– Brandon here. For the second time, we’re lucky enough to have Dan “Soupy” Campbell of The Wonder Years fill in on a Best And Worst Of WWE PPV report. Show him all the love you can, or next time I’ll get one of those guys that calls me an elitist on Twitter to sub for me. It’ll be nothing but blank pages, but hey, at least it’ll all be on the same page, am I right.
– Listen to him on the next page when he tells you to buy their new album. Destiny hasn’t stopped playing it since it came out. It’s good stuff. (Also, consider it extra pre-show notes.)
Click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Extreme Rules 2013.
Best: The Greatest Generation
I want to thank Brandon for being kind enough to let me write this report but I have a dastardly ulterior motive. Last Tuesday the 14th, my band, The Wonder Years put out our new LP The Greatest Generation. It was a great week that saw us play four shows in 24 hours (Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Anaheim, CA), open our own pop-up store in Philadelphia and climb into the top ten records on iTunes. I would love it if you would check it out. I have a video link to one of the songs below and, if you like it, the link to the record on iTunes is here.
Worst: This Voiceover Sounds Like it was Done by an 11-year-old Boy Telling a Ghost Story.
I don’t get the hype packages in any capacity. I already bought the thing you’re selling me. But seriously, was your normal voiceover guy sick? Did his son do it on take your kid to work day a few weeks back and they just decided to roll with it? Suggestion: Cut the whole thing and give us a Cesaro match.
Best: Summer Rae.
I know everyone reading this loves Jan Dango and I’m not saying I don’t. But Summer Rae turned out to randomly be a fan of my band and so I’m in full support of her getting as much TV time as possible. I also like that she can actually be a part of the story line. If Jan Dango really can only do select dates and is really just a dancer that WWE independently contracts for Fandango’s entrance, then there’s not a whole lot of upside. Summer Rae can add a lot to the story line. She can bump if need be, she has mic experience and has a wrestling persona. I could see her being integral in adding interest in some future Fandango feuds. I always think back to someone like Sunny and how much interest she added to the tag division when she kept jumping ship from team to team in the Smoking Guns/Godwinns/Bodydonnas era.
Best: Dean Ambrose Has Got This.
I really liked Rollins and Reigns heading back up to the concourse to let Ambrose wrestle by himself. I loved the confidence and I love watching Ambrose go. Everything he does in the ring seems purposeful and cerebral. It sits in such stark contrast to what Kofi is doing in this match. It looks like Kofi is just marching from signature move to crowd hype thing to jumping signature move. He’s bordering on Sheamus territory where every move he does gets it’s own name. (Seriously, Sheamus has like 16 signature moves. Soon, they’re going to start calling it the potato famine when he puts someone in a headlock.) On the other hand, it looks like Ambrose is trying to hurt someone any way he can. Even when he’s in control, his offense looks scrappy and desperate in the best way. The double-underhook superplex looked awesome. The chicken wing submission looked like it was five seconds from separating a shoulder. The way Ambrose acknowledged the two count with a snarky smile and nod as if to say, “That one was only two? Ok. The next one’s gonna be three.” made me laugh to myself. It was killer to hear “Let’s Go Ambrose” chants and to see interesting wrestling.
Best/Worst: Ambrose Gets the Title but it Could Have Been From Cesaro.
If they were going to take the title from Cesaro, I’m glad it was so Kofi could hand it to Ambrose. I do think Cesaro/Ambrose would have been an even better match by far but then again why would those two fight? They’re both bad guys! It’s not like they get paid to wrestle and are supposedly getting paid more for winning titles. That just wouldn’t make sense that two bad guys would be willing to fight each other for acclaim and money. Better let a good guy hand him the title so that we can all follow this very complicated story of “guy wants to be champion because he’s good at wrestling.”
Not a Worst, but could be Better: The Ambrose-Headlock-Takedown-Bomb
The only thing I don’t love is Ambrose’s finish. I was huge on him using the knee trembler out of the corner with the pulling-the-trigger taunt. That looked like it should knock someone out, and yea, I know I just complained about Kofi using too many taunt things before moves but the gun taunt just made Ambrose look even more unstable.
