Extremeness returns to the WWE, as wrestling's biggest stars invade Tampa, FL
to compete at WWE: Extreme Rules 2011, the only pay-per-view to feature
nothing but hardcore matches. Here's what's on the menu this time:
• Randy Orton vs. CM Punk in a Last Man Standing Match
The 2011 edition of this popular WWE pay-per-view kicks off with a pretty big
match, as Randy Orton takes on CM Punk in the battle that ends only when one of
the two athletes fails to respond to a 10-count. Orton and Punk quickly take the
action outside the ring, and while the matchup slows down a bit after the first
10 minutes, the pace picks up towards the end, inspiring both wrestlers to
deliver some powerful moves and use the absence of rules to offer fans a
hardcore finale to a decent first match.
• Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus in a Table Match for the U.S.
I can't say it often enough: watching Kingston perform
inside the ring is quite simply a blast. That said, his title match against
Sheamus does not qualify as one of his best ones. Even though this is a table
match (and table matches are usually fun), Kingston and Sheamus lack energy and
creativity, spending most of the time trying to avoid being slammed through one
of these wooden objects instead of actively use their skills to create a
memorable experience. Good thing the match only lasts for nine minutes.
• Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole & Jack
Swagger in a Tag Team Country Whipping Match
I have absolutely no clue
why the WWE would want to include Michael Cole in a feud with Lawler and Ross,
but someone thought it was a brilliant idea, and here we are. Truth be told, the
Country Whipping Match between these guys is anything but extreme. It's actually
pretty ridiculous. Clocking in at six minutes, the match fails to build up a
steady pace, leaving Ross and Cole to whip around while Lawler and Swagger
actually manage to pull off some decent maneuvers. Nothing else to report here
though. Time to move on.
• Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere
Next, Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes compete in a Falls Count
Anywhere Match, which means the battle can end anywhere. Naturally, both
wrestlers quickly abandon the ring, taking the action all around the arena.
While this obviously reduces the quality of wrestling and provokes mostly
punches and kicks, Mysterio manages to score some sweet high-risk moves
backstage. Back in the ring, Mysterio and Rhodes briefly pick up the pace to
deliver a solid finish to an overall entertaining match boasting a satisfying
variety of clean wrestling maneuvers.
• Michelle McCool vs. Layla in a Loser Leaves the WWE Extreme
The match between Michelle McCool and Layla certainly
counts among the better diva matches I've seen at PPVs. Although their battle
runs for a short five minutes only, the women use their time wisely, keeping
fans happy by bringing their A-game and delivering one powerful move after
another. Utilizing their skills and flexibility, Layla and McCool go back and
forth between clean submissions holds and strong slams and quick dives to offer
a fun matchup.
• Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder Match for the
World Heavyweight Championship
This is one to remember folks.
Christian and Del Rio go head-to-head in a ladder match, which means the
championship belt is suspended high above the ring and the only way to win it is
to climb a ladder and grab it before your opponent does. Running for 20 minutes,
this is clearly one of the best pay-per-view matches of 2011 so far. Christian
and Del Rio kick things into high gear right away, going back and forth between
kicks, punches, slams and high-risk dives all while putting the ladders to good
use. The battle never dies down, and the two athletes occasionally exchange
momentums to keep fans cheering. Technically clean and energetic in terms of
wrestling moves and impact, this battle is easily the best of this event so
• Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson vs. Big Show & Kane
in a Lumberjack Match for the Tag Team Championship
For a Tag Team
Championship match, this five-minute battle fails to deliver the goods. While
the participating wrestlers score a few powerful, impressive moves, the matchup
is simply remains too short to leave a long-lasting mark. Oh, and the
lumberjacks watching the outside of the ring? They're not adding anything
memorable to this thing either.
• The Miz vs. John Cena vs. John Morrison in a Steel Cage
Match for the WWE Championship
While the main event of the 2011
edition of WWE: Extreme Rules may not reach the same level of awesomeness
as the ladder match between Christian and Del Rio, this Steel Cage battle for
the WWE Championship offers a solid dose of first-class wrestling nonetheless.
Cena, Miz, and Morrison approach this fight with energy and attitude, assuring
their performances include a variety of maneuvers and a handful of attempts to
escape the cage rather than end the show via pin. While this one clearly doesn't
count among the most extreme cage matches, it still boasts a few high-risk dives
off the ropes that keep the entertainment at a high level throughout. Definitely
a good finish.
Picture quality and sound match those of other recent WWE releases, which
means they do the job. The quality of the special features isn't improving, and
the only thing fans are treated with is a short interview with Christian. That's
WWE: Extreme Rules 2011 qualifies as one of the better WWE
pay-per-views. Not every match is worth it, but overall, the main battles of
this event offer an excellent balance between brainless entertainment and
technical wrestling action. If anything, I would have wanted this edition of the
PPV to be even more extreme. Better luck next year.