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WrestleMania 27: Well, That Was Different

April 03, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

-Another day, another running diary. But I keep coming back to entertain all (sixteen) of you that read my work. And, unlike certain hosts of certain PPVs, I will NOT phone it in via satellite!

-I’ll phone it in right here, in person.

-We are looking LIVE (Trademark Brent Musberger) from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where fingerpoking and NFL playoff choking are all the rage. I’m joined at my brother Josh’s domicile by Josh himself, and jaded buddies Dave and Rob for some good action and, hopefully, some unintentional comedy to offset the cost of this shindig. Also, Domino’s Pizza is the order of the day, because if you’re going to pay to see Snooki, you should at least get fat on Cheesy Bread doing it.

-Keri Hilson performs America the Beautiful, and is the latest contestant in the “Are they Black or White?” game with Derek Jeter, Latoya Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Jason Kidd. Black seems likely, for those wondering how I’d score.

-The Rock is out here to waste time, you know, because the biggest show of the year needs talk. Rock assures us, through his self-intro, that he still eats pie, which must confuse twelve-year old kids in the audience who see a muscular athlete that LOVES to indulge in pastries. But you can see why Daniel Bryan and Sheamus would get axed.

-Rock further validates their excising by leading the crowd in a chant along. Here’s one for you: When I yell “RE!”, you yell “FUND!”. Ready?

-I never thought I’d see the day where four longtime wrestling fans shake their heads in exasperation, wondering when Rock is going to stop talking. I thought April Fool’s Day was Friday.

-Wait, wait, wait, wait…..The World Heavyweight Title match….is OPENING? The prize for winning the Royal Rumble is to open WrestleMania? Well, it’s Atlanta, and Vince probably thought “You know….I wonder how I could devalue the World Heavyweight Title more than WCW ever did”.

-So it’s Edge, with Christian, defending against Alberto Del Rio, with Brodus Clay and Psicosis in a tuxedo. Del Rio takes a nasty slip to the floor, indicating that perhaps Del Rio wants to steal the show and make Vince pay for his error in judgment. Or, maybe he just slipped.

-Del Rio hooks the cross-armbreaker, leading to a false finish. Del Rio then ups the ante with a springing enzuigiri. You’re telling me it was necessary to not make room for this guy later in the night? I thought WWE was all about putting over the future? You know, that outmoded concept that TNA seems to not seem to buy into? Did Russo book this?

-Edge’s spear misses, and it leads to a cross-armbreaker, which Edge refuses to give into. If Edge tapped in the opener to lose the title, then it’s proof Russo WASN’T booking. My money would then be on David Lynch.

-Edge gets the Edgucator, and Del Rio won’t give up. The challenger finds his way out, and Edge merely spears him to win. Really? All that “destiny” chatter and this is the payoff? It was a good match, with few flaws (you know, other than being the opener), but why have Del Rio fall short in what was, basically, a throwaway? I’m not mad, just confused. A lot of us are, really.

-Meanwhile, Michael Cole taunts Jerry Lawler from inside the Cole Mine. He shows off his Slammys and calls himself a “broadcast journalist”, which makes him half Owen Hart/half Bobby Heenan. No wonder I like him so much now.

-Cody Rhodes is out next, Vinny Del Negro face shield and all, to take on Rey Mysterio, who is dressed as Captain America. Interesting that WWE took their two top “lucha” stars and put them at the bottom of the card. Know what other company used to do that? Hint: they were based in Atlanta, and aren’t in business anymore.

-Well hey, Cody’s bringing the energy. It’s like he wants to steal the show all for himself, as he’s keeping up with Mysterio all the way. Not only does Rhodes bust out the Alabama Slam (finisher of ex-partner Hardcore Holly), but he even borrow’s CW Anderson’s delayed superplex. There’s even faint “CODY” chants in the Georgia Dome. Good on you, kid.

-Rhodes tries going into Mysterio’s pant leg, which makes me think he’s trying to find evidence of drug muling, but he’s merely going after Mysterio’s knee brace. Rey responds by taking off Cody’s facemask (“WE CAN SEE WHO IT IS! IT WAS CODY THE WHOLE TIME!”), putting it on, and then headbutting Cody with it. Isn’t that a DQ?

-Rhodes goes an eye for an eye by bashing Rey with his own knee brace, and then hitting Cross Rhodes for the win. I enjoyed the match, and Rhodes proved who the real dead weight of “Legacy” was. No wonder Triple H embarrassed Junior Dibiase so handily. Welcome to the food chain.

-To further urinate in Sheamus and Bryan’s faces, here’s a pointless talent contest backstage. Just know that Rowdy Roddy Piper does a pretty good impression of Jeff Hardy at Victory Road.

-I’m going to give the eight man tag as much time and effort as WWE gave it. I don’t think I physically saw Justin Gabriel. I’ll also bet Vince couldn’t pick him out of a police line-up.

-Eve tells The Rock that she’s enjoying the show. She also believes that, as Divas champion, she’d valued more for her brains and ability than looks, so her credibility is somewhat questionable. Mae Young shows up, because Vince loves her, and then we get an Austin/Rock staredown for old times’ sake. Ok, that was enjoyable. Just glad Austin didn’t strike Eve.

-Randy Orton and CM Punk, the match I was looking forward to the most, is next. Just a classic cat and mouse heel vs. face feud, with very few weak spots. Except for the acting of Randy Orton’s “wife”. This should be an annual tradition: find a fitness model with zero personality, and make her Orton’s designated wife. It’s like “Rock of Love” with fewer degrading skits.

-It needs to be said: CM Punk is about as complete a heel as you’ll find in wrestling these days. He was born about twenty years too late. Take away the excessive tattoos and couldn’t you see him in the old NWA, attacking babyfaces in the parking lot? He’s like Tully Blanchard, except you won’t find him repenting tearfully over the days of sniffing lines out of the belly buttons of ring rats.

-Punk is carrying his end swimmingly. I think he and Cody Rhodes are playing “can you top this” in terms of bringing their A-Game to the night. Punk’s arrays of kicks, as well as the kick-to-the-face counter to the RKO, are keeping the viewing party entertained. In other words, we like Punk.

-ANACONDA VICE! ORTON HOLDING ON BY A THREAD! Hold my coat while I forget that this is fake for a little while!

-After Punk avoids a few defeat attempts due to Orton’s injuries, Punk springboards into the ring and eats a vicious RKO. Great match, best of the night so far (edging the Cody-Rey “feelin’ it” fest). For as badly structured as the backstage stuff is, the ring work is carrying the card.

-The Rock talks to Pee Wee Herman. I go for more cheesy bread, to find none left. I’m sad twice.

-Howard Finkel! #27! THE REAL STREAK LIVES!

-Hall of Famers are then introduced: Abdullah the Butcher, Sunny (YOWZA!), Legion of Doom (Man, Hawk got small….oh, that’s Ellering), Bullet Bob Armstrong, Drew Carey, Hacksaw Jim Duggan (complete with tuxed-up 2X4), and Shawn Michaels, whose presence on these shows is definitely missed. Now we have to be more selective with our “FIVE STAR” declarations.

-Booker T is out next to commentate as is, wait for it…..GOOD OL JR! And Jim Ross said on Twitter that he WOULDN’T be commentating! Using Twitter to deceive people? When did JR become Dixie Carter?

-Michael Cole is dressed as a mildly-less retarded Rick Steiner while Jerry Lawler is, well, Jerry Lawler. Steve Austin, the referee, nearly runs over Jack Swagger with his ATV. What if Swagger DID get hit? Could they have tousled Drew McIntyre’s hair and given him a singlet in time?

-Cole’s having the time of his life, performing like a modern Andy Kaufman. Meanwhile, Swagger busts out the ankle lock on Lawler. Question: if Kurt Angle was a real Olympian, is Swagger WWE’s “Special Olympian”? Question two: am I going to Hell for making this joke?

-Cole seems to have no concept of applying holds, which may lead one to think he doesn’t watch ROH. And why would he? Working ROH style leads to you having your US Title match scrapped.

-Match slows down as the crowd chants “DORING” in the hopes that former ECW Tag Team Champion Danny Doring arrives to spice things up. No dice, sadly.

-The match breaks down into a typical Austin showcase (Stunner for Swagger, babyface comeback), with Lawler applying an ankle lock for the submission, with Cole tapping forever, and Austin delaying the bell ringing. Just for fun, Booker T jumps in for a beer and eats a Stunner, because Austin remembers when Booker stole his truck and cost him the Undisputed Title.

-But WAIT! The Anonymous GM, per Josh Mathews, announces that Austin overstepped his bounds and that the virtually dead Michael Cole wins by DQ! So Austin beats up Mathews, just because. Maybe Austin’s just mad because they’re making Expendables II without him.

-Meanwhile, at AXXESS, Sheamus fans flew from Ireland to see him! Just slap em in the face, why don’t ya, WWE….

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-No Holds Barred is next, and while I’m fearful of Zeus returning, it’s actually the heavily-hyped Undertaker-Triple H match. Hear that buzzing? That’s me. I’m abuzz.