Worst: The King Says Something that Makes Sense.
I hate that Sheamus calls Mark Henry lumpy but I almost hate it more that Jerry Lawler made the very valid point that those lumps are muscles. He followed that up with the very logical explanation that Sheamus is going to have a lot of trouble dragging Mark Henry’s massive body to all four corners. I don’t like it when the King says something that adds some legitimacy to his commentating. If he does that too much, it’s going to make him look like a competent balanced individual, which is going to make it even worse when he falls back into his creepy sexual-predator rhetoric. ATTN: Young Kids Watching Wrestling: Even though sometimes Jerry Lawler says something that makes sense, know that he’s still very wrong every time he says something racist or homophobic or sexist.
Best: The Lights Changing the Ending
When I was a kid, the first wrestling event I went to was In Your House Mind Games. It was incredible and headlined by Shawn Michaels vs Mick Foley but I was most excited to see Owen Hart and Savio Vega because, well, I’m not sure I remember. Savio Vega fought in a strap match against Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw who, oddly enough was at commentary during the match last night and who, oddly enough was managed by Zeb Coulter at the time. Also, oddly enough, Mark Henry, one of the participants in last night’s strap match made his debut at Mind Games, defeating another 3rd of the commentary team in Jerry Lawler.
With all of these coincidences, I went back to thinking about that strap match and how it had the exact same ending as the Savio Vega/Steve Austin strap match. One person drags the other to three turnbuckles. The person they’re dragging also hits the turnbuckles as they’re dragged past them. Finally, the person in tow stops the draggers momentum, pulls himself ahead and hits the fourth turnbuckle first.
It looked very likely that this would be the situation again last night as Mark Henry was pulling Sheamus around the ring but Mark noticed that Sheamus’ lights were also lit and stopped it before Sheamus could get to the fourth. I’m not saying it was great. I’m saying that at least it wasn’t the same ending they were doing when I was 10.
Worst: The Rules of a Strap Match.
I don’t get it. At what point is the ref supposed to wave off the lights. Like, is that just at his whim? Is there a time limit? It’s not like Sheamus hit all of the lights in a row. He had to stop and kick Mark in the face before hitting the fourth one. I know it doesn’t matter and that it was a senseless match so that Sheamus could be on the card and kids could buy fake orange hair and laugh when he outsmarts Mark or whatever, but I feel like you could have done that and still followed the rules of the match. Or at least have them use the strap a few times. What’s the point if no one is going to really get whipped with it?
Worst: This Diva’s Backstage Segment.
There was some upside to this segment. I like that two people who don’t like each other can meet in the hallway and talk for at least a few lines before it comes to blows. It seems more realistic than when wrestlers see each other and immediately start fighting. A little trash talk can go a long way.
On the other hand, that trash talk sucked. First of all, Kaitlyn pretending she wouldn’t be interested in Ziggler is just silly. I mean, look how hot he is. That’s a hot guy and he seems to treat AJ really well now that they’re together. I guess that doesn’t mean she has to be interested but her finding dating him to be something worth mocking seems like a stretch. Second, the Looney Tunes joke seemed so forced and third, turning it into a pig joke was cheap and short-sighted. Making fun of a totally-not-overweight, in-shape woman for being fat is straight irresponsible and an easy way out. You couldn’t write something better than “you’re a pig?” Come on. You get paid for this. Tighten your game up.
Best: Zeb Coulter and Ricardo Rodreguiz Get People to Give a Sh*t.
Zeb is the best part of Swagger. Ricardo is the best part of Del Rio. I know that in an ideal world, the wrestlers would be able to get themselves the heat or pop that’s expected of them but I don’t think it’s the end of the world that their better halves are drawing all of the ire or admiration. Plenty of great athletic talented wrestlers over the years weren’t great with the mic. I’m glad they can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their talent and supplement the weaknesses with people who can shoulder that part of the character development. Zeb gave a great promo. He came off as passionate, concise and really easy to hate. Ricardo is the only thing likeable about Del Rio’s pandering half-assed persona. He’s all of it, and that’s not such a bad thing.
