– Drop a comment on the report and let me know what you thought of the show! Or what you thought about what I thought about the show, or whatever. We appreciate having you around, and your patronage is appreciated in non-badge situations. Also, seriously, click that like button. If you don’t I’m gonna stretch the next 5-page report into a 50 page slideshow.
– And hey, don’t forget to check out our Extreme Rules Open Discussion Thread for like 1,800 additional jokes.
– Continued thanks to Casey/THESTINGER for helping me out with gifs and pictures. Be sure to visit his gifs Tumblr for the stuff I didn’t use. He is the best.
Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Extreme Rules. Viewer EXTREMENESS~ is advised.
Best In Show: The Biggest +Rhodes Ever Awarded
Aside from the whole “my favorite wrestler having a 20-minute match of the year candidate” thing, this was my favorite part of the show. I love you for doing this, and you are now my shoot best friend.
Best: YouTube Pre-Shows
I mentioned it in last week’s Best And Worst Of Raw report, but on the list of things pro wrestling should borrow from UFC, “pre-show fights for free on YouTube” is at the top of the list. “Threat-kissing during staredowns” and “Davey Richards” are at the bottom.
It’s just good business. You’ve got a live event happening and you’ve got a pre-show set up anyway, so why not give it a loose purpose and broadcast it on a site you want your fans to visit? It gives two (or more) wrestlers a chance to be on the show, it gives you an extra, not-necessarily-important time slot for something like a United States Championship match and it reminds cheaper wrestling fans that tentpole wrestling is about to happen and they should consider buying it. It beats the hell out of Justin Roberts or whoever yelling YOU DON’T WANNA MISS EXTREME RULES over video packages for half an hour.
Worst: If You’ve Got 30 Minutes Of Pre-Show, You Can Have More Than 4 Minutes Of Wrestling
Unfortunately most of the pre-show was YOU DON’T WANNA MISS EXTREME RULES over video packages.
Miz versus Santino wasn’t ever going to be a barnburner, but if you’ve got half an hour to convince people that the wrestling is gonna be SUPER GREAT and they should pay for it, why are you selling it with four-ish minutes of Miz duckflopping around while Santino pretends to jab him with a snake sleeve? The old Sunday Night Heat method was Rock promos and 15 minutes of TAKA Michinoku and the pre-vampire, post-daisy pants Hardy Boyz jumping at each other and falling off the top rope.
And if you only want the Santino match to go four minutes, why not move some of the unimportant pay-per-view stuff like Brodus Clay versus Dolph Ziggler and the Ryback handicap match to the pre-show? We only need so many pee breaks per three hours and it’d allow you to make a 23-minute Daniel Bryan/Sheamus match a flat 30. The way you have it set up now is just gonna make people go “lol Ryback is on this show?” when they pick up the DVD at Buyback$ five years from now.
Worst: So Hey Miz, You Gonna Say F**k It And Go Sell eBay With Your Amazing Girlfriend Or What
I don’t want to keep making duck jokes about the guy, but this f**ker’s goose is cooked.
I’d like to believe WWE Creative has a ‘The Wire’-esque bulletin board with Miz at the top with a “PLANS” index card under him, and right under that is a card that says “lose really sadly to the Rock” and then 40-50 cards under that that all read “complain about how worthless he is”. The post Hell In A Cell PPV Miz has got to be the saddest and least enjoyable to watch character in modern WWE history, partially because of how static his act is and partially because it’s like watching your f**king grandfather get Alzheimer’s. He used to be a thing, but now he just lies there looking out of the window, mumbling about how he’s the most must-see something something.
I don’t know how wrestling works in real life, so maybe Miz is fine and just wanted to spend a year or two losing in a few minutes to a cloth-poke because he’s sick of getting concussions and going on Conan. Maybe he’ll get back the spark soon and improve upon what he already worked so hard to improve upon. Maybe he should start thinking of an exit strategy and thank Christ that his supermodel French girlfriend got sh*tcanned and shipped off to his parents’ house in Parma before he did so he didn’t have to do a Morrison/Melina, Lawler/Stacy thing.
