michael dworkis gets extreme …
Pre-Show: The Miz defeated Cody Rhodes
Not going to say this was a shocker at all. Rhodes getting the victory would have been a surprise, more because Rhodes has little direction as a singles wrestler for the time being. Miz is ready to be pushed again, so the win makes sense. Being on the pre-show for the third time in a row, does not.
Chris Jericho defeated Fandango
Good match, but a little slower than expected. Jericho got the crowd into the match and the show with some good high impact moves to start the pay-per-view off with, but after missing a high kick, Fandango seized control. Fandango worked over the leg of Jericho, while Y2J would fire back with some offense every-so-often. Jericho played possum, and went for the Walls but the so-called dancer to the stars regained control. Great exchange as Jericho once again comes back with the offensive, but again Fandango managed to keep the ring veteran down on the mat. After Fandango missed his top rope leg drop, Jericho fired up, hit the dancer with a Lionsault and then soon locked him in the Walls. Fandango managed to escape, then cracked Jericho in the head with a jumping head kick. Fandango again went off the top corner, but this time Jericho caught him with a huge codebreaker sending the crowd to their feet as the ref made the three count.
Crowd seemed mixed over who to chant for, and I think the one-hit wonder that is the Fandango theme song has used up its 15-minutes of fame. Question I have been asking for a while now will have to get answered this week. Now that the feud is over, where do both Jericho and Fandango move on from here?
Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship
As everyone predicted, this was a great fast-paced contest. Kingston controlled the early pace of the match, and Ambrose gave the crowd something to talk about with creative countermeasures resulting in some pretty awesome and rarely seen chain-wrestling. Seriously, when was the last time you saw some good old fashion wrestling? Kingston maintained the grip on the match until a reversal put Ambrose in the driver’s seat. As Ambrose tried to put Kofi down for the count, the champion came back with a huge offensive move, at one point crushing the challenger with the SOS slam which resulted in a two-count. The two men battled all over the ring, with Ambrose overpowering Kingston on the ring apron, but keeping the match in the ring in order to gain a pinfall. Up on the top turnbuckle, Ambrose launched Kingston with a huge double-underhook superplex, and boy did he crowd jump for that! Regal must have been proud. Ambrose with a number of near-falls. Kingston tried fighting back, going for what looked like another SOS, was countered by Ambrose and Kingston was taken down for yet another two-count. As they fought on the ring apron, Kingston clocked Ambrose with the Trouble in Paradise, but was unable to earn the pinfall. Kofi rallied the crowd in preparation for a second kick, but Ambrose dodged, countering into his crushing Front-Face DDT and the ref struck the mat thrice for victory.
Winner and NEW United States Champion: Dean Ambrose
Now that is what I call a match! Standing ovation. As Rollins and Reigns came in to celebrate, you have to realize Ambrose won the match cleaning with no outside interference. This just gave The Shield a huge credibility boost. I hope we get a rematch between the two, title or no title match, this was incredible, and hopefully a sign of good things to come in the near future.
Sheamus defeated Mark Henry in a Four-Corners Strap Match
Meh. Lots of big-man stuff, some cool moves with Henry showing off how strong he is, but mostly Sheamus ran around the ring touching corners but Henry stopping before he could hit all four. The match did not see to favor Mark Henry at all, and the Sheamus-Brough Kick spot was pretty much another “how did you not see that coming” scenario. Decent match, but not all that special.
Alberto del Rio defeated Jack Swagger in an “I Quit Match”
This match disappointed me. I expected more, but did not get it. Maybe I had over-hyped it in my mind or had higher expectations. I think the pre-match tirade by Zeb Colter was better. In any event, the match was a bit slower, due to each man seeking an opening to lock on their submission finisher. Then came the foreign objects, notably the kendo stick. This match turned into the controversy match, where for whatever reason Ricardo was going to throw in the towel, but then Colter grabbed it and threw it in, causing the ref to call for the bell. Then an Instant Replay was used to prove Ricardo did not do it. Moments later, Del Rio locked in the armbar submission and Swagger quit. Announcers go crazy that Instant Replay has never been used before, and while I am not a walking wrestling encyclopedia, I am pretty sure they did in fact use it once before. In any event, Del Rio wins but since it was not clean this likely means Swagger is still in the title hunt.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeat Team Hell No to win the Tag Team Championships
A great Tornado match. Just a refresher, a Tornado match is when all four men are legal, no tagging in or out. I wish the match was longer, but for a match where everyone was involved at all times, you had to expect it would be fact paced and quite intense. Hell No started it off strong until The Shield used their double-team tactics to turn control to their favor. In a different fashion, this match saw Kane as the target rather than the smaller Bryan. Kane was taken down with double-teams, double-suplexes, double-backbreakers, but the Monster continued to fight on. Bryan returned strong, swaying the tide back in his favor. Match spilled to the floor where Bryan soared through the ropes. Kane and Bryan then dominated with their tag team tactics and for a while it seemed the champions would retain until The Shield regrouped for a short time until Bryan and Kane over-powered the challengers with a Chokeslam and the No-Lock. Reigns then plowed himself into Kane twice with a spear, taking him out of the match and then used a Samoan Drop-Diving Top Rope Knee combo on Bryan for the surprise pinfall victory.
