Last Sunday night, my girlfriend and I went to the dump known as the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ to go watch WWE Extreme Rules. Despite being a rat’s nest, I always enjoy going to WWE events at the Izod Center. It’s usually a hot crowd and a good show. My favorite show ever at the arena with more name changes than Puff Daddy was the 2001 King of the Ring.
When I go to live shows I like to write about them. Instead of giving you another review of a show that is a week old, what I’m going to do is give you a live perspective of the show and then the fallout of the match. It’s kind of a look back and then a look forward. Got it? Let’s get started.
The picture above shows the view from my seats. I bought them knowing they were obstructed view seats. The good thing was all it did was obstruct the view of the wrestlers coming out to the ring since we were on the left side of the stage. We had a great view of the ring though and that’s all that matters.
Preshow-El Torito beat Hornswoggle in a WeeLC Match.
I was really down on this match when they booked it. I hate having my time wasted with comedy matches but this one was much better than it had any right being. The crowd really enjoyed the match and got really into it which surprised me to a degree. “Smart” crowds usually don’t go along with these types of matches. The match did seem to go a little long but everyone involved worked hard to provide an entertaining match. It was different and it came across pretty well.
Fallout: Ugh. 3MB and Los Matadores had a really bad segment on RAW the next night and yet another match on SmackDown. Despite being entertaining at Extreme Rules, this feud has had my fast forward button working overtime. This needs to end. Like now. This is 2014’s Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero.
Triple Threat Elimination Match- Cesaro defeated Jack Swagger and Rob Van Dam.
After WeeLC I decided that I would be a good boyfriend and get my girlfriend and I some food. The only thing worse than the building itself, is the Izod Center’s staff. Slow, lazy and rude. A real bad combination. When we heard Paul Heyman cutting a promo we were hoping that the line would start moving. It didn’t. So myself and a few other people on line realized that we could watch the match on the WWE Network. So we tried that for a minute and realized the near 30 second delay was too much to deal with. We heard the crowd counting and we knew that meant the Cesaro Swing was being applied. People in the line were reaching their boiling point at this point. I finally got to my seat to see the finish of this match and see Cesaro pick up the win to a nice ovation.
Fallout: Poor Jack Swagger looks like he’ll be on job duty to get Adam Rose over. As for RVD and Cesaro, it looks like these two are headed for another PPV clash after Cesaro was disqualified in his match with Van Dam on RAW. It’s a good feud for Cesaro to get a win over a former World Champion that the fans respect.
Alexander Rusev beat R-Truth and Xavier Woods in a Handicap Match.
Lana is hot and New Jersey knows it chanting “we want Lana”. She’s so hot that not even mentioning Russian President Vladimir Putin got her booed. The match was short and to the point which was a good idea. Rusev isn’t as over as much as Lana but I like this duo a lot.
Fallout: It boggles my mind that they would bring up a young superstar like Woods and have him essentially be a job guy. He’s not the story though, the story is Rusev. Just Rusev since WWE likes dropping names all of a sudden. Rusev can only get over so much destroying job guys. He needs a feud. What the hell is Rey Mysterio up to?
Intercontinental Championship- Bad New Barrett pinned Big E to win the championship.
I’m really surprised as to how over the Bad News gimmick is. Good for Barrett. I’ve always been a fan of him in the ring but WWE never gave him a gimmick that stuck and then would start and stop pushes for him on a dime. The crowd was very much into Barrett and was firmly behind him. When Big E came out…crickets. It’s a shame because the guy has talent and could be a big star. He needs some work in the ring and a charisma transplant but there are tools to work with there. The match was solid and kept the crowd interested and they popped big for his title victory.
Fallout: Big E was pinned clean by Barrett again in their rematch on RAW and then clean by Cesaro in a tag match on SmackDown. Maybe going to hang out in NXT for a little bit wouldn’t be the worst thing for him then he can come back as a monster heel where he seemed to thrive last year. If Curtis Axel and Big E have taught us anything it is that winning the Intercontinental Championship kills whatever momentum you had before you won it. Hopefully that won’t be the case for Barrett. I hope he can hold the title for about six months, defend it regularly and add some prestige back to it before moving onto something bigger.
The Shield beat Evolution.
This is in the conversation for the best match I’ve seen live. This along with Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon at the 2001 King of the Ring, the first Elimination Chamber Match at the 2002 Survivor Series and CM Punk vs. The Undertaker from WrestleMania 29. When the two groups faced off right before the bell rang the crowd chanted “this is awesome” and guess what? It lived up to that.
The crowd was solidly behind The Shield but Triple H got a good reaction because he’s at legend status right now. Orton was booed because he was a heel but the crowd respected him. Batista was booed vehemently and it wasn’t because he is a heel. Batista is a hated man in the WWE Universe.
The match was wild and out of control and it was freaking amazing. Everything these two groups did had the crowd reacting and it was a wild ride that we all enjoyed. The only thing that sucked, for me at least was when Orton, Hunter, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were fighting in the crowd. It sucked because it was on the complete other side of the arena and I couldn’t see what was going on. Since I was in obstructed view, I could even watch the Titan Tron. I had to look at a small screen in the corner of the arena up with what was going on. I didn’t miss Rollins’ dive though. How could you miss it? It was a dude flying out of the stands! Back in the ring the crowd went nuts went Roman Reigns fought out of the Batista Bomb and nailed Batista with a Superman Punch. Reigns speared Batista to score the win for The Shield and the fans enjoyed it just that much more because Batista was the one to be pinned.
