-So everyone in the company made it back from Europe in time for the show, except for Carlito, who is still wandering around Belfast in a lonely and forgotten state. Even sadder, no one in the WWE office seems to have noticed.
-So here we are, live from the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, MD for WWE Extreme Rules, which can’t be too extreme since wrestlers are not allowed to bleed in Maryland. Which makes you wonder if Evan Bourne avoids popping pimples whenever he passes through the land of crayfish and The Wire. Hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker. By week’s end, the man who should be here may never be here again, if you get my drift.
-The opening video references those who seized their moment at Wrestlemania. Oddly enough, Shelton Benjamin isn’t one of them. I wonder if there’s some nice real estate in the Orlando area?
[adinserter block=”1″]-It’s nice that KFC’s Double Down is the sponsor of tonight’s show, since any main eventer caught indulging in one may be punished by death. If the Double Down doesn’t kill them, that is.
-And the opening match is…..with Triple H?!? Well, Motorhead hits, but Hunter is taken out backstage by Sheamus, thus no match. Ten spot says that Hunter told Sheamus “Take me out, I’m too good to open!”. That savvy rogue. Teddy Long’s on the scene, so if Hunter can’t go, Sheamus’ll have to face DA UNDATAKA, PLAYA! I’m assuming.
-So instead, ShowMiz comes out to run their mouths, and they end up booking themselves into a tag team gauntlet, where if they lose, the team that beats them earns a title shot on the April 26 Raw. So by the time you read this, you’ll know how it turned out.
-Team one is John Morrison and R-Truth. Good thing they happened to be in their ring attire should HHH have been injured or something. They actually end up getting disqualified when Morrison refuses to break a triangle choke in the ropes. Odd. Odder yet is a disqualification at Extreme Rules. I’ve never once known WWE to go back on any of their set rules….
-Next up is Mark Henry and MVP. Their night ends after Big Show fists MVP. With a punch. It was extreme until I cleared the air on what actually happened. Forgive me for trying to help.
-Last is The Hart Dynasty, and they take Show out, followed by hitting Miz with a Super Hart Attack to earn the title shot. At this rate, Bret Hart’s going to win RSPW Manager of the Year despite doing nothing. Gauntlet was harmless, but rushed.
-I was only half paying attention to the next backstage segment, but I remember seeing Sheamus smiling while wielding a lead pipe, and Todd Grisham looking worried. Did I miss a Heidenreich-Cole re-enactment, or am I reading too far into this?
-Next up, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio collide, and Punk’s putting his hair on the line. Rey’s putting his….uhh….nothing on the line. How’s that fair? It just makes Punk look more noble for taking a brave chance. Couldn’t Rey at least put some cash on the line? It’s not like he has Phil Astin to make payments to anymore.
-Lawler makes a joke about Punk either getting his hair cut or “changing the oil” in it, which wasn’t funny 15 years ago when he said it about Bret Hart. God, has it been fifteen years? Whoever Lawler was seeing then has surely gotten her GED by now.
-Pretty good back and forth match-up, made even better by a gratuitous shot down Serena’s shirt. Matt Striker seems impressed, but let’s face it: he’s not fooling anyone.
-Punk locks Rey in the Gory Special, thus reminding Mysterio of a Guerrero that he HASN’T exploited. Speaking of exploiting, good to see the kids are being taught to cheer the guy who’s fighting against the evil forces of a drug free lifestyle. WWE would be great at producing KidSongs videos for the adolescent Lindsay Lohans of the world.
-Rey soon counters, and tries the 619, but Serena (almost) trips him. This leads to Serena and Luke Gallows being ejected. At an event with no rules. Anything can happen here in World Wrestling Entertainment!
-GTS is countered into a rana, and Punk gets out on 2. Man, he was that close from having to shave his head. Actually, if he shaved it off, he’d no longer look like Paul London in about 2013 when the Smackdown vs. Raw royalty checks stop rolling in. Wait, do wrestlers get royalties for the video games? Alright, I’m off focus here.
