As I'm typing this review, major news is coming down in the real world that Osama bin Laden has been killed and is in United States custody. This is perhaps the biggest news to hit the world since the tragic events that were carried out under bin Laden's orders and it obviously means so much more than having fun with a wrestling PPV, so I wouldn't feel comfortable writing without acknowledging this historic moment. I don't really have a way to transition out of this, I'm still going to do my review, but I felt compelled to say something. Thank you.
Alright, WWE Extreme Rules 2011 is over and it definitely wasn't a PPV to make you shrug your shoulders and move on, let's take a look.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk in a Last Man Standing match kicked things off. Surprised to see this one start the show, but I'm glad it did, it was definitely the best match to start the show. These guys put on a hell of a wrestling match at WrestleMania 27 and tonight, they put on a hell of a fight. I really don't know how else to say this, I'm pretty rattled at the moment, so forgive me for not being eloquent, but these two beat the shit out of each other. Singapore cane shots, the infamous "chair collar," top rope Super RKOs, it was brutal.
I know everyone's pissed that Orton won again, but at this point, I'm immune to it. I've gone into every Randy Orton match expecting Randy Orton to win for the last two years now, the guy just doesn't lose. Sucks for Punk, but he's on that special plateau of guys where wins and losses don't matter, he's always going to be a big name and yet can fit in anywhere. As a fan, I want to see him win, but watching him get two very good and very different matches out of Randy Orton is just as good. He's so fantastic that he gets me excited about Randy Orton matches, I think that speaks volumes.
Predictions: 1 for 1
Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus in an impromptu US Title match was next. Funny little bit before the match with Sheamus ironically asking for Kofi Kingston's birth certificate since he didn't want to defend the US Title against someone not born in the US. Ah WWE, always topical. The match was a tables match, which was Sheamus' specialty, it's how he won his first WWE Championship, but the luck of the Irish was not here tonight. Kofi got his ass beat, but managed to put Sheamus through the table with a diving Boom Drop off the top rope through a table on the outside... oh yeah, and Sheamus was standing up when that happened. Crazy visual and a great end to the match. Kofi goes to Raw with the United States Championship, which hopefully gets him back on track and hopefully Sheamus gets back on track and moves onto bigger things. More on that later.
Predictions: 2 for 2
Michael Cole & Jack Swagger vs. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross in a Country Whipping Match was as JR would say, "bowling shoe ugly." Considering the fact that Swagger was the only active wrestler in the match, he did the best he could, but look what he was working with. That said, the crowd was hot for it most of the way through and it had some funny moments, like Michael Cole wearing bubble wrap armor, but the ending sucked the fun right out of it. Cole winning via a reversed decision at WrestleMania worked, it was a nice tip of the hat to Jerry Lawler, but Cole pinning JR and this story seemingly continuing? Ugh.
It was all set up to perfectly end here. They've been teasing a Swagger face turn, Swagger's moving to Raw, Raw needs faces. JR has been appearing more frequently, they could've booted Cole out of the booth and transitioned him to manager. Instead, we get more of Michael "HEY LOOK AT ME!" Cole, which has worn out its welcome.
Predictions: 2 for 3
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere was a really, really fun match. Their bout at WrestleMania sadly fell a little flat for me, but this match was their Mania moment. It was a great, old school Attitude Era-esque FCA match with the guys brawling up into the concourse and they got to do some cool stuff up there. I've seen plenty of matches break out into the concession stand and usually it's just punches and rolling around, but Cody did his springboard kick off a soda counter and Rey got to do a dive off it as well. I love little things like that, stuff you're just not used to seeing.
The match was just as good back in the ring as well, and Mysterio busted out GREEN MIST to pick up the victory. Had I known Mutasterio was going to make an appearance tonight, I definitely would've picked him to win. I'd like to see Rey do that in very rare circumstances, especially in blood feuds. Lots of weird references to Tajiri tonight, WWE should bring him back.