Fallout: As we saw on RAW, Triple H hasn’t let this match go. He and the rest of Evolution laid out The Shield to end RAW. This feud is going to bleed into Payback and why not? The fans are still into it and I for one am looking forward to another match between the two factions.
Steel Cage Match- Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena.
When the cage lowered my immediate reaction was how are we going to get up for another big match after the emotional roller coaster that was The Shield vs. Evolution? Bray came out and the crowd was into it. One of my most cherished memories as a wrestling fan was being in the crowd last year for The Undertaker’s entrance at WrestleMania 29. It was an awesome moment. Now having experience Wyatt’s entrance live, I can say that if WWE continues down the path they are on with him that one day Wyatt’s entrance will build up the mystique that the Undertaker’s has and will rival it in a decade.
John Cena came out and got booed which is par for the course in New Jersey but he had his supporters as well. I thought the crowd would be into the match since the two competitors received since such great reactions but once the bell rang they fell flat.
I can’t say it was either Cena or Wyatt’s fault. Because it wasn’t. They worked hard. It was the booking of the match. Cena wanted the Cage Match to keep Harper and Rowan out despite the fact he beat Wyatt at WrestleMania in a standard bout. Then all that happened was Harper and Rowan interfering in the match. It then became a standard Cena match with all the odds stacked against him only for him to keep fighting back. It’s easy to tell why they lost the crowd. That and the fact we were really just waiting for the finish. A lot of people expected Wyatt to win but knew there would be something creepy going on to ensure the win. After the children’s choir on RAW a lot of us had high hopes for what WWE would pull out for this match. After it turned out being one little boy with a voice distorter it felt kind of repetitive and the crowd didn’t care. Not to mention why Cena wouldn’t just pick up a fifty pound kid and move him out of the way to win. The distraction allowed Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail and escape the cage to win the match.
Fallout: The feud is clearly continuing as it should. Each man has a PPV victory over the other and there should be a rubber match. Cena was on Main Event saying his message is “never give up” and that’s the message we should all follow. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. What type of stipulation match they will have at Payback? They’ve done some cool things in this feud but there’s been some misses as well. It hasn’t been as good as it could’ve been.
Divas Championship- Paige beat Tamina Snuka via submission to retain the title.
After the Cage Match it was time for a Mrs. Fields cookie and a trip to the can. I thought I’d be back in time to watch this match but then I remembered that the staff at Izod sucks and I missed the entire match. I wasn’t broken up about it though.
Fallout: I caught the match on the Network and it was ok. Paige really hasn’t grabbed my attention yet. I do love that Scorpion Crosslock though. She needs a tan. Christ, even Sheamus isn’t that white. Who knows where she’ll go from here. There aren’t many good options for her to feud with especially with AJ on hiatus.
Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship- Daniel Bryan pinned Kane to retain the title.
Daniel Bryan was the most over guy in the place. The crowd erupted in “YES” chants when his music played and loudly chanted along when he hit the arena. The crowd was really into the match and then they decided what an awesome idea it would be to have the two men fight in the back of the building. There’s no faster way to kill a hot crowd than have the action spill to the back of the arena where no one can see it.
Then, the forklift got involved and the crowd was back into the match. There was a big pop for Bryan when he entered the arena with Kane on the forklift. It’s not something that’s been done very often. Not since the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin have vehicles been a part of WWE matches so this felt fresh and added a cool moment to the match. The visual of seeing Bryan with the diving headbutt off the wooden pallet was pretty cool.
The people in the arena knew the fire spot was coming before those at home. Before Kane pulled out the gas can you could see two guys with fire extinguishers running to the back of the ring where the spot was going to take place. That got a “we want fire” chant going. When Kane lit the table on fire the place erupted. That’s not a very “PG” spot so it was unexpected to see in today’s WWE and since it hadn’t been used since 2006 there was an “awe” factor of it. The place went bonkers went Kane went through the table eliciting the ever popular “holy shit” chant. Bryan hit the knee to win the match to a huge pop. The crowd was going home happy until Kane sat up and his music hit to end the show. That just was felt weird. I know why it was done but being there live it didn’t feel right.
Fallout: I’ve heard some people say that this feud is killing Bryan’s likability factor because of the crappy acting of his wife and silly, comic book nature of the story. I couldn’t sense that from being there live. I will agree that there are probably 101 better ways to book Bryan’s first feud as champion though. I was hoping this was a “one and done” feud but after Kane sat up I knew that wasn’t the case. Then Kane stalked Bryan and Brie on RAW and we knew for sure that this feud was going to continue. The rumor is that these two will square off in a Buried Alive Match at Payback. Just what Bryan needed, right? Kane will get buried and disappear for a few months and then hopefully Bryan can have a challenger that can give him a feud he’s worth of.
I enjoyed Extreme Rules. The crowd was hot and the matches for the most part were good. It was a show I’m glad I attended. I’ve been to shows where it seemed like a good show being there then you watch it on TV and realize that it kind of sucked. That wasn’t the case here. I watched it on the Network when I got home and then again a few days later and it held up really well. If you haven’t seen it, you can start from where the Evolution/Shield match starts and then go from there. That match was a must see and if you follow WWE closely you probably want to see how the other two big matches played out. Extreme Rules gets a 7/10.
(That’s what she said.)
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