-Triple H immediately endears himself to me by using “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, my favorite song from my favorite band of all time, Metallica. The booking staff could use “Frayed Ends of Sanity” themselves. He then switches to Motorhead after a redux of his Conan entrance, and then The Undertaker arrives to Johnny Cash. Metallica, Motorhead, and Johnny Cash? Sounds like the contents of Triple H’s iPod. Can we work some Warrant in there somewhere, just for laughs?

-Of note, this is Triple H’s first match in almost a year. In most cases, the man’s gut might sag. Not the case here, but his forehead’s sloping to the point where he could become a GEICO pitchman.

-The brawl goes outside and they end up destroying the Cole Mine, near the Spanish announce table. Rob points out that the last time he saw a mine collapse in the presence of Latinos was in Chile. So Rob takes my coveted title of “most tasteless joke told in a Justin diary”. I couldn’t hold it forever.

-Match is a damn good brawl, and Hunter takes a SICK backdrop off of the announce table, landing right on his hip. Gotta respect the man for taking so much abuse when he can just sit back.

-Jerry Lawler mentions that Undertaker’s never faced someone quite like Triple H, except when he faced…..Triple H. Of course, Lawler missed that WrestleMania when he protested alongside a woman that would later desert him for another man, so I can excuse it.

-HHH lands a Pedigree for 2, and then another which doesn’t finish. Hunter is now screaming “STAY DOWN”, which seems to indicate that Undertaker isn’t following the script that Hunter carefully wrote. Had Hunter yelled “JOB!”, that would have been my undisputed WrestleMania 27 moment. Hands down.

-Hunter decides to violate company policy by bashing Taker in the head with a chair, and then adds a Tombstone, which still isn’t enough. Finally, he gets the sledgehammer, but Undertaker applies Hell’s Gate. Hunter can’t swing the weapon, goes limp, and then lightly taps out. Wow, insanely epic brawl. Perhaps it’s not of the caliber of the Taker/Shawn matches, but best match of the night anyway.

-Note: Hunter tapped three times in big Mania matches. Who says he doesn’t lay down?

-Undertaker, near death, is carted off with the help of several officials, including IRS. Didn’t IRS once repossess headstones just to mess with Taker? Wrestling sure is full of forgiveness.

-Hey, Vickie’s here to shriek! Fan sentiment: “if we keep booing her and giving her insane heel heat, maybe she’ll go away!” Yeah, sure, maybe.

-John Morrison, Trish Stratus, and Snooki are facing Dolph Ziggler and LayCool, which seems to be a recipe for disaster, especially when Trish and McCool fall awkwardly to the floor from the top rope. Then McCool accidentally almost takes Layla’s face off with a blown kick meant for Trish. WWE does strong style better than the indies!

-Morrison adds a Starship Pain to the floor. Bad ass.

-Snooki gets booed after a tag, but amazes all with a handspring back splash that puts Great Muta to shame. Flip splash pins McCool to give us a pleasant surprise. Ya know, take away her drunkenness, her annoying personality, her burnt skin, and her overexposed celebrity, and what do you have? A short girl with some shapely thighs and is quite bottom heavy. Give her a normal life where she’s just “Nicole”, and I’d be shamelessly lusting after her like George “The Animal” Steele.

-(The above statement was made without a trace of irony)

-The Tough Enough contestants are in the crowd and, as Dave points out, they got better seats than the WCW roster did ten years ago at X7. Shows you where WWE’s priorities are.

-Miz’s opening video for the main event, with him “taking over production”, while “Hate Me Now” plays, is one of the freshest presentations WWE has yet done. Makes The Miz seem like a big time performer.

-Alex Riley, by managing Miz in the main event, is the Harvey Wippleman to Riley’s Sid Justice. It’s official.

-John Cena‘s entrance of the year: a church choir, singing over a montage of Cena photos and videos of his youth. If you’re going to do a church choir, can’t you get a James Brown impersonator to sing in preacher garb while Cena yells “THE BAND, ELWOOD! THE BAND!”? Is that too much to ask?

-Slow opening to the WWE Title match. Fan with a sign reading “PLEASE GIVE UP” in one of Cena’s fonts makes us laugh. Not a good sign.

-Cena and Miz seem to be rushing through this, due to time constraints. I dunno, maybe giving Rock 4 hours at the start of the show to cheerlead wasn’t such a good idea.

-For a WrestleMania main event, this is resembling a match in Stu Hart’s basement: no heat, and it’s not exactly visually pleasing. Oh, and there’s a ref bump! This just gets better by the second!

-Riley bashes Cena with a briefcase, which IRS seemed to have left at ringside, and Miz still can’t finish. So the two men brawl to the floor and Cena takes Miz over a pair of railings. Mike Chioda counts both men out which means….MIZ RETAINS! The crowd, which booed Cena all match, boos Miz retaining the title. And this is why smart-ass fans can’t have good things.

-But WAIT! Rock is out here to restart the match! The crowd doesn’t know how to feel.

-But it’s okay, because Rock gives Cena Rock Bottom as a receipt, and allows Miz to pin him and retain. Ballsy ending, I’ll give em that. Not a great match, but it’ll be fun to see where they take it from here.

-Oh, and Rock gives Miz a beating as well, because Rock’s the star. The prodigal star.

CYNIC SAYS: I didn’t HATE the show, but the structure was definitely weird. Taker-HHH was a match of the year candidate, Rhodes-Rey and Orton-Punk were both excellent, and the World Title matches were solid enough (yes, even Miz-Cena was “okay). Lawler-Cole was also fun for what it was.

There was nothing outright terrible, but not a whole lot of “blowaway” for the biggest show of the year. Call it a thumbs in the middle, leaning up, pending further review some day.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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WrestleMania XXVII: A Portrait in Wrestling History

April 03, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WRESTLEMANIA XXVII
From The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA
April 3, 2011

BACKGROUND
WrestleManias these days are more like the Super Bowl than ever before. In the NFL’s biggest annual game, while the outcome determines a champion, thus making the game the most relevant part of the weekend, the lure and aura of the halftime show, commercials, and interminable pre-game shows loaded with puff pieces draw in the casual viewer.

With WWE’s ratings and buyrates waning incrementally from the Attitude Era’s ending, Vince McMahon has discovered other ways to appeal to the casual viewer, especially come “WrestleMania season.”

In the last year and a half or so, World Wrestling Entertainment has dove into the deep end of social networking. You can’t sit through more than five minutes of Monday Night Raw anymore without Michael Cole prattling on in his cacophonic shriek about “hashtags” and “trending” and whatnot. Wrestlers tweeting threats to each other on off-days, usually in character, have begun to replace traditional story elements of tag team miscues and title shot demands as a means of fueling feuds and grudges.

With Twitter and Facebook as prime means of communication, it’s no doubt that WWE would exploit any chance to reach potential viewers.

Of course, WWE also continues the time-honored tradition of immersing past stars into the present story world. In recent years, we’ve seen Chris Jericho run afoul of Hall of Famers like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat on the Road to WrestleMania. One year later, Vince McMahon and Bret Hart modified their years of bad blood into a three month story arc that culminated in one of WrestleMania’s most unlikely matches.

With a Georgia Dome to fill, and fans to get talking, WWE brought somebody in off the bench to help ensure the likelihood of both. It had been nearly seven years since he was last seen….

But finally……he came back.

THE EVENT
On February 14, 2011, a day devoted to love, wrestling fans jilted by the loss of WWE’s classic spontaneity and assertiveness were greeted to the sports entertainment equivalent of John Cusack standing below their bedroom window with a boombox.

One week after Vince McMahon announced a special guest host for WrestleMania, The Rock showed up in Anaheim, to an ungodly ovation from fans who had missed one of the sport’s greatest heroes. Dwayne Johnson systematically riffed on The Miz and John Cena, the two would-be main eventers, the latter in particular for some scathing public comments. Cena had derided Rock for leaving WWE completely behind in his pursuit of Sunset Boulevard, and now “The People’s Champion” was back to dress down his verbal attacker.

For weeks, Rock and Cena exchanged jibes back and forth so often, you’d think they were facing off at WrestleMania. Instead, Cena (who won #1 contendership at Elimination Chamber) would be challenging The Miz for the WWE Championship. Miz became a secondary figure to Rock and Cena’s trash talk, even while Michael Cole was championing Miz as “the most must-see WWE Champion in history.”

Ahh, Michael Cole’s heel turn. That ties into WrestleMania as well, as Cole, now pro-heel to the hilt, kept getting under the skin of Jerry Lawler, his longtime partner. When Lawler attempted to become WWE Champion in his only-ever shot, and felt short vs. The Miz, Cole rubbed it in to Lawler in antagonistic fashion. Emotions spilled over when Cole let slip that Lawler’s now-dead mother watched her son lose, and “The King” finally put his hands on his partner.

Soon enough, a match would be signed, with Jack Swagger as Cole’s trainer, and Stone Cold Steve Austin (what did I say about classic acts?) as the guest referee.

