Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Extreme Rules 2013
Posted by Jack Bramma on 06.17.2014
The Shield gets a shot at tag gold against Team Hell No, Ryback wants revenge on John Cena and the WWE Championship, and Brock Lesnar gets his hands on Triple H in a steel cage.
• Scheduled Card:
1. Chris Jericho vs. Fandango.
2. WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston (c).
3. Strap Match: Mark Henry vs. Sheamus.
4. Number One Contender's, I Quit Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio.
5. Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The Shield vs. Team Hell No (c).
6. Extreme Rules: Big Show vs. Randy Orton.
7. Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship: Ryback vs. John Cena (c).
8. Steel Cage Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H.
• We start off with the usual gothic overkill with a female voice talking about how rules keep us in check while the camera intercuts between black and white footage of abandoned buildings and black and white footage of wrestling beating each other up. Because when the rules are no more, the violence within us comes out. This seems clearly inspired by The Purge. Top billing are given to Cena-Ryback Last Man Standing and Lesnar/Trips in the cage.
• Chris Jericho vs. Fandango. Back at Mania XXIX, Fandango rolled up Jericho in his WM and PPV debut to get the upset after Jericho whiffed on the Lionsault. Given his DWTS experience, Jericho challenged him to a dance-off which Fandango, like a true worker, won through nefarious means after attacking Jericho from behind when Summer Rae faked an ankle injury. Cole puts over Jericho’s motivation: “THE FUN AND GAMES ARE OVER! TIME TO TEACH THIS KID A LESSON!” Of course, temporarily, Fandango was on top of the world after the NY/NJ crowd adopted him as their post-Mania pet project and he, temporarily, skyrocketed into the minor mainstream.
• The crowd chants for Y2J as Fandango prances around at the bell. Lockup goes nowhere before we get a break. Another and the same result before they shove and Jericho smacks Fandango. Fandango comes back with a shoulderblock and SPIRIT FINGERS! BRING IT! Jericho’s all IT’S ALREADY BEEN BROUGHTEN and dropkicks and elbows Fandango down and he takes a breather. Jericho gives chase and avoids the cutoff at the pass and baseball slides Fandango to the floor. Jericho heads up for a splash and hits it and then celebrates on the announce table. This all sounds fine but everything is a bit matter-of-fact at the matter, lacking crispness and urgency. Crowd’s into it though early. Taking a page out of his Bluechipper days at WCW as a greenhorn, Jericho helps Fandango back in the ring and that’s the cutoff. Fandango potatoes Jericho with a few stiff boots and Jericho rings him up for a receipt by no selling all his stuff and then shitkicking him back out of the ring. Back in, Fandango is a bit more tactful and gently gets the boot up in the corner to take over. Jericho is more cooperative this time taking another kick to the face in the ropes for a 2 count.
• Fandango sends him off and was expecting a roll up but Jericho was expecting a knee to the gut and bumps and they botch it. Fandango covers by… covering and then dancing his way into a guillotine leg drop for 1, 2, kickout. CHINLOCK TIME! C’MON BABY! Jericho counters out with a back suplex as Cole is bringing up Jericho’s 45+ minute performance opposite Ziggler at the 2013 RR. Jericho with a few shoulderblocks and counters a shitcan to head up top for the BEST WEEK EVER HAMMER! Crowd is lukewarm-tastic as Fandango feeds in for the bulldog. WoJ time but Fandango kicks him off only to run into a boot in the corner. Jericho flies off the top with a crossbody but then has to pull Fandango on top of him for the roll through for 1, 2, 2 ½. These two can’t get in sync and neither can the commentary as they argue about whether or not ballroom dancing made Baryshnikov a viable cage fighter in the UFC. Fandango hits a few boots and says it’s over but he whiffs on the leg drop. Lionsault follows for 1, 2, kickout. Crowd was into the false finish. Fandango busts out the Briscoe roll up but Jericho rolls through in to the Walls. Fandango uses his “extreme flexibility” according to Cole to reach the ropes. Fandango gets the boot up in the corner again and leaps off into a Codebreaker in a cool spot. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 for Jericho to take it at 8:32.
• Tough and go until the final 90-ish seconds. Nothing special and nothing dreadful, just not a lot of chemistry. **1/4
• Meanwhile, Josh Matthews is in the back with Sheamus. He wants to know how Sheamus will drag the 400-lb Mizark around the ring and touch all four corners. Sheamus retorts that even though “Lumpy” set a world record pulling a few trucks but he’s afraid he’s got some bad news – trucks don’t hit back, FELLA! Wait til the Celtic Warrior goes extreme tonight.
