Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Extreme Rules plays it by the book, but still entertaining

Catching up on recent WWE programming, starting with last night's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, before moving on to the three-hour Raw draft in a second post at 7 p.m tonight...

I thought the start of the PPV was great, with Sheamus beating the crap out of Triple H with a metal pipe. It was savage and brutal, which is a good idea for a PPV built upon the idea of all "extreme" matches. Of course, it wasn't surprising that Triple H was able to compete later in the show, but I was surprised they let Sheamus go over. I read after the show that Triple H has some neck damage and needs time off, so that was an effective way to get him off television for a while.

After the opening beatdown came the Miz and the Big Show, taunting the other wrestlers in the back. Teddy Long came out to argue with him, and once again, the Miz looked like a million bucks and a future champion. As a result of the Miz claiming he and Show were the greatest tag team of all-time, Long setup a three-tiered gauntlet for them.

The first team of R-Truth and John Morrison lasted the longest, although it was disappointing to see them lose after about seven minutes; both are guys who should be pushed at this point. MVP and Mark Henry were next, and not surprisingly, they lasted about two minutes. ShowMiz has beat them about 40 times the past couple months. And finally, the New Hart Foundation came out, with Bret Hart, and pinned the Miz after about 30 seconds. This earned them a title shot on Raw.

Outside of the tag matches, which were pretty solid, there were two highlights. First, CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio was a great technical match. It was a quick pace and had a slew of near falls, before Punk finally got the upper hand with the help of an unknown assailant from under the ring. And the other strong match, not surprisingly, featured Edge beating Jericho in a steel cage match that felt like the blow-off to their feud. While I liked their Wrestlemania match a bit more, this was still a good match.

The rest of the card was kind of meh to me. Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton featured some utterly sick usage of some trash cans - I have no idea how Swagger softened that blow, if at all. However, the finish had him going over clean, and although Orton hit an RKO after the match, I don't think the match really helped either wrestler that much.

Finally, the last man standing match between Batista and Cena was just OK. It wasn't actively putrid or anything, like a Great Khali match, but they have fought so many times now that anything they do seems like a rehash. The ending was sort of innovative, as Cena used duct tape to fasten Batista's legs around the ring post, preventing him from getting up. However, this wasn't entirely convincing to me, as it seemed like he could have gotten up.

Overall though, I thought this was a solid showing for the WWE. While there was no "oh my god!" moment on the show, none of the matches were complete wrestlecrap either. Even the "piss break" matches, like the women's championship and the strap match, were kept short and relatively brisk.

Grade: B+

All pictures from the photo galleries at WWE.com.

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