We haven’t even mentioned the Royal Rumble winner yet. Alberto Del Rio won the only 40-Man Rumble in history, and selected Edge, the World Heavyweight Champion, as the hilltopper he wished to knock off the summit. This feud had the added advantage of involving Christian, whom Del Rio put out of action in the fall of 2010. The reunited brothers (not friends, screw you WWE) banded together against Del Rio, his servant Ricardo Rodriguez, and protégé Brodus Clay.

To add more star power, The Undertaker’s streak of eighteen WrestleMania wins would be put on the line. Rumors swirled about who would try to end the mark. First, former UFC Champion Brock Lesnar was considered, but a deal never occurred. Then Sting was to jump from TNA, but re-signed with the company in the eleventh hour. Finally, Triple H stepped in, and engaged in weeks of tremendous dueling promo monologues with The Dead Man. The one from March 28 involving Shawn Michaels was some of WWE’s best TV to date.

CM Punk would face Randy Orton in a war over some of Orton’s past acts of aggression. And speaking of aggression, Orton would take out each of Punk’s Nexus flunkies on the road to their showdown.

Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Josh Mathews provided commentary, with Jim Ross and Booker T joining in later. Keri Hilson performed America the Beautiful. The Hall of Famers included Shawn Michaels, The Road Warriors, Paul Ellering, Sunny, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Abdullah the Butcher, Bob Armstrong, and Drew Carey.

THE RESULTS
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge def. Alberto Del Rio in 11:10
(Not only did the Royal Rumble winner open the show, but he also lost, looking like quite the “chumpstain” in the process. This would be Edge’s final match before retiring due to spinal injuries, but at least it was a really good opener. But still, why did it have to open?)

Cody Rhodes def. Rey Mysterio in 12:00
(This was quite an important match, as not only was it really good, but it showed that Rhodes can shine in a role outside of being Randy Orton’s lackey, or Ted Dibiase’s co-conspirator. If you wonder why Rhodes is trusted with a serious push, look here)

Kane/Big Show/Kofi Kingston/Santino Marella def. The Corre in 1:35
(As of this match, Santino Marella is 2-0 at WrestleMania, and Big Show is 3-8. Let that sink in)

Randy Orton def. CM Punk in 14:48
(If the crowd wasn’t so restless by this point, and if the night didn’t have a sour tone overall, this would be remembered as something more. Damn good match, but greater things lie ahead for both. Especially Punk about three months later….)

Michael Cole by Jerry Lawler by DQ in 13:42
(Why yes, this got more time than the first two matches. Coupled with The Rock wasting fifteen minutes at the start of the show with a cheerleading session, and you see why Sheamus and Daniel Bryan’s US Title match was bumped. The only good this match provided was getting Jim Ross to do commentary for the rest of the evening. Watching Cole on extended offense is like watching a midget do a caber toss)

No Holds Barred: The Undertaker def. Triple H in 29:26
(Not the five star classic some were hailing it as, but still a match of the year contender, surpassed by Christian/Del Rio a month later, and then Cena/Punk at MITB and Summerslam. Just a wild brawl with an insanely intense last few minutes. Undertaker springing back from the dregs of death to make Triple H tap out was heart-stopping excitement, and it pretty much saved the show. 19-0)

John Morrison/Trish Stratus/Snooki def. Dolph Ziggler/Michelle McCool/Layla in 4:00
(I’ll say it: Snooki + WWE’s make-up team = mildly attractive. She filled out those shorts nicely, even if I find her repulsive otherwise. Morrison snubbed Trish for much of the post-match, out of protest for Melina not getting to be on the show, and would fall out of favor with WWE entirely, leaving by year’s end. Actually, factoring in Layla’s near year-long injury, and Dolph is the only one still there)

WWE Heavyweight Championship: The Miz def. John Cena in 16:10
(If there’s one thing Miz doesn’t know how to do, it’s put on an epic match. Pedestrian, Raw-like, and building to nothing exciting, the match ended in a double countout before Rock restarted it, just so he could screw Cena with a Rock Bottom. Then Miz, after winning, got one too, and Rock celebrated to end the show. Really, that was the ending. The Seinfeld finale was better conceived)

ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
Rock and Cena would immediately begin to hype their one on one match for a year later, but the fans were still coming to grips with the show that they’d just been fed. Bryan/Sheamus bumped? Edge opening? Rock rambling in horrible segments? Cole wrestling for fifteen minutes? Snoop Dogg hosting a sing-off? No title changes? SNOOKI?!?!

Four of the matches (Edge/Alberto, Rey/Cody, Punk/Orton, Taker/HHH) were all WrestleMania worthy, and keep this from being a complete clunker. That said, there were so many head-scratching decisions involved with WrestleMania XXVII, you’d think Vince McMahon was bound and gagged backstage while Vince Russo and Herb Abrams ran amok with the booking sheet.

As for the show’s most enduring image, it has to be The Rock. It was supposed to be, theoretically, a night for Cena and Edge, two longtime heroes, to wage war with two upstart villains, Del Rio and Miz, in championship matches, but they were mere appetizers. Rock leading the fans in a chant exhibition, and then cavorting around with Mae Young and Peewee Herman…..this was somehow necessary, according to WWE.

Rock standing tall to close the show is the official portrait, and that pretty much sums up the show’s downfall.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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WrestleMania 27 Results – The Rock Gets Revenge, Triple H Taps

April 03, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It was the old guard that stole WrestleMania 27. The Undertaker vs. Triple H will go down as a WrestleMania classic. The Rock made a WrestleMania moment of his own to close the show and Stone Cold Steve Austin delivered a pair of stunners that had the sold out crowd rocking!

The Rock was introduced as the Guest Host to open up the show. No need to wait to see the Great One right? The Rock left his suit at the press conference and hit the ring in full workout attire. He didn’t get the insane reaction he has been getting on RAW but that could have been the acoustics of the big arena.

The Rock rallied up the crowd with his promo. Rock chanted “wrestle” and the crowd chanted “mania” (Guess he wasn’t in on the recent meeting.) The Rock cut a brief promo on John Cena who the crowd booed big time. No real mention of The Miz. The gist of the promo though was The Rock being a cheerleader and cutting a very standard “Rock promo” and telling the fans how great WrestleMania was going to be.

This was fine for an opening segment but definitely the weakest promo he cut since his return. Nothing of substance here, just the usual catchphrases to hype the crowd.

Edge defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the WWE world title. This was the first match to kick off the show (Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan actually opened the show but it wasn’t televised). Wow, that was different. This was the first time a WWE world title match was ever slotted first on a WrestleMania. Most reports had Sheamus vs. Bryan opening so this must have been changed. Also, it should be noted that Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were on commentary which was kind of weird. Cole was in his Cole Mine box.
At one point Michael Cole points out that Edge rarely puts himself in danger. Has he seen those TLC matches?

Edge pins Alberto Del Rio after a spear. This was a great opener with lots of action. There were a lot of near falls in this one, especially for an opening match. I would have liked to see Alberto walk away with the belt here. However, as I pointed in my preview he has been struggling a bit lately. Honestly I think that low rating in a match against John Cena on RAW a few weeks ago sunk him.

There was also no Christian heel turn either as expected. That one surprises me. Why bother have him go over on Del Rio the last few weeks if a) Del Rio list and b) he didn’t turn. At one point after the match Edge and Christian each had lead pipes and destroyed Del Rio’s car. It looked like Christian was going to turn around and nail Edge but nope, business as usual.

Cody Rhodes pinned Rey Mysterio with Crossroads. Rey Mysterio came out in a real cool Captain America outfit at WrestleMania 27. There was a really cool spot in the match where Cody held Rey up from the second turnbuckle in a vertical suplex for what seemed like over a minute. Cody tried to work over the injured knee for most of the match but never seemed to get a great opportunity. Cody did remove the knee brace. Rey hit a real nice moonsault block during the match for a near fall. The finish Rey go for a tope, Cody removed his mask outside the ring and nailed Rey behind the referee’s back which set up the Crossroads and the pinfall. This was another great match and the guys got a lot more time than I expected.

Snoop Dogg did a backstage segment “auditioning WWE superstars” to go on tour. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper made a cameo otherwise his was a real momentum killer. I’d be pretty angry if I paid three figures for a WrestleMania ticket and had to sit through this. I am pretty angry at paying $55 to see this. The finale here was Hornswoggle rapping.

Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre (Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel, and Heath Slater). The Big Show pinned Heath Slater. Kofi Kingston was a late (and pleasant) replacement after the Corre took out Kozlov in an angle during AXXESS. This one was over quick. I was hoping to see Wade Barrett get the fall but it wasn’t to be.

The Rock was back and had a conversation with Eve Torres. Mae Young was back and The Rock made some old jokes at her expense. Then The Rock turned around and was face to face with Steve Austin. This was a pretty cool yet uneventful moment which saw the two end the segment by shaking hands.

Randy Orton pinned CM Punk with the RKO. CM Punk worked over Randy Oron’s injured leg for most of the mach. An odd spot saw Randy Orton suplerplex Punk after having his leg worked over for 10 minutes. Even stranger is that nobody acknowledged Cowboy Bob during the spot. The wrestling psychology here was just awful as Orton would go from selling the leg to no selling between moves. I guess the apple fell very far from that tree. This was an okay match, nothing great, very deliberate and slow paced at times. There was a cool spot that saw Orton go for the RKO out of nowhere and Punk avoid it. The next one got him and downed him for the pinfall.

