I had a fuckin blast at the show last night! This has this month has to be one of the best months ever for me as a wrestling fan. First WM28 and now Extreme Rules!
Santino/Miz - short match with Miz working the crowd with cheap heat and Santino working his comedy spots. I'll give Miz credit he knows how to use cheap heat on the local towns he goes, lol. My section was chanting Cleveland Sucks after he tried to diss Chi-town. Santino got a good pop with the Cobra.
Kane/Orton - They brawled right under my section! That, the DDT spot and Orton kicking out of the chokeslam were really good moments.
Ziggler/Clay - Pretty much everyone was rooting for Dolph with the "Let's go Ziggler" chants. It's a shame he is such a jobber to everyone these days. The guy's bumping is his gift and curse because he made Clay look good even though Dolph was shining in his performance.
Rhodes/Show - Cody had a lot of support here which had to be the best support reactions he's received so far in his career. I love the finish with Cody "putting" Show "through a table." That was a very clever way for him to win and Show just killed him after that. At first everyone was booing him but us blood-thirsty Chicagoans forgot about all of that when he decided to give it to him 'one more time'. Good the IC title is back on Rhodes and Show came out of it as a pissed off dominate giant as he should.
Sheamus/Bryan - YES! YES! YES! They FINALLY had a real championship match on PPV and I must say it was a damn fine wrestling match. Everyone was hot for this one with the YES! and NO! chants. People also chanted Daniel Bryan-18 seconds which I thought was funny. But these two work so well together which I knew their styles would mesh perfectly. I agree with Seabs on them building each fall into the next very well. Bryan's kick to Sheamus' head was stiff as hell! No way around faking that, he kicked his fucking head in. Both guy's got out of this match what they needed imo. Bryan went hold for hold, blow for blow with Sheamus for over 20 minutes. Bryan looked vicious with the kicks and attacks to Sheamus' shoulder, and clever for taking advantage of the injury. Sheamus showed vulnerability with his selling while still being a triumphant champion in the end and many people inspired by that journey for a character they could cheer for. Fantastic wrestling match. **** 1/4
Ryback/Jobbers - I was so happy when he came out to kick those guy's asses.
Punk/Jericho - Emotional. Dramatic. Hardcore. They did pull out another great match together with a bunch of great character work. I could feel the hatred they had for each other in the opening moments of match. Jericho is one of the best heels ever really. Jericho holding his hand up in the air draws a chorus of boos that easily. I agree Cal with us not being molten hot like they were at MITB '11 but it was still hot with the CM Punk and This is awesome chants. We even got a Macho Man chant going after the first elbow drop. The flying elbow to the outside on the table was insane madness, yeah! Punk's family being at ringside and getting involved added to how personal the feud was built up. They told great storytelling with so many of the spots they incorporated. ****
Bellas/Layla - Everyone wanted Kharma and Layla came out with absolutely no build so it will be interesting to see how they handle her reign. I like Layla. She has improved in the ring and I think she will stop trying but this was just random as hell. I thought it would be fitting a year after Kharma debuted at ER '11 and was humiliated by the Bellas before she took her leave to get some get back on their way out of the company.
Lesnar/Cena - Oh My God! I don't think there has ever been a main event match like this violent, brutal, extreme fight. Brock was raging on Cena with the MMA elbows and punches. Man, what a way to start a match with the intensity at a 10! The blood was glorious sight to see. I don't care about the trainers coming out to attend to Cena or the ref asserting himself a bit much for an Extreme Rules match because there was no saving Cena from this monster. Brock was going to do exactly what he to do; to Cena, the refs, or anyone that got into his way.
Both men were extraordinary in their roles I must say. Lesnar was an animal rubbing Cena's blood all over his body and then licking his fingers like a beast. Cena quite simply gave one of the best babyface performances not only in his career but one of the best I've personally ever seen in wrestling. All of his comebacks that quickly got shut down displayed Brock's overwhelming dominance but also Cena's fighting spirit perfectly. The "You Chant See Me" taunt he did to Lesnar down the stretch only to get his assed kicked more was a thing a beauty to witness. Brock got caught up toying with Cena so much just like Cena did at WrestleMania just three weeks ago.
In the context to how the match was executed, I wasn't upset with the finish. Cena indeed rose above the hate and the fans embraced him for being the guy that did not give up in this fight against a war machine. I won't say I ever loved John Cena during his incredibly dominant run thus far but last night I loved John Cena - the character, wrestler and man. I dug the post-match speech too.
Now thinking about the finish with the story and business side of things might leave many scratching their heads and I won't argue with that. If Cena is taking some time off why wouldn't Lesnar win this match? I don't know WWE's thinking is with that booking decision but hopefully it makes sense in the long run for all parties involved and business. They just better have a clear plan for what they are going to do with the force Lesnar is supposed to be. His drawing power may not be completely ruined. He really needs to hurt a lot of people now, though.
We'll see what they do with him but as far as Lesnar's performance here, he doesn't seem to have missed a beat. Lesnar was the perfect monster heel and I can't wait to see him tear threw everybody like he did with Cena here. Cena may have won the match but he was also physically humbled. But man, I just love the symbolism with the steps and how Cena won't let Lesnar take his spot at the top, yet. If "The End of an Era" didn't happen this would be my MOTY. **** 1/2
What a show.