Having been in attendance for Extreme Rules 2012 in Chicago, for one of my favorite pay-per-view events of the last decade, this year's show had a lot of elevated expectations to live up to. Without CM Punk, The Rock or Dolph Ziggler, I wasn't feeling good about their chances this year, following what many consider to be a lackluster WrestleMania.
So, given the enormous pressure WWE was under to deliver without some of their top talents, how did they fare? Let's take a look…
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
-Results: After a back-and-forth exchange, Fandango was able to escape the Walls of Jericho, heading up to the top turnbuckle to deliver his patented leg drop. However, Y2J recovered in time, and planted the rookie with The Codebreaker out of midair. Chris Jericho wins (8:35).
As much as I love Chris Jericho, it's frustrating to see him back in much the same place he was before leaving WCW in the 90's; curtain jerking for the bigger events that have more perceived meaning. It's nice to see him actually pick up a win on pay-per-view, evening the odds with Fandango in the process, but a guy with his ring ability and promo skills could be, and should be involved in something much bigger. The last truly relevant thing I remember Y2J being a part of was his legendary feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008.
Decent match. Jericho seemed to be rushing through some of his spots, even missing a pretty simple roll-up early on. They recovered nicely towards the end though, and there's no doubt Fandango being involved in this angle is doing wonders for his young career. And unlike their match at WrestleMania, Fandango actually came off looking like the better wrestler this time around, despite taking his first official loss.
United States Championship
-Results: Kofi had the match won after a Trouble in Paradise kick sent Ambrose to the outside. However, the champion did the "honorable" thing and brought his opponent back into the ring, only to miss a second Trouble in Paradise and walk right into a Headlock Driver for the 1-2-3. Dean Ambrose wins; new champion (6:49).
I don't know that I've ever seen two WWE guys from the modern era fill less than seven minutes with such an action packed contest. There were probably more moves executed here than in the whole of the WWE Championship match, that went on for three times as long. Not that a wrestling match is all about the amount of moves two Superstars can pull off; the speed and precision at which they worked helped add a ton of intensity to their short story. Kofi was fired up and in a zone I want to see more of, and Ambrose worked the best singles action of his WWE run thus far.
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