Predictions: 2 for 4
Layla vs. Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves Town match was the best Divas match I've seen in WWE in YEARS. It's a shame the Tampa crowd didn't wake up until the main events because it was a really good match worthy of attention. I've never been a big fan of McCool, but she is a wrestler. Layla is incredibly underrated in the ring and she is a wrestler, it's nice to see two women get a chance to wrestle on WWE TV and given more than 30 seconds. Layla picked up a huge win and sent McCool home to Death Valley.
Oh but wait, there's more! KHARMA made her WWE debut after the match and let's just say, it was AMAZING. Her music was bad ass, she slowly made her way down to ringside and then proceeded to nail McCool with the Implant Buster! I suspect the name of that move will be changed very soon. Kharma then laughed maniacally and then snapped right back into a serious, evil glare. Again, this is how men debut, if ever there was a time to be excited about women's wrestling, this is it.
Predictions: 3 for 5
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio was our first main event of the evening, a Ladder Match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. The match started off... oh I can't even pretend to hold back my excitement anymore -- CHRISTIAN IS THE WORLD CHAMPION! Not only did Captain Charisma finally - FINALLY - win the big one, he did it in one of the best matches of the year so far. Easily Match of the Night and just an awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome moment. When Christian held the World Title above his head on the top of the ladder, you could see him trembling with excitement and I'm sure a billion other emotions.
Edge was at ringside as well, having provided the distraction after Brodus Clay interfered and you could see the genuine emotion on his face as well. It was a really sweet moment, as sad as Edge's retirement is, there was something really cool about seeing him there being able to cheer on his best friend as he finally - FINALLY - got the World Title. You can't create that kind of emotion, it's one of those things that just happens and it's one of those moments that I will always remember. Matches like this, moments like this, that's why I watch WWE. You can't get entertainment like this anywhere else.
It doesn't matter if it's a day, a month or a year, Christian finally - FINALLY - is the World Heavyweight Champion. His name is forever on the record books and he earned every bit of it. Congratulations to Captain Charisma, the NEW Heavyweight Champion of the World!
Predictions: 4 for 6
Kane & Big Show vs. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson in another impromptu match, this time a lumberjack match for the WWE Tag Team Titles. I have to admit, I didn't recognize half the Lumberjacks since I don't watch NXT, but this match was the very definition of "cool down match." Kane & Show retain, Corre continues to implode and that's really all there is to say about it.
The Miz vs. John Morrison vs. John Cena was our final match of the evening, a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship. I liked the match a lot, I thought Morrison looked like he belonged in there along with two top stars like Miz and Cena. The confines of the cage helped a lot too, it kept them from going the usual WWE Triple Threat route where one guy lays outside the ring while two guys brawl inside. They did some cool stuff, like Miz taking a NASTY double brainbuster off the top of the cage(!!!) and Morrison hit both guys with Starship Pain off the top of the cage(?!?!!?!). It was a really cool match and I got really excited when R-Truth interfered to get his revenge on John Morrison and then took his aggression out on John Cena too for good measure.
Unfortunately, the match did not end there. Just as The Miz had the match in the palm of his hand, John Cena sprang to life and hit the Attitude Adjustment off the top rope to score his tenth WWE Championship. Sigh. Even I, a big Cena fan, have to roll my eyes at this one. I guess it makes sense, there are a lot more bad guys for Cena to work with throughout the year than there are good guys for The Miz, but I don't care about what makes sense, I'm a fan. I want my guy to win. My guy did not win tonight, but at 160 days, The Miz has the longest WWE Title reign since Triple H in 2008. The longest reign for a first-time champion since John Cena in 2005. This is a mere setback for the leader of Team Awesome, The Miz will get his title back! Even if he has to win Money in the Bank again and do it all over again, The Miz will have his revenge!!!
Seriously though, I'm looking forward to Cena vs. Del Rio and The Miz vs. Mysterio, can we make that happen this summer?
Predictions: 4 for 7
Very good PPV. No outright bad matches, except for the match that was supposed to be bad, but everything else came together quite well and the two main events were fantastic... even if the ending to the show made me die a little inside. Even if the show wasn't that great, it's still worth the money because Christian is World Champion! WOOOO! Well worth the cost of admission and if you're a fan of Captain Charisma, you must see this PPV!