• Then, we get footage of Ryback working over Cena’s Achilles heel injury on RAW.
• WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston (c). Kofi won the strap from Cesaro about a month before this on free TV. After Taker departed for annual hiatus, Kofi took his place in 6 man tags against The Shield with Hell No and The Usos. Ambrose pinned Kofi in one of the 6 man tags and made overtures toward the belt. This feud and the belt was mainly a prop in pushing the question of whether or not, H and co. would get behind The Shield as belt holders.
• After a few fist bumps, Ambrose enters alone and Rollins and Reigns depart back up to the stairs to the concourse. Ambrose with a TD as they go through some token chain while Cole recounts that Kofi is 3-0 at EE. Kofi with a leap frog and wants Trouble in Paradise but Ambrose stops short to avoid. Kofi monkey flips his way out of a hiptoss attempt. He jumps into mount in the corner but runs into a boot and a clothesline for Ambrose to take over to a pop. Ambrose drops an elbow for nothing. Ambrose follows up with a back rake and grinds the eyes on the top rope. A low dropkick follows for 1, 2, kickout. Kofi tries to cut him off but runs into a CROSSFACE CHICKEN WING! BODY LOCK! Kofi breaks the hold and runs Ambrose into the turnbuckle. Kofi fires up for the Steamboat chops and a dropkick. He hits the Boom Drop and wants the Trouble in Paradise again. Ambrose ducks back to the corner and under Kofi but lands in the Ranhei. 1, 2, 2 ½. Kofi headbutts Ambrose off the top but they jockey for position and Ambrose hits a Butterfly superplex. 1, 2, 2.7. Kofi slides out to the apron for the recliner kick and a crossbody for 1, 2, 2.99. Kofi tries a shitcan but Ambrose hangs on to the apron. TROUBLE IN PARADISE! But Ambrose falls to the floor. Kofi bails out to bring Ambrose back in. JBL: “LET HIM GET COUNTED OUT, KOFI! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! YOU’VE GOT THE CHAMPIONSHIP!” King: “Not smart.” Cole: “He wants the victory, the singles victory.” JBL: “THAT’S JUST EGO! STUPID, YOUNG PRIDE!” Back in, Kofi hooks both legs for 1, 2, hand on the ropes. Ambrose with a desperation roll up for 1, 2, no. Kofi cues up Trouble in Paradise but Ambrose ducks and Kofi wipes out. HEADLOCK DRIVER! 1, 2, 3, for a new champ at 6:47 to a pop.
• Post-match, Rollins and Reigns are out to celebrate as King infers this is a bad omen for Hell No later tonight and the tag gold.
• Decent for the time given. Ambrose was all over the place with a Crossface Chickenwing and a butterfly superplex but he was putting in work. Kofi fired up for his go-home at about 3 minutes in, but again, it’s barely 5 minutes they have to work with. Finish was nice and it protected Kofi, if such a thing was necessary. **3/4
• We get footage of Sheamus losing to Mark Henry in a Tug of War and an arm wrestling contest and being a sore loser in both, because heels are faces or something. Henry got a semblance of revenge by belting Sheamus with a... belt on RAW a couple weeks prior.
• Strap Match: Mark Henry vs. Sheamus. Lilian Garcia announces the rules that both competitors will be tied to a “leather” strap. Of course, that doesn't quite pan out as it's more like a giant Ace bandage. Also, the strap match has gone hi-tech and we now have light stations at each ringpost – red and green for whether each corner touch counts or not.
• Pre-match, Henry throws the foam belt down at Sheamus's feet and he kicks it back at Mark to show him who's boss. The ref plays peacemaker and gets the strap on Sheamus who promptly whips it back into Henry's face a few times. For the entire build-up, the announcers have been playing it up that Sheamus cannot win the match, that it's physically IMPOSSIBLE to drag Mark Henry around the ring, etc., so there's the intrigue and draw of the match: Can Sheamus throw around Mark Henry? Keep that in mind.
