Re: Official DVD/Match/Show Discussion Thread
Okay, I finished watching the show last night right before RAW, and here are my thoughts. This is a good show, not a great one. I think people are possibly overhyping it a bit on the basis that it's a lot better than most PPVS, and yes, probably the best PPV since MITB '11, but I still don't think it's great. It had a very nice lineup and if nothing else, the crowd was amazing. Chicago is clearly a great town, and proof that with the right product, people will make a lot of noise. Ironic that this comes a couple of weeks after the worst crowd in wrestling history at Lockdown. My thoughts:
Falls Count Anywhere: Randy Orton vs. Kane
I just didn't love this match. While Orton/Kane is a star pairing, these two just didn't have a great series. The match at WM was kind of stilted, and this was no different. Not bad at all, but this rematch kind of reminded me of the NoDQ matches you see nowadays in TNA: familiar spots, lots of crowd brawling for a pop, but never really goes to the next level. A solid enough opener.
Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler
Entertaining enough. All action for four minutes, good bumping, Swagger interference was fun, and this was good for the time it got, and given that Clay is still a comedy act.
Tables Match for the Intercontinental Title: Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes
Again, this was good for the time it got. I'm a little disappointed that this was somehow shorter than their already short WM match, as they clearly could have had a solid 8-9 minute match, but as everyone else said, the finish was original, clever, and Big Show's expression was perfect and logical. He just looked at the ref like "wait, did that count?"
2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
For the first two falls, I thought "now THIS is a 2/3 falls match." They didn't go for the cheap first fall, which always gets a pop and puts the match into immediate climax mode. They let them really wrestle. Bryan getting dq-ed would have been an acceptable finish even in a regular one-on-one TV match, so that this was the first fall was even more exciting. Finally beating Sheamus into the Yes lock was even more perfect. Anyone complaining about DB looking weak at WM should hopefully see just how destructive he could be. He was clearly out-wrestling the big guy and was smart enough to know that getting dq-ed was worth it if he was going to keep kicking the arm. Sheamus passing out also made them both look great. I love the refs and meds attending to Sheamus to sell the passing out, while DB cheers himself on. I love even more that when Sheamus finally got up, DB charged him and ran right into the kick.
Then it went downhill for me. This turned into straight up SuperSheamus, where he just made a "miraculous comeback", hit all of his major moves, then his finisher, and got in the win. It was terribly anticlimactic for a match so effectively building up to a big finish. They could have traded counters and nearfalls for a minute or so, with Sheamus getting the out of nowhere win, and both would have looked great. Instead, Sheamus just shook it off and won. To me, great matches don't end that uncreatively and abruptly. Good match ruined by the akwardness of fall 3.
Ryback vs. Two Jobbers
PPV is not a place matches that belong on Superstars 20 years ago. A PPV is three hours long and while not every match can be a main event, they should make the most of their time. A rookie monster face vs. two jobbers it not worth that time. First of all, Ryback is a horrible name. It sounds like bareback, which is wrong on so many levels. It also doesn't sound threatining or cool, and his costume looks weird. Squashes like this to nothing for anyone.
Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
As many others have said, and as I noticed myself, this really did remind of the Unsanctioned match between Jericho and HBK. And personally, I didn't like that match. Both had a good personal buildup (involving family, of course), a hot crowd, and was never boring.
But aside from the big elbow drop, none of this felt all that special. They brawled, used weapons, and what I liked was this match was completely different from their match at WM. Nice to see two guys have a rematch unlike their first. It's like a sequel that stays true to the original while going in an unexpected direction.
It had some nice intensity at the end, but to me, this series, like Punk/Mysterio, has never reached its full potential. I honestly thought these would be classics, and they're not. They're good, but not great. Solid match.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Layla
You know what? For the less than three minutes they got, this was all action, not sloppy, and got tricky at the end. I can never rate a match this short that highly, but it did its job.
Extreme Rules: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
Before I read any other comments and I saw photos of this match, I thought: "surreal." This match just had a surreal, entrancing atmosphere. Maybe because it was Lesnar's first match in eight years against John Cena, or the MMA trunks, of the sight of largely unmonitored blood at a PPV since 2008 (not counting HIAC last month), but this match truly felt surreal.
It had that "big fight feel" that so many matches lack these days. John Cena, the biggest wrestling star since Stone Cold, against the man who vacated the same spot 8 years ago, Brock Lesnar, in a NoDQ match.
So I'll give credit to a few things. Just this kind of pairing is huge. The built-in story of Cena being THE guy, Lesnar being for a payday, is too true to not be compelling. And the crowd was raucous in the best way.
But this match really felt special from the beginning, as Lesnar just pummeled Cena. Cena getting busted open in the first minute let us know this would be unlike any other match. Lesnar looked brutal, fast, monstrous, just an amazing heel. Cena making comebacks here and there told a very nice story, too, but what I liked about this match against other SuperCena matches is that, because of the stiffness, this really did look like the heel was killing Cena. There was some great offense, too, as Lesnar pulled out some great germans, some flying tackles, and maintained intensity throughout.
I fully understand people being pissed about Cena winning and then cutting a promo after, but I'm okay with it. Lesnar winning his first match back and Cena losing two ppvs in a row almost would have been too predictable, and as many have said, Lesnar could have won the match any time he wanted, but chose not to. This wasn't like Miz desperately TRYING to make Cena quit. This was a guy just toying with him and not capitalizing when he should have. Cena hit a bit shot with the chain, got the AA, and got a nice win.
Think about it like this: back in 2005, Triple H was gone for three months, and his second match back, got beat by Ric Flair in a cage. And this was already after HHH had been beaten three times in a row that year by Batista. A good enough heel can look brutal, play with their opponent, and get caught. Everyone said the reason Cena lost at WM 28 was because he got cocky. As this match showed us, he took advantage the way Rocky did.
This was kind of like a better structured version of UT/Mankind HIAC: just an absolute trainwreck made my its sheer brutality and atmosphere. Was this a great wrestling match? Absolutely not. It wasn't full of counters, and psychology, and all that good stuff. It was just 18 minutes of brutal mayhem, and while the match is untraditional, it truly felt special. And the end was very nice to see.
Favorite Matches of All Time
1. Triple-Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit - WrestleMania XX
2. Career Threatening Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair - WrestleMania XXIV
3. WWE Championship: John Cena vs. CM Punk - Money in the Bank 2011
4. No Holds Barred Match: The Undertaker vs. Triple H - WrestleMania XXVII
5. WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior - WrestleMania VI