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 Extreme Rules 2012

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PostExtreme Rules 2012

Opening Match, Falls Count Anywhere: Randy Orton vs. Kane.
The logic for wedging Kane into feuds this year is so tortured it should be investigated by Amnesty International. After their marginally competent match at WrestleMania, the stakes were raised as Kane tried to kill Bob Orton and Randy tried to kill Paul Bearer. Kane even no-sold that! This is a good old-fashioned, all-over-the-arena brawl early and often. They fight up into the crowd where Orton knees Kane in the face. Back to the entrance, Orton dropkicks Kane into the signage for two. Kane boots him in the face for two, and we head to the back where the scrubs are watching the PPV on closed-circuit. Zack Ryder attacks Kane from behind. It's sad when you're the only person involved in a feud. Kane shrugs him off like the gnat he's become and tosses Randy into some production equipment. The ref is late in catching up to them, so Kane only gets two. To the ring again, Orton "goes to that place," the meme du jour for Randall. Presumably "that place" is wherever his dealer is operating. Randy wears Kane out with a chair, but they brawl to the floor again. Kane shoves Randy into the post to counter the RKO. Back in, Kane goes up for the flying clothesline, but Randy catches him with the superplex. Booker, who is normally so darned cynical, is amazed that Orton was able to do that. Kane fights back and hits the chokeslam. It only gets two, so Kane calls for the Tombstone on the chair. Orton slips out and hits the RKO on top of the chair for the pin at 16:45. The FCA rules didn't really come into play outside of a brief interlude in the back. Maybe that was supposed to be Ryder's closure. It got significantly better once they got back down to ringside. Probably would have been a better match had they just stayed there. **3/4

Authority figure Big Johnny and authority figure Eve are impressed by the opening match. Eve has a surprise for Johnny: Authority figure Teddy Long is here to pour them some champagne. Johnny gets a call from authority figure Triple H and has to go take it in private.

The creativity of the WWE is inversely proportional to the number of authority figures they have. Back in the laborious-to-sit-through 2003-2005 era, they had at least four people running Raw at any given time. Now it's almost as bad. Vince, who was deposed last year, came back this week to evaluate Johnny, who also answers to Triple H and hired Eve while supplanting Teddy Long. David Otunga is in there somewhere too. I'm all for checks and balances, but this is absurd.

Brodus Clay (w/Hornswoggle) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Jack Swagger & Vickie Guerrero).
This was a last-minute addition, but any chance to watch Cameron, I'll take. So, of course, the camera zooms in on Hornswoggle. That's who everyone paid to see! The Chicago fans are WAY into Ziggler, so Cole acknowledges their enthusiasm without noting who they're rooting for. Ziggler dropkicks the Funkasaurus to the floor where Swagger bowls him over with a shoulderblock. Ziggler hits the Fameasser for two and then hits the sleeper. Clay shrugs him off, drawing the ire of the crowd. Clay goes after Swagger, allowing Ziggler to attack from behind. Oh, but Brodus headbutts him in the gut, drawing a sell so overblown that Manu Ginobili rolled his eyes. The 747 finishes at 4:17. This was about as close to you can get to Ziggler saying, "Hey, just stand there and don't do anything. I'll just have the match around you." *1/4

During the pre-show, Teddy Long spun the wheel, setting up a tables match for Cody and Show.

Intercontinental Title, Tables Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show.
Show defeated Cody in one of the more puzzling results of WrestleMania, so the feud continues. Lot of that going around in the midcard matches. It's all Show until Cody springboards of a corner table and hits the Disaster Kick. That was a cool spot. Show tosses Cody to the floor where Cody tries to set up a table. Show tries to follow Cody into the ring, but Cody dropkicks him back and Show sets through a table to give the title back to Cody at 4:37. Show gets pissed and chokeslams him through a table after the match. The crowd chants for one more, so Show press slams Cody from the ring through a table on the floor. Lawler and Booker making excuses for Show going through the table and how it "doesn't really count" is pretty ridiculous. 1/2*

Daniel Bryan chastises Matt Striker for being a shitty teacher and causing the U.S. education system to plummet. Hey, that's Damien Sandow's gimmick! Bryan thinks he's smarter than Sheamus. We see AJ stalking Bryan in the background.

