Views from the Hawke's Nest: WWE Extreme Rules 2014
Posted by TJ Hawke on 05.07.2014
The Shield vs. Evolution was great. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt was not.
Commentators: Michael Cole, JBL, & Jerry Lawler
Hornswoggle (w/ 3MB) vs. El Torito (w/ Los Matadores) [weeLC]
This is the most exciting matchup on the show. Torito did some incredibly things before he got to the WWE.
Torito wiped out 3MB with a tope con hello. Hornswoggle then went for a dive, but he failed. Torito hit a bronco buster. Jinder Mahal took a headbutt to the balls. Do not hinder, Jinder. Hornswoggle went for a Superfly Splash, but he came up empty. He still hit Torito with a powerbomb though the table right after as we went to commercial. 3MB and Los Matadores took some bumps with the ladders and tables on the floor during the break. Hornswoggle did a diving elbow drop through the wee announce table. Swoggle accidentally hit Slater with a chair who ate bump through several wee tables. Los Matadores and Torito worked together to send Jinder through some wee tables and wee ladders. That looked to be nasty. McIntyre went for a tope con hello, but he ended up going through a table by himself. Torito then hit a springboard seated senton on Swoggle through a table: 1…2…3!
I've see El Torito do some incredibly outrageous matches on the independent scene. While this match never reached those heights, I did enjoy the whole presentation of this match a great deal. WWE so very rarely does things outside of their comfort zone, and it's usually a treat when they do. This was not the exception. Match Rating: ***
Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) [Elimination Match]
RVD's existence on the current roster does not bother me the way it does for a lot of people (apparently), but he does not belong in this match. This should be Cesaro vs. Swagger.
Heyman trolls ECW nostalgia geeks by putting over "extreme" and then trolls everyone by mentioning Brock defeating Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
They didn't immediately go to the cliché triple threat formula (two men in, one man out), which I guess is nice. They did eventually settle down into that formula though as one would expect. RVD ate the Vader Bomb. Swagger ate the Giant Swing for a bit until RVD caught Cesaro with a kick. Swagger got RVD into the ankle lock, but Cesaro took him down with a springboard uppercut. He saved RVD for no reason. JBL recognized that somewhat, but Lawler clearly had no idea this was an elimination match. Swagger then ate a Fucking Machine Suplex and Five Star Frog Splash: 1…2…3?
Michael Cole was confused if Swagger kicked out. The replay showed that there was no reason to be confused. The match came down to Cesaro and RVD. The winner gets…something. Cesaro got a nearfall with a bridging German. Cesaro was in control for a bit. RVD came back and got some of his shit in. "ECW" chants. Barf. A garbage can then got involved for several spots. Cesaro avoided a frogsplash and caused RVD to crash onto the can. Neutralizer onto the trash can: 1…2…3
That was a solid opener that kept the crowd into everything. The right person won, but I still don't understand why they did not just do Swagger vs. Cesaro. Match Rating: **3/4
Stephanie McMahon tried to talk Daniel Bryan out of wrestling the main event. Bryan declined her offer to surrender the title. Stephanie then said Kane will make Bryan his bitch. This was a solid segment.
Lana came out to put over Vladimir Putin! El oh el. That's just good clean fun. Lana introduced Rusev who is apparently still Bulgarian but now residing in Russia.
Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods
R-Truth was in a PPV main event with The Rock less than three years ago. I'm not saying that to show how far R-Truth has fallen. I'm saying that to point out how much better WWE Creative has gotten at recognizing what R-Truth's role in the company should be. I wish Xavier Woods was getting more of a chance though.
Rusev got a quick advantage, but for some ungawdly reason, R-Truth managed to make a comeback. Rusev kicked out of the scissors kick. Woods got injured and was attended to by medical people. Rusev came back on Truth with spinning heel kick, a spinning side slam, and the Accolade. R-Truth tapped out.
After the match, Rusev gave Woods a fallaway slam on the floor.
This definitely existed. I think Rusev has a moderate amount of potential. I'll be curious to see how he does when he actually has to have good matches. I never saw him get a chance in NXT to do that. Match Rating: 1/2*
Evolution did a backstage promo. Their new t-shirt makes them look like crib keepers. The skeleton doing the Orton pose looks like he is dancing.
I love Bad News Barrett because he just trolls everyone all the time. He did the Mick Foley elbow off the apron. Fantastic. Barrett was in control after that. Big E. made a comeback. The crowd was not impressed at all. Big E. did the spear through the ropes spot. Barrett came back with Wasteland: 1…2…NO! Big E. did The Big O. The straps came down, but Barrett avoided The Big Ending and hit the bullhammer elbow: 1…2…3
This was not good. They worked a match that the crowd did not buy into at all. Bad News Barrett was over, but we'll see how over he stays this time over the long haul. Match Rating: *1/2
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns) vs. Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton, & Batista)
The hype video before the match reminded everyone how awful Evolution's haircuts were when they first became a stable.
