Cody through it, he leaps off it and nails Show with a knee. Show continues the beatdown on Cody outside the ring before tossing yet another table into the ring. He slips on the apron while trying to get back into the ring though and out of instinct puts his foot back on a table set up near the apron to break his fall, putting his foot through the table. Show looks like he just stepped on a priceless heirloom as the ref calls for the bell, giving Cody the win and the IC title back at 4:36. After the match Show spears Cody and chokeslams him through a table before press slamming him out of the ring through ANOTHER table. While I'm not a fan of this feud, they worked this match perfectly as Cody gets the title back in a fluke after Show dominated the entire match. That last table bump from Cody was nasty as well. *3/4
Daniel Bryan is backstage with Matt Striker. The three reasons Bryan is going to win his match tonight? 1: Bryan gets more chicks than Sheamus. 2: Bryan's beard is far manlier than Sheamus' will ever be, and 3: his stomach isn't full of corned beef. Bryan takes a shot at the Chicago crowd by saying they think too highly of themselves before leading them in a "YES!" chant. A sulking AJ watches on in the shadows as Bryan walks off. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing?
World Heavyweight Title 2/3 Falls Match
Sheamus © vs. Daniel Bryan
20 minutes or bust damnit. Sheamus is rocking a spiffy new "18 Seconds" t-shirt. Nice feeling out process to start with both men locking up and Sheamus nearly hits the Brogue Kick early. Sheamus catches Bryan right on his shoulders and hits the Finlay roll for a near fall. He rolls through a roll-up attempt from Bryan right into a nice Texas Clover Leaf submission as Bryan is barely able to get the rope break. Bryan back-flips out of the corner and hits a big clothesline on Sheamus before dropkicking him out to the floor. He tries the running knee off the apron but Sheamus catches him and dumps him spine-first into the barricade. Back in the ring Bryan works a variation of a bow and arrow hold on Sheamus and then goes all Destroyer on his ass by bending and twisting his fingers while he's in the hold. That's old-school right there. Bryan transitions into a hammerlock and then hits the Irishman with another dropkick. Stiff European uppercuts from Bryan and he chokes Sheamus over the second rope much to the referee's chagrin (he has until five, didn't you know?). Sheamus starts to catch his second wind now, nailing Bryan with a high knee lift before laying in the ten hammer-fists on Bryan in-between the ropes. Fallaway slam gets Sheamus a two count but he looks a bit gassed. Bryan tries for a top-rope frankensteiner but Sheamus holds on as Bryan crashes to the mat and then nails him with a diving shoulder-block off the top for another near fall. Bryan avoids a suplex attempt from the apron and low-bridges Sheamus back out of it. He sets up for a tope but Sheamus cuts him off with a forearm. Bryan rolls through the Celtic Cross for another near fall and then tries for the YES! Lock, but Sheamus fights it off before getting sent shoulder-first into the steel post. Bryan goes right to work on the shoulder now, slamming it repeatedly into the post. Bryan goes crazy kicking Sheamus in the shoulder while he's caught in the ropes and won't stop despite the ref's five count, so the ref winds up DQing him to give Sheamus the first fall at about 14:39, which the crowd doesn't like much.
Bryan doesn't seem to mind the DQ as the damage has been done to the shoulder and he goes right for the YES! Lock. Sheamus can't quite make it to the ropes but he won't tap out either, so Bryan just cranks away on the hold until Sheamus presumably passes out. The ref calls for the bell and awards Bryan the second fall via stoppage at 16:39, evening the match at one fall apiece.
Bryan leads the crowd in some glorious "YES!" chanting while a trainer comes into the ring to check on Sheamus. Eventually the Celtic Warrior wakes up and nods that he's ready for the third fall. Bryan charges in on him but Sheamus nails him with an awkward Brogue Kick out of the corner. Sheamus takes too long to cover him though and Bryan kicks out at two. Sheamus is still favoring his shoulder so Bryan goes back to targeting it with kicks before he NAILS Sheamus in the temple with a stiff kick for another hot near fall. Both men jockey for position on the top rope until Bryan sends Sheamus off and tries for a huge diving headbutt, but Sheamus avoids it at the last second and then gives him the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus hits Bryan with another Brogue Kick and that's enough to get the pin and the decisive fall to retain at 22:56. Finally these two get to work a long match and what do ya know, they deliver an absolute war. Great heat, smart psychology, and they managed to put over the heel cunning of Bryan while still making Sheamus look like a total badass, this was the intense encounter we all wanted at Wrestlemania. Excellent match. ****
Ryback vs. Aaron Relic/Jay Hatton
Another EXTREME bonus squash, goodie. Huge Goldberg chant for Ryback to start as he has not one, but two jobbers to squash tonight. He completely dismantles both of the dorks obviously. He does hit a neat backpack chinbreaker before finishing with his stomping Samoan Drop at 1:51. The whole jobber squashing thing has gotten old pretty quickly to be honest, but atleast Ryback threw something new into his usual three or four moves. The Great Khali and Santino watched on from backstage laughing at this whole thing by the way, if you cared. 1/4*
Backstage Matt Striker is with CM Punk. Nice mini pop for him here as he promises to put Jericho to sleep in their match in front of 20,000 of his closest friends. Little under 15,000, but close enough Punk.