World Heavyweight Title, 2/3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan.
First Fall: Sheamus defeated Bryan in :18 at WrestleMania, a result that seemed to do more for Daniel Bryan than for Sheamus. Booker and Lawler are insistent that the fans are on Sheamus's side, though. The aurora borealis? Localized entirely in your kitchen? That's how obvious their lies are. Sheamus actually wrestles here, and darned if he's not pretty good (TEXAS CLOVERLEAF!). Of course, he's more of a brawler, so he catches Bryan coming off the apron and drives his spine into the barricade. Back in, Sheamus goes up, but Bryan crotches him and tries to twist his arm off. That's just sick. The screaming dropkick only gets one, and they trade forearms. The crowd is "Cena split" here with the smarkish (mostly male) fans chanting for Bryan and the others chanting against him. Notice that no one is really chanting for Sheamus, though. Sheamus blocks a huracanrana and hits the battering ram for two. That would have been a cool place to counter to the Yes Lock. Bryan sends Sheamus to the floor, but Sheamus cuts off the suicide dive with a forearm. Bryan rolls through the Celtic Cross for two and sends Sheamus into post. Bryan targets the shoulder with kicks, screaming "Yes!" with each one. Sheamus is in the ropes, and Bryan refuses to stop, so Sheamus picks up a DQ win at 15:01.

Second Fall: As the Joker would say, "It's all part of the plaaaaan," though. Sheamus can't even move, so Bryan corner dropkicks him and locks in the Yes Lock for the submission via passout at 16:35.

Third Fall: Doc Sampson (no, really) comes to check on Sheamus. Big "YES/NO" dueling chants. Sheamus manages to recover enough to go on. Bryan charges him… and runs right into the Brogue Kick. Sheamus is too groggy to cover right away and only gets two. Bryan recovers and Buzzsaw Kick's Sheamus in the head for two. Sheamus goes for a superplex, but Bryan headbutts him off. The swandive headbutt misses, though! Sheamus gets fired up and hits the Irish Curse backbreaker. That sets up the Brogue Kick at 22:55. Could have used a little more heat down the stretch, but this was a damn fine title match that did more for Sheamus than any match in two years. Bryan had a seemingly great plan and the work was impeccable. Fantastic! ****1/4

In the back, Santino Marella and the Great Khali look on as a couple jobbers show up in the ring.

Ryback vs. Aaron Relic & Jay Hatton.
This was unadvertised, and how can you justify that?! The jobbers' promo is actually really good at putting heat on them. The fans really want to see them destroyed… albeit by a guy named "Goldberg," if the chant is any indication. Ryback should have some trouble with these guys. After all, "Relic" is "Ciler" spelled backwards. I'm not even sure which jobber is which. It doesn't matter as Ryback hits the Muscle Buster and pins one guy with the other at 1:51. 1/2*

CM Punk assures us that Chris Jericho will be the one with the hangover when all is said and done.

Recap of the Jericho/Punk feud over Punk's family being alcoholics and drug addicts. This is the second Punk angle that the WWE has taken from his Ring of Honor run, and the second that Ring of Honor did better in the first place. Ironically, the wrestling is better in the WWE while the storyline was better in ROH.

WWE Heavyweight Title, Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.
Punk starts out hot, stomping a mudhole and then wearing Jericho out with a Kendo stick. Jericho pulls the ref in the way and then tosses Punk into the timekeeper. He drags Punk over in front of Punk's sister. He makes the mistake of jawing with her and gets slapped. Punk sees him going after her and goes crazy on him (and the set). Jericho hits Punk with the monitor and a piece of broken announce table to turn the tide. Punk tries a springboard clothesline but stumbles, and Jericho nails him with the Kendo stick. Jericho talks trash, allowing Punk to reverse to the small package for two. Jericho enzuigiris him to block make Punk drop the Kendo stick. Punk makes the big comeback with the corner knee. Go2Sleep is countered to the Walls of Jericho, but Punk powers out of that and powerslams him. Punk goes up, but Jericho crotches him. Punk fights him off and hits the Macho Man elbow (which looks nothing like Randy Savage's outside of the point to the sky). It gets two. Jericho tosses Punk into a corner-wedged chair and rolls him up for two. The Liontamer follows. Punk makes the ropes, but there's no DQ, so it's irrelevant. Punk grabs a fire extinguisher and sets it off in Jericho's face to break the hold. To the outside, Punk puts Jericho on the Spanish table and hits him with the Shane McMahon Elbow Drop. Back in, Punk locks in the Anaconda Vice. Jericho grabs the Kendo stick and smashes it over his head to break it up. Goose/Gander. You know the story. The fans bust out the generous "This is awesome!" chant. Jericho breaks Punk's Code using a chair and gets two. Jericho signals for the Go2Sleep, but Punk reverses to the catapult into the buckle. That sets up the real Go2Sleep at 22:55. There's nothing particularly wrong with this match, but it's not the classics they could have been having in a different environment. If you watch Bryan/Sheamus then this, you see how that match has a better direction and aim than this does, and why it's on another level. Still, the heat and their willingness to recall and build on previous spots is fun to watch. ***1/4

