Monday, May 19, 2014

WWE Extreme Rules 2014

WWE Extreme Rules 2014
May 4th, 2014
Izod Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Attendance: 15,907

Well we're a month removed from YES!lemania and though Bryan has taken a bit of a backdrop in his feud with Kane to the Shield and Evolution's feud, this looks to be a solid show on paper and the one gimmick show a year where the guys really try to go all out. I've heard good things about this show so let's get to it.

Pre-Show WeeLC Match
El Torito (w/ Los Matadores) vs. Hornswoggle (w/ 3 Man Band)
Well this should certainly be interesting if anything. We're joined at ringside by miniature versions of the commentary team with their own table and headsets and everything. Even the ring announcer is a little person.Torito immediately sends Swoggle to the floor with a headscissors and wipes out the entire 3 Man Band with a tope. Swoggle goes for one of his own but can't quite clear the ropes. Torito sets up Swoggle in the corner for the Bronco Buster off of a mini chair. Swoggle hits a clothesline and.asks for a mini-ladder from his teammates. He sets it up and misses a splash. Swoggle comes back with a powerbomb as take an ad break. When we return both stables are just brawling at ringside and one of the Matadores gets back dropped through a mini-table. Back in the ring Swoggle hits Rolling Thunder with a mini-chair. The action spills out to the floor where Swoggle sets up Torito on the mini-commentary table and then elbow drops Torito through it! 3 Man Band sets up another mini table for Swoggle in the ring and Slater tries holding Torito so Swoggle can give him a chair shot, but Torito moves and Slater winds up sailing off the apron through 3 more mini-tables! Although there might have been a regular sized one in there, it's hard to tell. Back in the ring Torito climbs up the ladder while Los Matadores hoist Jinder Mahal on thei shoulders so that Torito can dive off the ladder and give him a tower of doom clothesline through another two mini-tables with two mini-ladders on top of them! These little guys are bumping their asses off. Swoggle sets Torito up on a regular sized table on the other side of the ring for McIntyre, but the little guy escapes and nobody's home for Drew's somersault plancha through the table! Finally Torito wins it with a springboard seated senton through another mini-table at 10:53. This was shockingly awesome, it's rare for what is essentially a comedy match here to deliver so well, but they nailed it here. It was funny, and it was definitely extreme, and reminded one of an ECW show in the way that they broke about nine tables in the opener. Way more fun than it had any right being. ***

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield

Triple Threat Elimination Match
Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
Glad to see Cesaro getting the rocket push with Heyman as his manager now. All three men exchange blows at the bell until Swagger slams Cesaro. Van Dam hits a springboard thrust kick on Swagger and then monkey flips Cesaro on top of Swagger. Cesaro catches Van Dam in mid air off a cross body attempt and Swagger kicks them both down. Swagger gets sent out to the floor and then Cesaro joins him after a sunset flip powerbomb off the apron from RVD. Back inside Swagger gets a two count off of a wheelbarrow suplex on RVD. Swagger Bomb gets another two count but then Swagger is met by Cesaro with a spinebuster and the big swing, which RVD breaks up with a kick. Van Dam looks for the Frog Splash but Swagger gives him a big belly to belly suplex off the top and then slaps on the Patriot Lock. Cesaro breaks the hold up with a springboard European uppercut. Swagger tries for the top but Cesaro uppercuts him again and then superplexes him back into the ring from the apron when out of nowhere RVD comes flying off the top with the Five Star Frog Splash on Swagger to follow up and eliminates Swagger at 6:27! Cesaro gets a two count on RVD off an uppercut and them delivers a trio of gut-wrench suplexes in Guerrero fashion. Van Dam tries for a spin kick but Cesaro counters with a German suplex for another close two count. RVD tries to catch his breath outside the ring but Cesaro meets him with a flying double axe handle and then tosses him torso-first into the barricade. Cesaro tries climbing the barricade but gets knocked off and draped over it so RVD can hit the flying spinning heel kick over the apron for our first "ECW!" chant. Rolling Thunder and the split legged moonsault both get Rob two close near falls, so he goes out under the ring for some plunder. Van Dam grabs a trash can but Cesaro just dropkicks it right into him, crushing it. Van Dam uses the trash can to hit the Van Daminator on Cesaro and then tries for the Five Stat Frog Splash but finds only the trash can instead. Cesaro gives Van Dam the Neutralizer onto the crushed trash can for the win at 12:34. This was pretty solid stuff with all three men's styles meshing together cohesively, and there were some nice spots, but it felt lacking in places and a bit light on the plunder when the crowd was hungry for it. Still a good way to kick off the PPV. **3/4