• At the bell, Henry stands on the strap to close the distance. OH NO! STOP THE MATCH! After all, Mark Henry is the IMMOVABLE OBJECT! WHAT'S SHEAMUS GOING TO DO?! Sheamus looks around quizzical then pulls on the strap and Henry wipes out. Cole: “LIKE SLIPPING ON A BIG BANANA PEEL!” King: “He did that with ease. Maybe he WILL be able to drag Mark Henry around this ring.” Thanks for that. And 30 seconds in, we're done. They pull close to slug it out and Sheamus casually clips Henry's knee and touches one corner. Henry gets up to pull him in for a clothesline to interrupt the count. Henry tries hogtying Sheamus up and drags him to two corners before Sheamus rolls to the apron and that's enough to stop the momentum. Sheamus is all I CAN'T MOVE MY LEGS, BRO, FOR THE FINISH, YA KNOW, MY BIG KICK! so Henry obliges and unties his feet so they can slug it out. Henry clotheslines him out to the floor as there has been a decided lack of whipping thus far. PG and all. Sheamus takes over with a Stun Gun and then jogs around the apron touching 3 corners in succession before Henry wises up and realizes this is weak as shit, so he clubs Sheamus off the apron. Back in, Henry takes him out to the woodshed, SPRAINED ANKLE STYLE!
• We get a whopping two Ace bandage whips before Henry hauls him up over the shoulder to waltz around the ring. He touches 3 corners, but Sheamus touches them as well because he's within reach. Henry realizes the game is up though as Sheamus headbutts him down. Sheamus goes low with the strap. Cole apparently has never seen a low blow in his 20+ years in the business: “INNOVATIVE OFFENSE!” Sheamus drops a few knees. King: “Sheamus thinking those knees of his give more punishment than the strap.” Thankfully, Sheamus whips him gently 5 times or so with the bandage only to eat a spinebuster as he was still within a post of winning the match, despite doing damn near nothing. King: “Well, Sheamus was... I mean, ya know... it was almost on a technicality. He was touching the corners because he was in strap's length of them. He wasn't really dragging Mark Henry.” Reminds me of that time, Bruno beat Larry Z in Shea in a cage match by outrunning Larry and diving over the top of the cage inside of the first minute, thus winning the match, technically, but satisfying no one. Sheamus halfway ties Henry to the post and then whips him in for a posting. Sheamus touches three corners and tries to lunge over Henry but can't reach which SHOULD end the count. Technicalities are out the window now though and Sheamus avoids a World's Strongest Slam for the Pump Kick and the fourth corner to end the tamest strap match ever at 7:58.
• If you've never seen a strap match before, this is kind of clever, I guess, in that Sheamus used strategy instead of brutality. But if you're like the rest of us and have seen a handful if not dozens of these, this sucked. Sheamus isn't Mysterio and shouldn't be ducking challenges or call outs in the middle of the ring. It's the laziest garbage possible when one of your top babyfaces is more interested in a foot race than beating up the heel who had whipped his ass for a few weeks. ½*
• Meanwhile, AJ is in the back talking with concussed-Dolph on the horn but Kaitlyn, ever the buzzkill, interrupts to talk about her secret admirer. She calls AJ, Looney Tunes, and then makes a Porky Pig crack which makes AJ make a Porky Pig crack and the catfight is on. They spill into some catering trays to give this one the hard sell.
• Number One Contender's, I Quit Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio. This is pre-Cesaro, pre-Gasden flag waving, post-EC victory, post-marijuana bust, so Swagger is right where he always is – in-between pushes and never quite over enough to get a bigger one. After Mania 29, Dolph cashed in on ADR to take the strap. Of course, that was right after Swagger really had worked over ADR's ankle, leaving him vulnerable. The stage was set for a classic triple ladder match between the 3 but Ziggler got a concussion that derailed his career and he still hasn't got recovered. In the meantime, that match was changed to this one. Big E filled in for Ziggler losing a best of 5 series to ADR, 3-2, in the process.
• Pre-match, Zeb gets the stick and brings up the IRS and midterm elections and Nixon and Watergate and the Gunpowder Plot and the Whiskey Rebellion and William Walker's attempted coup of Guatemala and 12 Years a Slave and Zeb wants to know who is going to jail for all this? NO ONE! Whose fault is it? THE FANS! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Case in point: BASEBALL! YEAH! You see, they shouldn't be called the St. Louis Cardinals, they should be called THE CARIBBEAN CARDINALS BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY GOES! YOU HAVE QUIT ON AMERICA! YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! JACK SWAGGER NEVER QUITS! He never throws his pot out of the car into the woods before getting pulled over. HELL NO! Zeb and Swagger are going hunting for Dolph and the World Heavyweight Championship. WE, THE PEOPLE!
