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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE Extreme Rules 2014.
Worst: The weeLC Ring Announcer
Say what you will about the spectacle of WWE having little people wrestle with miniaturized furniture as an excuse for them to go LOOK AT THESE WEIRD HALF-PEOPLE over it, but the true low point of the Extreme Rules pre-show was the weeLC ring announcer.
“THE FOLLOWING IS … WEE ELL SEE SEE MAAAAATCH”
Where did they find this dude? He couldn’t even call Hornswoggle Hornswoggle, he called him “horn waddle.” It’s like he’s never spoken out-loud before. Did they build him in Frankenstein’s lab? A miniature version of Frankenstein’s lab? Does dwarfism shrink your brain? Was Hornswoggle like, “hey, I appreciate you giving me a pre-show match. By the way, my stupid cousin Jeff needs a job, he’s got a third grade education but he can stand up straight, maybe we can make him the ring announcer.”
Actually, while we’re at it …
Worst: Let’s Give A Worst To Everything About The weeLC Match That Isn’t The weeLC Match
My working theory is that weeLC was built around how stupid and worthless WWE thinks little people are, so when they were tasked to find four little NPCs for the match, they found the four most brain damaged, least ready-to-be-on-television little people in the world. It’s like they scooped them directly out of a petrie dish and dumped them at a novelty announcers table at ringside.
To add to the absurdity, you’ve got parodies of commentators who are already parodies of themselves calling a match that DESPERATELY needed somebody to play it straight. What would’ve been better, Lawler and Cole going HEH HEH I HOPE THIS MATCH IS SHORT, or a Jim Ross or Gordon Solie type treating it like an epic match without repeatedly showing their hand? Gordon Solie once explored the ring psychology of wrestling a bear. Cole can’t even let go of his attempted-jock bullshit long enough to pop for a nutshot putting Heath Slater through four tables.
Anyway, the actual mini announce team was the worst. Choice quote: “well you see El Torito’s still in there, you know why cause he’s the bigger bull ever since Michael Jordan.” Did they POISON them before the show started?
Best: The weeLC Match
The sad thing about all the griping I just griped is that the actual weeLC match was really good. The early slapstick put me off a little, particularly Hornswoggle grabbing El Torito’s tail and running around in a circle, but once I was able to detach from the shit that bothered me, I got to see two wrestlers without a lot of shots at a legit opportunity going BALLS OUT.
I like comedy in wrestling when it isn’t the same comedy wrestling always has. I give Santino grief because Santino’s act hasn’t really improved or evolved in a while, but when he shows up on Saturday Morning Slam or NXT or whatever and tries out some new shit, I generally enjoy it. WeeLC was a little concerning, sure, but I also cannot throw shade at Hornswoggle doing the Leap Of Faith elbow off the ring apron onto Torito through a tiny announce table. I can’t. Similarly, I can’t worst the aforementioned table bump nutshot or Drew McIntyre just straight-up flipping to his death onto nothing to put over the chaos. Los Matadores sacrificed THREE PEOPLE and a pile of home improvement equipment to take out Jinder Mahal. YOU COULD’VE JUST SHOVED HIM, HE WOULD’VE DIED.
But yeah, this turned out to be the best WWE pay-per-view pre-show match ever, and if you had somebody who wasn’t trying to suck their own dick on commentary it’d be truly great. I hope weeLC stays on as a match type. I want to see Brad Maddox put Cesaro and Jack Swagger up against one another in weeLC. Jack Swagger going through a table the size of his foot. It’d be like Kaiju Big Battel.
Best: The 11th Commandment Of Extreme
Enough with the bad quotes, more with the “the 11th commandment of Extreme is that Thou Shalt Not Boo Paul Heyman.” Fun fact: the 12th commandment is, “Tommy Dreamer shalt always wrestle in a t-shirt.”
My favorite thing about WWE right now is Paul Heyman’s attempt to work “my client Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania” into every conversation, whether it’s situationally appropriate or not. He didn’t even pad the gap between “you guys like me because I made up extreme” and “you guys hate me because my Jimmy Johns avatar made your hearts sad,” he just double-dipped it. It’s fantastic. I hope he writes MY CLIENT BROCK LESNAR and so on at the top of his medical forms.
