June 7, 2009
Extreme Rules sees many title changes, but fails to live up to its name
By MATT MACKINDER - SLAM! Wrestling
With a name like Extreme Rules, one would hope this WWE pay-per-view would be hardcore to the bone. Sadly, it's merely just a show of gimmick matches that barely resemble anything extreme.
Live from New Orleans (or Naw'lins if you're so inclined to call it that), the main event pitted Edge defending his World Heavyweight championship against Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match in another installment of this seemingly neverending feud.
Hardy introduces the first ladder, but eats it after Edge kicks it into him while Jeff was on the floor. Hardy then backdrops Edge over the top and ribs-first into the ladder. Edge then tries to hotshot Hardy off a ladder in the ring, but the move gets jacked and Hardy instead just falls on the ladder and gets twisted in it.
Edge takes control for a short spell, but spears the ladder and then gets it in the face courtesy of a Hardy kick.
Jeff brings one of the XL-size ladder into the ring. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and goes to climb the ladder. Jeff jumps at the belt and hangs from it and Edge grabs Hardy's feet and pulls him down into the ladder.
Hardy rebounds by scaling the ladder and dropping down on Edge with a Whisper In The Wind. Hardy brings a second ladder in the ring, but instead clotheslines Edge (and himself) over the top rope. Action on the floor sees Hardy tossed into the ring steps and the ringside security wall. Jim Ross calls this match "absolute carnage." Not quite, but maybe extreme. Maybe.
OK, here comes extreme. The two trade punches on top of a ladder on the floor, until the ladder tips and both guys go through a ladder that had been propped between the ring apron and security wall. Both are down, but both crawl back in the ring.
Hardy punches Edge into the ref for an odd ref bump. Both go up separate ladders, Edge goes for a spear, but Jeff counters into a pseudo-Twist of Fate.
The two go back up the same ladder, but Jeff gets knocked down. He gets up and pulls Edge through the ladder and Edge is hung-up and helpless. Jeff back up top and rips down the belt to start another (short?) title reign.
Match Rating: 8/10
Extreme Factor: 7/10
CM Punk's music hits and here he comes to cash in Money In The Bank!
Punk nails the Go To Sleep right off the bat, but only gets a two-count. The second GTS, however, does the trick and Punk's title win has the crown in a stunned silence.
The next WWE pay-per-view is The (don't call it Great American) Bash on Sunday, June 28.
After the obligatory montage of matches on the card, we get right to the ring for the first of five title matches.
Match #1 - Kofi Kingston vs. William Regal vs. MVP vs. Matt Hardy (Fatal Four Way Match for United States title)
First off, can we get new entrance music for Matt? Like, I don't know, something evil-sounding? His old tune just doesn't mesh with his heel persona. Anyway, on to the match. A fatal four-way, though? Extreme. I doubt it. I like how the Hardy cast storyline is yet another recycled from the archives. Yes, I'm talking about "Cowboy" Bob Orton.
As predicted, this is a cluster-you-know-what right from the start. Kofi and MVP basically own the first few minutes and this is a good thing. I spoke too soon. MVP went to pull both Regal and Kofi off the top rope, but slipped, and nearly had both guys land on his dome.
Several near-falls dot the next few minutes, including Hardy with one on MVP after a Side Effect. Kingston slams Regal on top of Hardy, hits his leg drop on both guys and has a cover broken up by Regal.
MVP lands the "Ballin'" elbow on Hardy, but Regal breaks 'er up. Regal clears the ring of Hardy and MVP, but Kofi bounces off the ropes and hits the Trouble In Paradise kick on Regal and that's all she wrote.
Winner via pinfall and still U.S. champion: Kofi Kingston
Match Rating: 6.5/10
Extreme Factor: 1/10
Josh "Nosebleed" Matthews talked to The Big Show earlier today and Show hypes his Submission Match later with John Cena before asking 'Bleed to leave his bus.
Match #2 - Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho (No Holds Barred Match for Intercontinental title)
Let me just start by saying these guys can do much better than this as this bout, in my eyes, was a major disappointment.