WWE Title Chicago Street Fight Match
CM Punk © vs. Chris Jericho
Punk's family is in attendance tonight in the front row apparently, and he's rocking an awesome new Misfits-inspired t-shirt. Both guys are rocking jeans in old-school street fight fashion, which is a nice touch. Total brawl to start just as you'd expect and Punk grabs a kendo stick early which brings out a surprisingly loud "ECW!" chant. Punk gets some licks in but then Jericho nabs it from him and gets some of his own in as well before dropkicking Punk out to the floor. Jericho sends Punk into the time-keeper's section and lays in some lefts and rights. They brawl back into the ring where Punk misses his trademark Muay Thai knee in the corner and tumbles nastily out to the floor. Jericho starts pounding on Punk right in front of his sister, trash talking her, when she slaps him right in the face. Jericho tries to get a piece of her but Punk makes the save and flips out on him, tossing the covers off the commentary tables and then bodyslamming Jericho through one of them as if it were a table. That was a brutal outburst from Punk, because as everyone knows, you don't fuck with a man's sister. Jericho blocks a piledriver attempt with a back body drop. Jericho grabs another one of the other table covers and shatters the wood over Punk's back before tossing him back into the ring for a near fall. Punk fires off a big backdrop suplex and then hangs Jericho over the top rope. He tries to springboard back into the ring but slips slightly and Jericho grabs a kendo stick and goes to town on him. He grabs a beer from under the ring and spills it out on Punk. He grabs another one and takes a swig but now Punk's got his second wind and he's armed with a kendo stick. He nails Jericho with it between his knees and then hits a nice swinging neckbreaker. Muay Thai knee/bulldog combo from Punk and then he tries for the GTS, but Jericho escapes and tries for the Walls of Jericho, which Punk escapes out of and counters with a powerslam. Both men jockey for position on the top rope until Punk knocks Jericho off and then hits the Macho Man elbow for another hot near fall. Jericho hits a bulldog and tries for the Lionsault, but Punk catches him and tries for the GTS again, which Jericho once again escapes from. Jericho sends Punk face first into a steel chair set up in the corner and then rolls him up for two. Jericho fires off a desperate Codebreaker on Punk and then locks him into the Walls of Jericho, but it's a street fight so there's no rope breaks. Punk has to improvise and grab a fire extinguisher from underneath the ring, spraying it in Jericho's face. Punk kicks Jericho out of the ring onto the Spanish announcer's table, so Punk goes to the top rope and hits the Macho Man elbow all the way to Jericho through the table! He nearly slipped on that (sick) spot but saved himself. Back in the ring Punk tries for the pin but Jericho kicks out, so Punk locks him into the Anaconda Vice! Jericho is writhing in pain but manages to grab a nearby kendo stick and batter Punk with it three times to break up the submission. Punk grabs a chair but Jericho blasts it right back in his face with another Codebreaker. Jericho tries to give Punk his own GTS, but Punk escapes the hold, sends Jericho into the corner, and blasts him with the Go to Sleep to pick up the win and retain his title at 25:14. This one lived up the billing for once as this was just as brutal and red hot as some of the famous Chicago street fight's in years past. Just an absolutely brutal, red hot match with some creative and killer bumps spread through-out perfectly, this reminded me of some of the best Attitude Era brawls. ****
Backstage Beth Phoenix wants to wrestle Nikki Bella, but Eve tells her she's not medically cleared. The Bellas think they have the night off, but Eve tells them Nikki still has to wrestle. Don't worry though, not against Kharma (rats).
