It's been a month and a half since WrestleMania 29, and it's about time for another WWE pay-per-view.
This month's show pays homage to Paul Heyman's 'Extreme Championship Wrestling', and while all the matches aren't 'extreme', there's always an intense atmosphere for this yearly card.
Some new rivalries have arisen since 'The Grandaddy of them All', but Brock Lesnar and Triple H still have their feud to settle, and The Shield are poised to begin phase two of their WWE takeover.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango w/Summer Rae
If this were a dance, Jericho would have been the lead. He was bringing the offense early, and often. The crafty vet even dove to the outside on Fandango. Jerry Lawler couldn't stop fawning over Summer Rae at ringside, but who can blame him? Despite doing little damage to Y2J, Fandango was getting near-falls anytime he attempted a pin.
The crowd really got going when Fandango missed his flying leg-drop, and Jericho followed-up with a Lionsault, but Fandango kicked out at the last moment. The match finally came to a close when Jericho caught Fandango coming off the top rope, and landed a Codebreaker for the finish.
WWE United States Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston (C)
The champion came out first, which is never a good sign. Dean Ambrose entered with The Shield, who went back up the aisle, to leave him to fight alone, which was cool. The Shield aren't exactly known for their technicality, and Ambrose didn't change that perception with this match. He was brawling out of control.
It looked like Dean Ambrose had the match won with a cross-face chicken-wing in the center of the ring, but Kofi somehow escaped. Kofi got a little sloppy jumping off the ropes before nailing Ambrose with the "S.O.S", but The Shield member kicked out at two. Kofi came up with a couple more near-falls on Ambrose, but after missing a "Trouble in Paradise", Ambrose reversed into his Bulldog-piledriver finisher, which Kofi didn't kick-out of.
Winner: Dean Ambrose your NEW WWE U.S. Champion!
Strap Match - Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
This match wasn't quite as brutal as the hype suggested, but it was still a fun match between two titans. Mark Henry has come a long way in his WWE career, and he's probably the most improved WWE Superstar of all-time. Sheamus is the perfect canvas for red marks, with his pasty skin, so this match was primed for greatness.
The back and forth was constant, and the use of the gimmick was appropriate. The beating Sheamus took on Raw a few weeks ago was far worse than what we paid for tonight. Things became truly interesting when the battle spilled to the floor, where Sheamus got the better of the exchange.
Sheamus rolled into the ring, went to touch all four turnbuckles, but Henry nearly stopped him on the fourth. Henry went for the World's Strongest Slam, but Sheamus slithered out, and landed his Brogue Kick before falling, and touching, the fourth turnbuckle.
World Heavyweight Championship Number 1 Contender's 'I Quit' Match - Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez
Zeb Colter came out with Jack Swagger, and he cut another anti-immigrant promo the Government and MLB baseball team St. Louis Cardinals. Del Rio wasted no time taking the action to the outside. He brought a Kendo Stick out from under the ring, and Swagger turned the tables with the weapon. Swagger used the Kendo stick for the next few minutes, trying to get Del Rio to quit, but it wasn't enough.
Alberto did a good job of selling the pain during the match, but kept coming back with quick flurries of kicks, and submission holds. Things became truly interesting when Del Rio locked in his finishing hold, The Cross Arm-breaker, which Jack Swagger reversed into his own finish, The Ankle Lock. Ricardo Rodriguez pulled out the white towel, but Alberto Del Rio told him not to throw it. Jack Swagger's manager, Zeb Colter, attacked Rodriguez, and threw the towel in for him, while the referee's back was turned.
Referee Mike Chioda ended the match, thinking Rodriguez threw the towel in. Another official came from backstage, and told Chioda to reverse the decision. For the first time ever, a WWE referee walked to ringside, and asked for a video review. WWE must be watching all these MLB umpires blow replay calls, and want to get in on the replay gimmick, too. Mike Chioda is too good to blow such a replay call, but down the road, a different referee will blow one.
The match was restarted, and Del Rio locked The Cross Arm Breaker on again. This time it was too much for Swagger, who quit.
Texas Tornado Match - WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) (C) vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)
The Shield are at their best when there are no rules to follow. They controlled the early part of this match, until Daniel Bryan reversed a powerbomb off the top rope, and flipped Roman Reigns with a hurricanrana.
Roman Reigns took things into his own hands, and took the momentum back for his team with a couple of spears. Daniel Bryan saved Kane from a pin, but 'The Big Red Monster' couldn't get back to his feet to return the favor, when Seth Rollins landed a flying double-stomp on Daniel Bryan, who was on Roman Reigns' shoulders, in a modified 'Torture Rack'.