• OH YEAH! I forgot that ADR is face after sticking up for Ricardo against Big Show back in February. Of course, the Fed went full monty portraying ADR as All-American Mexican American. Enough of all that, let's get to it.
• ADR clears the ring early and then hits a tope suicida. He brings out the Kendo stick early but whiffs and gets belly to belly suplexed on the floor. Swagger exposes the steel of the barricade and chokes ADR but he still won't quit. Swagger wants a suplex on the barricade but gets tossed off into the stairs. ADR pounces and knocks his hand into the stairs several times and Chioda is way too anxious with the mic. It's been 90 seconds and he's asked each guy if they want to quit 3 times each already. Del Rio stops the arm to crickets as Swagger was busted hard way on the shoulder. Swagger sells but then changes his mind to waffle ADR down with the cane. Bow and arrow using the post follows nicely but ADR still won't quit. Swagger then licks his own blood as the crowd chants for Ziggler. Swagger starts going after the ankle with the Kendo stick. ADR blocks a shot only to get clotheslined down. Swagger ties him up in the ropes and it's the Passion of Alberto Del Rio as he's caned a few times and collapses but still won't quit. Swagger moves in for the kill but gets caught in the ROPES-ASSISTED ARMBAR! YEAHHH! Chioda moves in with the mic and Swagger shows some brains and steals it to waffle ADR who eats it to the floor. Easily, the highlight of the show since Kofi's selling of the Headlock Driver.
• WELCOME TO JACK SWAGGER'S AMERICA! Swagger brings in a chair but gets enzuigiried coming back in. ADR tries firing up but Swagger clips the knee. He whiffs on a Batista kick and it's time for ADR's face fire up that ends with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Seated enzuigiri but Swagger won't quit. ADR pelts him with the cane and then drops him into a backcracker but Swagger won't give up. ADR wants the armbar but Swagger shoves him off for the Greco-Roman TD. VaderBomb and a Gutwrench powerbomb but ADR is still good to go. Swagger with another Gutwrench but ADR won't budge and Swagger is out of answers. ADR catches him in the armbar but Swagger rolls him into the AnkleLock. Swagger grapevines the leg and Zeb steals RR's towel to throw it in. Chioda calls for the bell at 10:33. This makes no sense as again, it doesn't follow the gimmick where the wrestler himself has to say the words, I Quit, but who cares. BUT WAIT! Another ref comes out to correct Chioda and they fire up the monitor for instant replay. ADR gets back to his feet and they restart the match. Swagger goes after the ankle and wraps the leg around the ropes. Del Rio boots him off and hooks in the armbar and Swagger tries to fight the pain but has to give it up at 11:20.
• This brings to mind another bone to pick: gimmick matches proportional in intensity and length to position on the card. Main eventers are going to get 20+ to do their thing and that's fine. Barring exceptions, they are putting the asses every 18 inches and most people paid to see them and not the rest as the card as much, so it makes sense. However, certain gimmick matches need the appropriate build and stage to get anything out of them. You can't have a 5 minute ladder match. Well, you can, but it won't be any good. Which brings me to the ultimate point, should they book gimmick matches that necessitate a certain length and story to be effective when they won't give them the length or story to achieve those ends?
• Why book a 10 minute I Quit match with a Dusty finish? They could have had the same exact match without Chioda shoving the mic around every 5 seconds. It's just a bad idea to lump this match and feud in with Foley/Rock, Flair/Funk, Tully/Magnum, etc. Save I Quit for the top of the card or for special midcard feuds that would get the time make the most of it.
• ANYWAY, match was fine if underwhelming for the gimmick. No one cared about ADR as a face and Swagger had almost no heat once Zeb stopped talking. Psychology was there as were some weapon shots that played into the story and the finish. Decent. **3/4
• Josh Matthews is in the back with Ryback. Ryback says the difference between him and Cena is that Cena is a liar and he tells the truth. The Big Guy says he should have been champ 6 months ago but that didn't happen because Maddox, The Shield, etc. But tonight, he rights that wrong.
• Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The Shield vs. Team Hell No (c). The Shield are trying to go 2-for-2 in their quest for gold. Cole puts over the lengthy Hell No reign but JBL suspects their number may be up today. JBL: “May 19, not exactly Kane’s very day, though.” Rollins and Reigns make their entrance sans Ambrose who is probably doing something CRAZY AND FRANTIC like drinking champagne celebrating his victory.