The Rock was backstage again and met “John Cena’s number one fan” who turned out to be Pee Wee Herman. This was actually pretty good. Gene Okerlund was back there with both of them in full Cena garb. The segment ended with Pee Wee disowning Cena and joining Team Bring It.

Howard Finkel made it 27-0 and introduced the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame class. Bob Armstrong got a really nice surprising pop. Abdullah the Butcher looks like he dropped about 60 pounds. HBK of course got the best ovation although nothing close to what Stone Cold got at WrestleMania 25.

The anonymous G.M. chimed in after the match and awarded Michael Cole the win via disqualification. Swagger and Lawler wrestled early on as Cole sat in the Cole Mine. Cole in that Cole Mine was actually pretty damn funny. Cole’s selling was also great. Lawler climbed into the Cole Mine and beat on Cole. He finally dragged him out and ran his head into the G.M. post. Swagger finally took Lawler out as Austin had his back turned.

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Cole’s first move was a baseball slide as Lawler laid on the ring apron. Swagger applied the ankle lock outside the ring on Lawler which set up Cole’s offense. Cole worked on Lawler’s leg. It got pretty stale midway and the crowd started to boo and turn on the match (reminded me a lot of Bret vs. Vince). Cole even pulled the strap down to mock the King and applied a version of the ankle lock.

Swagger threw the towel in when Lawler pulled the strap down and Austin used the towel to wipe himself down. Swagger got in Austin’s face and got the stunner. Cole got in Austin’s face and Austin pushed him into Lawler’s right hand. Lawler even pulled out the dropkick, which had great height. Lawler dropped the fist, had the three count, but pulled Cole back up. Lawler finished with the ankle lock. Austin called the match and awarded the win to Lawler which would be temporary.

Michael Cole wrestled in amateur wrestling gear which was pretty freaking awesome! Cole actually came out cutting a promo on Lawler and JR with no music which was different. Steve Austin came out on his four wheeler to a huge pop. Austin chased Cole into the Cole Mine. Jerry Lawler got practically no reaction walking out which is really odd following Cole’s great opening promo.

Jim Ross finally made his way back to the WrestleMania broadcast booth for the first time since WrestleMania 25. It couldn’t have come any sooner as the commentary was really awful tonight thanks to the Cole-Lawler dynamic. Booker was a bit rusty but a welcome change indeed.

I was really surprised at how little the crowd seemed into this match. They were way into Stone Cole but nothing else, which surprises me after their highly rated segments. At one point in the middle of the match the crowd started to boo and I even heard a few “boring” chants. I’d be shocked if they brought these two back.  This was definitely not a WrestleMania classic and was easily the worst of the night.

Booker T came in after the match and Austin wound up giving him a stunner. Well they did feud back in 2001 and Austin isn’t a forgetful man. Remember that supermarket brawl?

The G.M. chimed in during the celebration and reversed the decision and awarded Cole the win via disqualification citing Austin being a partial referee. Austin wound up giving Josh Matthews a stunner after he made the announcement. The good news here is that this leaves only Lawler and JR to call the rest of WrestleMania. There is a God!

The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match. Triple H came out to Metallica “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in a very cool ancient king costume. I know he has a ton of haters but the guy still has one of the best entrances in the business. The Undertaker wasn’t outdone and had a real cool entrance himself. Triple H got the second biggest pop of the night up to this point besides Austin and that includes The Rock. The crowd was really into this one.

The match started off as a brawl, just like their WresleMania 17 match. Less than a minute in and they hit the floor. Triple H tackled Undertaker through the Cole Mine so I guess that angle is officially over. Both guys went back into the ring brawling. For all of their injuries both guys looked really mobile early on.

The Undertaker went “old school” but Triple H took a page out of his mentor Ric Flair’s WrestleMania X8 game plan and reversed it. They went back to the floor which saw Triple H toss the dead man into the barricade. Five minutes in and both announcers’ tables were in play. The Undertaker reversed an attempted pedigree on the table with a big back drop. Hunter flew off the table to the floor in what will probably be the WrestleMania moment of the night. Lots of action for the first five minutes.

The Undertaker hit an awesome suicide dive onto Hunter which will give their previous WrestleMania moment a run for the money. The match slowed down quite a bit at this point. These guys are throwing everything out there. Triple H reversed a charge and gave The Undertaker a cool spine buster onto the table. This is probably the best WrestleMania match Triple H has ever had.

The Undertaker got a close fall back in the ring with a chokeslam. Triple H caught The Undertaker with a second spine buster in the ring for a close fall. Triple H brought a chair into the ring which was countered by Taker. Taker used it and nailed Hunter on the back. Hunter nailed a pedigree out of nowhere that got a count so close I thought the match was over.

These two never slowed down. Undertaker got a real close fall with a Last Ride powerbomb. Fifteen minutes in and The Undertaker slashed the throat calling for the end. Triple H kicked out of a tombstone and the place went crazy. He is really Superman isn’t he? Well JR says it is “amazing will” so we’ll go with that.

Triple H changed the tide with a DDT on the steel chair. Triple H was definitely on the receiving end a lot more than The Undertaker in the match. Hunter nailed a second pedigree which saw Taker barely kick out to another pop. This match has definitely stolen the show.

The announcers started putting over damage to The Undertaker’s neck. Could the streak be ending? Taker kicks out of yet another pedigree. No, HE is Superman! Trips returned the favor and nailed The Undertaker on his back with the chair. JR wants to nominate the chair to the WWE Hall of Fame. No less deserving than Drew Carey so why not?

Both guys finally slow down at around the 25 minute mark. Triple H yelling at The Undertaker to “stay down!” Triple H nails The Undertaker on the head (now that is how to take a protected chair shot) in the center of the ring but doesn’t cover. The Game continues yelling at Taker to stay down and tells him to “just die.” The Undertaker responds by grabbing Hunter’s throat. The Undertaker can barely stand.

Triple H his a tombstone on The Undertaker and yes, Taker kicks out. I admit I thought it was over at that point. Triple H in shock. This is good but at the same time it is getting a bit ridiculous. Out comes the sledgehammer from underneath the ring at about the 28 minute mark. Taker instead catches a hesitant Hunter with the gogoplata out of nowhere. Triple H can’t find the hammer. He finds it and drops it. The Game taps at around 30:00!

This match rivaled both HBK vs. Undertaker WrestleMania matches and was arguably better. Some will argue that the amount of near falls got a bit ridiculous and it did, but it was no different than HBK vs. Undertaker from WrestleMania 25.  This was just a tremendous match and I would be absolutely shocked if they don’t come back with a rematch next year with Career vs. Streak. The Undertaker had to be taken to the back with a cart without moving.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Trish Stratus and John Morrison defeated Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool). Good luck following that one kids. Vickie Guerrero announced her group. Snooki got a very tepid reaction coming out. It looked like half the crowd went to the concession stands. In all fairness to these guys and girls, anyone would have had a hard time grabbing the crowd after the last match.

At one point Stratus and McCool fell off the ropes to the outside and it didn’t look like a planned spot. It ended up well but that is something that could have turned ugly.

Snooki was booed big time when she finally tagged in. She came in doing a hand spring elbow that believe it or not looked pretty good. She pinned McCool with a cartwheel into a splash. Snooki actually won back some of the crowd with the hand spring. This one was over pretty quick.

The Miz defeated John Cena to retain the WWE championship. Cena came out to a gospel choir and had a video longer than the last match about God and praying. The cynic in me thinks that the WWE pulled this thinking fans wouldn’t boo a guy coming out to a gospel choir and a video about praying. Think again WWE! Cena was booed and booed worse than Snooki. It should also be noted that Cena has dropped the purple colors in favor of a more masculine red.

The crowd argued quite a bit early on who sucked more. The Miz does his best Triple H imitation and tells Cena to “stay down” in the early going.  Back and forth basic stuff between both guys early. The crowd isn’t into this one at all early on. Cena and Miz turn it up five minutes in as Cena nails a leg drop off the top rope.

The guys missed a horrible spot in the middle of the match with Cena seemingly falling out of nowhere. I can’t recall seeing a botched spot that bad in a WrestleMania main event. Hey, it happens but talk about bad timing. And yes, this match is really disappointing in terms of WrestleMania headliners but let’s face it, the best is yet to come.

Cena escapes an Attitude Adjustment 9 minutes into the match. Cena going for all of his finishers at the 10 minute mark and The Miz has avoided them all. The Miz removed the top turnbuckle. Cena finally gets an STF at the 11 minute mark but The Miz uses the ropes to break the hold.

Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale after Alex Riley throws Cena into the exposed turnbuckle. Cena kicks out. Miz goes for another  and Cena reverses and throws him into the referee by accident at about the 12 minute mark. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment but no referee. Alex Riley nails Cena with the briefcase but Cena kicks out. Crowd starting to come alive. Miz kicks out of a big Attitude Adjustment. The announcers are trying to put over his resilience. Good luck.