Winner: The Shield, and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions
Extreme Rules Match: Randy Orton vs. The Big Show
The highlight of the early going was J.B.L. putting over 'Cowboy' Bob Orton's arm injury, and the reason he wore a cast over a decade, on commentary. The low-light was Randy Orton bringing out the Kendo sticks, which we've previously seen on the show. Big Show snapping the sticks like twigs was pretty great, though.
Big Show did a lot of rope running in this match, which isn't something you often see from the giant. This made Orton's dropkicks look good, so in return, Orton took a stiff modified chokeslam out of the corner. Big Show went through a ladder, but Randy Orton's 'Hangman's' DDT off the top rope was the cooler bump for Big Show to take.
Not only did they borrow the Kendo sticks from a previous match, but Big Show speared Orton, a lot like Reigns did in the previous bout. I know Big Show has been doing the move for a longer period of time, but perhaps he could have left that move at home for this one.
Orton did an 'RKO' onto a steel chair, but he had to punt kick Big Show in the head to finally put his big ass away.
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match - John Cena (C) vs. The Ryback
Cena took his time getting going physically, but he was playing the crowd from the second he climbed through the ropes. This feud has been compared to Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, and the methodical pace to start this match is quite similar to WrestleMania VI's main event.
Ryback was flinging Cena around like a rag-doll. He did a stalling Gorilla Press Slam, also very Ultimate Warrior-esque. Ryback just kept picking Cena up, and slamming him in different ways. Powerbombs, fall-away slams, powerslams, spinebusters, and everything else he could think of.
John Cena reversed Ryback's 'Shellshock', and landed his own finisher, 'The Attitude Adjustment', through a table, but Ryback got to his feet at the count of nine. Cena then took a 'Shellshock' onto the mat, but also rose to his feet at nine. Both men rolled to the outside where they put each other through the barricade, so they could battle into the crowd.
The Ryback pulled part of a hockey wall out of the arena floor, and smashed Cena with it, which was quite innovative. That wasn't enough to keep Super Cena down, as he jumped on Ryback's back, like a spider monkey. Cena then placed Ryback on a table, and climbed about seven feet off the ground, and jumped off the bleachers onto Ryback. It was as close to a Jeff Hardy spot as Cena will ever get.
The match finally ended when Ryback reversed an 'Attitude Adjustment' off the stage, and picked Cena onto his shoulder, and rammed him into the electric Extreme Rules sign. Neither man could rise to his feet for the 10-count.
John Cena was brought out on a stretcher
Cage Match: Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Triple H attacked Brock Lesnar during his entrance. This means we weren't treated to any Motorhead, as Triple H didn't have an entrance, and the show was probably running a little short on time, as the bell rang at about 10:29 pm EST.
Despite Triple H's "Pearl Harbor job" on Brock Lesnar, momentum quickly shifted into Brock's favor, as he was bouncing Triple H off the cage like a basketball. Lesnar tried to take a page out of 'The Game's' book, and went for a running knee strike, but hit the cage instead of Triple H. Lesnar went into full-on crybaby mode from there ("Paul, my knee!").
Triple H still couldn't control Lesnar, who went for a Kimura lock. Triple H attacked the knee to fight it off, then went for the cage exit, but Paul Heyman slammed the door on his head, which is one of the most overused spots in cage matches these days. Lesnar landed an F-5, but Triple H kicked out before the three count. Lesnar attempted a second F-5, but his knee gave out on him, and he collapsed.
Brock Lesnar, and his manager, began begging as their only means of defense, as Triple H systematically destroyed Brock's injured leg. Triple H went as far as to lock in a Figure-4, which The Miz used earlier on the pre-show, but nobody watches the pre-show. Lesnar rolled Triple H over, to reverse the Figure-4, but couldn't get up the cage fast enough when he tried to escape.
Triple H revealed a sledgehammer he had placed on the top of the cage, but Brock Lesnar caught 'The Game' coming down off the cage. Brock went to use the sledgehammer, but Triple H low-bridged him, and locked in a sharpshooter, of all things. Paul Heyman came into the ring to break up the hold, and received a Pedigree for his troubles. Brock Lesnar attacked with the Sledgehammer, but also caught a Pedigree from Triple H.
The match didn't end there, as Lesnar kicked out. Triple H picked up his sledgehammer again, but Heyman hit him in is manhood, and Brock Lesnar went to work with the weapon, finally. Lesnar closed the match out with a second successful F-5.