IHAO on ... Extreme Rules 2014

Huzzah, another PPV or "special event" as the WWE are now calling them, successfully broadcast on the WWE Network.  Lots of really interesting things happened all throughout, but can I go ahead and say that this PPV wore me out.  So many matches were just drag out fights with high energy and emotion.  It was draining.  And I don't mean any of that insultingly, I actually mean it as a compliment.

Before I get too much further, I want to linky to the source of all the gifs I'll be using this review!  He's an awesome fella on the Tumblrs who has just straight up said it is no problem to use his gifs, so from now on, that's what I'll be doing, and I hope you'll take a look at his stuff, because he live gifs PPVs and Raws, and makes all sorts of other good ones throughout the weeks.  Here he is: wrasslormonkey

Here we go, EXTREME RULES!

Preshow: El Torito beat Hornswaggle in the first ever WeeLC with a springboard leg drop through a mini-table

This was pure spectacle.  Little people commentators, little person ref, little person ring announcer, and the two little people wrestlers currently in the WWE doing everything they could to be entertaining to the EXTREME.  It worked.  And even better, the big men in their corners, Los Matadores and the 3MB bumped for everything.  Drew Mac threw himself over the top rope into a table.  Heath Slater took two mini chair shots and threw himself through 4 tables stacked up magically behind him for that spot.  Los Matadores and Jinder went through four more tables and two ladders in another magically set up spot just for some damage.  Even the little person little announce table took a diving elbow through it.

What can I say?  This was never going to be amazing ... but it kind of was!  It was entertaining, everyone worked hard, including the 3MB guys who get a bad rap for sucking because they are jobbers.   But everyone earned their PPV paychecks this time around, and I really enjoyed myself here.

Verdict - Exactly as entertaining as it was going to be

Cesaro defeats Rob Van Dam and Jack Swagger in a triple threat elimination match

So Cesaro got the big win at Wrestlemania, turning on his team partner, and winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royale.  The next night, Paul Heyman became his new manager.  Cesaro is a good guy, Paul Heyman is a bad guy, Rob Van Dam just came back and has a histoy with Heyman, and Swagger and Zeb Coulter are still upset.  Through a few other bits and pieces, this match ends up happening.  And it was bloody brilliant.

Really, this match was everything I love in a wrestling match.  Lots of great maneuvers, lots of great counters, lots of great just MOVES of awesome skill.  Cesaro and Rob Van Dam fight like beasts.  And once Swagger is eliminated, they even pull out a trash can to get a little ECDub about it.  That's how I like my extreme/hardcore, by the way.  Just a chair, or just a trash can.  Just a little bit.  You don't need to go crazy with the weapons.  Personal taste.

This match was impressive, and everyone worked hard, though Swagger and RVD were the MVPs here.  Especially since RVD busted himself open with a trash can by doing the frog splash to it.  It was a really great opening that really got the crowd on their feet, and continued the upward swing of Cesaro!

Verdict - Really great, possibly match of the night for quality

Alexander Rusev squashed R-Truth and Xavier Woods in a handicap match

Oh good.  We go from really fun to really great to really terrible.  I just figured it out, too.  Rusev is Ivan Drago.  That is what this is.  Though Lana is was better than Drago's wife in Rocky IV.  Anyway, I've been watching Rusev crush people for too long.  I don't care.  I'm off the boat.  I do not care in the slightest.  And the handicap nature of this match is immediately defused by Rusev kicking Woods in the head, so it was a pointless addition.  This was garbage.  The only really fun part was Lana enjoying herself as she got some heat talking about her idol, Putin.

Verdict - Absolutely pointless

Bad News Barrett wins the Intercontinental Title from Big E

This match was interesting.  This match had one big goal to figure out: is Bad News Barrett a babyface?  And I believe the resounding answer is "YES!"

The whole match was built around figuring this out.  From Barrett testing the audience reaction with claps and signature spots, him getting a babyface fighting comeback, the signal of his Bullhammer finisher, all of it was done this time around to get the crowd's reaction, and the crowd was ecstatic!  Not only that, but the finale was thrilling.  Dodging the one Bullhammer, only to be hit on the return!  It was glorious, and Barrett ends up a 4-time champ.

The big problem is Big E LAG-ston (credit to my roommate for a joke to show how boring Big E is).  You see, he's athletic, just like a bunch of guys they like to bring up.  But he's got no charisma.  No spark of interesting.  He's just a bit ole athletic guy.  Like Shelton Benjamin before him.  Or Ahmed Johnson.  He can do some real impressive things, but he doesn't tell a good story.  He just isn't interesting.  He literally hurls himself full force at Barrett with an impressive spear through the ropes, and the fans cheer when Barrett stands.  Whenever Big E tried to do his babyface comeback or signal his moves, either the crowd didn't care or they booed.

Now, this could still get screwed up.  I don't think it will, but WWE could not treat Barrett as a babyface.  Cesaro is running around in "not quite babyface" land.  But I hope that doesn't happen.  I hope Barrett just comes out on Raw tonight, "I've got some ... BAD NEWS!"  And the crowd says it along with him, and we have our rematch at Payback.  And then Sheamus turns heel and kicks his head off.  That'll be great!  Or any other heel, really.  Barrett can easily continue to be face by instead of insulting the audience with his bad news, he uses it to make fun of his opponents.  I look forward to seeing a man I've loved for 4 years for the FIRST time a face I can cheer for without being a smark, hopefully finally getting his chance to get up to the top again!

Verdict - Good match, great character, awesome News

The Shield defeat Evolution

This ... I'm shocked it wasn't the main event.  Good on HHH for keeping the ego in check and putting the title at the top slot.  It makes the title look important.  That said, this match was really really really I don't have enough reallys good.  It was crazy and hectic and filled with as many crazy bumps and spots and hits and thrashings and brawlings you can imagine.  Old guard versus New Guard.  Youth versus experience.  It is a classic tale.  And the Shield continues to be dominant.  And everyone shined.

