CM Punk def. Chris Jericho – Chicago-Style Street Fight
Much like Kane/Orton, Chris Jericho and CM Punk redeemed a lackluster feud in the past month, culminating in a great match at Extreme Rules. I expected a bit more of a technical contest from two of the best ring-workers in the game, but after Sheamus and Bryan went 23 minutes in a classic match I'm actually glad these two went extreme. The only down-side to having a superb under-card on a PPV is that a crowd can get exhausted by the time the main events roll around. I thought Punk and Jericho did a great job allowing the crowd to sit back and watch them beat the hell out of each other, but bring them back to their feet for the huge spots.
I had pegged Jericho to win this match. Assuming they were going to play the feud off for another few months, I figured there would be no better way to get Jericho mega-heat than allowing him to defeat CM Punk for the WWE Championship in Chicago. With Punk getting the win, I can only think this feud is over and that Punk will move on to the next challenger tonight on Raw. But where does Y2J go now, with back-to-back-to-back-to-back losses at every PPV he's competed at since making his return? I'm hoping the answer isn't "back to Fozzy".
Layla def. Nikki Bella – New Divas Champion!
"We Want Kharma!" *clap clap clap clap clap* Shut your filthy mouth… In all honestly, I can't blame those disappointed by the lack of Kharma, but Layla is one of the best female workers in wrestling today. She came a long way under Michelle McCool (giggety), and I popped huge when the "Flawless" music hit! Plus, both Nikki and Layla worked a great match together. However short it was, the Chicago crowd got the best WWE Divas match of the year so far. Layla returns and got a much-deserving title win – now let's see if she can stay interesting without McCool by her side… We'll get Kharma one of these days, probably when it's way less predictable. For now, enjoy what you have!
John Cena def. Brock Lesnar – Extreme Rules Match
I have seen every single one of John Cena's televised matches (seriously…), and I'm not sure I've ever seen him beaten THAT badly. He's taken some viscous bumps from Edge, but this was something totally different. Every single time, and I mean every single time he worked back up to his feet, Lesnar took him back down. Which makes it all the more confusing that he won the match, scaling a mountain he never should have been able to climb. I didn't like the finish. Justify it anyway you want, it didn't make sense. No way does a single Attitude Adjustment, steels steps or no, take down Brock Lesnar for a 1-2-3. It makes him look weak, it diminishes everything they've built up, and for what? Surprise factor? SURPRISE! JOHN CENA WON A MATCH DESPITE RIDICULOUS ODDS!
Now, if we can get past that – and that's a BIG if – the "match" was great. Watching Lesnar absolutely destroy Cena was emotional. The blood, normally an over-rated gimmick, was much-needed. Those final moments, no matter what you thought of the SuperCena comeback, where powerful. "Legitimate" has been the word of the month, and legitimate Lesnar was…until the end. If Cena is going to take time off, why give him the win?
However, pay attention to the John Cena after-show promo. The fact that they kept it on the air is important – normally what they say after the cameras are off doesn't matter. Edge came back to basically tell Cena he was fighting for the locker room. Cena won the match, despite incredibly odds, and put over the entire locker room in front of a live Chicago crowd. I think that's important. I think they'll probably run in that direction, further pitting the locker room against Lesnar under the banner that he doesn't give a damn about professional wrestling (he doesn't). My prediction: Lesnar runs through talent like Big Show at a buffet, until Cena makes his triumphant return and throws down the challenge for a rematch.
Extreme Rules was, hands down, the best PPV I've seen in years. It didn't have all the pomp-and-circumstance of a WrestleMania, but it did have an entire card of damn good wrestling matches. Title changes, returns, and a slew of false-finishes had me literally on my feet from start to finish. I didn't even take a bathroom break for the Divas…
Sheamus/Bryan may have been the first '10' I've given a match on Wrestlezone, and they earned every bit of it. The Chicago crowd was hot all the way through, all the marquee matches delivered, and even the fillers added a bit of fun to the already stellar crowd. I didn't even care that Miz was on the under-card. That match would have probably slowed down the night, and a Santino victory before the show went live got the crowd started off right.
Exceptional, in every way.
FINAL EXTREME RULES 2012 RATING: 9.5/10
Send your Extreme Rules thoughts, or any other wrestling related thought to Mike.Killam@Wrestlezone.com, or follow me on Twitter @MikeKillam.
Brock LesnarChris JerichoCM PunkDaniel BryanDolph ZigglerJohn CenaKaneRandy OrtonSheamusWWE Extreme RulesHave a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?