• No tags obviously so it’s Reigns and Kane pairing off while Rollins and half of DB’s beard go at it in the other corner. The heels get the advantage early as Rollins chokes away on DB but Kane DDTs Reigns to come back. DB with flip up and over and a burrito and now it’s the faces standing tall. DB wants the Mexican Surfboard and locks it in on Rollins. Kane adds the basement dropkick for good measure. Reigns is now back up to pound down Kane in the corner. Rollins sends Kane across and Reigns whips Rollins in for a clothesline. Reigns end the combo with a LARIATO for only 1 as Kane breaks it up. Now, Kane eats a double suplex. Kane is down while they go for the super powerbomb on DB. DB counters to a rana on Reigns and Kane goozles both Rollins and Reigns. He just shoves them to the floor though so DB can suicide dive out on them. Back in, the faces go to work in opposite corners and then switch with stereo charges a few times.
• Side slam/elbow drop combo on Reigns. Rollins is down and feeds into Kane for his flying clothesline. DB comes flying off with a diving headbutt. Cover gets 1, 2, broken up by Reigns. Reigns tries a Samoan drop on DB but Dragon counters to a roll up. Reigns blocks so DB locks in the Yes Lock. Kane runs interference but Rollins Stun Guns him and then dives in to break up the submission. CHOKESLAM on Rollins. SPEARSPEARSPEAR from Reigns on Kane. Reigns tries to revive Rollins but to no avail as he’s now left alone with Hell No in the ring. Reigns: “YOU TRYING TO BREAK MY ARM?! IMMA BREAK YOUR FACE!” Kane recovers for a Tombstone attempt to break up Reigns reading DB the Riot Act, but Reigns counters. Hell No collides and Reigns goes for the Superman punch. Kane cuts him off with the goozle but Rollins takes out Kane with a flying knee. Another Spear gets 1, 2, BROKEN UP BY DB! YESYESYESYESYES! He wants the DR FG enzuigiri but Reigns rolls him up for 1, 2, countered back into the Yes Lock. Reigns counters back and catapults DB into an enzuigiri from Rollins. Flying Knee Doomsday Device puts down DB, that weak link goat Wyatt time traveler, for 1, 2, 3 to crown new champs at 7:24.
• Clean as a sheet for the Shield too. Given the numerous awesome matches these teams had in various forms for months, this comes as a bit of a letdown and barely even registers. It’s too short to make much of an impression with both faces immediately going to their comebacks and signature stuff before there is any heat. There’s a few nice counters and combo moves here and there, but it’s not long enough to be substantive and it’s not chaotic or immersive enough to slide by on 7 minutes. **1/2
• Renee is back at the analyst table with Bad News Barrett, Titus O'Neil, and Foley. Barrett puts over Ambrose, Titus puts over The Shield, and Foley puts over his lavender shirt. Moving on.
• Extreme Rules: Big Show vs. Randy Orton. Show, Orton, and Sheamus came up short against The Shield at Mania. Show and Orton blamed each other for the loss and Show cut one of the best promos of the year and his career where basically returned heel just because Orton doubted his commitment to being a face. Big ovation for Orton tonight in his hometown of St. Louis.
• Orton goes to the eyes early to get some distance. Show chokes him back to the corner for the SHHH chops but Orton ducks under for a clothesline. He plays to the crowd but gets easily bowled over and shitcanned out by Show. Orton crawls around on the floor but was playing possum to get a cane. He blasts Show who no sells and headbutts him down. Show breaks the cane in half and Orton's cardinal weakness surfaces, selling. Show with a few shots and a headbutt as Orton falls into another cane that ends with the same result. Show catches him on the announce table for some chops. Orton ducks behind though and posts him. Cole: “BIG SHOW AND HIS BIG SKULL OFF THE STEEL!” Orton pulls out a ladder but Show busts out a cryo kick to send the ladder back into Orton. Back in, Show tosses him into the post and chokes. He switches to start going after Orton's arm. Show with a Runaway Samoan Semi but Orton clips the knee. He tries a clothesline but Show won't go down. Thankfully, he feeds out into a Bluechipper dropkick. Orton follows up with the WORST STINGER SPLASH EVER! YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Show cuts him off with a goozle and CHOKESLAMS him. Cover gets 1, 2, shoulder up. Show brings in the ladder and two chairs. Show sets up a bridge with the ladder on the two chairs. Show hits a side slam for 1, 2, no. Show puts Orton on the ladders and wants a VaderBomb but Orton moves and Show eats ladder. Orton hooks the leg for 1, 2, no. Show tries coming back so Orton hits the FOOT TO THE FACE to Show's chest and then hits the apron DDT. Orton's feeling it and so is St. Louis. He hits the RKO. 1, 2, KICKOUT! ORTON CAN'T BELIEVE IT! Show nicely rolls out of the ring to regroup and sell. Orton gets a chair for a few shots across Show's back and another to his ribs. Show overcomes for a Spear but can't capitalize. Double KO. Orton up first and hits another RKO, this time on the chair. Show crawls back into the corner to recover. Rather than pin, Orton fires up for the PUNT! Orton hits it and hooks both legs for 1, 2, 3 at 13:03.