Backstage Stephanie McMahon warns Daniel Bryan that she can't control Kane and that she doesn't want to see him hurt so she offers for him to not compete at all and just surrender the WWE title. Bryan tells her to get out of his face and that he's going to walk in and out tonight with the belt. Steph thinks he'll be walking out Kane's bitch instead.

Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth/Xavier Woods
Before the match begins Lana dedicates the match to Vladimir Putin, getting some nice heat. Putin may be bad news for global peace but he's good news for WWE creative, who can milk the old Russian heel character again. Woods eats a big axe kick from Rusev before the match even begins and then delivers a nice overhead belly to belly suplex to him outside the ring. Back inside the bell officially rings and Rusev tosses Truth into the corner. Truth gets some petty offense in and then hits a dropkick from the second rope and a corkscrew elbow. The axe kick gets him a two count. Back on his feet Rusev nails Truth with a spinning heel kick. Spinning sidewalk slam from Rusev is followed up by the Camel Clutch to make Truth tap out at 2:53. After the match Rusev delivers a fallaway slam to the already hurt Woods on the outside. Rusev shows some promise, but this didn't belong on PPV. Truth and Woods could be a solid boost to the tag division with so many teams having broken up recently. *

Backstage Renee Young is with Evolution. Hunter talks about the 31 World championships between them and says their egos are well deserved. Orton says tonight the Shield will perish.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Big E © vs. Bad News Barrett
Barrett informs us that we're all going to be struck down with a debilitating sickness but even that will pale in comparison to the pain Big E will feel when Barrett wins the title tonight. Shoulder block from Big E sends Barrett to the floor at the bell. Outside the ring E sends him into the turnbuckle and then gives him the old football tackle into the post. Barrett catches E with a stiff kick off the apron and then drops an elbow from off the apron on him. E blocks a suplex with one of his own and then Barrett counters into a suplex of his own as well. Barrett gives E a big boot while he's tied up in the opes. Big overhead belly to belly suplex from E. Another belly to belly followed by a clothesline sends Barrett to the apron, where E spears him right off of it to the floor! Love that spot. Barrett hits the Winds of Change for a two count back inside. Barrett hits the Waste Land and that gets him only two as well. E blocks the Bull Hammer elbow with a uranage for two and then delivers a big splash. He tries for the Big Ending but Barrett slips out and hits the Bull Hammer to pick up the win and the title at 7:55! Crowd was really hot for Barrett here so I don't mind the title change, E had a solid run with it. The match itself was stiff and hard hitting, high-impact stuff, just as you'd expect from these two. Another very solid if not spectacular match. **3/4

