THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s gimmick match overload time again, but this time it’s WWE’s turn as they present their second Extreme Rules pay-per-view shown live here in Britain on Sky Sports, with Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker handling commentary duties.
The show was meant to begin with the street fight between Triple H and Sheamus, but when the Game no-showed after his ring introduction, we saw Sheamus attacking Triple H backstage, with the Irishman laying out his man with a metal pipe.
So the actual start came with the Unified Tag Team Champions the Miz and the Big Show in a gauntlet match, ordered by Smackdown GM Teddy Long after they champs had come down to the ring demanding competition, announcing that if any team pinned the champions then they’d get a title shot. First came John Morrison and R-Truth. Some nice exchanges, and better than their Wrestlemania encounter, with the champions getting the disqualification win when Morrison refused to release the triangle choke he was applying to the Big Show over the top rope.
Then came MVP and Mark Henry. Fast paced action as the new guys took the Miz apart while the big man recovered from the choke. MVP looked like he was going to get the win after he took Miz down with the playmaker, but Show’s big right broke up the pin. A groggy Mix then got the pin.
The final team, the Hart Dynasty, accompanied by Bret Hart and Natalya, were next. They quickly took Miz out with the Hart attack clothesline, with David Hart Smith getting the pin and earning his team a title shot. Overall a good series of matches, and nice to see the Hart boys get the rub on the big stage.
Then it was on to Rey Mysterio taking on C.M. Punk, with the leader of the Straight Edge Society losing his hair if he lost. Another of those better than their Wrestlemania match encounters. Punk and Mysterio were given more than twice the time they were given before, and they made good use of it with a great back and forth encounter, with Punk getting a little help from Luke Gallows and Serena before the referee banished them from ringside. The end came when a mystery hooded man came out from under the ring and tossed a chair in. As the referee moved the chair away, the hoodie attacked Mysterio at ringside. Punk then dragged his lifeless form into the ring, executed the GTS, and got the hair saving pin. A great match, and everything their last big match should have been.
The battle of former partners followed as Shad Gaspard faced JTG in a strap match. Well, the crowd were kind of silent for most of this one, but the action was okay, and can’t really be criticised, with both men putting on good performances, with JTG getting the win in the usual strap match manner.
The first of the big title matches followed, with Randy Orton challenging Jack Swagger for the World title in an extreme rules match. Now, although this was meant to be, for the want of a better term, a hardcore match, the toys only really came into play midway through the match after Swagger had taken Orton down with a series of great looking suplexes. It was Orton who turned the match extreme on the outside, but he couldn’t get the job done as Swagger countered his RKO attempt by slamming him down on a steel chair, and closing the deal with his awesome looking gut wrench power bomb to retain the title. Orton got a measure of revenge moments later when he took Swagger down with the RKO at ringside, ending a very enjoyable encounter.
Then, Sheamus came down to the ring. It was announced earlier in the evening that Triple H wouldn’t be able to compete because of the neck injury he’d suffered earlier, courtesy of Sheamus’ attack. The Irishman then demanded that the referee declare him the winner by forfeit, until the Game came down the aisle for the street fight, his numb left arm hanging down by his side. This was a great example of perfect match storytelling as Sheamus went all out to put away his injured foe, but getting continually frustrated when Triple H kept kicking out of the pin attempts. Triple H managed to get some offence in, using a kendo stick at one point, but Sheamus eventually managed to put his man away, getting the pin after three big kicks to the head. The action didn’t end there though as Sheamus returned to the arena and delivered another kick to the head as Triple H was being helped backstage, which lead to him leaving on a stretcher. A great match here, and another of those better than Wrestlemania encounters.
It was the turn of the Divas next, with Beth Phoenix challenging Michelle McCool, accompanied by Layla and Vickie Guerrero, for the Women’s title in an extreme makeover match. Well, it was better than the usual Divas filler material, with both women making good using of the ironing boards (and in ten years of doing this I’ve never said that before), with Phoenix getting the win and the title after taking McCool down with the glam slam. It’s a shame that more Diva pay-per-view matches can’t be more like this.
The action continued with the steel cage match between Edge and Chris Jericho. Now while I haven’t been enthralled by this particular rivalry, this match was pretty good, an entertaining back and forth encounter with good performances from those concerned, even though I’m not exactly convinced that Edge as a baby face really works. Both kicked out of the other’s big moves, and Jericho could have got the easy victory as well, before Edge turned the tables and worked over Jericho’s ankle, eventually taking him down with the spear to get the pinfall victory. Good match, but a little overlong.
The final bout of the show saw Batista challenging John Cena for the WWE title in a last man standing match. The proverbial knock down drag out affair of the show, with both men throwing everything they could at each other, almost getting the win numerous times after getting hit with various weapons and being put through tables. They hit each other with their big moves, and they still couldn’t get the win. Eventually it took Cena taping Batista’s legs together around one of the ring posts to gain the victory, with the Animal unable to stand up, and unable to beat the ten count. Good action throughout, but I’m not really sure about that finish.
In conclusion – this year’s Extreme Rules certainly delivered, with some of the matches even better than their Wrestlemania counterparts. There wasn’t one bad match here, and that made for a highly enjoyable show. So if you’re thinking of getting this when it’s released on DVD, this certainly gets my recommendation.