Another month, another Pay Per View Primer. Last month we got Wrestlemania 28, which was an excellent show. There were a couple of stinkers on the card (Sheamus vs Bryan and the Divas tag match), but as a spectacle, it was great. Undertaker vs Triple H was delivered an amazing story, Punk vs Jericho gave the event technical depth, and Rock vs Cena gave off a “Match of the decade” vibe. It was just a fun show to watch.
Lucky for us, the WWE often delivers in the PPV following Wrestlemania. Sure, there are way too many Mania rematches, but oftentimes the year’s biggest stories are wrapped up in the post-Wrestlemania show, not the big event itself. This year we get several rematches. They are:
- Big Show vs Cody Rhodes for the IC Title
- Randy Orton vs Kane
- Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Title
- CM Punk vs Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
Count them up, and more than half the card is Wrestlemania 28 part II. While Extreme Rules may lack fresh feuds (besides the HUGE main event), it should be a good show in resolving stories. And hey, Daniel Bryan may get more than a few seconds this time around to show how damn good he is.
Oh yeah, and there’s this certain mega-star making his return match. That might be something to watch for.
Extreme Rules: A Brief History
Extreme Rules is the spiritual successor to One Night Stand. It’s the same event, without the all the loving ECW references. One Night Stand began in 2005, and was a show meant to celebrate ECW’s influence on professional wrestling. The original One Night Stand, set in the Hammerstien Ballroom, featured former ECW stars only. While it was a historic event in its own right, and featured some amazing matches, the following year’s show may have been even better. One Night Stand in 2006 featured Rob Van Dam winning the WWE title over John Cena, and unsurprisingly, the Hammerstien Ballroom erupted.
The PPV changed names in 2009 to Extreme Rules, essentially cutting out its link to ECW. In 2010, the event was moved to the slot following Wrestlemania, replacing Backlash. It, along with Elimination Chamber, Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, TLC, and Hell in a Cell, is a gimmick PPV. Each match has “extreme” stipulations. Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but it sure beats PPVs like Over The Limit, which bring nothing interesting to the table.
Match to Most Look Forward to
For the second month in a row, this is a tough one. Obviously the big spectacle match here is Brock Lesnar vs John Cena. It’s a huge return, and should draw viewers to a PPV that generally doesn’t do all that well. But the best match on the card has to be CM Punk defending his title against Chris Jericho. Sure, it’s a rematch, but Punk and Jericho are easily two of the best workers in all of professional wrestling, another match between the two is always welcome.
The Punk vs Jericho story has been pleasantly old-school. Instead of Punk getting over by throwing around insider terms, he’s played the sympathetic babyface. And I think that’s exactly the direction he’s needed to go in. People love smarky Punk as a heel, but as a babyface it doesn’t work nearly as well. Using real life aspects of these characters, but greatly exaggerating them, has been a lot of fun.
Besides this past Raw, Jericho has gotten the best of Punk every week since Wrestlemania. He’s in Punk’s head, and there’s reason to buy into Jericho beating Punk in Chicago. That’s a testament to Jericho’s work. After losing to Punk at Wrestlemania, and having a rematch in Punk’s hometown, it would be understandable if nobody believed he could win. But the WWE has done an excellent job in booking this feud, and there’s a feeling that anything could happen at Extreme Rules.
Not only has this been a well booked feud, but if given the proper amount of time, this match should be 4+ stars. And being in Chicago, I find it hard to imagine they’ll get less than twenty minutes. Moreover, the “street fight” stipulation hasn’t been done yet by these two, making this match fresh. This match alone is worth tuning in for.
Bathroom Break Match
Nikki Bella vs Beth Phoenix. I picked another Divas match, shocker. I really have no bias against women’s wrestling, it’s just that the WWE has invested so little in their division, why should I care? You want fans to care, WWE? Put Beth Phoenix in the ring against Natalya, and give them more than ten minutes. They have the ability to put on a good show, but they’re never given the opportunity to show that. It’s ridiculous.
Oh, and you know what else is ridiculous? How in the world is Nikki Bella on the card, and Dolph Ziggler isn’t? It makes me want to throw my hands up and say “I give up.”
I’ve decided to cut my pick explanations down to one sentence each pick. For full, in depth analysis of each match on the Extreme Rules card, TJR has you covered with the official preview. John, Andrew, and Christian again give you a preview that rivals anything else on the interwebs. Check it out if you haven’t already.
Pre-Show US Title Match: Santino vs. The Miz
Winner: Santino. Because the match is free on YouTube, the WWE wants prospective PPV buyers to be happy, and Miz is on Vince’s shit-list.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix
Winner: Nikki Bella. Because life isn’t fair, and screw you!
Intercontinental Title: Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes
Winner: Big Show. Because Cody Rhodes is too good to go back to the Intercontinental Title, and that’s a very good thing.
Falls Count Anywhere: Randy Orton vs. Kane
Winner: Randy Orton. Because there’s no reason Kane should go over Orton again.
World Title 2/3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner: Sheamus. Because he needs a nice title run to make his push worthwhile.
WWE Title Chicago Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Winner: CM Punk. Because it’s Chicago, Jericho isn’t sticking around for long, and another Title defence would make Punk the longest reigning WWE Champion in years, helping legitimize the Title.
Extreme Rules Match: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena
Winner: Brock Lesnar. Because the WWE is investing in him for a year, and nothing says “monster heel” like taking out the biggest babyface of the past decade in his first match back.
Is Extreme Rules Worth Purchasing?
So is Extreme Rules worth your hard earned cash? Let’s ask Daniel Bryan...
YES!! YES!! YES!!
Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, wrestling typically gets pretty boring in May and June. So if you’re going to skip a PPV and save some money, pass on Over The Limit or No Way Out. But Extreme Rules is a must-see show. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. But Chicago is easily a top three location for the WWE. You know the crowd will be excellent, you know CM Punk (in his hometown) and Jericho will deliver, and it’s Brock F’n Lesnar’s return match! Does it suck to pay for two PPVs in one month? Sure. But it’s not so bad when they’re as compelling as Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules.
Remember, last year’s Extreme Rules was a very good show. In fact, John rated it better than Wrestlemania itself. Could that happen again? It’s possible. It isn’t as big of a spectacle as Wrestlemania, but it has all the ingredients of a great show. Don’t miss what could be a top show of the year.
Thoughts and opinions? Share them with me!
Happy anniversary to me! And the other TJR writers selected by the Writer’s Search, of course. We made it a year. It’s been a lot of fun. When I started here, I didn’t know if I’d have enough to talk about every week, and lo and behold, now I write twice a week. I want to thank John for giving me the opportunity to write for a readership of this size, and always being a fun conversationalist. I think we talk more about sports and the site itself than wrestling. Weird, but good. All of the other guys have been great as well, special thanks to the Headlines Crew headed by Andrew. I know it sounds like I’m giving an acceptance speech, but I just really wanted to acknowledge how great it has been to write for the site for the past year.
If you’ve ever commented on my articles, messaged me on Twitter, or emailed me, thank you, and you’re awesome. We’re all fans, and I love talking wrestling. I actually have a couple of emails to get to still. As always, feel free to contact me. Let’s get a bigger discussion going on the new site. I know there’s some hesitation with the new comment system, but the comments have always made TJR a great community. Let’s make it grow. (that’s what she said)