Best: Cesaro Not Losing This Match
This match was better than it should’ve been (and a hell of a lot better than the Cesaro/RVD match from the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender Tournament), but that sorta hinged on Cesaro getting an emphatic victory. He did, so I’m gonna go ahead and give it compliments. There’s a real science to these reports, people.
Some folks online were pulling the “so maybe you’re WRONG about Rob Van Dam!!” on me, so I need to address it. Van Dam did not do anything in this match he didn’t do in 2000, and that’s my whole beef with him. He hasn’t done anything even remotely new in the ring or outside of it in 14 years. Even guys like Hogan and Flair and have tried new stuff in that time. Van Dam not dramatically f*cking up does not mean he’s stopped making me feel like I’m in waist-deep standing water. Gotta say, I did enjoy him playing around with an aluminum trashcan that wouldn’t hurt someone if you tied it to the front of a semi truck and drove into them, then hurting HIMSELF on it by total accident at the finish.
Anyway, a supplemental Best goes to Jack Swagger for his bright red “I’ve moved on from the Real Americans” jacket. You’ll make it someday, Big Macklemore.
The Marty Jannetty of the Rotunda kids is on some next level shit right now, and if you haven’t seen his new ring entrance yet, go to the Best and Worst of NXT report and watch it immediately.
I really hope this is an elaborate excuse to restart the Bo Dallas/Wade Barrett feud, only now one is obsessed with bad news and the other with positive affirmation. It’d be like those angels and devils that sat on peoples’ shoulders in old cartoons and tried to talk them into making decisions.
Best: Lana Gets DAT PUTIN HEAT
If you’re going to move Alexander Rusev to Russia, you might as well go all the way with it. The highlight of the Rusev handicap match (of which there were MANY, probably) was Lana going total 1980s Cold War troll Russian with a giant picture of Vladimir Putin, talking about how he’s her idol and how she respect him “like no other.” She should go full Ninotchka from GLOW, get a big hammer and sickle tattooed on her chest and start rapping about Russian superiority.
They should into the Putin photo before every Rusev match and leave it up the entire time. Truth’s getting in offense, looks over his shoulder and there’s GIANT PUTIN, glaring on in disapproval.
Worst: Xavier Woods And The Worst Pay-Per-View Performance Ever
R-Truth wanders out with Xavier Woods at his side and he’s too mad to rap, because he LOVES THE UNITED STATES and HATES RUSSIA because I guess he is in his 40s and would think that. Anyway, Woods is there growling all GRRR RUSSIA, THIS IS JUST LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN ROCKY 3. Woods powerslides into the ring and Rusev just kicks him in the face immediately, knocking him into Truth. Woods then gets thrown into some metal and suplexed on the outside, and he is NEVER SEEN AGAIN.
How bad do you have to be to have a 2-on-1 handicap advantage and not even make it to the match? I’ve seen Ascension opponents do better than that. This also happened on a pay-per-view where EVERYBODY was getting suplexed on the outside. El Torito jumped through a pile of tables and ladders. Kane fell through A FLAMING TABLE and was on his feet immediately. Xavier Woods falls down twice and has to practically be stretchered out. Hilarious. You are the worst, Xavier Woods.
Best: Renee Young’s Awkward Inclusion In The Evolution Fist Bump
Worst: Batista Doesn’t Know How To Do The Shield Taunt
This is why we hate you, Dave.
Best: BAHBAHBAHBAHBAHBAHBAHBAH Etc.
The good news (for people who love bad news) here is that the crowd still loves Wade Barrett, is not afraid to start BAD NEWS BAR-RETT chants or clap along with him, and that Hashtag BNB is the new Intercontinental Champion. That’s great, and could be a lot of fun. Barrett’s enthusiasm is truly infectious and his matches have been good-to-great, including this one, which mostly hinged on me wanting Big E to get elbowed in the face so hard he forgets how to count. Which … he might’ve already.
The bad news (also for people who love bad news, but won’t enjoy this specific bad news) is twofold:
1. This match is a very, very obvious example of what happens when WWE pushes you into a secondary title victory and forgets about you. Big E was The New Hotness for a while, teaming with guys like CM Punk and John Cena, getting huge victories and a swell of support from live crowds. He’s had some issues with making himself or others bleed, sure, but he’s an easy guy to get the WWE Universe (smark and otherwise) to like. Last night the crowd was 100% behind Barrett, and Big E’s only heat was in “not being the other guy.” We call this Rey Mysterio Royal Rumble Heat.