-So some mystery man in a hood comes from under the ring and drops Rey with an alley oop powerbomb, giving Punk the easy win with the GTS. Far better than the WM match, with 3 times the length. Justin is happy, and Punk gets to look like unemployed Gary Oldman for another week. Smiles all around.
-Ad for the Monday draft. Lives will be changed forever, because if Chris Jericho or CM Punk are drafted to Raw….then it’ll be semi-shocking when they show up on Smackdown again in three months to further some angle or agenda! SWERVE! Seriously, why HAVE the draft?
-For this next match, if you ask Linda McMahon, it’s a strap match between two young, hard working athletes named JTG and Shad Gaspard. If you ask her political enemy, Rob Simmons, it’s two black men whipping each other, which has serious racial overtones. When’s the debate? I’m getting antsy for it.
-Duh moment #1: Shad turned heel, thus he adds his last name to make himself more “legit” and “heelish”. Duh moment #2: Lawler says the strategy is to “win the match”. If Michael Cole is the Joe Buck of wrestling, Lawler is definitely Herm Edwards.
-Basically, the two take turns whipping each other while the crowd slowly dies. I will note that JTG’s hair reminds me of Prince in “Under the Cherry Moon”. Anyone else get the same vibe? Anyone? Ok, it’s just me then.
-JTG wins using the old “hit the buckles behind the heel’s back, and then hit the fourth one before he does” trick. And by “old”, I mean that with extra emphasis. At least JTG’s hair survived, since the crowd seemed to die in the wreckage.
-We go from two black men to a KFC Double Down ad. You can’t tell through text, but I really am speechless, trust me.
-There’s still an issue of whether or not HHH can go tonight. Please, Big Show once fell off Cobo Hall in Detroit, and he worked the main event with nary a scratch. Hunter’s a wuss.
-Jack Swagger defends the World Heavyweight Title against Randy Orton next, and it’s being fought under “Extreme Rules”, which is like a street fight except….uhh……got nothing.
-The crowd isn’t even reacting to Swagger as a heel, and he’s even gotten rid of his lovably dorky entrance strut. Meanwhile, Orton’s a noted sociopath who hits women, and the crowd loves him. I’m done explaining wrestling to non fans. It’s not worth the stress.
-Striker talks up Swagger’s collegiate background, and how it’s an advantage. You know, in a match with no rules. Meanwhile, Cole tells us that this isn’t Orton’s first rodeo. I know two guys who should shut up for a while.
-Swagger applies a chinlock/armlock on the floor. Not only is he going to beat Orton, but he’s beating him with an improved version of his own hold!
-This match is slooooooooooow. I don’t think Swagger needs to slow the pace down to establish that he’s the heel. When you’re counting on Randy Orton to speed things up, I think you’re doing it wrong.
-A metal trash can comes into play, and I ask who even USES those trash cans anymore. Haven’t we all upgraded to the rolling plastic ones? Maybe there’s a factory that still makes them for WWE use, I don’t know.
-Orton has a chance to win it, but opts to try the RKO onto the chair. That fails, so Swagger defeats Orton cleanly to retain via his Swagger Bomb. Really slow, and did nothing to make Swagger look like a world-beater, but that’s the modern WWE: the new main eventers get dominated immediately (Punk, for example) and are shunted back down the card to get more momentum. I give Swagger’s reign another month tops.
-Orton gets his heat back with an RKO afterward. What a hero. Oh, Sheamus is here. The WWE tall/muscular/well-groomed factory is in full throe here.
-Sheamus wants the forfeit win, so of course HHH shows up, and he’s limp. Also, his arm is dangling from the pipe attack earlier. Hey, I hate Hunter, so I’ll take my pot shots any way I can. The Street Fight (aka Extreme Rules match) is on.
-So Hunter dominates early on, with only one arm, because he’s so bad ass. Triple H is so manly that he makes Jack Palance look like Doris Day, I tells ya. By the way, Vince McMahon called me to suggest that joke. So that explains a lot, really.
