The PPV went the full three hours?! Hey, if they're going to jack up the price to $44.95, I would appreciate it if this became a monthly occurrence.
Sheamus vs. Triple H in a Street Fight was our "scheduled" opener, but was delayed when Sheamus attacked Triple H backstage before his entrance. I figured something was up, when was the last time Triple H opened a PPV? Has Triple H ever opened a PPV since dropping the Blue Blood gimmick? Any wrestling statisticians want to look that one up?
ShowMiz made their way to ringside to talk trash, and at this point I figured Triple H must be seriously injured and his match was off the table. The Tag Champs reminded us that tomorrow night, Bret Hart must declare them the greatest tag team in history, but Teddy Long wasn't having any of it tonight, setting up a #1 contenders match. Miz ran his mouth, so Teddy turned it into a Gauntlet Match, so Miz ran his mouth some more and Teddy added another team! Very funny bit.
ShowMiz vs. R-Truth & John Morrison was part one of the Gauntlet Match, with the rules being if any team beat the champs, they'd get a title match tomorrow on Raw. Morrison & Truth put up a more valiant effort than they did at WrestleMania, but got themselves disqualified when Morrison wouldn't release a submission hold while Big Show was in the ropes. MVP & Mark Henry were out next to challenge the champs (apparently they're still a team), and while the crowd was red hot for them, they fell short to the old JeriShow finisher - Big Show punching you in the face while standing outside the ring. The third and final team was The Hart Dynasty w/ Bret Hart, and they capitalized on the damage that had already been done, nailed the Hart Attack and picked up the victory! The meat and potatoes of the match came from Morrison & Truth's portion, but it was a great way to get the Hart Dynasty in line for a shot, without giving too much away for the impending match. Can't wait to see these teams square off tomorrow, here's hoping the Harts pick up the gold!
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio was just fantastic and the match they deserved to get at WrestleMania. The match had it all: great action, great story, the drama of Punk's hair on the line, the feel-good moment of the Straight Edge Society getting ejected from ringside, and the mystery of the masked attacker that cost Rey Rey the match. Who was that masked man? And Michael Cole repeatedly calling him a "stranger" had me rolling on the floor, like he was driving a creepy van and offering Rey Mysterio some candy. I haven't checked WWE.com yet, but here's hoping the headline for that match is "STRANGER DANGER!" Punk was on fire here, Rey continued the incredible roll he's been on in terms of delivering terrific work inside the ring, and I was genuinely surprised by the ending. I love watching these guys work together.
Predictions: 0 for 1
JTG vs. Shad Gaspard wasn't anything special, but it did what it needed to do. Strap matches are tough to pull off, most of the time they all feel the same with a few rare exceptions, but this match wasn't one of them. I think my disappointment in Cryme Tyme's split doesn't really help either, but I am glad JTG came out victorious.
Predictions: 1 for 2
Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton didn't drift too far from standard Orton match territory, but I have to admit that I enjoyed it. The crowd was bonkers for The Viper, but the real star of this match was the World Champion, Jack Swagger. As I mentioned in my predictions, if Swagger picked up the win, a star would be born, and after dropping Orton over an open steel chair and nailing him with the Gutwrench Powerbomb, I think it's safe to say that was the case. Orton's red hot right now, so I understand giving him some heat back after the match by nailing the RKO, but it doesn't change the fact that Jack Swagger won the match clean. Suddenly that loss to Orton a couple weeks ago doesn't mean as much, does it?
Predictions: 2 for 3
Triple H vs. Sheamus did wind up happening after all, but Triple H was selling "nerve damage" throughout the entire Street Fight. It didn't just make Sheamus look like an a-hole, it made him look absolutely vicious, especially after nailing Triple H with four bicycle kicks for the win. I really enjoyed this match, it went way longer than I thought it would and speaking of previous losses being erased, that WrestleMania loss may have actually helped evolve Sheamus' character; after sending Triple H out on a stretcher, he looks like the most sadistic Superstar in WWE today.
Predictions: 3 for 4
Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool was the sexist nonsense I expected it to be. An "Extreme Makeover Match?" Just an excuse to have women fight with ironing boards, brooms, mops and buckets. What's next, the Barefoot & Pregnant Battle Royal? The Make Me a Sandwich Smackdown? 40% of WWE's audience is female, let's please stop insulting them and my intelligence. Thankfully, The Glamazon did come out of this one victorious, which leaves me with some hope for women's wrestling in WWE, but that's really the only positive thing I have to say about this match.
Predictions: 4 for 5
Edge vs. Chris Jericho inside the steel cage was another very good match that told a hell of a story, but I have to admit, I did not like the ending. I understood the idea of Edge injuring Jericho's ankle and taking advantage, but it crossed the line from poetic justice to torture, and it didn't make me want to cheer for Edge. Chris Jericho was rolling on the ground weeping, I don't want to see him get his ankle twisted, and it's not like he's some purely evil villain that deserved it, he's just a jerk who can be beaten fair and square. I know he's the Rated-R Superstar, but Edge's actions weren't very face-like. I still really liked the match though, both men put on a great show and looked like a million bucks, but once Jericho's ankle got slammed in the door, I wasn't digging it so much.
Predictions: 5 for 6
John Cena vs. Batista in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship was our main event, and without question, was the Match of the Night. I know it'll raise some eyebrows, especially thanks to the polarizing ending of Cena duct taping Batista's feet to the turnbuckle post, but I flat-out loved this match. Cena and Batista both looked like unstoppable beasts, when Cena got up after being thrown through the barricade, then Batista got up after taking an Attitude Adjustment off the steel stairs through the announce table, then Cena got up after the spinebuster through the table in the ring, I wasn't sure if the match was ever going to end. Perhaps the duct tape was a bit hokey, but it was so damn amusing and really got over the idea that Cena and Batista are equals in terms of toughness and can't keep each other down. For what may turn out to be Batista's final match (we'll see), this could be his best yet.
Predictions: 6 for 7
I liked this PPV, and it turned out to be almost exactly what I expected: nothing earth-shattering in terms of drama, but a very strong series of wrestling matches. The focus of the WWE will quickly shift to the Draft and its aftermath, but this was a show loaded with good wrestling and logical storytelling. If you didn't see it, you won't be totally lost when returning to WWE programming, but you missed out on several really good matches. Overall, I'd say Extreme Rules 2010 was a very fun show that stands on its own.