Best: Jill Thompson’s Signs
According to her Twitter she was sitting beside the camera and had no hope of getting her signs on screen, but Jill Thompson (who you may know from her work on comics like Sandman, Scary Godmother and motherf**king Swamp Thing … or as the person responsible for Daniel Bryan’s awesome ring gear) does some fantastic posterboard work that deserves to be showcased:
Best: The Other Best Sign Of The Night
By way of @LyricalThreat:
Batman would hate Cena, wouldn’t he? He’d also have a plan for beating Cena ready to go in the Bat-computer, which hopefully reads “move out of the way of the jumping shoulderblocks … if shoulderblock connects, don’t just get up and throw wild punches … do not lie on the ground and let him dance punch you … if dance punching connects, don’t stand up and walk toward him with your hand over your face”.
The lesson here is that you should never be afraid to put a little effort into your signs, because they are a true niche artform and the wrestlers deserve something better than “RVD” and a yin yang in thin-ass green on yellow.
Best: Zack Ryder Encapsulated By His Own Sneak Attack
Friend of the column/gif and screen-grab specialist THESTINGER said it best when he mentioned how Zack Ryder attacked Kane “like a child trying to stop his father from beating up his mother”, and how Kane no-selling Ryder’s punches was hilarious. I can’t come up with a more appropriate description than that. As disappointing and uncomfortably unimportant as The Miz can be, Zack Ryder’s utter futility and helplessness is starting to go past bad and back around to good. On any upcoming Raw we run the risk of Ryder’s dad accidentally walking into the locker room while Zack’s got his dick in a pie. “I just accidentally drank a beer with sperm in it! Woo woo woo, you know it!”
I wish Michael Cole hadn’t spent the last two years screaming about nerds, because a huge group of popular WWE Superstars are turning into sad nerds of such a harsh degree that A GUY WRITING A PRO WRESTLING COLUMN ON A BLOG WHO OWNS TWO DANIEL BRYAN SHIRTS AND GENE SNITSKY’S PROP BABY BLANKET can’t identify. When AJ shows up on Halloween dressed like Kitana from Mortal Kombat, that connects with me. When CM Punk namedrops Volk Han, I nerd out appropriately. Watching Ryder go “daw c’mon” to a girl with no interest in him and getting kicked in the nuts just makes me really happy I’m not Zack Ryder.
Best: Randy Orton Got Back His WrestleMania Win, So No More Supernatural Father Feuding Plz
That’s a wrap, everybody! Randy, great job with the kidnap murder. Kane, see you at Smackdown on Tuesday, we’re gonna do a thing with you where you light Jared from Subway on fire.
That’s where we need to go with this. Randy Orton got a contextually clean victory over The Monster Kane to bring them even, and the worst thing we can do is stretch it out and book the rubber match in four days or whatever at Over The Limit. Kane beat up Randy Orton’s dad, Randy Orton beat up Kane’s dad, they fought with props and now they’re coolsies. That’s how every feud with Kane should happen — he should start the cycle by picking one random person, spend a few weeks moo-hoo-hoo-ha-ha-ha’ing at them, punch their Aunt in the throat in week 3 and finish it off at the pay-per-view. Then, win or lose, he moves on to another person. He should be exactly like Clavicus Vile in ‘Skyrim’ … he’s all “Raaaandyyyy, RKO BARBAS”, and whether Barbas gets R’d-KO or not he becomes a part of the statue and we go finish a different quest somewhere else.
Best: The Teddy Long Nametag
Worst: The Fact That It Doesn’t Say “Hello! My Name Is Peanut Head”
Maybe I’m just an asshole, but I feel like Teddy Long should be emasculated and demeaned by everyone he works with as some sort of penance for all those times the Steiners put him in a shark cage and raised him to the top of the arena only for him to still have a foreign object and throw it down to the Skyscrapers, or Doom or whoever.
Teddy is a great example of WWE telling you to like someone and expecting you to like them. It works, but I hate it. Teddy hasn’t done anything admirable in his entire wrestling career. He was a bad-slash-blind referee, then he became a cheating, jerk manager. When that fell through he went back to being a terrible referee (to date there have been exactly two admirable referees: Mark Curtis and Bryce Remsburg) (maybe Joe Higuchi too if he hadn’t counted so slowly and spent 1972-1984 falling down every time something important happened). When that didn’t work, he became a racist, and somehow parlayed that into running Smackdown. During his era of Smackdown, his only contributions were to make non-stop tag matches and have a heart attack at his own stupid in-ring wedding.
