Thunder’s Thoughts: Extreme Rules 2012

Pre-Show: Santino retains the US Title by defeating Miz with the cobra – I was hoping Miz would get the title back. I’m not sure what direction WWE plans to take with the Miz, but right now it looks like he’s just going to work random matches on random shows. This was a good way to get the crowd hot before the show started and have a face get the win. Good for Santino.

Randy Orton defeats Kane in a falls count anywhere match – I wanted this match at WrestleMania, but I guess it made more sense for them to have an in-ring contest at Mania and a gimmick match for this pay per view. These two went all over the arena as expected and Orton used an RKO on a steel chair to get the win. This was a good match; I just hope the feud is now over for these two.

John Laurinaitis takes a phone call from Triple H – It’s revealed later in the show that Triple H will be apart of Raw tomorrow night.

Brodus Clay defeats Dolph Ziggler in a short match – I could bitch and whine about the mistreatment of Ziggler, but I’m giving WWE the benefit of the doubt here because they have to be smart enough to realize just how great Ziggler has become. Brodus might be on some sort of streak right now, but I can’t see it going much further than a US, IC, or Tag Title run in the coming months. I’m sick of Vickie’s gimmick, and Swagger is stuck where he’s at with no direction in sight. Some guys keep their heads down and do what they’re told(Swagger), while others go out and make the best of the situation they’re put in(Ziggler). Ziggler definitely carried the wrestling portion of this match, and he should’ve been booked to win it in my opinion.

Cody Rhodes defeats the Big Show in a tables match to become the new IC Champion – This match had a terrible finish. Show breaks the table by stepping on it when Rhodes kicks him off the apron. Rhodes now has the IC Title back, and Big Show just had himself a post-WrestleMania embarrassing moment. I don’t know if these two will continue their feud, or if maybe Rhodes will feud with Khali next after losing to him on Smackdown. I’m losing confidence in the fact that Cody will hold a World Title this year as he continues to just coast at this level. Show destroyed Cody after the match by putting him through two tables.

Daniel Bryan is interviewed by Matt Striker. He says he gets more chicks than Sheamus, has a more manly beard than Sheamus, and doesn’t have a bunch of corned beef weighing his stomach down. AJ Lee is shown lurking behind when Daniel Bryan walks off. Stalker angle here?

Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan in a 2 out of 3 falls match and retains the World Title - I love the new 18 seconds t-shirt that Sheamus debuted tonight. Bryan got himself disqualified by refusing to stop the beatdown on Sheamus, but then knocked Sheamus out and got his first fall using the yes-lock. Sheamus would finish the match with a brogue kick for the win. I was surprised AJ didn’t get involved in the match, but I’m glad it had a legit finish and was given a fair amount of time. This was probably the second best match of the night for me.

Ryback squashes Aaron Relic and Jay Hutton in a handicap match - It was hilarious when the two jobbers were cutting a promo and Michael Cole told them to shut up. The crowd chanted Goldberg throughout the match. This angle has been done before, and I’ll be pissed if it ends with a great technical wrestler having their career ended due to inexperience. I just hope this guy has the proper training to go along with the massive push that it looks like he is going to receive.

CM Punk defeats Chris Jericho in a street fight to retain the WWE Championship - This match was awesome. We knew it wasn’t going to be a wrestling match, but the high spots and intense action made it an incredible sight to see. Between Punk’s two elbow drops(one from the top rope in the ring and one onto the spanish announce table) and the kickouts and rope breaks from finishers, this match had it all and then some(fire extinguisher, anyone?). This was the match of the night by a mile. I definitely have a lot of respect for Jericho and his willingness to put over Punk this much since his comeback. You have to wonder if Y2J’s comeback was only for the sole purpose of putting over the younger talent.

Backstage, Eve tells Beth Phoenix that she hasn’t been cleared to compete tonight, and that Nikki Bella will face a mysterio opponent. She tells the Bellas not to worry because it isn’t Kharma. I was disappointed with this one, as I called for Kharma to return and win the title.

Layla makes her return to WWE after a year recovering from a torn ACL and MCL and captures the Divas Championship – Layla brings some legitimate talent to the Divas division and looked fairly impressive in this match. She wins using a neckbreaker on Brie Bella because the twins had switched places and had it backfire on them. I’m assuming this a farewell to the Bella twins as their contracts are up and they haven’t been announced as re-signed with the company. Layla could actually work some good matches if she’s put in the ring with other talented Divas like Natalya, Kaitlyn, Maxine, and Alicia “I’m trying hard not to botch” Fox.

John Cena defeats Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match – This match was brutal in a couple different senses. One, Cena took a beating like we usually see in his main event gimmick matches. Number two, it was paced very slowly with minimal wrestling throughout. It wasn’t necessarily a bad match, but it just didn’t do much for me in terms of excitement. WWE worked their magic of putting the fans on Cena’s side after he was brutalized, but then they did the typical Cena finish of a two move comeback(the chain to the face and then the AA) and then a pinfall. Cena cut a promo after the match and more or less said he’s taking some time off. This match was just interesting, but I’m not sure if I would call it good or bad.

Random thoughts on the show:

1. Michael Cole was more neutral tonight as an announcer than we’ve seen him in months, and he did a much better job in this role.

2. The World Title match and WWE Title match should have gone on second to last, and last, respectively.

3. WWE has faith in keeping CM Punk as WWE Champion, which means they should focus more on him each week on TV.

4. Does this mean Zack Ryder will continue his feud with Kane after he was involved in his match tonight?

5. The Chicago crowd was awesome like usual and it made the show that much better!

Overall, this was a great pay per view. This in fact might have been the best Extreme Rules ppv ever produced. It was awesome. I think this was one of the better pay per views that WWE has produced since TLC in terms of overall match quality. I’m excited to see what we get on Raw tomorrow night. I’ll be back with a column on Tuesday. Thanks for reading!

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