I just got back in from watching the WWE Extreme Rules PPV from Chicago. The following are my thoughts from the show:
I felt this was an excellent show overall. The three main matches delivered huge and everything else on the show was pretty good.
The show opened with Randy Orton beating Kane in a falls count anywhere match. It was better than I would’ve imagined going in. Both guys worked hard and had a fun little match that set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Cody Rhodes regained the Intercontinental title from Big Show in a tables match. Being they were in Chicago, the crowd was very into Rhodes. Show accidentally cost himself the match when his foot went through one of the tables on the outside. The crowd was very hot when Rhodes won. Afterwards, Show put him though two tables including throwing him through one on the outside of the ring. It was funny to see the crowd boo Show, who is one of the top fan favorites in the company. Referees and trainers came down to tend to Rhodes who refused their help and walked away on his own accord. The crowd cheered him big time as this was happening and it almost seemed this was a perfect setup to switch both guys. Rhodes could definitely be a fan favorite in the future.
Broadus Clay beat Dolph Ziggler in the exact type of match you would expect from these two. Nothing special, but Cameron and Naomi wore cool outfits and danced with more intensity than usual.
Sheamus retained the world title against Daniel Bryan in a 2 out of 3 falls match. This was excellent and was the type of match they were robbed of having at Wrestlemania. Bryan did a pre-match interview where he got easy heat on the Chicago audience, but was still cheered. AJ was shown in the background immediately following this, leading one to think she would play a role in the finish of the match. The two wrestled a very physically intense and technical contest.
Bryan got himself disqualified in the first fall by repeatedly kicking (I think they were kicks instead of punches, but I can’t recall) Sheamus after the referee had made the five count. Bryan worked on his arm and won the second fall with the Yes Lock. After some great teases, Sheamus won the deciding fall with the Brouge kick. This description doesn’t do justice to how good this match was. This was one of the first instances where Bryan got a chance to showcase his technical and submission ability in a long main event caliber match. And to his credit, Sheamus kept up with him every step of the way and did a great job of selling the effects of his arm being injured throughout the match. I know the plan is for Alberto Del Rio to start a program with Sheamus, but this match was so great that I would love for the feud to continue. Besides, I seriously doubt Del Rio and Sheamus could have a match of this quality.
C.M. Punk retained the WWE title against Chris Jericho in a Chicago street fight. Super hardcore match as there were a ton of kendo stick shots in addition to other weapons used. Both wore jeans which gave it a more realistic edge. Crowd was 100 percent behind Punk since he was the hometown hero. His family was at ringside and their reactions were featured on camera constantly throughout. The big spot was Punk doing a flying elbow onto Jericho though the Spanish announcers table from the top turnbuckle. There were many awesome spots in this match and both guys took some serious punishment. Punk pinned Jericho after a GTS and celebrated in the front row with his family afterwards. Tons better than their Wrestlemania match.
Layla returned and defeated Nikki Bella for the Divas title. A few spots were off, but Layla did some great athletic stuff and was moving really quick in just about everything she did. She won with a good looking neck breaker.
John Cena beat Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match. Best match on the show and one of the best matches of the year from any promotion. The heat was unbelievable. The bar I watched the show in was so loud, but I could tell that Lesanr was heavily cheered. Not sure if there were a lot of Cena chants, but there may have been from the women and children. This had an atmosphere that few matches in recent history have had. A large part of it was that this match was worked totally unlike a traditional match, even by Extreme Rules standards.
The match started with Cena getting destroyed by Lesnar on the ground. This repeatedly happened and Cena was busted open in no time. Lesnar dominated Cena in a way no other wrestler ever has. The match was so believably worked that it was one of those rare moments where it seemed like the line between reality/storyline was blurred. The key spot came when Lesnar jumped from the ring steps (inside the ring) onto Cena who was on the apron. Lesnar overshot himself and ended up flipping over the ropes into a nasty landing on the floor. They redid the spot with Cena nailing Lesnar with his chain. Cena won after an Attitude Adjustment on the steps.
Even though Lesnar lost, I don’t really think the wrong man won. Any person watching this match came away with the conclusion that Lesnar was, by far, the toughest challenge Cena has faced in his eight years as the face of the company. The story of the match was that Cena had no real chance and was basically beat at nearly every turn, yet was able to capitalize on one advantage and win. Cena emerged victorious, yet Lesnar was the better man. I have no doubt there will be a rematch somewhere down the road. Contrary to the opinion of the internet wrestling community, I don’t think this loss hurt Lesnar at all. Cena did an interview after match putting over Chicago and the brutality of the match. This was a match of the year candidate and well worth going out of your way to see.