-Match is slow as well, much like the previous bout, although I chuckle when Cole says that HHH runs on adrenaline. I’d make a joke here, but to do so opens my friend Eric Gargiulo to potential legal letters from Jerry McDevitt, so I’ll just be nice and say “Cole is a ninny” and leave it at that.
-Sheamus manages to bash HHH in the skull with the pipe, which is my other favorite idiosyncrasy of Cole’s: using “skull” instead of “head”. I imagine when he propositions a hooker, his slang terminology is an earful to behold.
-As valiant as Hunter is, about four pump kicks is what it takes to put him down for the count. Sheamus finally wins! After Hunter is badly hurt. And after barely surviving a beating from a one armed man early on. God forbid, you know, Hunter just get beaten straight up. I don’t want to sound like every other smark who rails against HHH with regularity, but really, if he’s so high on Sheamus, and Sheamus is on the “push” list, what’s one 100% clean job? Match was decent.
-Over the Limit, next month, on PPV. Anyone figure out what the gimmick for the show is? Near as I can tell, maybe it’s where if you lose a match, you get a strike added to your Wellness Violation list. Randy Orton and Chris Masters in a career ending match is sure to be a draw.
-Edge cuts a promo, and notes that he won’t try to escape the cage. Edge has won over every out-of-touch NWA fan that’s still alive.
-Speaking of out-of-touch, here’s an “Extreme Makeover” match, where the weapons are all household objects. The participants are two women, which I’m sure speaks well of the company’s gender perception. Of course, since Michelle McCool’s involved, she’s going to get little sympathy out of me. I’m petty like that.
-Anywho, McBland is defending her Women’s Title against Beth Phoenix, who turned face because of the world-famous, time-honored, and cherished rule in WWE canon that states, in part: “Everyone’s gotta turn face sometime”. And Beth’s time? Oh yeah. It’s now.
-Now’s a good time to eulogize the recently endeavored Mickie James, who was cut to make room for more hyper-thin skanks. Mickie, hope you make it in country, as much as I hate country.
-Typical boring Michelle match. In the old days, Michelle McCool would have been canned long ago for failing to capture anyone’s attention. Now, because she’s tall and anorexic, they stick Layla and Vickie with her until she gets over. If that day is somewhere in March 2013, my money’s on “the over”.
-Vickie and Layla get sprayed. By hair spray. Well, that’s the closest we’ve come to breaking the PG barrier for a while. Was worth noting.
-Beth beats Michelle with her own bulimia bucket. Am I going to hell? I think I’m already there.
-Beth hits the Glam Slam on the human gizzard to win back her Women’s Title. Beth can always tell her kids that in a match that set gender equality back 75 years, she was victorious. So, there’s that.
-Edge/Jericho video. This portion of the feud is 750% better, but that’s because of the disclusion of “SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAR”. Agree?
-So Edge and Chris Jericho are going at it in a steel cage match, where we’re guaranteed no blood. I think they need to retire the Extreme Rules concept, since the fans will catch on sooner or later that the show will not be as violent as they think it’ll be. Actually, if they haven’t figured it out yet….
[adinserter block=”2″]-Edge slingshots Jericho, but Jericho tries to escape off of it. Question: how is Edge a face? Does him doing bad things for five years (adultery, sneak attacks, screwing the GM) suddenly become negated because he got hurt? Did we feel bad for Saddam Hussein when he was hanging by the noose? Well, I’m sure Sean Penn did, but that’s beside the point.
-Edge hits the cage, and Striker says “THE METAL MILITIA BEARS ITS FANGS!”. For chrissakes, don’t blaspheme Metallica, Matt. Lawler, can you pretend Striker is a promiscuous woman and just buy his silence?
-Jericho has Edge beaten, and he goes to escape, but chooses not to, and brings the chair inside. Jericho’s like one of those Bond villains that can’t just shoot Bond. He’s devised some sort of elaborate death trap for Bond, and it never works. I’d call Jericho the “Max Zorin” of WWE, but my girlfriend would kill me. Even if I made Mark Henry “May Day”.
-SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAR gets 2 for Edge. Damn, it IS catchy.