Both guys outside the ring. Cena clotheslined The Miz into the crowd. Cena proceeds to tackle him and the two hit the floor, although the WWE cameras missed it. Both guys are counted out and The Miz retains. I smell something cooking!

The Rock finally returns and the crowd is happy to see him. The RAW G.M. chimes in. The Rock reads the email and mocks the G.M. The Rock says WrestleMania is not over. The Rock as Guest Host restarts the match and makes it No DQ. The Rock says it is time to give the people what they want. The match is back on!

The match restarts and The Rock gives John Cena the Rock  Bottom! The fans go nuts chanting “Rocky!” The Miz takes advantage and covers John Cena for the win. A predictable, yet exciting finish to the match. It seemed as if the fans were just waiting for The Rock to come out and do something.

The Rock and The Miz had a staredown which saw The Rock hit the ring and lay the smack down on the WWE champion. The Rock dropped a People’s Elbow on The Miz and then hit the turnbuckles to celebrate.

Overall I’d say it was a pretty good WrestleMania. The WWE definitely made a mistake not closing the show with Triple H vs. The Undertaker. Even with The Rock, the main-event still felt flat having to follow Hunter and Taker. The undercard was pretty good with Cody vs. Rey being particularly fun as well as Edge vs. Del Rio. Cole vs. Lawler was terrible and went way too long. John Cena is a lost cause right now and either needs to go full heel or rescue a few babies from burning buildings on RAW to get some fans back.

As great as I think the stuff has been with The Rock and Cena I think they overplayed their hand just a little bit. I think fans expected the finish and Rock Bottom which really killed a lot of the match. In my opinion, Cena and Rock should have been kept separate until WrestleMania. That way the fans wouldn’t know what to expect.

The Rock is scheduled for RAW tomorrow night. This all has to end at some point with The Rock vs. John Cena. I hope they don’t water it down with a 3-Way and throw The Miz in. At this point I don’t think there is any way out of this other than the big match. Maybe Cena can do something drastic tomorrow to buy some time and “injure” The Rock until he comes back. Either way tomorrow night is going to be a very interesting night.

The ending really did kill for the show for a lot of people. I have talked to a few friends that hated it purely on the way the show ended, last match, etc. I get it and I agree that it sucked. I just think that if you look at the entire show it really wasn’t that bad and was probably one of the better ones in recent memory.

Finally I can’t say enough about The Undertaker vs. Triple H. As stated above, I think it may be slightly better than any of the WrestleMania Michaels vs. Undertaker matches. It was easily Triple H’s best Mania match. The finish left the story wide open for a rematch next year. The prospects of a year long build similar to HBK vs. Undertaker WrestleMania 26 are very enticing.

And their WrestleMania 28 rematch can’t come soon enough.

Full WrestleMania 27 results
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan ended in a no contest (dark match)
Edge retained over Alberto Del Rio in a WWE world title match
Cody Rhodes pinned Rey Mysterio
Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston beat The Corre (Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel, and Heath Slater)
Randy Orton pinned CM Punk
Michael Cole defeated Jerry Lawler via disqualification
The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred match
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Trish Stratus and John Morrison defeated Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool)
The Miz pinned John Cena to retain the WWE championship

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Top 10 Worst WWE Champions Of All-Time

December 05, 2013 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Not all WWE champions are created equal. For every Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and The Rock you will have a Miz, Kevin Nash, and Iron Sheik. A look back at the elite class of former champions reveals a class that may not all be so elite after all.

Worst topics are always fun in pro wrestling because let’s face it. There are a lot of terrible ideas that have made it to the ring over the years. Yet one of the most interesting to debate is world champion. There were a lot of great ones for sure, but a look back at the historic list of former WWE champions reveals several disappointments throughout the long lineage of champions.

Now keep in mind that I specifically looked back at former WWE champions. I skilled former WWE world heavyweight champions because the lineage only goes back ten years. The Great Khali and Jack Swagger are safe otherwise they would have wind up in the top five. The Miz and The Iron Sheik aren’t so lucky.

The Miz –
I said it in 2011 when he was running around with the WWE championship and I’ll say it again. The Miz was hands down the worst WWE champion in my opinion of all-time. His matches were average, his character was perceived as a mid-card wrestler at best, and as a draw he had no power on top. The one thing I’ll say positive about The Miz is that if I included the WWE world heavyweight title, he would have finished behind The Great Khali.

Kevin Nash – For a guy that loves to criticize the current breed of WWE superstars and champions, Nash was arguably the worst of all-time. Nash is regarded by many wrestling historians as the worst drawing champion in WWE history. That says a lot doesn’t it? Fans were more interested in seeing The Miz defend his title than Nash! Nash did have the perception of a champion which is the only reason he finished two and not one. He was lucky enough to have some good-great matches with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, yet his matches were horrendous against anyone else.

Vince McMahon – Yes the Chairman of the Board makes the top five of worst WWE champions. I bet some of you didn’t even know that Vinnie Mac is a former WWE champion. Vince defeated his son-in-law Triple H on an edition of SmackDown in a match thanks to interference from of all people, Stone Cold Steve Austin. To Vince’s credit he saw through the farce and vacated the title a few days later.

The Iron Sheik – The Sheik’s title reign has become something of a joke to everyone but the Sheik who still proclaims himself as the greatest world champion of all-time. It is amazing if you look back at the roster of talent in the WWF at the time and try and rationalize why it was the Sheik who got the transitional title reign and not guys like Greg Valentine, Don Muraco, or Paul Orndorff. The Sheik’s title reign and singles push lasted less than a month. Following a series of rematches with Hulk Hogan, the Sheik moved on to the tag team ranks, and later the ranks of low-mid card wrestler.

Sgt. Slaughter – The old Sarge ended the title reign of the Ultimate Warrior in 1991 and was a transitional champion between Warrior and Hogan. Slaughter was hot as a heel but his better days as a wrestler were long gone. I will say this about Slaughter. If Slaughter would have beaten Bob Backlund during one of their two WWF title feuds, I think he would have been a tremendous heel champion. Like Del Rio, Slaughter’s title reign came too late. About ten years too late.

Alberto Del Rio – He had so much potential didn’t he? Del Rio was red hot going into the Royal Rumble and could have had a memorable run as champion if things went as planned. Instead, injuries dictated a change in booking plans and Del Rio’s title reign came seven months too late. Most fans don’t even remember that Del Rio was a former champion and his last title reign ended a year ago. Nobody bought him as a champion during his reign and at the end of the day, it is just an asterisk on the list of former world champions.

Kane – I bet most fans would never guess that Kane was the answer to the trivia question, “Who ended Stone Cold’s first title reign?” Yes the Big Red Machine was once on top of the world in the WWE as a former WWE champion. Kane was a very one-dimensional champion and lucky for most of us, his title reign lasted only a day. It is hard not to rank a 24-hour champion among the worst of all-time isn’t it?

Ivan Koloff – As a kid I watched Koloff as a regular mid-card wrestler in Jim Crockett’s territory and the WWF. I really had no idea until I got older that Koloff was a former champion. Koloff was a very average wrestler who shockingly ended the title reign of Bruno Sammartino. Like his former partner in Georgia Championship Wrestling the Iron Sheik, Koloff was a one-month transitional champion. I have to imagine that one-month between Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales was a very long month for WWWF fans at the time.

Sycho Sid – This was another tough one. I actually liked Sid quite a bit but in retrospect, he was a terrible champion. He wasn’t a great draw and his matches were among some of the worst in WWE title history. I still have nightmares of that WrestleMania X3 match with The Undertaker. He had some fun matches with Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, but who didn’t? Sorry Sycho but it was either you or The Big Show coming in at number 10 and Show wasn’t nearly as bad as you were during his title reign.

Yokozuna – I really struggled with this one because as much as I believe that Yoko was a bit of a bust as world champion, I hate to write anything negative about anyone deceased. But with all due respect, I couldn’t find anyone else more deserving of the list than Yoko. He was a hard worker but he wasn’t my cup of tea. He wasn’t a huge draw as champion and didn’t have a whole lot of great matches during his lengthy second title reign. Unfortunately by the criteria (and the fact I have never seen Stan Stasiak), he makes the list.

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Alberto “dull” Rio vs. Rip Van Winkle in a WWE World Title Siesta

September 11, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

In their haste to capitalize on the return of “Mr. Monday” night the WWE put together a story line and pushed it passed the point of no return. Let’s face it, this story line didn’t make sense to begin with and it sure doesn’t make sense now. Unless the point of the feud is to kill off the popularity of both character’s so that Sandow will get a shot at being the champion without being in anyone shadow. This feud is not doing this title any favors, we need a story that will give some credibility back to the World Title.

The first problem with this story line is that it not only was rushed but it was forced. The best feuds and the best stories are the ones that seem like they could actually happen. Take the angle ADR worked with Christian, it had nothing to do with ADR. It was all about Christian getting one last shot at the top. It could have been anyone with the title and the angle would have seemed “real.” The RVD angle had very little build-up and RVD’s relationship with Ricardo Rodriguez feels like it was the only way they could justify getting RVD to feud with ADR. There is no story here, no reason for the fans care about this at all except for some RVD nostalgia.