On the preshow, Santino defeated Miz to retain the U.S. Title.

In the back, Authority Figure Eve tells Beth Phoenix she's not medically cleared to face Nikki Bella. Instead, Eve promises a substitute – who is not Kharma (but should have been).

Diva's Title: Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. Layla.
Nikki promises to be the longest running champion in history. Hey, if the Freebirds can substitute, why not the Bellas? Layla is the mystery opponent, of course. She looks good but could use a haircut. Brie interferes early, allowing Nikki to take over. Nikki actually goes after the injured knee. PSYCHOLOGY~! Layla shrugs it off and hits a double-springboard crossbody. The Bellas pull the switcheroo, but Layla hits the neckbreaker on Brie for the win and the title at 2:30. Layla was in a no-win situation here. Everyone wanted a payoff for the Kharma thing last year, and that's what should have happened. 1/2*

Big Johnny explains the power structure of the WWE and promises some explanations on Raw.

We get a repeat of the opening video package.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena.
A bit different than Backlash 2003. Lesnar attacks early and busts Cena open with an elbow. They stop the fight to tend to the cut, and then Cena charges into another takedown. Brock just pummels him on the mat and Cena has no defense. The doctors stop the fight again to tend to Cena's cut. Man, Eddy Guerrero has to be saying, "Oh, NOW you stop the match for a cut!" Cena fights back with wrasslin' stuff, which looks childish in comparison. The ref gets bumped. Cena goes for the chain, but Lesnar punches him in the kidney. Brock locks in the Kimura and tosses him into the barricade. Lesnar wraps the thug chain around his fist and then decides it's too carny for him. Instead, he ties Cena's legs together with it and then clotheslines him. Okay, so maybe he likes him some carny. If he busts out the ether-soaked rag, though, we'll have issues. Cena crawls for the chain, but Brock steps on his hand. Cena pops up with a surprise AA attempt. Brock blocks and hits the F5, taking out the referee again. A second ref comes down and counts two, but he was too late. Brock tosses him too. Brock gets the steps, and they give him a better fight than Cena has. Brock locks in the Kimura on the steps. I'm not sure what the steps add. Cena powers up and counters to a spinebuster on the steps. Booker's "you gotta be kiddin' me, dawg" count nears double digits. The Civilian Slice misses, and Cena rolls to the floor. Brock takes a while to find Cena and then charges him with a… springboard something off the steps. They both fall to the floor. Brock is hurt and he likes it, so he tries the spot again and charges right into a chain shot from Cena. Cena does the huffy puffy face, so you know he's fired up. Attitude Adjustment on the steps gets the pin at 17:45. Yes, it's the result that everyone thought they couldn't possibly be stupid to do. I mean, it seemed physically impossible for them to be this wrong. Jerry Lawler (inadvertently) says it best: "After the loss to the Rock, if Cena had lost to Brock Lesnar, I don't think he'd ever be the same." Well, thank God he's the same. He's exactly the same. The same ol' John Cena. Reliable, trustworthy, static John Cena. The match itself told a good story, but not nearly at the level of praise that some people gave it at the time. I'm not sure why people were talking about this as a groundbreaking hybrid of UFC/WWE when it was just the same monster story that they've always done only with Brock mixing in some UFC moves. ***1/2

After the match, Cena says he might be going away for a while.

Three solid/great main events and an undercard that contributed entertainment too. Pretty easy thumbs up. The crowd was into it all night, especially for the Bryan/Sheamus match (a match that pretty easily took MOTN honors for me). The result of the last match was a bit of a down note for me, but your mileage may vary.
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