Best: This I-Quit Match Doesn’t Suck
And I really really thought it would. It wasn’t incredible but I expected much worse. I think it’s partially because I’ve been conditioned to not really care when Swagger or Del Rio are in the ring and I think it’s partially because it’s really difficult to do a good no DQ-style match in 2013. What they’re allowed to do is much more limited and when you think back to matches like the Rock/Foley I-Quit match and how brutal that was, it’s hard to imagine this even keeping my attention. Most no DQ style matches like this just seem like people moving through the same uncreative spots (see also: Lesnar/Triple H at Mania). This didn’t break the mold but it saw some things I hadn’t seen in recent memory. They took the pads off the barricade. They used the kendo stick interestingly. They did a decent job of mixing up the extreme style with submission wrestling that both guys excel in and they put on a match worth watching. It didn’t take the place of the ladder match that I was so excited to get to watch and maybe the official asked if the competitors wanted to quit about 100+ times too many but it also didn’t leave me enraged and let down.
Worst: The Rules of an I-Quit Match.
For the second time on the show, I’m very confused by the rules of this match. It was my understanding (as per the rules Lilian Garcia laid out), that the only way to win the match was to get you opponent to say “I Quit” into the mic. It appears there’s an addendum to that rule that your manager can throw in the towel, signaling to the official that they’ve quit on your behalf and your opponent has won. This is shown when Ricardo is thought to have thrown in the towel for Del Rio and Swagger is named the winner. After an (ugh) instant replay, the ref realizes however that Zeb, not Ricardo, has thrown in the towel. So, by following the only line of logic we have here (manager throws in the towel, competitor loses the match), shouldn’t Swagger have lost? His manager threw in the towel. Why did the match need to continue? You watched it on (ugh) instant replay. You know who threw the towel and you know that throwing the towel means that guy loses. What’s happening here?
Worst: Don’t Start Doing Instant Replay.
That’s seriously going to kill a million storylines. So many heel tactics rely on getting one over on the face and the official. I had a paragraph typed about this but if you’re reading this, you know why instant replay would be terrible for the WWE.
Best: Believe in the Motherf*cking Shield.
As I noted in The Best and Worst of Survivor Series, Seth Rollins is a friend of mine and so I’m totally absolutely entirely biased but man, was I excited to see him win! I think, even if I wasn’t super biased on this one, that I’d still think The Shield were the best thing going in WWE. That match was awesome. I actually think I would have preferred it not be tornado tag but it was great none-the-less. The way the Shield work together is awesome. It feels like a tag-team and not like guys they put together. These guys are the future. They feel like stars to me. They seem dangerous and aggressive. They look like they’re supposed to win matches. They look different. They act different. They wrestle different(ly). It’s shocking how little main-event quality performers the WWE has right now. It’s getting harder and harder for anyone to care about Sheamus or Orton or Big Show. I love that WWE is working to make stars out of young guys with a ton of potential. The Shield deserve it. Now, lets get them some competition. How about calling up Ohno and having him tag with Cesaro. Just a thought. I pulled it out of thin air. Nothing like that has ever been done before.
Best: Daniel Bryan Can Go Back to Singles Wrestling Soon.
I’m sure there will be a rematch because the tag division doesn’t offer a whole lot of competition for The Shield but Bryan can get back to the singles game in the next couple of months which is awesome because after Ryback and Cena get done their feud, there’s no one else that makes sense in that picture except for D-Bry. He’s super over, sells a ton of merch and can put on a great match with anyone. I honestly can’t think of anyone better to put over as the next WWE Champion. Bryan is an investment into the future of the company. Have him wrestle Ryback or Cena at Summerslam. Build new stars. Kids love Bryan because he has a ton of personality. Internet fans love Bryan because he’s an incredible wrestler. Give him the chance and let him run with it.
Best: The World’s Greatest Panel of Experts.
I have no idea how they settled on Titus O’Neil, Mick Foley and Wade Barret and there’s a zero percent chance that I’ll be watching the post-show, but I love it in principle and I’m sure it was great but I’ve had a long week and I’m going to bed.