The second problem is that the story line doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. ADR has been calling himself the champion of his people, the Latino people. Obviously because he is a heel the people don’t want him as champion. So in this story shouldn’t there be a Latino face to counter this Latino heel to be the champion for the Latino people? The only superstar on the roster that could fill this spot right now is Rey Mysterio but he isn’t cleared to come back yet. So who do you match up with Del Rio, Hunico? Unless there is plan to get Mysterio involved here real soon why even move forward with this story? Having Ricardo Rodriguez play the Latino face opposite ADR is not bad and there is a story and a history to it, but he needs have a Latino superstar for the wrestling part.

The third problem with this angle is the simple fact that these guys are boring. Neither of them are super exciting on the mic, their promos lack charisma. “Rob Van Dam” is basically the WWE version of “Get-R-Done.” RVD can say just about anything that he wants and then tell everyone that he his “Rob Van Dam” and he gets cheered. Just like Larry the Cable guy can just say Get-R-Done when he needs to get the audience on his side. His look and his promos are the same as they were years ago, but the business and the fans have changed. This laid back “it’s all good bro” attitude is sort of out, making it hard to connect with him.

He can be electric in the ring but without some decent mic work he is just a good in the ring and that won’t draw for very long. I have had a hard time watch Del Rio wrestle for a while, he is good but it is just not electric. Then he added all those kicks, you know the ones where you slap your leg. Both of their match routines are predictable, and I know that you can that about a lot of guys but for some reason these guys just put me to sleep. Oh, and Del Rio isn’t even good at the slap and kick. Sometimes the slap doesn’t match the kick. How do you “super kick” a guy 4 times during a match when HBK only did it once as his finish? I’m sorry but this guys need a ying to their yang, and when these two wrestle we are watching yang and yang.

I am not sure where this angle will go; sadly I am just ready for it to be over. It is time for the WWE to wake up from this World Title nap and inject some life back into the World Title picture.

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Top Five WWE Money In The Bank Matches

July 03, 2013 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Money in the Bank match has produced some of the most exciting moments of the last nine years. The glorified ladder match features daredevil heroics, extreme punishment, and intense action. Today I look back and celebrate the top five Money in the Bank matches in WWE history.

I don’t think anyone realized in 2005 when the WWE announced the first Money in the Bank match the significance this match would have on wrestling history. Stars were made, history was written, and memories have been cemented forever thanks to this innovative match. With two new matches around the corner I thought today would be a great time to look back and count down the top matches in MITB history. Since we aren’t quite ten years into MITB I went with a top five as opposed to a top ten. Leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or want to mention your favorite Money in the Bank match memory.

Edge defeats Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian and Kane – WrestleMania 21

I can’t think of another MITB match that was more exciting than the one at WrestleMania 21. I think the big difference here was that it was the first. The match just had more intensity and crowd emotion than any other due to the fact that nobody knew what to expect. The match was full of crazy spots that fans hadn’t seen before or lumped into one match. It is hard to replicate the element of surprise that the first match had at 21. Spots like the Benoit diving headbutt and Benjamin running up the ladder had fans stunned in amazement at this new kind of match.

Not that this should be part of the criteria but it also had the biggest impact in regards to elevating a star. Edge won and once he cashed in became an established WWE elite superstar for the rest of his career. No other winner has taken as much away from this match as Edge did in 2005.

Mr. Kennedy defeated CM Punk, Edge, Finlay, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, King Booker and Randy Orton – WrestleMania 23

I liked this match a lot and even though it was one of the longer MITB matches, it kept me interested from bell to bell. Edge and Orton bumped up the star presence here while the Hardys brought a ton of excitement to the match with the anticipation alone of what these guys would do in this environment. In terms of MITB moments, the spots between Jeff and Edge were some of the best in MITB history. Jeff’s jump on Edge is arguably the greatest spot in MITB history. What those guys did alone made this match great, yet it was a great effort from all back at 23, and the surprise winner in Kennedy was a nice touch.

CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison and Montel Vontavious Porter – WrestleMania 24

I was surprised at how much I liked this match when I went back and watched all of the old MITB matches. On paper it looks pretty average but these guys went far beyond anything I expected going into the match. It did get a little spot-crazy at times but that is to be expected in such a match. Shelton Benjamin really stepped it up here and John Morrison was in his element, delivering a moonsault with a ladder in his hand at one point. Matt Hardy’s spectacular 20-foot Twist of Fate remains the highlight of this match for me.

Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Miz, Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger – Money in the Bank 2011

I debated a bit about the four spot here but in the end I went with the RAW MITB match from last year’s memorable show in Chicago. This match delivered on a lot of levels with the guys going out of their way to give fans plenty of breathtaking memories. Between Evan Bourne’s shooting star press 20 feet in the air, The Miz falling off the ladder, Mysterio and Kofi’s double leap, and Rey Mysterio getting unmasked, this was one of the more fun Money in the Bank matches. The hot Chicago crowd certainly didn’t hurt this one from entering the top five either.

CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Finlay, Mark Henry, Kane, Kofi Kingston and Montel Vontavious Porter – WrestleMania 25

I struggled quite a bit with the final spot here. I went back and forth between this one and the SmackDown match from the Chicago 2011 pay per view. In the end, the MITB WrestleMania 25 match was just too good to leave off the list. Shelton Benjamis was the show stealer in this one giving fans some of the best spots of the night in this match. One moment in particular saw Benjamin leap off the ladder placed in the aisle onto his MITB opponents. Watching these MITB matches reminded me how good Benjamin was and had me wondering why he isn’t the WWE today! Kofi also had his moments, one in particular had Kofi deliver a kick through the side of the ladder and climb the ladder while it was closed. Another saw Kofi run up the ladder and fall into a World’s Strongest Slam. Christian also had his moment hitting an Unprettier to Punk off the ladder. This match had a lot of great moments and is often one of the more underrated matches of the MITB series.

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WWE SmackDown Results May 3 and Recap

May 06, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown opens up with Ryback heading to the ring. Looks like we’re going straight into a match.

Before that starts, though, Ryback has a few things to say. Last Monday night, he knew John Cena was hurt when he was supposed to tag with him to take on The Shield. He’s not Cena’s keeper. Cena chose to put himself in the match and put himself at further risk. He was the one who lost to The Shield. Afterwards, Cena was hobbling like a weak, pathetic animal. In the laws of the jungle, the bigger, stronger and faster animals always eat the weak. Ryback rules.

MATCH 1: Ryback vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Daniel Bryan
Bryan hits a kick to the left leg, ducks a clothesline and hits another kick. He ducks a corner attack, hitting more kicks to the legs. Ryback finally boots him in the stomach and clubs him with a forearm. Bryan blocks a back body drop by hitting more kicks, but gets rammed into the corner with shoulder thrusts. Ryback hits a knife-edge, then clubs Bryan down. Back up, Ryback hits a bodyslam. Bryan pops up with more kicks to the left leg, but it’s cut short by some forearm shots. Ryback throws Bryan outside, and Bryan lands on his feet, baiting Ryback to the floor. Bryan gets back in, hits a dropkick through the ropes and follows up with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ryback hits some kneelifts on Bryan in the corner and goes for a running powerslam. Bryan escapes and goes back to the kicks until Ryback catches a kick and just shoves him down. Ryback goes for a powerslam and turns Bryan vertical, but Bryan knees him in the head to counter. Back on his feet, Bryan hits more kicks to the leg before running into a gorilla press. Ryback holds him for a moment, then throws him to the floor. Commercials.

Back from the break, Ryback drops Bryan with a kneelift, then beals him out of the corner. Bryan rolls to the apron and Ryback charges in. Bryan counters with a shoulder and goes for a sunset flip, but Ryback blocks him and slams him into the mat by his head several times. Ryback sets Bryan in the corner, where Bryan blocks a charge and goes for a middle rope dive. Ryback catches him and turns the move into a swinging powerslam for 2. Bryan comes back with kicks to the leg, dropping Ryback to a knee. Ryback goes for a Thesz Press, but Bryan somehow counters into a half-Boston crab. That was a damn good spot right there. Ryback eventually kicks Bryan off, so Bryan goes back to the kicks, ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own, followed by a running corner dropkick and more kicks. Bryan ties the left leg in the ropes and hits another dropkick before following up with a third. Up top, Bryan hits a sit-out missile dropkick for 2. Bryan begins hitting the No! Kicks, but Ryback blocks the Buzzsaw and goes for a powerbomb. Bryan uses momentum to pull Ryback over the top rope, sending them both to the floor. Bryan gets on the apron, but gets caught. Ryback rams him back-first into the ring post and rolls him back in the ring. Ryback picks him up in a deadlift and hits a powerbomb. Bryan kicks off a second attempt, but it’s all for naught as Ryback hits the powerbomb once more. He calls for the Meat Hook, which connects. Shell Shocked hits, and it’s over.

WINNER: Ryback. Awesome way to start the show this week. If Smackdown could start every week with matches that good, I’d be very happy.