The Shield had the early advantage, and Rollins even hit HHH with a tope suicida. Rollins was then cut off and worked over for a while. Rollins was eventually able to escape and tag out to Ambrose. Ambrose made a big a comeback. He even hit a rebound lariat and then a figure four on Orton. The match started to break down. Reigns crashed into the steel chairs, and Evolution then cut off Ambrose. Second heat segment. I'm not a huge fan of two heat segments in tag team wrestling. It usually just feels like an artificial way to make a match longer without any justifiable reason for doing so. HHH got too cocky, and Ambrose avoided a Pedigree and hit a DDT! Hot tag to Roman Reigns! Batista ate the Superman Punch. The Shield went for the triple powerbomb, and they hit Big Dave with it. HHH and Orton saved him. Rollins came up empty on another tope suicida attempt on HHH. HHH hit Reigns with the Pedigree. Orton then hit Reigns with a Pedigree after some downtime. Rollins saved him. They all started brawling in the crowd. Actually, Dave and Reigns stayed in the ring. Rollins jumped off something high onto the other ones. Big Dave hit Reigns with a spinebuster and called for the Big Dave Bomb. Reigns hit a Superman Punch though and then hit the spear: 1…2…3!
This was a really well executed match in a great environment with the ideal finish. It was also a finish where a babyface won clean that left so much room for future matches. The Shield are fantastic babyfaces, and I really see no justifiable reason for them breaking up anytime soon. They are a perfect unit, and one of them becoming a singles main eventer is not a good reason to break them up. Match Rating: ****
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) [Steel Cage]
A cage match makes sense to book when the heel has used outside interference to defeat valiant babyfaces in the past. It does not make sense when the Superman babyface already defeated the heel once without any shenanigans.
The Wyatt Family got involved in the early goings. Wyatt teased walking out the door a few times. That would seemingly be an anti-climatic finish for a man who wants to bring the evil out of Cena. Cena came back with a powerbomb. He tried to climb over the cage, but Rowan blocked him. Cena hit a diving facebuster. He went to climb again, but Harper stopped him. Cena actually pulled Harper into the cage. That would theoretically make it easier to escape, which is a mindfuck if you put too much thought into it. Wyatt came back, but Cena got the STF. Rowan tried to pull Cena out, but it did not work. Cena hit a diving AA, but Harper saved Bray. Cena took out Rowan and Harper. The Wyatt Family was all out, and Cena crawled to the door. Bray's music played. It went dark. We came back and some kid was lip synching to a distorted voice singing "He's got the whole world in his hands!" Bray hit Sister Abigail and then walked out.
The PPV matches between these two are so frustrating and nonsensical. First of all, Bray's quest to bring out the evil in John Cena is beyond stupid (and way too derivative of Batman/Joker) in the context of pro wrestling. However, I could at least appreciate how they used that story to try to tell a unique story at Wrestlemania. Sure, that's not much of a compliment, but it's not nothing. For this match, they did not even bother to tell that story and just worked a WWE cage match where the cage did essentially nothing to nullify Bray's advantage (not to mention the fact that having a cage match when the babyface won the first match clean is ridiculous). Bray and Cena were merely content to escape the cage as fast as possible as if it was just any old cage match. The finish theoretically played into the story of Bray corrupting the youth that love John Cena, but it does not make for an enjoyable PPV finish. I don't know. I can understand the desire to tell serialized stories, but this story does not make sense nor is it being told well. Match Rating: *
Bryan attacked Kane during the latter's entrance. Kane went right for a kendo stick to solidify himself as Ben Turpen's least favorite wrestler. Kane was mostly in control for a while. Bryan came back with a missile dropkick and a tope suicida. They brawled to the back. They brawled with a variety of plunder. Bryan took a backdrop on the hood of a car. Bryan knocked Kane out with an international object. Bryan tried to use a fork lift to send Kane into…well, back into the arena. The crowd seemed to take to it. Bryan used the forklift to dump Kane into the ring. Kane got to take a nap on the forklift during the Extreme Rules main event. Now he understands what most fans do during his matches.
Bryan then hit the flying goat off the forklift: 1…2…NO! Bryan called for the Busaiku Knee, but Kane caught him with a sloppy chokeslam reversal for a nearfall. Kane called for a chokeslam on the chair, but Bryan reversed it into a sloppy DDT on the chair. Bryan hit Kane in the back repeatedly with the chair. Bryan applied the Yes Lock. Kane nearly escaped via kendo stick shots, but Bryan then just used the stick to apply the hold. Kane dragged himself to the floor to escape. Bryan went for a tope, but Kane caught him with a goozle and then chokeslammed him through the commentation station (shaped like a table). Kane took out a table and lit it on fire. Let it burn a bit, please. Bryan managed to send Kane through the flaming table though. Someone immediately pounced with a fire extinguisher. Kane stumbled into the ring, and Bryan then hit the Busaiku Knee: 1…2…3!
I don't think I have ever seen Bryan work a match like this before, and he clearly has proven how adaptable he is to different styles and opponents. He can truly make the best out of every situation and wrestler. Match Rating: ***1/4
The 411: There were four good matches on this show, and that's enough to make me recommend this show. It's not a strong recommendation, but the highs of this show were enough to make care less about the lows.