The Shield (Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns) vs. Evolution (Triple H/Batista/Randy Orton)
This one has been brewing for awhile now and on paper this should probably be the main event, but I like that they're giving Bryan and Kane those honors. If this is even half as good as the trio of six man tags the Shield had with the Wyatts than I'll be one happy camper. Cole reminds us it's been ten years since we've seen these three wrestle together and that they look better than ever. JBL goes a step further and says they are better than ever. I don't know about better, but they definitely used to have more hair because now all three are looking a bit like generic meatheads. Shield make their entrance and we're under way with all six men brawling at the start of the match. Shield dumps Evolution out of the ring completely and the bell officially rings when Triple H makes his way back in to eat some right hands from Rollins. Clothesline from Rollins sends the Game to the floor where Seth meets him with a big tope. Back inside Hunter takes Seth inside out with a clothesline. Batista tags in to beat down on Seth for a bit before tagging out to Randy. Orton catapults Seth throat first into the bottom rope and tags Hunter back in. Triple H works him over for a moment until Batista tags in and gives Seth a big boot on the floor while he's dangling off the ring apron. Orton tags back in and this is all the Seth Rollins as YOUR Babyface in Peril Show so far. Rollins tries for the tag but Batista and Hunter break it up. Randy tries grabbing Seth off the mat but instead Rollins springboards himself up with a stiff kick and finally manages to tag out to Dean Ambrose. Ambrose takes Orton's head off with a lariat and then slaps the figure four on him, but Hunter breaks it up. Outside Reigns misses a spear and flies into the steps. Back inside Evolution continue their quick tags while working Ambrose over behind the ref's back in true heel fashion. Orton works a chinlock on Ambrose, ah yes that's the rest hold loving young Orton from Evolution I remember. Hunter tags in and gets a two count off a spinebuster on Dean. He tries for the Pedigree but Ambrose counters into a DDT and gets the REAL hot tag to Roman Reigns, who nails Orton and Batista with right hands. He hits the running boot on Batista outside the ring and tosses Orton into the barricade. Back inside Batista sets up for the Batista Bomb on Reigns but Rollins breaks it up with a springboard flying knee! Superman punch from Reigns to Batista followed by all three members of the Shield delivering a triple powerbomb to Batista for a close near fall. Rollins tries to take out Triple H with a tope but just nails himself headfirst into the barricade instead. Back inside Triple H hits the Pedigree on Reigns, but Ambrose breaks up the cover attempt and he and Hunter topple on top of the Spanish commentary table while Orton manages to sneak up on Reigns for the RKO. Total chaos now as everyone is just brawling at ringside and into the timekeeper's section. Ambrose dashes across both commentary tables like a madman and wipes out all of Evolution with a body splash! Brawling into the crowd now where Orton and Ambrose are exchanging fisticuffs while Hunter and Rollins do the same. Meanwhile Batista and Reigns are still the legal guys in the ring. We're up into the cheap seats now and Ambrose tumbles down a set of stairs. Orton and Hunter work over Ambrose for a bit while Rollins makes his way further up into the stands and comes flying off the balcony with a crossbody wiping out all three men in a sick spot! Someone's been watching his old school Big Japan tapes, as that's a spot they used to love to run for all their big matches. Back inside the ring Batista hits a spinebuster, but Reigns counters with the Superman punch and then finishes Batista with the spear at 19:50! This was all kinds of awesome, an intense throwback to the wild Attitude Era brawls or even Mid-South with all six men just going at it tooth and nail. Some nice heel work from Evolution as a group early in the match set up the hot finish, and Rollins continues to shine as the arguably the most fearless of the Shield in terms of willingness to take bumps. This was a real throwback match. ****1/4

Legends House promo. I haven't caught any of the episodes yet but I imagine it's a slightly more boring version of The Surreal Life. If the talk of getting Flair and Hogan together into the house for the next season winds up being true though, I'll definitely be tuning in.