And why? Because he’s been forgotten. He’s a guy who has a meaningless prop belt and sometimes wins, but mostly loses. That’s it. Barrett’s been on TV regularly killing it in the ring and outside of it, he’s got a fun catchphrase, he’s got an entrance theme that is fun to type out phonetically, the works. That leads us directly to point 2, which is …
2. The IC title might be the last thing Barrett needs. The last time he held it was a master class in abandoning hope. He NEVER won. The only time he won was when he had to defend his title, and it didn’t make sense. 80 straight non-title losses, then a match where you think they’re gonna put him out of his misery but NOPE, he retains, then loses 80 more non-titles. What happens if the Curse Of The Wade Barrett Title Run conflicts with Bad News Barrett’s upswing of popularity and momentum? Is WWE just going to forget him again, assuming that “giving him the IC Title” is enough? Will the next six weeks be Rob Van Dam pinning him like it was nothing?
I’m happy, but cautious. I also may be secretly hoping WWE makes a belt big enough to fit around his motorized podium.
Worst: Batista’s Silent Fashion Protest
Evolution’s new shirt is black and white, depicting the team as skeletons. In coffins. Hilariously. To run with this motif, Randy Orton wears black and white gear. Triple H wears black and white gear. And then here comes Big Dave Batista in ALL RED EVERYTHING. Red-ass underpants and those horrible red Air Jordans. Do you not know how to do anything, Dave? You look like Wade Barrett’s arm.
Best: CRAZY DIVES FOR EVERYBODY
It didn’t top the match against the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber, put The Shield using a non-stop series of crazy dives to end Evolution (and inadvertently prove creationism, as the created team proved more real than the evolved one?) was the match of the night in a walk.
I was worried at first, too, because the first half of the match was a little slow. You can thank Drax for that. Dude tags in, throws some clubbing forearms, locks in a chinlock and then has to excuse himself out to the apron to take a knee. Damn, Dave, you’ve been back for like three months, haven’t you thought about working on your cardio? Can’t you skip a day at the vests and cabby hats store and spend the Jason Albert 5 Minutes on the elliptical?
Once they created a chance for Dave to lie motionless for several minutes and put the weight of the match on Dean and Seth’s ability to jump and land on their faces without dying, it got amazing. I sincerely thought Seth Rollins was dead when he dove out onto Triple H and ate nothing but floor. If Sin Cara had taken that dive the WWE production team would be prepping his ten bell salute. Dean’s running table vault was also lovely, punctuated appropriately by him clutching the ringside barrier with both hands and making the craziest faces he could muster. Crazy dive of the night, of course, goes to Rollins, who is now subject to at least six days of “is Seth Rollins the new Jeff Hardy??” tweets and focus pieces on the Bleacher Report.
Here’s a POV look at the dive, if you haven’t seen it:
I couldn’t have asked for more from this. Roman Reigns kicks out of a pedigree, gets saved from an RKO and puts Batista away in the middle of the ring with a spear. Seth Rollins gets a showcase spot. Dean Ambrose goes down a flight of stairs, because of course he does. Batista is weird enough for me to get like five paragraphs of jokes and Triple H continues his under-the-radar year as the best all-around performer in WWE. I don’t know what made him decide he wanted to spend 2014 working, but bless the f*ck out of him for it. A great, great match.
Not a great match is coming up next.
Worst: The Worst Match Of The Year
Hands down. I can’t think of one worse in recent memory.
There are always apologists out there. Guys who watch a 30-minute pile of horse garbage like this and do the, “I don’t know, I thought it was alright … the ending was cool!” Those people are either the happiest or the saddest people in the world, I haven’t figured it out yet. If you’re one of those people, you read that boldface and skipped this dense section of explanation to tell me what an asshole I am for the sake of being contrarian, so let me explain to those of you who didn’t exactly why this bugged me so much.