• Orton is about a 1000x better as a heel and can't sell his way out of a paper bag and Show is methodical at best, so the opening few minutes were tough to bear. Once Orton got on offense, things picked up marginally, but at least they were throwing out some spots you don't see everyday – Show going through a ladder, Orton needing two RKOs and the punt to win it, etc. **3/4
• Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship: Ryback vs. John Cena (c). After teaming up to both lose to the Shield at Elimination Chamber, both men moved on for different pastures, for Cena they were greener and for Ryback they were losing to Mark Henry after being fell on. Cena would defeat Rock for the strap at Twice in a Lifetime to sail off into the sunset. After defeating Ryback, Mizark would stack his claim as the baddest man on the planet and rightful number 1 contender. Then Booker T (random authority figure and suit) would tell Henry that if he could defeat Cena in a non-title match, he would get his shot. After a quick DQ, Ryback came to Cena’s aid only to reveal it was all a ruse so he could get Cena alone for himself. In a 90-page tome, Ryback would explain his heel turn with revolutionary CONTINUITY!
• Because he blamed Cena for leaving him to the wolves, The Shield, Ryback would abandon Cena to get beat up and get a torn Achilles tendon. Ryback drew the favor of Vickie Guerrero and she allowed him to book himself into a Last Man Standing match for the WWE belt.
• Cena is sporting a heavily taped ankle. Ryback grabs a headlock early and bowls over Cena with a shoulderblock. RYBACK RULES! King plays this as a power match as he says that Ryback is possibly stronger than Cena. Ryback with another shoulderblock that gets a 2 count from Lil Naitch. Cole now recounts Cena’s medical history and gives him a physical on live TV to confirm that his ankle is sore. King tries another tack and says that Cena has never lost at EE. ANYWAY, Cena with a leap frog and a shoulderblock of his own. He sends Ryback off and hits the bulldog. Ryback no sells for a LARIATO that puts down Cena. King: “HE POPS UP LIKE A PIMPLE ON PROM NIGHT!” Ryback with a few shoulder surges but Cena blocks another. He tries a crossbody but Ryback catches him for a Bulldog powerslam. Ryback: “HUHHHH!?! C’MON!” Charles starts the count again. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Cena up to Ryback pounding on him. Vertical suplex gets another 6 count. Cena back up and Ryback press slams him and HOLDS IT! EASY! That was pretty awesome. Ryback hoists Cena up from the mat with a Deadlift Powerbomb. He’s all RYBACK RULES but the crowd aint buying. Cena gets to his feet at 8 and Ryback charges in but Cena lowers the bridge and dumps him out. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Ryback still down but gets up before the count of 7. Cena gets a table. He wants an FU but Ryback counters into a BACKPACK CHINBREAKER! YEAHHHH! I’m digging it. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Ryback sets up the table in the corner. 7. 8. Cena up and he fights back with shoulderblocks. Ryback catches him on the second and snap ab suplexes Cena THROUGH the table. Nice.
• 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Ryback sets up the table in the corner. 7. 8. Cena up and he fights back with shoulderblocks. Ryback catches him on the second and snap ab suplexes Cena THROUGH the table. Nice. 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! Cena recovers and dodges another charge with the Proto-Bomb. 5KS and Ryback feeds into the FU. No. Ryback counters out with a weak Spear. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Cena rolls over at 7. Ryback wants a Powerbomb but Cena slides out for a Powerbomb of his own. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Ryback rolls over and gets up. He falls back down and Robinson restarts the count. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. OK, I like the double count even if it is to cover Ryback’s gas tank. Cena jumps in and tries a Thesz Press or some shit and they botch it so he hooks Ryback in a ….. headlock. They sell it as a Sleeper which is complete nonsense. Thankfully, Ryback counters to a spinebuster. Cena up at 7 to eat the MEATHOOK! GET ‘IM A BODYBAG! 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! 8! Cena up and of course drops Ryback into STF. King: “I think Cena used that 9 count to lure Ryback in.” Ryback passes out while Cena holds him into place with a torn Achilles no less. While Ryback sells, Cena rolls out to get another table for more plunder. Ryback up at 9 and Cena sets up the table. Ryback’s turn to no sell: “STUPID!” He piefaces Cena and calls for the Shellshock. Cena knees his way free and FU’s Ryback through the table. 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! Cena up. 6! 7! 8! 9! RYBACK IS UP! Cena heads up top but Ryback picks him off for the Shellshock to.. unenthusiastic crickets. Cena still beats the count at 9 to boos. Ryback finally decides to work in that pesky continuity he was so good at in the promo and goes after the leg. He teases blasting the tendon across the post with a chair but Cena fights him off. SPEAR through the barricade. TAKE THAT, MICHAEL COLE AND YOUR MEDICAL REPORT!