In contrast, John Laurinaitis is responsible for helping sign all of your favorite WWE Superstars to WWE contracts, used to high five kids while holding a skateboard and the worst thing he’s done onscreen since taking the General Manager job is f**k with the success of the one guy who is always purposelessly mean to him. And he fired John Morrison. Boo everyone onscreen but him.
Worst: This Funkasaurus Feud Needs To End With Ziggler Going Figurative Columbine On Somebody
Ziggler needs to flip the hell out about losing to this fat dancing dinosaur in four minutes and go apesh*t on him, jump him in the parking lot, drive into him with a forklift, get Team Disrespected Widow on the same page and f**k him up. I don’t know, but if I sat through two minutes of dancing, lost immediately and had to sit through two more minutes of dancing I would be Travis Bickle in a goddamn heartbeat.
Kudos to them elevating Brodus Clay, I guess (I would be a total hypocrite if I didn’t celebrate the successes of a super ugly, super fat guy with a dinosaur gimmick … the difference between him and Mantaur is an Earth Science class, but whatever), but I don’t enjoy seeing one of the most talented wrestlers in the company lose so completely to one of 4-5 concurrent squash streak guys. Swagger could’ve just as easily lost this match, and Ziggler could’ve done a thing where he gets to wrestle and we pay to enjoy it.
Of course, if Cameron wakes up at the beginning of Raw and finds Hornswoggle’s head in her bed it’ll be the greatest thing ever.
Best: Big Show Losing Because He’s Fat And Stupid
To once again quote Casey, good pro wrestling is putting Cody Rhodes into a match he has no chance of winning, then having him win. The Intercontinental Championship is back on the waist of the guy who changed its strap color to match his underpants and all is right with the world. Now Cody can get to the business of defending it (regularly) against guys who can go and Show can spend the next 6-8 weeks hip-hop dancing with The Great Khali until they win the tag team titles, break up and have the worst four matches ever.
Anyway, this match was shorter than Santino/Miz, but I found myself really enjoying it for a wonderful reason: at some point between x and y, WWE decided to go over “foreshadowing” with the boys and they loved it. So in a match that has to end with Big Show being sorta fat and dumb and breaking a table with his oafishness, that finish is foreshadowed by Cody Rhodes being nimble as f**k and Beautifully Disaster Kicking Big Show from a table. Daniel Bryan telling the referee he’s got until five, then getting DQ’d for knowingly keeping Sheamus in the ropes past five was another great example. Basic storytelling structure can make pro wrestling really kick ass, and whoever pointed that out before Extreme Rules went on the air deserves a raise.
Worst: Figuring Out Why Ryback Doesn’t Work (Right Now)
I mentioned it earlier, but the easiest character to get over is probably “dominant guy who shows up out of nowhere and destroys everybody”. It worked with the Road Warriors back in the day, it worked with Goldberg in the 90s and it worked with Brock Lesnar in the 2000s. That’s an important character to have, and “how will the new dominant guy do against a guy who has been great here for a long time” is easy money. The Road Warriors vs. The Fabulous Ones and the Freebirds in the 80s, Goldberg vs. DDP and Hulk Hogan in the 90s, Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock in the 2000s.
Right now we’ve got Brodus Clay, Lord Tensai and Ryback doing this at the same time. Mason Ryan and Ezekiel Jackson just finished up their attempts, and guys like Antonio Cesaro are showing up and beating Tyson Kidd in 60 seconds on Smackdown and Husky Harris pulling a Cape Fear version of the act in FCW, so who knows who else’ll follow.
That makes the act commonplace, and the only thing that makes that character work is how special and different they are. I remember specifically cheering for Goldberg because he’d just show up and f**k guys up and leave without talking and getting into soapy storylines like everybody else. Skip Sheffield is a talented, occasionally brutal pro wrestler and I feel bad that he’s cosmetically the least interesting of the “big 3” … he’s not racist dinosaur with a crew of oddities and he’s not the big white penis lookin’ fella from Japan who spits Mountain Dew and has tattoos on his face. He’s just a really muscular guy in Rob Van Dam’s old clothes. It’s unfortunate, and hopefully they’ll have him go face-to-face with Wade Barrett whenever Wade’s healed, have them stare at each other menacingly for several seconds and then just have Ryback blush and go “awww man I’m just kiddin’, yip yip yip what it do” and they’ll go back to being undercard violence friends.