-I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jericho’s springboard Codebreaker to Edge, who was seated on the top rope. Jericho’s a far cry from indie bums who have 47 innovative moves in their arsenal, but no presence to carry their feud. Isn’t it obvious why Jericho’s so great?
-In the end, Edge busts Jericho’s leg inside the cage door, and then pins him with the SPEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR. Slower than their WM match, but still really good. The fans haven’t seem to have caught on to the slower pace, but I appreciate the story told.
-And now, for one of the more interesting matches to come along in recent memory, although not for the storyline, is John Cena and Batista in a last man standing match for the WWE Title. And wouldn’t you know it, word is that Batista could be on his way out of the WWE after not getting the lead in some B-movie. That’s like me quitting the school play because the teacher wouldn’t let me be a tree. Actually, I really did that.
-Match begins as a typical stand-up brawl, as you’d expect from these two. Not like Batista’s going to stray from the basics now.
-Batista begins to work Cena’s leg, and Striker enthusiastically remarks that you can’t stand with a bad leg. Zach Gowen would like a word with you, you choad scholar.
-Batista manages to apply a Figure Four, and Cole references Ric Flair, like he still works there. In the draft, Cole will be traded to TNA, where he’ll be immediately optioned to the minor leagues in exchange for 3 turnbuckles and a shiny new buffet tray for Taz.
-Cena manages to land the five knuckle shuffle. Let’s see Batista stand up from THAT! Oh wait, he did. Well, fiddlesticks.
-Batista hits Cena with a wrench. Wow, someone’s brushed up on their copy of “Wrestling Cliches for Dummies”. When Batista’s around, there’s nary a stunt granny that’s out of harm’s way.
-After Batista crotches Cena up top, he lands two SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEARS (gah, wrong match), but it’s not enough to keep Cena Christ down. Hey, speaking of Jesus, if Shawn retired the week before Easter, why didn’t he ascend on Easter Sunday? It WAS a bladejob all those years, not stigmata, I knew it! Oh well, back to the task at hand.
-Cena goes through a table, as well as the guardrail (which happened to break apart in clean, non-jagged pieces), but it’s not enough for Batista to win. For irony purposes, Batista should hit him with the script. That’s like dividing by zero in wrestling.
-Finally, Big Dave gets pissed, and he throws a monitor at the commentators. I’m with Batista on this one. He also chucks Lawler’s crown, just because he can. The burning question: what did The Klique have for lunch today? The crown contains all the answers! Among other things!
-Cena Adjusts Batista’s Attitude through the table, but Batista won’t die. Inside, a Batista Bomb can’t keep Cena down. Finally, Cena has enough of this whole “a big move must end it” philosophy, and he just duct tapes Batista’s legs around the ringpost. Big Dave can’t break out of the unbreakable stickiness of duct tape, and Cena taunts him through the countdown for the win. Slightly more fun than their Mania match, with a creative ending. Note to people who hated it: if Jericho had done it, you’d be lauding it as brilliant. Don’t tell me different.
-Cena celebrates while Batista flails like a buffoon. My guess: if Batista leaves and somehow winds up in TNA, WWE will play up that his last act in WWE was as a flailing buffoon. Because, you know, Vince is a smart businessman.
-CYNIC SAYS: Tell you what, shocking as it may be, I think TNA won this month. Lockdown had a bit more of an edge to it, but Extreme Rules was fun in its own way. Punk/Rey, Cena/Batista, and Edge/Jericho were all fine matches, yet all retreads from Wrestlemania. The April event is always a Wrestlemania rehash anyway, but at least this show here had some good payoffs.
Next month: Sacrifice vs. Over the Limit. Will TNA retain its crown? Or will WWE take my idea about Wellness strikes for their event? Chris Masters, you’re on the clock!
Justin Henry is a freelance writer who enjoys putting his thoughts and opinions into text. His love of professional wrestling, as well as enjoyment of writing, has led to the creation of the Cynical Examination, his personal writing haven. Justin can be found on Facebook, Twitter, his website portfolio, or he can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
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