1. It exists outside of its own story. Ignoring what happened at WrestleMania, the story presented between John Cena and the Wyatt Family is that Bray Wyatt believes Cena’s a beast masquerading as a hero and wants to draw that out in him. If he does, Cena will be easy to control. If he can control Cena, he controls WWE. Cena, the consummate hero, believes that he has to do whatever is necessary to “stop Bray Wyatt’s message from spreading.” This is a huge thing. They’ve built an entire narrative around how Cena challenged Bray to a cage match to “contain” the message. Bray threatens to go to the extreme to make Cena follow him. Cena believes that he’s the only thing standing between chaos and order. I colored it up a little, but that’s the story.
So what does this match entail? BOTH DUDES TRYING TO ESCAPE THE CAGE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. What the shit is that? If Bray laughs off losses and doesn’t care about winning and his entire mission statement is to brutalize and change Cena, why’s he trying to win a match by quickly leaving Cena alone? Similarly, if Cena’s trying to contain Bray’s message by CHALLENGING HIM (Cena challenged Bray) to a cage match to “contain” him, why is Cena trying to win by quickly leaving Bray alone? What’s the point? Neither guy seems like they want a piece of the other. Why couldn’t Bray just do a promo in the middle of a cageless ring and Cena answer him with “nope.” The exact same thing would be accomplished.
2. The Wyatt Family could not beat Cena 3-on-1 even with 30 minutes, no DQ and a steel cage. Erick Rowan seemed like the only guy with his head on straight in this match. When Cena tried to escape, Rowan would try to stop it, because in theory Bray wants to beat him up.
But yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match where a faction of violent guys with a strong rep were was made so undeniably impotent. Cena beating up the Wyatts felt less like Magnum/Tully and more like Hornswoggle/El Torito. He’s getting lifted up back into the cage on Rowan’s shoulders and slamming him into the cage by his beard. Bray gets chances to escape the cage and doesn’t, because he thought it’d be cool to crab walk over and collapse in front of it for no reason. Harper’s closing a cage door on Cena, so Cena grabs it all strenuously and makes that turd-release face he does when he’s selling the ring steps as 20,000 pounds to counter it. It’s all counterproductive, pointless and corny. Wyatt could’ve won by having Los Matadores lift him onto their shoulders and fall backwards and it would’ve made more sense.
3. Michael Cole thinks Bray Wyatt is some kind of “extortionist.” Because he can do a backbend. Michael Cole is paid to say words on television.
4. John Cena easily beat three dudes by himself and loses because he’s momentarily distracted by a prop child.
Why didn’t Cena continue leaving the cage when the lights went out? He had time. Why would he stand there in the door and go, “I guess I should hang out and see what happens?” Furthermore, when Cena saw the creepy singing kid, why didn’t he CONTINUE TO LEAVE THE CAGE? The kid wasn’t physically keeping him in the cage. I get the “shock” or whatever, but dude could’ve taken one step to the side and still stared at the kid like an idiot.
HOW IS THIS KID EVEN A PART OF THE WYATT FAMILY’S PLAN? Was Bray EXPECTING to lose? Did his plan rely on Cena thinking he’s got the match won and then having a mystery child sing to him? How did he know that’d keep Cena in the ring? If this was all part of the plan, why did Bray get BEATEN UP FOR 30 MINUTES and repeatedly try to leave the cage and win the match? Wasn’t the point that he wanted to hurt Cena psychologically and change him? What happens if Cena doesn’t bounce up and grab him by the foot when he’s climbing over? Does Bray just say f*ck the plans and enjoy his win?
I’ve got at least 40 more questions, and I don’t think you want to read randomly capitalized paragraphs where I introduce them. I’ll just say again that this is the worst, most frustrating WWE match I’ve seen this year, and the only thing that would’ve saved it is that kid had shown up singing scary Bible songs through his A Current Affair voice changer and Cena had just jumping shoulderblocked him out of instinct.
Oh man, how great would that have been? Kid starts singing, Cena just does the “you can’t see me” hand and blasts him in the face with a punch.
Worst: “Little Johnny”
That’s the best name they could come up with for a scary kid. “Little Johnny.” Is he related to Little Jimmy? Are they Japanese, so their first and last names are switched? Was Bray Wyatt the reason R-Truth saw an imaginary child in the first place?