Steel Cage Match
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
The week to week promo stuff for this feud has continued to be good, if a bit over the top. Wyatt dominates to start with right hands and stomps in the corner. Fisherman suplex from Cena and he goes to climb the cage but is brought back down by Wyatt. And already we've got the dueling Cena chnts. Wyatt sends Cena face first into the cage. Wyatt holds him up against the cage and Rowan nails him from outside the ring as the crowd starts singing that damned song again. Wyatt tries to escape but Cena cuts him off and catapults him into the cage. Cena climbs to the top of the cage and gets over but Wyatt drags him back inside. Cena sends Wyatt off the top rope and tries to climb the cage again but Wyatt crotches him on the top rope. He plants Cena with a euranage for a two count but Cena fights back with a dropkick. Cena stupidly tries to scale the cage again (there's a door right over there John) and Wyatt takes the opportunity to bust out the creepy Linda Blair spider walk towards the door. Cena sends Wyatt into the cage and follows up with a pair of shoulder blocks and a sidewalk slam. He hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the AA but Wyatt pops out to try and climb the cage so Cena just powerbombs him off the top rope instead for a two count. Cena goes to the door but Rowan just shuts it in front of him. Cena tries muscling it open and Harper helps out but Cena is just to gald darned strong darnitt! Wyatt grabs him and DDTs him for a two count back in the ring. Cena tries climbing out of the cage again but Rowan meets him and forces him back inside. Seriously, what the fuck is the point of having a cage match when you're just going to run interference anyways? Cena bulldogs Wyatt off the top for a two count and tries to climb the cage again, but Harper meets him this time and punches him back in. Cena drags Harper into the cage and tries climbing out again. Meanwhile Wyatt is crawling towards the door, but Cena slams it in his face. Rowan comes up with a chair and backs Cena back into the cage now with two men. Release suplex from Wyatt followed by a senton for two. Wyatt tries to climb out but Cena grabs him and gives him the AA off the top rope. It only gets two because Harper breaks up the pin. Cena tries to escape but Rowan meets him off again. Cena hits the top drop legdrop on Harper and tries crawling towards the door when suddenly the Wyatt's music hits and the arena goes dark. When the lights come back on a small child in a black robe is singing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" in what sounds like a retarded android's voice. Well that was stupid. This gives Wyatt the chance to hit Sister Abigail on Cena and just walk out for the win at 21:26. This was nowhere near as good as their Wrestlemania match and suffered from way too much interference, the stupid escape rules, and an absolutely goofy finish. The little kids creepily being swayed into the Wyatt's cult is a good thing, but they used it in the wrong way here and it hurt the match. Not that the match they were having was even anything special to begin with. **

Over at the WWE Network analysts table Josh Matthews, Booker T, Sheamus, and Alex Riley are all shocked by Wyatt's actions. Well, Sheamus isn't. But everyone else is just appalled. Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!

WWE Divas Title Match
Paige © vs. Tamina Snuka
Oh yes I love me some Paige. Beautiful and a solid worker. Paige stomps away at Tamina at the bell and then follows with a dropkick. Victory roll from Paige only gets one. Paige sets Tamina up in the ropes and nails her with a few knees. She goes to the top but Tamina hits her with a kick and Paige falls to the floor. Back inside Tamina scoop slams Paige for a two count. Another pair of bodyslams gets her another near fall. Both ladies tumble out to the floor where Paige tries for a 'rana off the apron but Tamina just slams her head first into the barricade instead. Sunset flip powerbomb from the top garners Paige a two count and the flying headscissors gets her another one. Tamina catches Paige on a body press and hits a nice tilt-a-whirl slam. Tamina tries for the superkick but Paige catches her and locks her into the modified scorpion cross lock for the submission victory to retain at 6:18. This was solid but nothing special, there were a few awkward moments but overall perfectly acceptable wrestling. **1/4

