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Cody Rhodes def. Big Show - Tables Match, New Champion!
A lot of people were upset, even feeling cheated about the way this match ended. From a live perspective, it was fantastic. Big Show was 110% more dominating and violent than normal. Having to lose the belt in an embarrassing way just added to his pain. Cody took more bumps than anybody, save John Cena, throughout the night. Multiple table spots, several un-safe looking bumps outside of the ring, and that incredibly vicious post-match spear... Big Show stood in the ring and soaked up the boo's from a very pro-Rhodes Chicago crowd. So the match was short, big deal. It was also brutal, creative and featured my personal favorite spot of the night: Cody's Beautiful Disaster kick off the table in the corner.
Plus, Cody Rhodes has his Intercontinental Championship back around his internally-bruised waist. All is right with the world once again.
Sheamus def. Daniel Bryan - Two Out of Three Falls Match
Remember in February when we first got wind of the Sheamus/Bryan idea, going into WrestleMania? People were almost completely negative about it, and for good reason. These two together, on paper, have very little to offer... Two months later, whole cards are being energized by an 18-second loss, a hot Miami crowd and a single, previously annoying "YES!" chant. I've expressed by concern for the long-term game of the WWE - there's a cause for concern when a company simply can't build a face because the bad guy keeps getting over - but for now I'm just happy to ride the wave of emotion Daniel Bryan has somewhat accidentally brought to the product.
Their Extreme Rules match was perfect. I have not a single complaint. Bryan is a phenomenal worker, but those that think Sheamus can't wrestle are just plain wrong. Both men performed to the peak of their ability, as did the team of bookers that pieced the match together. Having the first two falls end in DQ and KO (not submission!) was a stroke of genius, allowing momentum to build as the crowd looked for a pinfall or submission to end it all. The dueling Yes/No chants had a Cena-level feel. I had no issue with Sheamus picking up the win, no matter how "over" D-Bry is at the moment. In my opinion, Bryan needs to keep chasing the title to stay as popular as he is - give him the strap and he's at risk to fizzle. People want to see him succeed. Once he has, they've got nothing left to cling to.
Ryback def. Two Local Wrestlers
Easily the most non-responsive match of the night from the Chicago crowd. The "Goldberg" chants were fun for awhile, but ultimately this fell flat. Nice exposure for Ryback though, getting a filler match on a great PPV. Big man, jacked physique and a decent worker (from the little we've seen). Sounds like Vince McMahon's wet dream... Now if only he could draw.