I really hate this. I will like it more if the reveal is that Little Johnny is actually John Cena as a child, and Bray disrupted the time stream to travel back and bring him to the present. That’d explain why Cena was so stunned and lost. He can only lose if you create a paradox and threaten to destroy the universe. Also, I guess he can only lose to himself.
I would also accept “he is John Cena and Nikki Bella’s child from the future.” Actually, I’d also accept “he’s a kid with a voice changer and John Cena’s stupid.”
I really don’t like Tamina. If she stopped trying to wrestle like her dad and started wrestling like Haku she’d be a billion times better. That’s the Tamina I want to see. Cold, business casual, willing to scream and Mongolian chop you to death.
I would’ve given the Divas Championship match more of a chance if it hadn’t had to follow John Cena Masturbatory Storytelling Theater, but I’m giving it a best because (1) Paige is still the champion, defending the belt on pay-per-view in a one-on-one match and winning with authority, and (2) they finally got her out of that “padded bra” top that got popular in NXT for some reason. They finally got her into something that fits her body type, and it looks great. Stick with this.
Best: Ezekiel Jackson Makes PPV
Ezekiel Jackson? Eve Torres? Damn, how old are your TV trucks, guys? Are La Resistance on the other side?
I’m not sure if they did it on purpose or if Bryan just doesn’t have a good wrestling match in his heart right now, but this was the most Attitude Era main event I’ve seen in ages. That’s … not a huge compliment coming from me. It actually reminded me more of the WWE video games, where you’re fighting backstage with snow shovels that do the same damage as a headlock and irish whipping each other into car hoods or whatever. I expected them to open a door and suddenly be in Times Square. Bryan should’ve won by knocking Kane off a balcony, then grabbing a helicopter, flying around, letting go, plummeting to the ground, flopping like he’s landed on a trampoline, then going for a lateral press.
A couple of things:
Worst: Did You Guys Just Use A Headbutt Off A Forklift As A Mid-Match Transitional Move?
Don’t get me wrong, that’s a killer visual (and Daniel Bryan isn’t officially a legendary superstar until he’s driven a vehicle to the ring), but shouldn’t the dramatic flying headbutt off the forklift while in TOTAL CONTROL of the crowd be the finish to your match? That’s the peak of your escalation.
I feel like they did the finish backwards. They were fighting backstage in Prop Town, right? Kane was throwing sparkling televisions into buckets of water and hurling objects through windshields. The “fall backwards through fire, kinda” spot could’ve been done back there and justified him being knocked out long enough to take a nap on a forklift pallet. Then you drive him to the ring, headbutt him, pin him. Kane setting up a table and lighting it on fire only to be tossed into it BY THE ROPES was a huge letdown, as was the gaggle of dudes rushing in with fire extinguishers. I know you need that for safety, but you aren’t doing your fire spot any favors. Those guys would’ve made more sense to just be hanging around backstage, too. Does WWE always keep five guys with fire extinguishers at ringside now?
So yeah. Bryan wins, but even a forklift jump and a flaming table isn’t enough to get Kane selling. Now they’re gonna have a Buried Alive match or something and Bryan will be a hell of a lot more like Cena than we need him to be to affect change.
Best: And Now Your WWE Fallout Hosts Josh Mathews, Booker T, Sheamus and MYSTERY OPPONENT
So that’s who he is.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Evolutions, backstage before the match:
Randy: “Okay, we’re going to go into the crowd so Seth can hit his Jeff Hardy spot. It’s going to involve a lot of walking around and climbing up steps and stuff.”
Batista: *starts sweating*
Triple H: “But while that’s going on, one of us is going to have to stay in the ring and just chill out for five minutes or so.”
Batista: “Oh thank God.”
Apparently, the next stage in human evolution is getting rid of our hair…
Rusev and Truth’s tag team would be “Crimea Tyme.”
Playing the part of Micro Cole is Frank Reynolds in his dating toupee
The Spanish Announcers are declaring victory! Their table is still standing, this is like the Jamaican Bobsled Team winning the gold.
OSHA guy having a f*cking stroke right now
I AM THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS
i think that’s the Play 60 kid from the commercial with Cam Newton.
Goons? Well goons tried to get in our cage, momma just chased them off with a broom!
“The only way to win is by pinfall, submission, escaping the cage, or being John Cena.”
Thanks, everybody. See you next year! Or, uh, tomorrow.