Damn good match, even though we knew The Shield was going to clean up at Extreme Rules. Shield looked strong, as again, no outside interference, just clean victories. The Shield is being given the golden ball to run with, and I sincerely hope the creative brains behind the curtains continue to properly use the great talent given before them. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns are easy to tag with the whole “future of wrestling” moniker. I want to see it as reality and more than just a phrase. Ambrose will get to go up against more big names while we may see another rejuvenation of the tag team division as team after team will challenge, and likely falter against the dominance of The Shield.
Randy Orton defeated Big Show
I honestly had little-to-no care for this one. As I said in my preview column, a win or loss for either Show or Orton does nothing in the long run, just another battle in a boring war. Show dominated and Orton would make his usual comebacks. A few cool spots involving a ladder, thanks to Show. Orton picked up the pinfall win.
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship went to a No Contest
Not going to bother boring anyone with the match details. Typical match. Ryback rules the beginning, Cena fires back for a few minutes, then Cena gets mauled again. Cena kept getting up at eight and nine counts to make it dramatic. Ryback hitting power move after move, and about ten minutes in Cena finally hits some big moves, but the match then spills to the floor where foreign objects and table spots make this extreme! (Note: Sarcasm) Match brawls all the way to the stage where the two take a dive off and seemingly get shocked and seriously injured. Cole rants and raves about how extreme and intense the match was as both men are stretchered out. If you want to know how many powerbombs Ryback hit, go Google it, because frankly I really do not think it matters. Okay, there were a few neat spots, but overall the match just failed to deliver. One would think where Ryback was involved, the powerhouse, the big moves would be convincing, but it involves Cena also, so you know unless you hit him with the Kryptonite, Cena will always get to his feet in dramatic fashion.
If there are fans who actually cared about this match, I would call a Bulls*** on this one. The only saving grace is this extends their feud to the next pay-per-view event WWE Payback, which then brings it one step closer to SummerSlam, where I believe the feud will hit its climax.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – Steel Cage Match
Having this as the show-closer instead of Cena/Ryback certainly raised an eyebrow on my face. Triple H surprisingly dominated the majority of the match. Brock appeared to have issues with his leg very early, and HHH capitalized thanks to the timely placement of a steel chair. Seems weapons were hidden by The Cerebral Assassin prior to the match as a sledgehammer was waiting at the top of the cage. Brock got some punches in here and there, but The Game showed some memory of his old wrestling habits and used a variety of submission moves to keep Lesnar down. HHH was ready to blast Brock with the sledge, but Heyman snuck in somehow and dropped the COO of WWE with a low blow, allowing Brock to grab the hammer and bust open The Game. Brock plants Triple H with the F-5 and this one ends with more of a whimper than a bang. Very surprising. I really expected more from this one. Obviously we were not getting a wrestling match, but I felt the match was lacking in delivering the story it was meant to. Oh well, moving on.
Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesnar
Well, despite the main events not delivering, the undercard as predicted certainly made the show. The Shield sweep of belts, while predictable, still made for some very entertaining matches. Swagger and Del Rio, while not delivering the match we expected, still put on a great show, despite being marred by some strange instant-replay controversy. A lot of good talent not used for this one. Barrett and Titus O’Neal wound up doing commentary on the pre-show with Mick Foley. Cesaro nowhere to be found.
This was easily the most predictable PPV of the year. I feel like there is always one where you do not have to guess the winners at all. Keep in mind, it does not mean as a negative thing at all. The fact Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns all walked away with gold straps is what we wanted to see, so watching those predictions is not a bad thing, but a good thing.