Extreme Rules tends to be one of WWE‘s better pay-per-views of the year. Last night’s addition featured a lackluster card, but it proved that this event brings out the best in each card it hosts.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango, **1/4
The opener went just over eight minutes. There were a few sloppy moments, which I blame on Fandango because Jericho pulled his weight in this match. I liked the Codebreaker finish on Fandango as he came off the top rope.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE United States Championship, ***1/4
I liked this match a lot. We all know Ambrose is a major player on the mic, but he also proved last night that his in-ring work can back that up. I was surprised to see him execute a crossface chickenwing, which I thought would make an excellent submission finisher for him. As was kind of expected, Ambrose got a massive ovation from the crowd after he won the title.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry in a strap match, ***
For everyone else with a dirty mind, I couldn’t help but laugh when the ref told both of the to put the strap on. Anyway, this match was more fun to watch than I expected. Both Henry and Sheamus found interesting ways to get around to all four corners, but in the end, Sheamus reached them all after a Brouge Kick to Henry.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in an “I Quit” match for the No. 1 contendership to the World Heavyweight Championship, **1/2
This match was what you expected, but it had a false finish which I thought was great. Zeb Coulter took Ricardo Rodriguez’s towel and threw it in the ring while referee Mike Chioda wasn’t looking. That would have been a brilliant way for a heel to escape an “I Quit” match with a win, but that wasn’t the case. Another ref came from backstage and told Chioda that Rodriguez didn’t throw in the towel for Del Rio. The match re-started and Del Rio won via armbar. Now, when have we ever used instant replay in wrestling? If that were the case, heels would never win matches. Ever.
Daniel Bryan & Kane (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns for the WWE Tag Team Championship, ***1/4
We all know that whenever he’s on the card, it becomes the Daniel Bryan show. Team Hell No has certainly run its course, but last night was possibly their best display of chemistry as a tag team. I was surprised at the amount of double-team moves they pulled off. The same can also be said for Rollins and Reigns, who came out on top.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show in an Extreme Rules match, **1/4
It wasn’t as boring as you’d expect, but it was still pretty boring nonetheless. The St. Louis crowd was really into Orton, their hometown hero, but that was the only thing I got out of this match. By the way, shouldn’t every match be an Extreme Rules match on this show? Why was this the only one with that title?
John Cena (c) vs. Ryback in a last man standing match for the WWE Championship, ***3/4
Ryback’s in-ring work is definitely improving as we saw last night. He pulled out all the strings, as did Cena with a surprising powerbomb of his own. The two went a lot longer than I expected, and I’m glad they didn’t have just a regular match. All parts of the building were utilized. I was disappointed that there was no winner, as neither one answered the 10 count after Ryback speared Cena through the stage. I suppose it’s a way for Cena to keep the belt and not have Ryback look like a loser.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in a steel cage match, ***3/4
The third time’s a charm I guess for these two to develop some chemistry. Most people on Twitter said that this was their best match of the three, which I wasn’t sure of. I thought they all were about the same. I did like seeing the cage utilized, and Lesnar’s verbal selling is priceless. Add Paul Heyman on the outside, and we officially have a great thing going. The right ending occurred as Lesnar pinned Triple H after an F5, and that was how the show ended. My personal highlight was Lesnar saying, “That’s my manager!” after assistance from Heyman. He should never be without that manager.