• They both beat the count and start brawling through the crowd. Dueling Cena chants as Ryback RIPS OFF THE PENALTY BOX DOOR AND WAFFLES CENA! You certainly don’t see that every day. 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! 8! 9! Cena is back up to no sell and slide behind for a Sleeper. Ryback collapses after a bit and Cena takes a breather. Ryback beats it up at 8. Cena clears off an old school table and he climbs onto a small ledge maybe 8 feet up and SPLASHES RYBACK THROUGH THE TABLE! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Cena uses the table to pull himself up. 7! 8! Ryback beats the count at 9 but falls back down for another count of 4. Cena’s got a fire extinguisher and hoses him down. Cole: “CENA’S GONNA COOL DOWN THE BEAST!” Ryback is blinded and stumbles back up onto the stage. Cena finally unloads the full tank and fires up for the waffle. Ryback is back up and Cena is AGHAST as he’s the only one no selling around here. One more shot puts down Ryback. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Ryback stirs. 8. Ryback up. Cena wants an FU on the stage but Ryback slides behind and SPEARS HIM THROUGH THE FUCKING STAGE! HOLY SHIT! That’s been done before but isn’t overdone and is still awesome. Paramedics are called out and Robinson doesn’t even bother to count so we’ll call it a no contest at 22:23.
• This was eons better than it had any right to be. Given this and the perversely entertaining three stages of hell match at Payback, these two have some of the same bizarre, hoss chemistry that BPP/Goldberg, Kane/Albert, and UT/Batista had going. These matches aren’t necessarily as good as some of the others, but these two matches, along with the TLC against Punk, show that with the right gimmick surroundings, Ryback is extremely effective. The lack of follow-up on the Achilles tendon that was the entire drama and angle of the feud is endlessly aggravating, as is Cena’s complete disregard for it in selling. Still, this was damn solid. ***1/4
• Steel Cage Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. THE REMATCH OF THE REMATCH OF THE MATCH THAT NO ONE WANTED TO SEE! That’s harsh but not entirely untrue. Let’s go with the short version: after numerous broken arms, destroyed offices, teased retirements, veiled insults at children, beaten up managers and best friends, these two wrestled once before back at SS 2012 with Brock going over clean. The rematch at Mania ended with the H’s coming out on top. They would settle the score one more time in a steel cage. The fact that none of this plays on the fact that Brock is a former CAGE FIGHTING CHAMPION and is finally getting his hands on his foe IN A CAGE is ridiculous, not to mention that Trips got the best of Brock IN A CAGE on the go-home RAW before EE.
• Since the H’s lost the entrance battle back at WM by burning his hand and chest on some dry ice, he attacks Lesnar from behind thus guaranteeing no extracurricular pyro injuries. H tosses Lesnar into the cage and eyeballs Heyman back away. Heyman doesn’t get the message so H lays him out and then slides in Brock. Flying clothesline off the top and H is fired up. He goes to the haymakers and then tosses Brock into the cage. Another toss into the cage and it’s Spinebuster time. Trips wants the Pedigree but Brock backdrops him into the cage. H tries to no sell but Brock knees him back and trashes him into the cage a few times. Brock: “MY HOUSE!” Brock biels him into the cage and Triple H sells appropriately. Brock: “GET UP!” Brock biels him again and then revels in his glory. He runs a little victory lap only for H to duck behind and shove him into the cage. High knee from H. Cole: “Who can forget a decade ago, Hell in the Cell, when he retired Mick Foley?” Thanks for that. ANYWAY, Lesnar slides behind for a release German suplex. Lesnar now powerslams him into the cage and both are a bit worse for the wear cardio wise. Lesnar knocks him into the cage and goes for a flying hip check but Trips ducks and he eats cage. Brock: “AHH! MY KNEE!” Cole: “Now, Triple H can go into game mode.” H tries to go up top but Brock pulls him down with a Bulldog powerslam. Lesnar then AWESOMELY sells the knee and whines to Paul about the pain.