On to the match, which has each guy hit their signature spots early and often, even on the floor. Rey hits about 212 hurricanranas, too. The first one is always decent, but the more he does, they elicit a yawn.
Rey goes for a 619 at one point, but Jericho catches him, spins him horizontally on his shoulders and drops down into a backbreaker for a near-fall. More near-falls from each guy follow this. Jericho goes for the mask and pretty much has it off (the cameraman got a great shot of Mysterio's bare face), but Rey fights to keep it on. Rey nails the 619 with Jericho backward in the ropes and once he goes up top for the springboard splash, Jericho quickly pops up and Rey eats a Codebreaker. Another two-count.
Jericho remembers the match is No Holds Barred, goes outside for a chair (Oooooh!), but Rey dropkicks it into Jericho's grill for another two. Mysterio tries for a seated senton, but Y2J counters into the Walls of Jericho. Rey reaches back for the chair, rolls onto his back and clocks Jericho with it. Jericho into the ropes, Rey with the 619 (again), but Jericho reaches up, unmasks Rey and then wins his ninth I-C title with a clean rollup from behind.
Winner via pinfall and new Intercontinental champ: Chris Jericho
Match Rating: 5/10
Extreme Factor: 2/10
Nosebleed is in the back with Batista and same old, same old interview. Nothing special here, folks. Just a recap of what happened on Raw last Monday with Ric Flair.
Match #3 - CM Punk vs. Umaga (Samoan Strap Match)
Well if this isn't a rushed feud, I don't know what is. Todd Grisham and Jim Ross doubt Punk can drag Umaga to all four corners, but like JR says, that's why we're having this match.
A cute little box in the top right corner lets us know how many corners each wrestler has touched. This match is a smidge on the boring side. One guys hits a couple moves, goes for the corners. And so on and so on.
Umaga goes to the top, but Punk pulls him down with the strap. Punk then gets to three corners and Umaga tries to pull him away from the fourth. Punk counters with the Go To Sleep on Umaga and falls into the turnbuckle to win the match.
Winner via touching all four corners: CM Punk
Match Rating: 5/10
Extreme Factor: 5/10
Gregory Helms interviews ECW champion Christian backstage and he lets us all know that the next match may be Tommy Dreamer's last match. Christian rags on Dreamer and hypes him, but says he's walking out of New Orleans still champ. Dreamer interrupts, then Swagger, but Christian and Dreamer bolt.
Match #4 - Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Tommy Dreamer (Triple Threat Hardcore Rules Match for ECW title)
I wish Swagger would stop the chest bang on his way to the ring. He looks like a doped-up ape. Not that I've ever seen a doped-up ape, but I assume it would be similar to Swagger's mannerisms. In-ring introductions get this match the proper kick-off.
Dreamer's DDT gets countered into a backdrop by Swagger. Dreamer rolls to the floor and goes under the ring for a Singapore cane. Christian gets a trash can lid and the two double-up on Swagger. Nosebleed and Matt Striker argue over the Singapore cane being called a "stick." How extreme.
Dreamer does a rolling flip with the trash can into Christian and Swagger on the floor and we get an "E-C-Dub" chant from the first row of fans. Back in the ring, Dreamer puts Swagger in the tree of woe and goes for the baseball slide dropkick, but Christian trips Dreamer and lands his own kick into the trash can Dreamer put in front of Swagger.
Christian power bombs Swagger and Dreamer (who wound up superplexed into three trash cans) off the top and Dreamer gets a shoulder up at two. A nice spot there.
Swagger tries for the gutwrench power bomb on Christian, but a Dreamer crutch shot breaks it up. Dreamer then tattoos Swagger with the crutch across his gourd, follows it up with the DDT and yes, Tommy Dreamer has won the ECW championship.
Winner via pinfall and new ECW champion: Tommy Dreamer
I admit - I marked out here. Big time. Even though the outcome was way too predictable. Striker even calls Dreamer by his real name - Thomas John Loughlin. Nice touch. Dreamer celebrates in the crowd and the ECW diehards dig it.
Match Rating: 8/10
Extreme Factor: 6/10
Vickie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero are backstage sparring and Chavo is wearing a pig nose. Yes, folks, welcome to the PG world of WWE.