Backstage Bray Wyatt does some more preachin' and prophesizin' to Little Johnny, who again talks with the weird Children of the Corn voice and puts a lamb mask on. All righty then.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Extreme Rules Match
Daniel Bryan © vs. Kane
Glad to see these guys getting the main event spot, the title should always go on last. Also glad to see Kane back with the mask, not that Corporate Kane wasn't amusing. Bryan doesn't wait for the bell to run out to the aisle and start brawling with Kane as soon as he makes his entrance. Kane immediately goes under the ring and grabs a kendo stick and meekly hits Bryan with it before tossing it aside. He climbs to the top rope where Bryan meets him with a running knee and a top rope Frankensteiner. Bryan sends the both of them to the floor with a crossbody over the top rope, but outside the ring Kane takes the upper hand again with a big boot. He grabs a chair and uses it to assist him in slamming Bryan into the barricade. He grabs another chair and sets it up in a corner in the ring but Bryan takes the time to grab the kendo stick and mash Kane with it. He tries another attack with the stick off the top but Kane blocks it and waffles him with another steel chair. He sets the chair up and then side slams him right through it for a two count. Bryan blocks a chokeslam attempt and drop toe holds Kane into the chair in the corner he previously set up. Missile dropkick sends Kane out to the floor where Bryan delivers a big tope to him. Bryan slams the monitors and covering pieces of the commentary tables into Kane, and Kane returns the favor. Kane tries for a chokeslam on the Spanish announcer's table but Bryan blocks and counters with a big tornado DDT off of the table. Kane tries for a tombstone on the steel steps but Bryan slips out and slams him into the steel post. Guy in the front row to Kane: "You're terrible! You have fake hair!" Well that's just mean. Bryan grabs the kendo stick and starts going to town on Kane with it, hitting him repeatedly with it up the aisleway. Kane cuts him off though and then just sends him sailing head first into the LED display on the stage. The action spills into the backstage area now where Kane unsuccessfully tries to throw a TV at Bryan. They brawl all the way out to the parking lot now where Bryan hits Kane with a snow shovel and this is like an old Hardcore Title match now with them brawling on top of a car. Bryan takes a nice back body drop onto the hood of the car. Kane tosses what looks like an oxygen tank through the windshield just inches away from Bryan's head and then slams his own fist through another car's back window trying to punch Bryan. Bryan cleans Kane's clock with a tire iron out of the trunk, seemingly knocking the big monster out, but this isn't a falls count anywhere match so he can't just pin him here unfortunately. Since it would be foolish to try dragging the big man all the way back to ringside, Bryan loads him onto a forklift and just casually drives him back to ringside and just dumps him into the ring. The crowd seems bummed he didn't just keep Kane on the forklift and do a spot from it into the ring, so Bryan being the people pleaser that he is, he just climbs right up to the top of the fully raised forklift and delivers a sick flying headbutt halfway across the ring to a huge pop for a near fall. Crowd goes into YES! mode but Kane does his usual late match sit-up for the comeback and chokeslams Bryan for a two count. He sets up for a tombstone on a chair, but Bryan counters with a DDT onto it instead. Bryan has a hold of the chair now and slams it over Kane's back a good eight or nine times and then slaps on the YES! Lock. Kane tries breaking the hold with a kendo stick but Bryan just grabs it from him to help assist in the hold. Kane barely manages to escape out of the ring, where again Bryan tries a tope but this time Kane sees it coming and grabs him throat first to choke slam him right through the announcer's table! Kane tosses Bryan back into the ring and then sets up another table outside, and then grabs a god damn can of gasoline from under the ring! He douses the table in it and yes sir we have ourselves a good old flaming table. Kane goes to the apron but Bryan meets him there and simply flings him off the apron through the flaming table! Personnel are all over Kane with the fire extinguishers only seconds after the bump and apparently were blatantly obvious at ringside, kind of telegraphing the finish to the live crowd, but it still provided a great visual. After Kane has been extinguished completely he slides back into the ring where Bryan meets him with the running knee to retain at 22:28. This was a great way to cap off another good show, as both men have a decent amount of chemistry due to all their ring time together as a tag team. This was a pure old school Attitude Era brawl mixed with some ECW styled spots, and it was a very heated and well executed brawl at that. They worked in some creative stuff amidst all the plunder too and this was really a perfect way to end a show called Extreme Rules, by giving the fans something you don't usually see anymore in wrestling with the flaming table. It really drove home the whole old school ECW PPV vibe this whole show has had going for it. Also one of Kane's best singles matches in a long time. ***3/4

After the match Bryan celebrates for a bit before Kane awakens again and gets to do his fire pyro to close out the show.

Bottom Line: This was another winner from the WWE as this PPV typically tends to be, but this year they really delivered something special that gave off an old ECW vibe I hadn't really felt since watching...well, the original ECW. For a show built on that companies legacy, that's a very good thing and this was a solid show with two great matches in the main event and six man tag matches. The undercard is solid if not entirely spectacular, but combined with the fun pre-show antics I have no problem giving this one a hearty Thumbs Up. 

Score: 8.0

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