Renee Young is in the back with Ricardo Rodriguez. She asks about his match with Zeb Colter tonight. He’s very excited, and then rambles in Spanish before kissing her. Alberto Del Rio walks in and tells him to get a hold of himself and come get ready.

MATCH 2: Zack Ryder vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
Crowd’s not so much into Fandango’s entrance theme this week, it seems. Fandango hits a couple of kneelifts. Ryder blocks a hip toss, hits his own, and then hits a drop toehold for 2. Fandango comes back with stomps and kicks to the head before tying Ryder into the ropes, where he hits some forearms shots to the back of the head. He follows up with an apron kick, getting 2. Ryder comes back with a facebuster, blocks a corner charge, then hits a missile dropkick from the middle rope. Ryder hits a running forearm and the Broski Boot for 2. Fandango counters the Rough Ryder into a stun gun and follows up with a side-Russian legsweep. He connects with the guillotine legdrop and gets the 3.

WINNER: Fandango.

Kaitlyn is in the back, holding a dozen roses. Natalya and The Great Khali stop to ask her what that’s about. Kaitlyn reads a text from her secret admirer to them, but doesn’t know who it is, as it’s from a blocked number. Natalya says Khali has the best advice when she’s confused, and tells him to give her some. All I can understand is, “If you need advice, come to me.”

Later tonight, Kane faces Dean Ambrose one-on-one.

Renee Young is now standing by with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. She reminds Zeb he can redeem his loss on Monday night by beating Ricardo one-on-one tonight. Zeb immediately loses my attention with the phrase “lamestream media”. He then rambles on about being brave, supposedly being violently ill on Monday night. He still went to work, though, because that’s what real Americans do. Okay, I can’t do this. I cannot stand listening to Zeb or his promos. This is the worst kind of cheap heat there is in pro wrestling.

MATCH 3: Ricardo Rodriguez (w/Alberto Del Rio) vs. Zeb Colter (w/Jack Swagger)
I’m glad Ricardo gets more ring time. He’s actually a very good in-ring performer overall. He may be doing a comedy gimmick, but the man can work and is professionally trained to do so. Anyway, Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee and Big E. Langston) is doing color commentary for this match. Zeb pushes Ricardo before slapping him. Ricardo grabs him by the beard, then kicks him in the knee. Ricardo stomps his hand, then “rides the pony”. Zeb gets up and rakes the eyes before punching Ricardo several times. Ricardo comes back with a hard right and a pair of thrust kicks, sending Zeb to the corner. He goes to charge in, and Jack Swagger hits the ring with a clothesline.

WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR hits the ring and clotheslines Swagger to the floor. Teddy Long comes out and says that, if that’s how these four want to play it, he’s turning this into a tag team match right now. I laugh when Ziggler refers to this as “Classic Teddy”.

MATCH 4: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger
Swagger and Ricardo apparently start the match during the commercials, and Swagger is in control with a hard corner whip. Ricardo dodges a charge, causing Swagger to go shoulder-first into the ring post. ADR tags in, hits a pair of clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Swagger rolls to the apron, where ADR pulls him through the ropes, hits a few forearms to the back and goes for the Backstabber, but Swagger elbows him off. ADR comes back with a double-knee armbreaker and applies the jujigatame. Big E. Langston and Dolph Ziggler hit the ring and attack both men, causing a double DQ.

WINNER: No contest. Langston throws Swagger to the floor, then drops the straps. Before he can continue the attack. Teddy Long comes out and says he knew this would happen, and makes this into a triple threat tag team match. That’s right. Teddy Long just pulled some kind of Inception bullsh*t and made a tag team match within a tag team match. Sigh.

MATCH 5-Triple Threat Tag Team Match: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger vs. Big E. Langston and World Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee)
ADR starts off by attacking Ziggler with kicks and punches. Snapmare out of the corner, followed by a spinal tap by ADR for 2. Ricardo tags in and hits a running knee to the face for 2. Low dropkick by Ricardo, and ADR tags back in, hitting a quick kick to the head for 2. Ziggler kicks him in the knee and hits a beautiful dropkick. Langston in, who hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Langston rams ADR into the corner and hits a running shoulder thrust. Ziggler back in, and he hits some body blows, followed by an avalanche for 2. Ziggler applies a mounted rear chinlock now, and ADR fights out with strikes. Ziggler blocks a back body drop, but still gets pancaked. Ziggler comes back with a kick to the knee and hits a neckbreaker. Langston tags in and walks into a mule kick by ADR. He shakes it off and drops ADR with a forearm shot before hitting some body blows. Standing back body drop by Langston before he rams ADR into the corner and hits a running shoulder thrust. Ziggler tags back in and misses a corner charge. ADR hits a thrust kick to the face, and then follows up with a Backstabber on an incoming Swagger. Langston comes back in and gets low-bridged to the floor, and Ziggler goes out next, courtesy of a clothesline. Zeb is in the ring, and ADR looks at him, calling for the jujigatame. Ziggler comes back in and hits a nice jumping DDT for 2. Ricardo tags in and goes after Langston, but Langston drops him with a standing avalanche. Swagger takes Langston out with an elevated belly-to-belly suplex, but is quickly hit with a step-up enziguri by ADR. Ziggler comes in with a schoolboy on ADR but only gets 2. ADR applies the rolling jujigatame and Ziggler taps out.

WINNERS: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez.

We see some darkened area in the back, and what sounds like someone getting assaulted. The camera pans up to show The Shield. Dean Ambrose says it breaks your heart when “the champ” becomes “the chump”. They broke Cena, they broke The Undertaker, and they’ll break Kane next. Justice is what they dispense every day, and that’s what they’ll do to Kane tonight. They put ‘Taker down, but it could have been worse. Don’t believe them? By the end of the night, you will believe. Believe in The Shield. The camera pans back down, and we see that it was Daniel Bryan who was assaulted.

After the commercials, we see the referees and trainers checking on Bryan.

MATCH 6: Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow
Orton starts with a side headlock before shouldering Sandow off the ropes. Lock-up, and Sandow goes to the headlock this time. Orton counters into his own, then hits another shoulderblock. Sandow suckers him into the corner, then stomps him down to the mat before choking Orton with his knee. Back up, Sandow hits the Venis kneelift, follows up with a snapmare and hits a jumping kneedrop for 2. Sandow applies a rear chinlock, then sends Orton to the corner. Orton reverses and hits the Four Moves of Boredom. Sandow blocks the fourth, though (the DDT), hotshots Orton, then sends him to the floor with a running knee strike. Commercials.

Back from the break, Orton counters a side headlock with a back suplex. Sandow comes back with a dropkick to the knee and hits a DDT for 2. Sandow picks Orton up for some kneelifts and follows up with a side-Russian legsweep before hitting the Cobito Aquiet, then hits a second one for 2. Sandow goes back to the rear chinlock, but Orton headbutts his way out. Sandow comes back with a boot before running into a dropkick. Back body drop connects, and Sandow rolls to the apron. Orton hits the suspended DDT from here and now calls for the RKO. The RKO connects and Orton gets the 3.

WINNER: Randy Orton. As Orton is celebrating, The Big Show comes out. He tells Orton he is amazing, but the problem is he’s not a team player. It’s all about Randy Orton. If Orton hadn’t had such a big ego at Wrestlemania and made the tag, they might have beaten The Shield, and Orton wouldn’t have gotten knocked out. All of a sudden, Sandow attacks Orton from behind and lays him out with the Terminus. Show laughs and says that is so funny. But, understand him: at Extreme Rules, there will be nothing funny about what Show does to him.

We see Kane leaving the trainer’s office when he’s stopped by Matt Striker, wanting to know Daniel Bryan’s condition. Kane says he’ll make The Shield pay for what they did to Bryan and his brother. He knows what he’s getting into and what’s going to happen to him. Sooner or later, they’ll get him down and make sure he’s stay down. But, he’s going to take down as many as he can. We’re going on a little journey to a place called Hell.

MATCH 7-Arm Wrestling Contest: Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
Henry stalls and tells the ref to make sure Sheamus’ hands and arms are dry. Is that a required spot in every arm wrestling contest in pro wrestling history? Henry takes his t-shirt off for whatever reason, and now the contest starts. Chris Jericho once said Scott Norton taught him a trick to winning any arm wrestling contest, no matter how strong or big you are. I’d love to know what it is. Anyway, Henry starts to win, but Sheamus begins taking control. He’s close to winning, but Henry takes control once more and beats him.

WINNER: Mark Henry. Wow. I’m surprised this didn’t end with Henry knocking the table over and attacking Sheamus. Like always. Sheamus congratulates Henry and says he has the stronger right arm, but he doesn’t believe Henry has the strongest left. He challenges Henry to a rematch, and Henry shrugs it off. Sheamus continues to egg him on, calling him scared. Of course, Henry gets back in the ring at this point. Henry agrees to the rematch, and Sheamus toys with him for a minute or two. Before it can start, Sheamus just punches Henry, then drops him with a Brogue Kick.