Jerry "The King" Lawler is in the hog pen explaining the rules for what will surely be the worst match of all-time, Vickie vs. Santina Marella. It's up next. Hopefully, this goes fast.
Match #5 - Santina Marella vs. Vickie Guerrero (Hog Pen Match for title of Miss WrestleMania)
There are actual live pigs in the pen. Good Lord. Vickie brings Chavo and says it's now a Handicap Match. Lawler makes the lame joke that in a match like this, you have to watch out for No. 1 and not step in No. 2. Groan. Honestly, whose sh-t list is Santino on???
Vickie just watches while Chavo and Santina throw mud at each other. No way will this match even qualify for an Extreme Factor rating. Chavo gets thrown into the pig side of the pen and the pigs scatter. Chavo throws slop on Vickie by accident and then gets a bucket of it dumped on his head. Santina then drags Vickie into the pen and pins her to once again be Miss WrestleMania.
Winner via pinfall and the new Miss WrestleMania: Santina Marella
Match Rating: 0/10
Extreme Factor: 0/10
Vickie and Chavo go at it after the match and all Vickie does is scream. This was most definitely the worst match in WWE/WWF history. And on pay-per-view at that. What a joke.
The official theme song for this pay-per-view is "You're Going Down" by Sick Puppies. Just an FYI.
The Batista-Orton feud is recapped with footage we've all
Vickie and Chavo are walking in the back and Vickie blames Chavo for her loss. Goldust and Hornswoggle approach Vickie and Goldust asks Vickie to sign his expense report before telling her she smells like sh-t. Very PG, WWE. Vickie and Chavo walk into Edge's locker room and Edge and Vickie argue with Vickie saying she won't help Edge tonight. Edge responds by saying he's going to divorce Vickie.
The cage is being lowered for the WWE title match.
Match #6 - Randy Orton vs. Batista (Steel Cage Match for WWE title)
Some decent back and forth action for a while until Batista goes for the Batista Bomb, only to taste a backdrop into the cage.
Orton then climbs the cage and starts to exit, but gets back in to go for the punt. Orton misses and quickly tries to escape. Batista brings Orton off the ropes into a Bomb attempt, but Orton fights out. Orton with an RKO attempt, Batista pushes him into the ropes, kick to the gut and a Batista Bomb hits and we get the surprise pinfall. Really? That seemed too quick for my liking.
Winner via pinfall and new WWE champion: Batista
Match Rating: 5/10
Extreme Factor: 4/10
More recapping of a feud next and it's John Cena and The Big Show. I still get confused - is Show a monster face or a monster heel? I guess heel, right?
Match #7 - John Cena vs. The Big Show (Submission Match)
Show goes for a Full Nelson that makes me yearn for the days of Ken Patera, Billy Jack Haynes and even Hercules. Cena escapes and his sleeper (well, a chinlock any way) has Show down to one knee. Show fights out and drops Cena on his face with an odd-looking move where Cena was straddling Show's face. Show with his trademark chops and Cena looks like he's done.
A bear hug to Cena's neck and shoulders on the mat by Show is followed up by Cena getting choke-pushed over the top to the floor. Show goes for more submissions with an abdominal stretch (no kidding) and a normal bear hug. Cena rallies and hits a huge fireman's carry, er, Attitude Adjustment, but can't lock on the STF. Cena lands his top-rope leg drop, wraps up Show's leg in the ropes and then gets the STF on and Show taps.
Winner via submission: John Cena
Match Rating: 5/10
Extreme Factor: 5/10
Match #8 - Edge vs. Jeff Hardy (Ladder Match for World Heavyweight title)
Winner via pinfall and new World Heavyweight champion: Jeff Hardy
Overall pay-per-view rating: 4/10
Overall Extreme Factor: 3/10
This pay-per-view had all the potential in the world, but with a name like Extreme Rules, I expected more - a LOT more. Even with all the major titles changing hands, chalk this PPV up to the growing list of WWE failures.
Matt Mackinder is now a veteran of reporting on this pay-per-view, as he also covered the 2007 gonger and last year's solid showing. Email Matt at email@example.com.