The John Report: WWE Extreme Rules 2011 Recap

WWE Extreme Rules
May 1, 2011
St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

I didn’t watch the PPV live. I missed the first half of the PPV and then I got home to catch the second half as it happened. I’m glad I did. I’ll give you my thoughts on each of the matches and key happenings as well as the usual star ratings for the matches, the three stars of the show and the final rating on the PPV.

The announcers at the start of the PPV were Josh Mathews, Booker T. and Jerry Lawler. No sign of Michael Cole at the beginning.

Last Man Standing: Randy Orton d. CM Punk (***1/2)
The Nexus guys came out with Punk, but the Raw GM buzzed in to say that the Nexus was banned from ringside. This was better than their WrestleMania 27 match, which I rated at three stars. This time they got 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes and they told a better story thanks to the Last Man Standing stipulation. I like how they used the weapons around the ring like the announce table and steel steps to lead some good near ten counts in the match. I really liked the spot where Punk wrapped Orton’s head around a chair and threw him into the ring post. That move has put people on the shelf, but not Orton’s super strong character. The finish came when Orton hit Punk with a RKO off the top rope, which left Punk on the mat for the ten count. Orton winning the feud was a shock, but winning at WrestleMania, on Raw and at Extreme Rules makes Punk, as well as the new Nexus, look very weak. Orton goes to Smackdown on a roll. Punk’s future, apparently, is in question.

At this point Lawler left the announce table to go get ready for his match.

Backstage, Teddy Long told Sheamus he had to defend the US Title in a Tables Match against Kofi Kingston because they had to get one of the secondary belts on Raw. He didn’t say that secondary titles thing. That was my edit. Sheamus threw in a light about seeing Kofi Kingston’s birth certificate to get a shot at his belt, which is a joke geared towards Donald Trump claiming Barack Obama wasn’t really American. I’m shocked that Vince McMahon would rip a fellow Republican like Trump. Maybe Vince was asleep.

They showed John Morrison jumping off stuff backstage doing his Parkour training.

Tables Match for the US Title: Kofi Kingston d. Sheamus (**)
This was like a TV match that went about nine minutes. I’m not sure why Booker T. was ripping on Kofi Kingston while saying he was a fan of Sheamus. I thought he was the babyface color guy. It was a bit odd to hear those words from him. They worked hard, put over Kingston’s athleticism by avoiding the table a few times and protecting Sheamus by putting over his aggressiveness. The finish saw Kofi hit the double leg drop onto Sheamus, who was well positioned over a table on the floor. I really liked that finish. Kingston brings the US Title to Raw where he’s once again holding midcard gold while Sheamus is free to move up the card on Smackdown. It makes sense in terms of the booking.

Backstage, The Grish interviewed R-Truth. This was terrific. I’m loving heel R-Truth probably because I disliked face R-Truth so much. He’s doing a great job no matter what you feel about the guy. He claims a conspiracy is holding him back while Morrison stole his WWE Title Match opportunity. I liked it because it’s a heel telling us how he feels without being too overbearing. You can understand it from his point of view.

Country Whipping Match: Jack Swagger & Michael Cole d. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross (DUD)
Cole was wrapped in bubble wrap to protect him from getting whipped. He cut a promo before the match that was the same promo he’s been doing for months. Lawler unwrapped him and beat on him. The crowd was hot for the Ross-Cole portion of the match, which thankfully didn’t last long. There was a lot of whipping going on all over the place. It’s better than wrestling in this instance. Swagger went after Ross, JR lowblowed him and that led to Cole rolling up for JR to win the match thanks to one of the worst rollups ever. This should have been a babyface win to end the feud. Instead, Cole is put over because he might be Vince’s favorite character right now. Jim Ross is one of my favorite people in wrestling history, but don’t put him in a match again.

They had an advertisement for the Over The Limit PPV that was a mockery of sex pill commercials. It wasn’t as funny as WWE probably thinks.

Backstage, The Grish interviewed Cena. He said he hasn’t held the WWE title since June of last year when he lost at Fatal 4Way to Sheamus thanks to Nexus interfering. As soon as I heard this promo I knew he was winning the title.

Falls Count Anywhere: Rey Mysterio d. Cody Rhodes (**1/2)
This was similar to their WrestleMania 27 match (I gave that one **3/4) except that they were able to brawl around the arena to attempt pinfalls. Each match got about 12 minutes in length. Of course, the pinfall occurred right in the middle of the ring and they barely touched weapons. What I don’t get is why put Mysterio over? Cody’s on Smackdown where they are lacking in terms of top of the line heels, so a win over Mysterio would make him look good while Mysterio doesn’t lose a thing due to being on Raw. Instead, Rey goes over. I’m confused. The whole purpose of this feud was to change Cody’s character into a more serious persona, which is what they did except they made him look like a loser while they did it. I don’t understand the booking of this one.