A Million Bests: TWO Is Greater Than ONE!
where was this jobber asshole for every raw main event between 2004-2008
Best: LAYLA EXCLAMATION POINT EXCLAMATION POINT
As the Internet’s #1 LayCool historian and enthusiast I am so goddamned excited to have Layla El back in the rotation, especially to mark the one year anniversary of one of the saddest moments of my modern fandom: Extreme Rules 2011, wherein she defeated Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves WWE match that ended LayCool forever but hurt herself, so we didn’t see either of them for a year. That sucked.
Anyway, most people were expecting Kharma to sub in for the injured Beth Phoenix and start up that whole thing (I was one of those people too, mind you) so while Layla’s return and victory is underwhelming to most, it’s wonderful to me. I loved her in the Diva Search, she was my favorite member of Extreme Exposé (which is sorta like saying your favorite person at the Last Supper was Jesus), I loved her as the shoe-throwing girlfriend/familiar of William Regal and I loved her as the hoodie wearing, “real talk”-ing, Piggy James humiliating Lay.
Give her stories, let her do things, let her speak in her wonderful voice and don’t write “point at people and get roll-up victories over bitches” on her next cycle whiteboard.
Worst: The Kharma Situation Is Giving Me Total Anime Teardrop Head
To catch you up:
1. Kharma signs with WWE, is one of the best wrestlers in the world, can have good-to-great matches with women who are way worse than Kelly Kelly (Velvet Sky, I’m looking in YOUR direction).
2. Kharma starts a fun storyline where she may or may not end up having fearsex with Kelly Kelly.
3. Kharma gets pregnant in real life.
4. Kharma bursts into tears, announcers her pregnancy, gets called fat by the Bellas and bails.
5. Kharma tells her employers that she had a baby and everything’s cool.
6. Kharma shows up at the Royal Rumble, is awesome, Implant Busts Dolph Ziggler and is about to be a thing again.
7. It turns out that Kharma’s baby didn’t survive the birth, which is a horrible tragedy … and then you remember the whole “she said everything was cool” part and you make a face like you just watched your grandma fall down, because how the f**k else are you supposed to react to finding that out.
8. Kharma starts tweeting about how she’s returning.
9. Kharma doesn’t return, the Bellas get another weird push, Kelly Kelly starts screaming and then goes silent for three months and Eve becomes a whore at some point and nobody really knows what’s happening.
10. Nikki Bella gets a mystery opponent at Extreme Rules, and hey, Kharma promised she’d return and get the Bellas in a year. The Bellas contract is up on the 30th of April, so this is basically your last shot.
11. Kharma tweets about how she’s gonna show up at Extreme Rules and destroy the Bellas.
12. Layla shows up at Extreme Rules and destroys the Bellas.
So … what the hell is going on? Is she fine? Is she still employed? Is she a liar? Is she just mentally f**ked up from the thing that would obviously f**k someone up mentally? If she’s coming back, why didn’t she come back? If she isn’t, why does she keep saying she’s coming back?
And more importantly, why did it take somebody until 1 day before their contract was up to figure out you could beat Twin Magic by just attacking the second Bella?
BEST: The Match We Should’ve Gotten At WrestleMania
Yes. Yes. Yes.
The reason I was so heartbroken at WrestleMania wasn’t because of how I feel about how World Wrestling Entertainment runs or what they like or dislike, or what they do or don’t want to do with the crowd, and it’s certainly not because my favorite wrestler in the world used to wrestle on the independent circuit so no matter how much he does in WWE he’s “an indy guy” and I have the baggage of being THAT guy’s fan whenever I talk about him … it’s because those two guys could have THIS MATCH, and they could’ve had it on the biggest stage their industry provides. And also because I could’ve f**king watched it live. Or at least looked at a palm tree while it was happening near me.
Daniel Bryan versus Sheamus, 2-out-of-3 falls, was f**king fantastic. When I say “this is the match we should’ve gotten at WrestleMania”, I mean it … Sheamus should’ve won, but only after Daniel Bryan got to be the Best In The World for 20 minutes for anybody paying attention. I’m so happy that he’s found this success in WWE. I’m happy that we’ve got a new Chris Benoit — a guy who has worked so hard for so long against all sorts of physical and business-related odds to become an unreasonably dependable and popular guy who has great matches with everyone, and who will always be the underdog (and OUR underdog at that!) because we followed him up from the beginning. Only he’s better than Benoit because he didn’t grow up idolizing a dude who’d hold a gun in his wife’s face to f**k with her and if he flips out and kills his wife and child, at least he’ll be taking out one of the Bella Twins.