• Brock tries to keep going but H goes to the knee and cuts him off with a jawbreaker. Trips wants the Pedigree but Lesnar goes to the KIMURA! H goes to the bad leg to fight him off. Lesnar still recovers for a Lesnar-line. Lesnar starts the crawl toward the door under Heyman’s advisement. Triple H get up to again clip the knee. Trips makes his way to the door but Heyman waffles Robinson and shoves the door into H’s head. 1-legged F5 gets 1, 2, 2 ½. That’s appreciated but it’s been 8 minutes. Lesnar sends Heyman on an errand for a chair. Heyman again disposes of Robinson to slide the chair to Brock. He blasts H a few times. Brock is still favoring and selling the leg awesomely. Brock tries to tell Heyman but Heyman tells him to MAN THE FUCK UP AND SHAKE IT OFF! Lesnar tries another F5 but the leg buckles and Trips follows up with a chop block. H takes over with the chair and now he’s the one laying into Lesnar. H goes to the leg with the chair and now it’s looking bad. JBL: “Triple H knows his way around a cage.” You’d think he’d save that nugget for when he realized he could climb over the top but no such luck. ANYWAY, AND NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, TERRA RYZING STYLE! H drives down on it over the begging of Paul Heyman. Trips tries to work over the leg on the ropes but Brock CATCHES HIM IN THE KIMURA!
• H drives him back into the corner and then piledrives the leg into the mat from the top rope. NICE! F4 time. Lesnar struggles to manages to roll it over before Trips releases it. Lesnar now, on one leg, tries to climb over the top but Trips holds him in place by waffling the leg WITH THE CHAIR! YEAH! Lesnar’s selling is still awesome. Trips shoves him into the cage and Brock eats it to the mat. Trips pauses to cheese for the camera and pull out his trusty sledge from the cage rafter. Cole: “A CAMOUFLAGED SLEDGEHAMMER!” Lesnar recovers to dump him with a hotshot on the ropes. Lesnar recovers to get the sledge. JBL: “The last thing this crazy man needs is a weapon.” Trips ducks the waffle and wants the Sharpshooter and locks it in. Brock is close to tapping so Heyman is all NO MAN LEFT BEHIND and storms the beaches at Normandy only to get Pedigreed. Lesnar tries a sledge shot but H blocks. PEDIGREE gets 1, 2, 2.99999. Trips has his choice between sledge and stairs and goes for the sledge BUT WAIT! HEYMAN WITH A BLATANT LOW BLOW! Brock: “That’s my manager.” Brock lays out Trips with the sledge and poses to really lay it in. Brock takes his sweet time selling and prepping the F5. TROLL YELL! F5! Brock hooks the leg for 1, 2, 3 to take Trips behind the barn and pull the trigger at 20:37.
• The match is awesome and deserved a better feud and a more sympathetic face. Let’s start with the match: one of the strengths of the matches between these two is that they really lay into each other and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. The cage shots are stiff as shit and make the Roode/Storm Lockdown match from last year look tame even though they had a much better story going. Also, the psychology was great both ways especially with Lesnar’s selling carrying the day. Despite carrying a twice-broken arm, Trips can’t muster an oww or a grimace. It’s up to Cole and crew to remind us that OH YEAH, LESNAR BROKE HIS ARM but it doesn’t carry enough leverage to juice up the Kimura as a false finish. I also could have done without the false finishes less than 10 minutes in with H waltzing out after a few leg attacks only to get the Ric Flair treatment with the cage. The one-legged F5 card was pulled way too early to be convincing enough for a believable win. Still, really good match with the psychology carrying the day. ****1/4
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The 411: A bit of a strange show with the usual sure bets - Hell No/Shield, Jericho, Henry/Sheamus - coming up short and the overdone, overbooked grudge matches - Cena/Ryback, Triple H/Brock - easily carrying the show. How much would you enjoy a show where the anticipated matches don't meet expectations and the expected borefests are better than you thought? A lot of the show is trending in the middle but with almost all matches hitting decent or better and the main being pretty damn good, I think it's a thumbs up.