MATCH 8: Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion
Reigns is carrying Daniel Bryan’s WWE Tag Team title with him. Based on the fact that Ambrose is the only one who has gotten singles matches thus far, I think it’s obvious to everyone that even those within WWE know he’s going to be the breakout star of the group. Kane clears the ring before the match even starts by swinging his title belt. He boots Ambrose, then goes outside and throws Rollins into the barricade and throws Reigns over the announce desk. Rollins then gets clotheslined into the crowd. The match starts, and Kane throws Ambrose into the corner for some body blows and an uppercut. He boots Ambrose in the head, then throws him to the floor. Outside, Kane hotshots Ambrose onto the barricade before rolling him to the apron for a right hand to the jaw and a boot to the side of the face. Reigns is still out behind the desk. Back in the ring, Kane ties Ambrose up in the corner and hits a straight right, followed by a short-arm clothesline. Ambrose blocks a charge and mounts the middle rope, but gets an uppercut that sends him to the floor. Commercials.

Back from the break, Ambrose has taken control and is working over Kane’s left leg. During the break, Ambrose snapped Kane’s leg over his shoulder, hence the focus of his attack. Reigns and Rollins are both back up now. Ambrose hits a rolling leg snap on Kane. Kane tries to fight back, but Ambrose continues to assault Kane, who is now in the corner. Ambrose with some mounted corner punches, followed by a forearm shot to the face. Ambrose rolls outside and wraps Kane’s leg around the ring post twice, then applies a modified figure-4 before getting back in the ring, courtesy of the top rope. Kane has enough time to recover, and he launches Ambrose from the top. Kane hits a couple rights and a pair of corner clotheslines, followed by a sidewalk slam for 2. Kane goes up top for the flying clothesline, which connects. Kane is smiling as Rollins & Reigns are barking orders at Ambrose. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Ambrose escapes and goes for a DDT. Kane escapes and goes for the chokeslam once more, which hits. Kane doesn’t capitalize with a pin, however, and Ambrose begins to stir. Kane calls for the tombstone and hoists Ambrose up, but lets him go when he see Rollins on the apron. Kane boots Rollins to the floor, and Ambrose clotheslines him over the top. Kane lands on his feet, drags Ambrose outside and slams him face-first into the announce desk. He then attacks Reigns and throws him into the steps. Ambrose rolls back in the ring, and Kane follows. Ambrose dropkicks him in the bad knee, then hits a headlock driver, getting the 3.

WINNER: Dean Ambrose. Major victory here, all things considering. At this rate, Ambrose is going to be HUGE in WWE somewhere down the road. Kane gets back up and challenges The Shield to get back in the ring. He fights them off for a moment until they surround the ring. The numbers are too much, and they completely dominate him. He eventually begins to fight back and grabs Rollins & Ambrose in a double goozle, but Reigns comes out of nowhere with a spear. Kane is then dropped with a triple powerbomb. Ambrose rolls to the floor and grabs the tag belts and hands one to Rollins. The trio stand over Kane with the belts held over their heads.

End of show.

The opening match was good. The main event was good. Even the “Teddy Long Tag Team Extravaganza, Playa” was good. Episodes like this make my job so much easier. Oh, and in case I haven’t said it before, The Shield is the best idea WWE has had in ages, and thus far, it has been executed to perfection.

-Dustin

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

Gerri Davis Banner, NPC National Level Heavyweight and Masters Female Bodybuilder

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: April 26th – May 2nd, 2013

May 03, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Wrestler of the Week is back as we make the transition from April to May and are just a few weeks away from the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. This week’s winner is a previous recipient of the award and is making a great case for his match on May 19th. He will be involved in the triple threat ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship. This week’s winner is the “Real American” Jack Swagger.

Swagger began his successful week with a victory over former World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio on the April 26th edition of Smackdown. This was a no disqualification match that saw a ladder get involved, but this was prior to the announced stipulation for Extreme Rules. This was a very important win for Swagger as he now holds recent victories over both of his Extreme Rules opponents. Swagger defeated Ziggler on the April 15th edition of Raw and now was victorious over Del Rio.

Swagger’s win on the April 29th edition of Raw came at the expense of Zack Ryder. The Woo Woo Woo kid entered with his new long haired look and reminded Swagger and his manager Zeb Colter how Ricardo Rodriguez won the manager match earlier in the night. Regardless, the outcome was never in doubt as Ryder hasn’t won a match in ages.

Most WWE fans, including myself, are surprised to see Swagger gaining so much momentum heading into Extreme Rules 2013. After Swagger’s DUI arrest, it was expected for him to be fired or punished in some way. However, Swagger’s WrestleMania match still went on, even though Swagger was on the losing end. Then, after Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Del Rio, many probably expected Swagger to leave the title picture again.

I believe the Extreme Rules match will be the end for Swagger’s time in the title picture. One big reason why he hasn’t been punished yet is because of the success of his character alongside manager Zeb Colter. Swagger is also the least likely to win the title at Extreme Rules so WWE had to give him momentum this week. Del Rio is the former champion and will most likely continue a one on one feud with Ziggler following the pay-per-view. Ziggler needs to win this match though. He held the Money in the Bank briefcase for nine months. WWE would be making a huge mistake if he only held the title for a month or two.

It remains to be seen what WWE chooses to do with Swagger following the pay-per-view this month. His time challenging for the World Heavyweight title may be over, but he could take the United States title from Kofi Kingston. It would work well with his “Real American” gimmick. It doesn’t appear as though Swagger will be suspended or fired at this point. WWE would also be wise to keep Colter around to help Swagger’s relevancy.

Do you agree with this week’s WWE Wrestler of the Week winner? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Be sure to check out Camel Clutch Blog each and every Friday for a new WWE Wrestler of the Week!

Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out guttwrenchpowerblog.com. You can also like GWP on Facebook here.

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Top 5 Matches In WWE Extreme Rules PPV History

May 01, 2013 By: Category: lists, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Extreme Rules is only a few years old but it has had its share of great matches. With the 2013 edition looming, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and countdown the top five matches in WWE Extreme Rules history.

Why five and not ten? Well the simple answer is that I didn’t have a lot to work with. I only had three pay per views to work with, so coming up with ten great matches would be a stretch. I could have done it, but I felt that 6-10 would have been just matches to pad the list.

As always these are my favorite matches in Extreme Rules history. Yours may be different, so if you think I missed one leave a comment and let me know. Otherwise grab a chair, lay out a table, and climb the ladder because these are the top five matches in Extreme Rules history.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena Extreme Rules Match (Extreme Rules 2012) -  I don’t know if it was the hype, the intrigue, or just the excitement of seeing Brock back but this worked on every level. The match played out in the ring exactly as you’d expect a match between a former UFC fighter who knows how to wrestle would against an experienced WWE wrestler. It was one of the most brutal matches of either man’s careers and blew away Brock’s other matches with Triple H since returning. I know Cena won and I know that has tarnished the match for some, but for me it didn’t get better than this in Extreme Rules history.

Jeff Hardy vs. Edge in a Ladder Match for the WWE world heavyweight championship (Extreme Rules 2009) – I sat here and tried to think of a reason not to rank this one at the top of the list and just couldn’t think of any. This match is probably remembered for the aftermath which saw CM Punk cash in. However, before Punk cashed in, Hardy and Edge had one of the great matches of this past era in WWE history.

Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Intercontinental championship (Extreme Rules 2009) – I was a big fan of this feud as it featured a great storyline, strong promos, and some fantastic matches. This one may have been the cream of the crop for these two former WCW superstars. The finish of the match is still one of my favorites with Jericho countering the 619, tearing off the mask, and rolling up Mysterio when he tried to cover his face. This was just a fantastic match and a real showcase of their talents.

John Cena vs. Batista in a Last man Standing Match for the WWE championship (Extreme Rules 2010) – I may be a little biased here because this was one of my favorite feuds of the last couple of years. The dynamic between Batista and Cena was awesome and it worked like a charm at Extreme Rules. The big spot was John Cena hitting Batista with an Attitude Adjustment through a table. Batista worked over Cena’s leg throughout the match. The finish was a little goofy with the masking tape, but otherwise I thought they had a heck of a match.

Sheamus vs. Triple H in a Street Fight Match (Extreme Rules 2010) – This is probably a dark horse as opposed to some of the other matches you were expecting but I loved this one. This was one of the hottest matches of the event. I loved the finish here. Sheamus wound up pinning Triple H after a series of bicycle kicks. After the match, Sheamus continued attacking Triple H. As security walked Triple H to the locker room in a neck brace, Sheamus attacked him once last time. In the end, Triple H was stretchered out. Sheamus came off as a ruthless killer here, especially attacking Triple H as he was being helped to the back. I know some Triple H-aters may disagree, but this was a great one.

Bonus: Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder Match for the WWE world heavyweight championship (Extreme Rules 2011) – In my Extreme Rules 2011 recap I listed this as my favorite match of the night. Looking back I wish that these guys had more time to feud because they had tremendous chemistry on this night. The highlight of the match was Christan getting knocked off the top rope, flying onto a ladder on the outside, readjusting, and hitting a reverse plancha on Del Rio on the outside. This was just an absolutely great match and probably one of the most underrated matches of 2011.

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