I wish I had more to say about the match.  It was a technical masterpiece.  Shield matches never are, really.  But it was a big brawl.  It was better than the big brawl with the Wyatts at the Elimination Chamber earlier this year, that's for certain.  Everyone looked good.  Ambrose was great ...

Reigns is an absolute beast who I am in love with ...

But I'm sure spot of the match goes to Rollins.

Verdict - Really really really really really good.

Bray Wyatt walked out of the cage, beating John Cena

Oh Cena.  I've talked about you before.  And you continue to do the same old schtick, except no smiling here, because you don't win.  Just alternating between absolutely dead and perfectly fine because that's what you think selling is.

Cage matches have gotten stale for me.  Especially WWE ones, where the stupid door can be opened to walk out, just so you can always have that spot where the door is kicked into the guys head.  I don't like em.  They end up being spot fests that are basically uninteresting to me.  Oh, and this match went just slightly longer than the Shield v. Evolution match.

They do a few spots I haven't seen before, mostly with the interest of the Wyatts keeping Cena in the ring for Bray to continue to torture and beat on.  But ... bah.  Whatever.  On first watch, I liked this match fine, though the finish (I'm getting to it) was lackluster.  On second watch ...

Unpopular opinion time - I'm getting tired of the Wyatts.  They used to be these great heels.  But now they are actually embracing the fans and ... just don't get heat.  So they can get any real bad guy stuff accomplished.  Which makes them boring.  Bray is still pretty good in the ring, but he needs a guy who is all fire and vinegar, like the Shield or Daniel Bryan.  Cena is a terrible opponent for him to have a spotfest match with like this.  Their match at Wrestlemania was a little boring but told a good story.  This match was even more boring, and the story it told was ...

Ok, the finale.  All Wyatts down, Cena walking out the door, then lights out, and ... at that moment I was rooting for another member of the Wyatt family.  I was hoping that they would get CJ Parker, an NXT guy with a terrible gimmick but a great look, and have him show up as a new Wyatt convert, a smaller, wiley, angry, barefaced Wyatt.  It would have been fantastic.  But instead ... we get WWE going with safe.  "Hey, the choir thing totally worked on Raw.  Let's do that again!  Oh oh oh, but this time, let's have just one kid!  And let's voice modulate him to be CREEPY!"  And so a little kid with a microphone sings the public domain song of the Wyatt's loving choice, scares Cena, and then bam, Sister Abigal, Cena loses.

I don't like this match.  I don't like where this is going.  And I don't care about any of the parties involved anymore.  They are going to have a rubber match, this time a Last Man Standing or some other standard fare third-in-a-series match for a Cena feud that will let Cena do extreme stuff to win at all costs and Never Give Up blah blah blah.  Wyatt isn't winning this storyline.  If they had treated the Wrestlemania match as if he had won by losing, then we'd be somewhere different.  But I was too optimistic.  Cena just beat Wyatt there.  And now Wyatt wins here.  And at Payback ... probably an I Quit match so Cena can win again.  Ugh.

Verdict - I didn't like it, and I cannot bring myself to care about it.  Spots were fine.

Paige retained the Divas Championship against Tamina

The crowd was tired.  And they thought they were going to get a breather.  They instead got Paige and Tamina working really hard to have a really good match.  The crowd just didn't have the energy for it, though.  Watching the match in a vacuum, without listening to the audience, and you have a really solid match.  Lots of great moves, lots of good offense, a nice clever babyface doing what she can to win, a powerful heel trying to just break the champ.

But the crowd was just dead.  I like this match a lot.  I really wish they had moved the terrible squash match up the card to act as a buffer between the cage match and this.  But after the big 3 v. 3 fight and then the cage match, the audience was too tired to be able to actually pay attention to a Divas match.  I think that this match shows a great trend that the Divas matches are going to continue to get better and better.  And the audience is going to know that, and get more and more behind Paige and these matches.  This is the first step on a bumpy road to fix a division that has been filled with terrible models for too too long.  But Paige, Emma, Charolette, Tamina, AJ, we have real athletes, real wrestlers working their way up.  I appreciate the match, and I think the fans do too.  They were just worn out.

And the best was still yet to come.

Verdict - Really solid, good match.  

Daniel Bryan retains the title in an Extreme Rules match against Kane

This match is everything you want from a hardcore match, without the blood.  They beat the crap out of each other.  They had planned breather moments.  They had a comedy moment ...

Or two ...

And one was even planned, though I wouldn't call it "comedy" but perhaps a lighter, babyface moment ...

But despite all that.  Despite the kendo sticks, the crowbars, the chairs, the car spots, the tables, the tables on FIRE, this match was about emotion and storytelling.  These two knew what they were doing.  Kane is getting a little old, he doesn't take moves as well as he used to.  But that didn't matter.  Because we got what we needed.  Daniel Bryan has proved over and over he can out wrestle anyone.  But this match, he out "rassled" Kane.  Gloriously.

That flying headbutt is a thing of beauty.  And this match was everything you want from a main event and more.  This match had all the emotion, all the heart, and all the spots.  And it still had the wrestling, though not as much as I personally like in my matches, but it still had it.  And it was really really good.  Great even.

Verdict - Really great, definitely match of the night for emotion

This was a really great PPV.  I'm worn out talking about it.  I'm worn out watching it.  But it was really really good.  A new era began at Wrestlemania.  And it continues tonight.  Things feel special.  This PPV was special.  And I cannot wait for Payback.  Though I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm even more excited about the next NXT special event later this month!

It is a great time to be a wrestling fan.

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