WWE Diva's Title Match
Nikki Bella © vs. Layla
And her surprise opponent is a returning Layla, which is so very random. Layla gets some nice kicks in but Brie trips her up behind the ref's back from outside the ring and Nikki targets her surgically repaired knee. Layla hits a clothesline and then a nifty flying cross body off the ropes and then they trade sloppy cradles. The twins make the switch behind the refs back as Brie slides in now but eats a nasty neckbreaker from Layla and that's enough to give her the title at 2:28, ending Nikki Bella's legendary reign. Obvious piss-break match here, which there's nothing wrong with after a brutal street fight. I assume Layla is just a placeholder until Kharma eats her on RAW one of these weeks. 3/4*
Extreme Rules Match
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
Oh yes, and now for the money match we've all been waiting for. Cole actually does a good job of listing off all of Lesnar's accomplishments in the WWE and UFC. Cena charges on Lesnar but Brock takes him down and starts laying in NASTY stiff elbows on Cena, who's already bleeding legit from them now as Brock gives him a stiff clothesline. Well that's one hell of a way to start a match. The ref wants to check Cena's cut but he's right back up and grabs a waist-lock on Brock, determined to out-wrestle the former NCAA champion. Brock lays in some more punches and the ref finally gets a chance to check on the blood as here come's the doctor. For once stopping a match for blood actually works here though as it just gives Brock time to stew and milk the crowd some more like a total badass. Cena gets back up and tries to take Lesnar down, but Lesnar takes him down in his guard and lays in more punches. The doctor checks on the cut again but Cena fires right back up and gets Brock up in the AA position, but Brock counters out into a sick German suplex! He rolls through and delivers another German suplex for good measure. I'm a firm believer that one can never have enough German suplexes. Cena manages to take down Brock in a football tackle but also takes out the ref in the process, and Brock just turns around and tackles Cena back viciously to the mat. Brock takes it to the next level by smearing some of Cena's blood on his chest and even tasting it! Lesnar starts cranking away on a kimura lock on Cena before tossing him into the steel post. Brock grabs Cena's steel chain and wraps it around Cena's legs while he knees him in the gut. He tells Cena to get up and Cena barely does only for Lesnar to take his head off with another clothesline. Brock manages to tie Cena's legs and the chain up with the steel post so that he's hanging upside down now in the tree of woe position. Cena manages to escape the predicament and fire off a few shots at Lesnar, but Brock sends him into the steel steps. Lesnar tosses the ref back in the ring which gives Cena enough time to catch his breath and try for the AA again, but Lesnar counters into the F-5! He knocked the referee out again with Cena's legs in the delivery of the move though, so another referee has to sprint down to the ring and of course only gets a two count. Brock doesn't like that, so he nails the referee and then tosses the steel steps into the ring. He locks Cena back into the nasty kimura lock again on top of the steps now and Brock is really cranking away on the hold in almost shoot fashion. Cena manages to counter with a spinebuster onto the steel steps and he tries for the top rope leg drop, but Brock moves and Cena nearly kills himself bumping between the mat and the steps. Lesnar just stands on the steps running in place, taking it all in. Cena manages to get back up to the apron only for Brock to leap off the steel steps with a flying leg lariat over the top rope that takes both men nastily to the floor. There's that crazy reckless "Yeah I can do a shooting star press, want to see?" attitude we all loved about him. Brock looks like he might have tweaked his knee but he just gets right back up and laughs it off. Lesnar tries for the same leaping leg lariat move off the steps but this time Cena meets his face directly with his fist wrapped in his steel chain! Now Lesnar is busted open and Cena is going wild, beating his chest like a madman. Brock can barely get back to his feet and Cena gives him the Attitude Adjustment on top of the steel steps as the ref counts to three and CENA WINS at 17:43. I've heard a lot of outrage on the web about Cena winning here, but Lesnar DESTROYED him for nearly twenty minutes before Cena got the fluke win and Lesnar isn't seen as infallible as he was during his first run/debut.. This was one of the most brutal flat out fights I've seen in a wrestling ring in a long time, and even had a longtime fan like myself questioning whether certain spots were "shoot" because they looked so damn real. This was like an old school UWFi match where two guys would stiff each other so hard they'd break bones, and to see that kind of a match worked in a WWE ring in itself was incredible, nevermind all of the crazy heat, the hard work from both men, how great Lesnar looked, or how great some of the actual wrestling sequences themselves were. Serious Match of the Year Candidate. ****3/4
After that war, Cena gets on the mic and is holding his arm, which looks like it might be legit broken or out of it's socket. He says that he might get sent home for speaking his mind, but he doesn't care. He says he knows that this is CM Punk's town but it's also a wrestling town, and he's damn proud to have just fought that war in front of a Chicago crowd (which gets a monster pop). John says he might have to take a vacation for what he just did but he doesn't care because atleast if he's going out he's going out with a bang. For such a smark heavy crowd, Cena gets another huge pop to end the show and I'd say he was firmly cheered more than booed tonight in landslide fashion for once. So it looks as if the WWE's super secret master plan of slowly rehabilitating Cena's image with the 18-34 male demographic by having him become more and more of a freaking badass is actually working believe it or not.
Bottom Line: Wow, that was one hell of a show. That was everything Wrestlemania should have been and more. Don't get me wrong, 'Mania was a great show, but all of the marquee matches here I felt delivered in bigger and better ways than their counter-parts the month before. You've got an outstanding technical contest with Sheamus and Bryan, a brutal Attitude Era-like brawl between Jericho and Punk, and a main event so brutal and unique it has to be seen to be believed. Anytime a show has three **** matches, that there's an automatic Thumbs Up in my book. It'll be interesting to see where they go with Brock from here though.