In the “divas locker room” Layla walked up to the other babyface girls (Alicia’s there too) talking about how this might be her last night and she wanted to apologize to them for anything bad she’s ever done. Kelly Kelly spoke for the group by saying they liked McCool less than her, so good luck. Yeah, because all women are very forgiving and would not hold any kind of grudge. Right.

Michael Cole was back at the announce desk.

Loser Leaves WWE: Layla d. Michelle McCool (*1/4)
They got about six minutes, which is long for a divas match these days. The crowd was pretty dead for this since they were both heels and the feud was only a couple of weeks old. Michelle hit the Faith Breaker/Styles Clash, Layla countered by holding her shoulders down for the pinfall and Michelle didn’t kick out. Layla was happy to keep her job, but sad that her friend lost the match. I guess Layla’s a babyface now.

Post match, McCool was alone in the ring crying when Kharma (Awesome Kong) made her debut. She came out laughing. The crowd was in awe of her. She hit the Implant Buster move that will probably have a different name in WWE. She lifts her up in a Butterfly Suplex position and then drops her down face & chest first. She laughed some more. I liked the presentation of Kharma. The music was ominous, the camera shot her from the ground up to put over how big she is and it was a memorable debut. I can’t wait for her to crush some of the girls. After the attack, they showed the babyface divas locker room (and Alicia) reacting to it in shock.

For those wondering, the McCool leaving WWE stipulation is legit. She also said as much on Twitter. The word got around late last week. I’m not going to lie by saying she was one of my favorites. She wasn’t. She was a good performer that got better through the years. I liked her way more as a heel than as a face. I respect her and appreciate how hard she worked. All the best to her, her husband The Undertaker and the life they have together.

Backstage, Ricardo Rodriguez was practicing the announcement of Del Rio as World Champion. That means Del Rio is losing.

Ladder Match for the World Title: Christian d. Alberto Del Rio (****1/4)
I loved this match. The announcers played their parts well as they questioned if Christian put too much pressure on himself while Del Rio came in as the favorite due to “retiring” Edge. I laughed when they used the step ladder at times although it caught Christian on the side and he had a big mark right above his hip after taking a shot there. The use of the ladders as weapons was really good. For this being his second ladder match (in WWE at least), Del Rio did a great job. Every time they had a spot he was in the right spot and Christian was of course masterful in his role as well. It was twenty minutes of realistic spots and action that left me applauding the efforts of both guys. That bump by Del Rio butt/leg first onto the ladder that was stretched across from the ring to the announce table was sick. He really could have screwed up a knee or ankle by doing that. That led to the finish. Christian went up, Brodus Clay came down to the ring and Christian took care of him. That allowed Del Rio to attack Christian with a ladder and he put the Cross Armbreaker on him while Christian had his arm stuck in the small ladder. Del Rio went to climb and as he did so, a horn honked from a distance. It was Edge in a Jeep…or a car like a Jeep. Christian recovered, knocked Del Rio off the ladder and he went flying over to the top onto Clay & Rodriguez. He barely cleared the ropes there. Del Rio had several near injury moments. I guess that’s going to happen in a ladder match huh? The match ended with Christian climbing up to retrieve the World Title for the very first time in his career. I marked out huge for one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Awesome moment. The crowd reacted to it very well too.

It was an excellent 20 minute Ladder Match. They got as much time as they should have, they worked at a pace that didn’t allow for the match to ever slow down and there was even some accidental blood with Christian’s head getting cut open. I loved it. This is my #3 match of 2011 in WWE so far with HHH/Taker and the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match being the top two (both at ****1/2). I loved Edge’s face post match when he was looking up at his friend holding the World Title for the first time as World Champion. That moment felt real because it was. That’s the kind of moment that makes me proud to be a fan of this crazy business.

Let’s take a moment to look at Christian’s Title History. He’s won the Light Heavyweight, European, Hardcore, Tag (9x), Intercontinental (3x), ECW (2x), TNA (2x) and now the World Heavyweight Title. That, my friends, is reeking of awesomeness. I am genuinely happy for my fellow Ontarian Jason Reso for this accomplishment. The guy has done it all in the business. He started in WWE in 1998. After his successful tag run with Edge he was stuck in the midcard where it looked like he was always going to stay. He left to go to TNA because he must have been frustrated with his position. He came back hungrier than ever, works his ass off, his best friend Edge was forced to retire and now he is the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time. I love it. I never thought it would happen, but I’m so glad it did.