Whatever: Orton/Big Show
Real talk, I couldn’t have cared less. I mostly ate pizza and talked through this whole match because who I can’t think of a match that interests me less. Did Randy hit an RKO to get the home-town win after a hanging DDT? Weird.
Worst: Cena/Ryback Wasn’t a Tables Match.
I kept hoping they changed the rules on the fly and made it a tables match. I would have taken any of those endings to get this over with.
Worst: Cena Jumping Hug
Come on, man. That looked like Cena went for the huricanrana and either Ryback forgot that it was coming or Cena misjudged the height by about 18 inches.
Best: That Cena Fan in the Green Shirt
That guy cared enough about Cena getting up for the ten count to make up for all of the other people in the world who don’t care at all. I always assume that everyone over the age of 11 doesn’t like Cena but I love people like that that prove me wrong. Cena’s the face of the company so it’s good that some people still super invest in him.
Best: That Through-the-Lights Spot was Actually Pretty Cool.
I know it was just going through some Christmas lights, plywood and a curtain but it looked cool. There were (actual, literal) sparks flying. That’s the whole point of this anyway, right? It’s why I watch WWE and not MMA. I get to see people doing cool looking things without having to feel the guilt of watching someone get very seriously hurt (most of the time…)
Worst: The Rules of a Last Man Standing Match
Seriously, what’s going on here? I thought the point was that when the official sees one or both men down, he starts a ten count. The person who can’t answer it loses. If neither man answers, it’s a draw. The official sees both men down and doesn’t count it. In the end, Ryback stands and Cena doesn’t. Shouldn’t Ryback have demanded a count as soon as he realized the official hadn’t been counting and won? Instead, the official decides not to count because people seem seriously injured in a match where the point is to injure someone so badly that they can’t stand up. What are we doing here, guys? Also, what is Teddy Long doing here?
Best: Triple H Sneak Attack
I didn’t have to watch Triple H’s entrance where he spits on the crowd and I like that.
Best: Brock Lesnar is very strong.
I really love watching Lesnar wrestle and I really love Heyman selling him as more destructive than World War III. They’re awesome together and if they were full time, it might be my second favorite thing going behind The Shield. Watching Lesnar throw H into the cage looks so believable. The suplexes look incredible. The way he does everything seems like he’s going to break someone in half. He is a destructive machine.
Best: Brock Lesnar is brought to you by…
I googled what Case IH Rocky on Lesnar’s shorts was. It turns out that it’s farming equipment. Brock Lesnar is hocking farming equipment via his shorts and I love it. I love that he’s brought to you by Jimmy John’s. I love that he doesn’t care what he’s selling. It’s a great business tactic. It sells him as mercenary who is here to beat you up because someone paid him to and ONLY because someone paid him to and it also lines his pockets. Genius. I respect it.
Worst: The world’s worst spray tan…
Either that or someone ribbed Lesnar backstage by telling him he’d be wrestling as Goldust tonight and Lesnar said, who gives a sh*t, just write me the check and started painting himself gold, armpits first.
Best: That’s my manager
This was legit the only thing I could think of when Lesnar said that:
Worst: St. Louis refusing to just do the job.
Come on, guys. Just give Triple H the tearful standing ovation so we don’t have to see this match six more times. He’s going to keep doing this until you cheer him. Just bite the damn bullet so we can get to Lesnar/Punk at Survivor Series or something and not Lesnar/Triple H VII: Heyman on a Pole.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
We’ll see if this will cost Fandango next Thursday on the results show.
Ambrose has figured out the Paradise counter that has eluded so many: stepping backwards.
With lights on the turnbuckles this feels more like a Nickelodeon game show
Okay guys, hands up, who’s been messing around in the space/time continuum?
WORLDSTAR!!!! OH DAMN THESE CHICKS GOIN’ AT IT SON!!!
If management were really intent on burying Cesaro, they’d have him say “I Quit” in five different languages.
This ref must be a total buzzkill at the bondage club.
Randy Orton is what would happen if a crappy tribal tattoo became sentient.
See that is why it pays to have a match in your second office. You know where all the best spots to hide stuff are.
I hope the PPV ends with HHH about to win, but then Khali comes out to announce HHH is Kaitlyn’s secret admirer.