Tuesday, 6 May 2014

WWE Extreme Rules on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It's time to step into WWE territory once more as we take a look at their latest pay per view offering, with Kane facing Daniel Bryan in the main event of Extreme Rules, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.

The show began with triple threat elimination action between Rob Van Dam, Zeb Colter guy Jack Swagger and Paul Heyman guy Cesaro.

As far as show openers go this wasn't too bad. All three guys put in creditable performances, and some of the three-way exchanges looked pretty good, and once again Cesaro was the highlight of the entire match. As for the eliminations.....

Swagger was the first to go, with Cesaro putting his incredible strength to good use, standing on the middle rope and lifting him off the ring apron so he could take him down with a superplex. RVD then sealed the deal when he came down off the top rope with the five star frog splash.

This left Van Dam alone with Cesaro, and after RVD turned back the clock a little with some old school moves he placed a rubbish bin on top of the man from Switzerland before leaping up to the top rope. When he went for the frog splash though Cesaro had moved out of the way, leaving RVD to crash and burn onto the bin. One neutralizer later and Cesaro had the winning pin.

Then it was on to the handicap match as Alexander Rusev, accompanied by Lana, faced R-Truth and Xavier Woods.

If the powers that be were hoping to make the newcomer look like an absolute monster then they definitely succeeded here. After taking out Woods before the match even began Rusev dominated the proceedings early on. Truth got in a few moments of offence, but it wasn't long before the big man took him down with a side slam and finished him off with his camel clutch variation for the submission win, adding an exclamation mark to the proceedings by doing further damage to Woods on the floor.

The first title match of the evening saw Bad News Barrett challenging Big E for the Intercontinental Title.

I think the best way to describe this one would be short and sweet. It was great to see Barrett back on the big stage again, and I'm not just saying that because he's a fellow Brit. Both guys put on a great showing here, and I got the feeling that if the result had gone a certain way then the fans certainly wouldn't have been too pleased.

Bad News did a good job of controlling the action until Biggie made his comeback, and although he scored with his trademark moves Barrett managed to avoid the big ending, and a few moments later it was all over as Barrett came off the ropes and connected with the bullhammer elbow for the title winning pin.

Six man action followed as Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista of Evolution took on Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of Evolution.

This veritable battle of the generations delivered big time. It was a good old fashioned slobber knocker, and it certainly had this writer on the edge of his seat.

Both teams put on a great showing, especially the re-formed Evolution as they showed the young up-starts how it should be done when they used Rollins and Ambrose as their personal crash test dummies.

But as good as those moments were, things didn't really kick into top gear until Reigns came into the match and did his thing. He was even more over than Bad News as he delivered his brand of justice to all three members of the opposition, and when his brethren joined him in taking Batista down with their trademark powerbomb it looked all over.

Except it wasn't. It just signalled the start of the even more hell breaking loose segment as Orton and Trips took their battle with Rollins and Ambrose into the crowd, and it was during this segment we saw the Joey Styles OMG moment when Rollins launched himself off a balcony and onto the Evolution boys below.

While all of this was going on the big boys in the ring were regaining their senses, and it wasn't long before Reigns took Batista down with his Superman punch, setting him up for the spear and the winning pin.

The cage match was up next as John Cena went up against Bray Wyatt.

Now as good as I wanted this one to be I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, this match had quite a few good points, but at times it just seemed to drag, as if it lacked direction. Mind you, the finish was good in a creepy kind of way.

The performances of those can't be faulted. Once again Wyatt showed that he really did have the whole world in his hands with his crazy antics, while Cena stepped up to the plate time and time again.

The thing I liked the most about this match was the way that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan kept blocking Cena's path to victory. It was a vital part of the storyline, because although the cage was meant to keep them out of the match it actually drew them into it, especially when Cena had to bring both of them into the cage just so he could try and make an escape.

But that ending, that was a stroke of genius, and one of the best endings I've seen to a cage match in ages. Having fought off three men it looked as it Cena was finally going to get an easy route to victory by simply stepping out of the door. Then the lights went out, and a few seconds later a young boy clad in a black robe appeared at the cage door singing a certain song, sounding like he was auditioning for an Exorcist remake.

Cena looked shocked, and this gave Wyatt the chance he needed to take him down with sister Abigail. He then walked out of the cage, and with that evil smile on his face he hugged the boy before Harper and Rowan each took one of the youngster's hands and led him up the aisle. All in all it was a great piece of ring psychology.

The penultimate match saw Tamina Snuka challenging Paige for the Divas title. Moving on.....

The main event saw Kane challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE title in an extreme rules match.

If you ever thought that Daniel Bryan wasn't capable of competing in a match of this kind then you probably never saw any of his Ring of Honor matches, and after seeing this one you're probably aware by now that he's far more than an expert technician.

While this may have lacked the glamour of a Wrestlemania main event it certainly proved worthy of it's slot on this show. I was never really a fan of corporate Kane, so I was more than happy to see the monster back in action, because these two have proved before that they've got great chemistry in the ring together.

It was jam packed with great action, and with twists and turns and particular moments that we probably weren't expecting. All of this made the match pretty entertaining.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised with some of the spots when they began brawling backstage. Some of them reminded me of the good old fashioned Attitude era, especially when Kane threw a gas tank at Bryan that smashed a car windscreen, and when the masked man put his fist through a car window. It was a spot like that one that almost cost Bill Goldberg his career a few years ago.

The award for most unique moment of the night came when Bryan sent Kane into la-la land after hitting him with a tyre iron. He then loaded him onto a forklift truck and drove him back into the arena where he dumped him into the ring. He then climbed onto the forklift and came down with a diving headbutt. But tell me this people, how many of you were wondering if the esteemed Mr. Bryan had licence to drive that particular vehicle.

A few moments later we saw a spot we haven't seen in quite a while when Kane took out a can of fuel and set a table on fire. However, it wasn't the big red machine that went through the flaming table. Bryan managed to counter his chokeslam attempt by flinging him backwards through the burning wood.

A quick shot with a fire extinguisher soon put out that fire, and once back in the ring Bryan scored with his running knee to get the title retaining pin, keeping the Yes movement alive and well and sending the fans home happy.

In conclusion - the first pay per view after Wrestlemania is always a benchmark, as well as being a sign of where the company is heading as it moves towards Summerslam in August, and if this year's Extreme Rules is anything to go by then the signs are good at the moment.

From top to bottom this show was pretty enjoyable. All of the matches delivered what they set out to do, and we had some nice surprises along the way, things we normally wouldn't see in this PG-era world that WWE have created for themselves.

As for my match of the night I'm going for the faction war between Evolution and the Shield, although there were a couple of other matches that ran this one close.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one thing left to do, and that's to give Extreme Rules the thumbs up.

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