WWE went rolling right on through the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, last night (Sun., May 19, 2013) with Extreme Rules, its annual post-WrestleMania pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza featuring a card full of mostly gimmick matches designed to inflict pain.
It's just too bad most of that pain was inflicted upon the viewer. Click here to check out the live blog.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- Chris Jericho was always going to get his win back and I don't necessarily have a problem with him getting it but it would have been nice to see him really try to make Fandango a star. Yeah, he did the job at WrestleMania, but with the benefit of hindsight fans will say it was just a roll up and he didn't really deserve to win, especially after this loss. It's that kind of subtlety that often leads to performers getting over or not. It would have been cool to see Jericho go the full nine and really make Fandango in the same vein as Triple H making Batista a star in their 2005 series of matches. Oh well.
- Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston wasn't anything spectacular, so let's not go too crazy over the match itself, but they didn't have a ton of time to work with and they still made it fun. Plus, it was surreal seeing Ambrose holding a championship belt he won in WWE. He's actually a champion in WWE. I don't even care that it's the U.S. title and chances are he'll be jobbing out to everyone within a matter of weeks. He's a champion in WWE now and it felt like something special.
- I don't want to talk about Mark Henry vs. Sheamus. I saw someone say on Twitter that Sheamus going over Henry in a strap match is probably the front runner for the most racist match in a long while and I'm not going to say I necessarily agree with that but I'm not going to say I necessarily disagree with it either.
- God, Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger was just a giant piece of shit, wasn't it? My big problem wasn't the work itself, though that was lacking. It was with the referee asking them if they wanted to quit when the match wasn't even two minutes old. Guy takes a header on the steel steps, there's the ref asking if he wants to quit. Never mind the fact that that's the only bump the guy has taken so far in the match. It just felt silly. The entire match was silly, really, with dumb booking for the finish.
- Instant replay can't be used once because then it has to be used in every single match. Either your refs are competent all the time or none of the time, but you can't have both. WWE.com is actually stupidly playing this up and it's awful. If they wanted us to believe in instant replay, it would negate so much about professional wrestling and what it represents in its current form with this company. Plus, we know WWE would never do it because then clear winners would have to be decided on and fuck all if that's ever going to happen.
- The tornado tag gimmick should stay on the shelf. It just made for a disjointed looking match. Chaos can be a good thing but it felt odd with four bodies in the same ring just flying all around in a non-battle royal match. That said, The Shield and Team Hell No are just so damn good at everything they do it worked out just fine and, to my eyes, was the best match on the card.
- I love Daniel Bryan's suicide dive. That is all.
- Scott Hall on Twitter pointed out something that I would be interested in seeing if it rings true: In Shield matches, Roman Reigns is the guy who is always executing the winning pinfall. I don't know how true that is but if someone wants to go and check -- yeah, I'm crowd sourcing, sue me -- and report back, that would be great.
- I thought the patented punt was banned? Isn't that what Randy Orton himself said? I suppose if you're going to break it out the time to do it would be in an Extreme Rules match when throwing the kitchen sink at a guy wasn't working but the timing still felt wrong because of what happened to Dolph Ziggler. The world heavyweight champion couldn't work this show because of a punt to the head causing a severe concussion and here we have Orton using his notoriously dangerous move on Show. I'm not all up in arms about it because I think it was done well and used in a great spot, it's just a bit confusing.
- It should be noted that the titles that felt important on this show were the U.S. and Tag Team straps and that's only because of how brilliantly booked programs with The Shield have been lately, save for that little mess up on Raw last week. And that likely only applies to the more hardcore fan base. The WWE championship took the co-main event slot under a match featuring two guys who have worked maybe 25 dates in the past year -- total! That's not to mention the Intercontinental championship being relegated to the pre and post-show. Not in a match, mind you, but with Wade Barrett, the holder of said title, acting as an analyst. The Divas championship was at least given a segment backstage but it wasn't defended either.
- Why is John Cena so obsessed with fire extinguishers?
- Here's my issue with the finish in Cena vs. Ryback, beyond the usual fatigue at WWE doing its same old song and dance with not actually wanting anyone to lose matches that are designed to have a winner and a loser: when they did the big spot on the stage, Ryback got up. Cena was laid out completely and did a stretcher job. So why was there no referee to count? Was it because Ryback needed help up? Because that wasn't totally clear and if they did this on purpose to make it seem as though Ryback went over but they could keep the belt on Cena and say he didn't lose, it's almost time to boycott this nonsense. No one will ever get over this way. Ever. Ryback himself proved how you can get over, actually moving the box office needle, even if it wasn't by much, simply by winning matches straight up, even against "local athlete legends" like Stan Stanksy and Benny Camer. Some things will never change but if this booking doesn't go back to the basics, something will need to, and fast.
- How did they convince Cena to do a stretcher job for Ryback at Extreme Rules this year and they couldn't get him to do one for Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules last year?
- I really liked Triple H bum rushing Lesnar during his entrance before he could even get into the cage. I do wonder about the internal battle that must have occurred when the idea was presented. He gave up his entire entrance to do that. I suppose it's possible it was done because the show was running long, seeing as the two didn't start their match until 10:30 ET, but either way, good for "The Game" for not feeding his ego ALL the time.
- Lesnar taught me something last night that I already knew but maybe didn't outwardly realize: I love when wrestlers oversell. I love that point when you see the sell job and know it's a sell job, then get to thinking maybe he's really hurt, before settling on amusement at how much he's overplaying it. I mean, he was screaming at Paul Heyman that his knee was jacked and literally begging Triple H not to hurt him anymore. It was unbelievable. Later, he was talking to himself. "I gotta find the energy." Too good.
- Since when does Triple H do a Sharpshooter?
- Is anyone surprised that the only way Lesnar was able to beat Triple H was by using the trusty sledgehammer? Anyone at all? Yeah, didn't think so.
This was an average show, but that was always the expectation. The Shield doing their thing and winning all that gold helped make it worthwhile, though.
That + is strictly for The Shield. I believe.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show. How did you feel about it?