I’m kidding. I don’t want to imagine any scenario wherein Asparagus dies.
But yeah, this is our WWE match of the year to date. I don’t care how emotionally involved we all got in Inappropriate Ponytail Theater, this one involved everything that was good about wrestling and almost none of the bad stuff. Let Daniel Bryan wrestle for you forever, please, and keep his brain healthy.
Best: And Now A Kind Word About Sheamus
It takes two to have a great match, right?
I’ve gotten a lot of grief for what’s being called “the Sheamus Hate” (sample comment, “I don’t get all the Sheamus hate!”). The wrestling fan in me hated him for giving me the closest thing to a “Jim Cornette screwing the Rock n’ Roll Express out of the tag team titles and making six year old Brandon cry” since I was seven. I will and have in the past acknowledged that he is a talented, hoss-brand pro wrestler and that I bare no sincere animosity toward him as a guy. I don’t like his fat guy hats, but that’s probably a cultural thing.
So I’m officially retiring the “f**k Sheamus” initiative, at least for now, in the hopes that he’s just gonna meander into a Ricardo Rodriguez distraction in a month or two and get his arm broken by Alberto Del Rio anyway. You’re an okay guy, Sheamus, and until I pick up WrestleMania 28 and blu-ray and have to watch it again, we’re okay forever.
Best: ‘Sup, CM Punk’s Sister
you know where i could score some crank
Or, “so hey, do you know ace steel? that’s cool”
WWE has conditioned me to expect the worst from suddenly appearing family. Through some combination of Stephanie McMahon getting rape-married, Torrie Wilson’s dad getting sexed to death, Mr. Cena getting kicked in the head and Randy Orton’s harem of wives being harassed and threatened in their home I’ve come to see a sudden family member appearance as a horrible red flag for pro graps bullsh*t and spent most of the match going “okay, here’s where she hops the rail and slaps Punk in the face and Jericho gets the win”. That’s a horrible way to watch a show, isn’t it?
Also, I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought it was weird that CM Punk’s sister would call him “Punk”. I get kayfabe and all, but “CM Punk” is clearly not the dude’s name and he outed himself as a Phil like eight months ago.
Worst: When I Fight In The Streets Of Chicago I Wear Skinny Jeans And Brandish A Fire Extinguisher
This was the best ever opportunity for Punk to go back to the basketball shorts as “street fighting clothes”, but I guess “jeans with some pads over them and a belt to keep them up BUT NO SHIRT the shirt would be too constricting” is a better choice.
Not to go off on a tangent or anything, but one of the things I miss most from Several Years Ago Ring Of Honor is the emphasis the company put on what their wrestlers were wearing and when. This is a really underrated storytelling technique … for example, BJ Whitmer showed up to a barbed wire match in his normal ring gear, and the story was that he was so tough and hardcore he didn’t care if the barbs tore his skin and wasn’t about to put a pussy layer of protection between him and shredded stab wounds. Christopher Daniels showed up to a street fight wearing dress clothes once, I can’t remember if that was ROH or back when TNA wasn’t Hogan’d to sh*t.
Anyway, it was weird to see Punk dress like he was going to a gay bar and Jericho dressing like he had to duck out in the middle and hit a Fozzy show across the street. It is also weird that nearly 20 years after the onset of “hardcore wrestling” popularity we’re still using the spray from a f**king fire extinguisher as a move. It is dumb. Stop doing it. If a wrestler sprays you with a fire extinguisher, continue being fine, yank the thing out of his hands and bash him in the face with it.
Best: But Seriously, This Pay-Per-View Is Really, Really Good
I didn’t think Punk and Jericho at Extreme Rules was as good as it was at WrestleMania, but it was really good. It also confirmed my belief that Daniel Bryan and Sheamus got 18 seconds at WrestleMania because they wanted Punk/Jericho to be the Savage/Steamboat to Rock/Cena’s Hogan/Andre, because Sheamus and Daniel Bryan blew them out of the f**king water last night. If that’d happened at Mania, Punk wouldn’t have gotten his Bret Hart and Ultimate Warrior pleasing moment and Jericho would’ve continued to be overshadowed by literally everyone else.
Maybe that’s why they gave him a light-up jacket.