The show continued from here? Oh right, I guess it did. I would have liked to see this match end the PPV, but this is WWE. You know Cena’s going on last.

Backstage, The Miz was with Alex Riley in the locker room. Riley was motivating him and tried to do Miz’ catchphrase, but the champ cut him off. Then he walked away.

Lumberjack Match for the Tag Titles: Big Show & Kane d. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson (*)
This was basically a TV match with lumberjacks surrounding the ring. It got less than five minutes, which is fine by me. It was a good breather in between the two major title matches. Like with every lumberjack match, all hell broke loose and everybody starting fighting on the floor. Big Show pinned Barrett with a Chokeslam. Post match, they ended the whole thing by giving chokeslams to Slater & Gabriel as well. I have no idea why they book The Corre so poorly of late. What’s the point of a stable that loses all the time? Weird. I thought Barrett would get a push on Smackdown since they are lacking in terms of having top level heels. I’m not so sure if WWE is that high on him anymore.

No video package for the main event. That’s rare. It’s also because Morrison had no interaction with the other two guys going into the match.

Cage Match for WWE Title: John Cena d. The Miz & John Morrison (***1/2)
This is the blurb from the quickie preview I wrote on Sunday: “I’d expect something flukey happen for Miz to walk out still champion. Then again they could just as easily put the belt on Cena. I picked him to win the Rumble and I picked him to win WrestleMania. I was wrong on both occasions. For now I’ll go with Miz although I think Cena winning is very possible.”

I should have went with my Cena pick. I guess this means I can’t pick his matches right. Now that he’s the champ, though, it will make me pick him every month again. I’m not sure if his title reign is going to last all the way until next year’s WrestleMania against Rock. I do think it will be will a lengthy one, though. As for the match, Morrison really shined here with his incredible offense that is different than the generic stuff that Cena does. That Starship Pain spot off the top of the cage was especially impressive. The scariest moment came when Cena & Morrison did a double suplex on Miz from the top of the cage that saw Miz land right on the back of his head because they didn’t lay out enough. That was scary. I cringed. Then they showed it a few more times. I cringed some more. I’m not sure how many times two guys were on top of the cage throwing punches, but it was at least four times and that’s too much for me. They should eliminate the “you can escape by the door” stipulation because it makes no sense that somebody rather climb up the cage than out the door. Their cage matches are limited in what they can do as far as new spots because we’ve seen them all before. The interference from R-Truth late in the match hurt the quality, but it was to be expected since his feud with Morrison is just starting. He took out Morrison, then he hit Cena with his axe kick and Miz was still selling from Morrison’s attack I guess. He sat there for a while. Morrison was done at that point, so Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Miz from the top rope. He covered for the three. The match went about 20 minutes. If it wasn’t for the R-Truth interference, which makes sense of the story, it could have reached four stars with a hotter finish.

The show ended with Cena celebrating his 10th WWE Title victory (also includes World Title).

Three Stars of the Show
1. Christian – Christian! Christian! At last…the World Heavyweight Champion!
2. Alberto Del Rio – He did his part too. He took some huge bumps.
3. John Morrison – His first PPV main event. Great job.

Final Thoughts

I give this PPV a 7.5 out of 10. If you’re wondering, I gave WrestleMania 27 a 6.5, which means this was the better show of the two. If you go back a month before that I gave Elimination Chamber a 8 too. The Royal Rumble got 6.5 in case you’re wondering. It’s been a strong year for WWE PPVs.

The matches got more time than they did at WrestleMania, they provided us with a lot of babyface victories (they went 7 for 8 counting Layla) and we got some memorable moments with Christian’s title win (for the adults) and Cena’s title win (for the kids). Everybody went home happy. On paper it may not have been that appealing, but the execution of the show was very well done. For all the talk about WWE hating “wrestling” and people making a big fuss about it, just watch this show. There was a lot of good in-ring action here. The wrestlers (yea I said it) should be proud.

I just want to say congrats to John Cena (pronounced Chayna if you’re Santino) for being WWE Champion again. He is proof that after 467 title shots in 10 months, getting fired (yet never leaving), never losing clean and eating your Fruity Pebbles you too can be a winner. I am being sarcastic. I don’t hate or love Cena as a performer. I think he’s good, but I dislike how he gets booked a lot of the time and the last year has been especially annoying. Vince needs to stop booking him like 1989 Hulk Hogan and get with the times.

We also found out on Sunday night, while the PPV was going on, that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US Navy Seals. I think that’s a victory for the entire free world that we live in. Yes, I’ll join in the “USA! USA!” chants with my American friends, but the entire world is celebrating this news as well. Thanks to all those that serve for our freedom on a daily basis no matter where you are.

Thanks for reading.