Views From The Turnbuckle: Extreme Rules Review, Match Ratings, Analysis And More

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of WrestlingInc or its staff.

During my preview for Extreme Rules on Thursday I mentioned how that while the name of the PPV was "Extreme Rules" there were not a ton of "extreme" matches on the card. While the show may not have had a ton of extreme matches on the card, it certainly made up for it by packing in as many extreme moments into the matches that were.


WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs Kane: **1/2 (2.5 stars)

The match will best be remembered for the first flaming table bump in nearly a decade, a completely unexpected moment. Sure, the table wasn't lit in the middle and there was a fire extinguisher being deployed about a quarter second after the bump, but still, I never expected to see a flaming table bump in a WWE during the PG-era.

With that being said, does one great bump make a wrestling match? I don't think so, although it did probably save the match from being a complete disaster. One thing that hurts WWE in the PG-era is that it really handicaps everything they can do with a hardcore style match. Unless you have someone like Seth Rollins who is willing to fly out of the stands, almost everything they do is just sort of boring. Daniel Bryan hits Kane with a kendo stick? Seen that before. Kane hits a backbreaker on a steel chair? Yawn. There is only so many times you can see the same bump over and over again before you get sick of seeing them.


The match started slow with all the predictable bumps, and then it moved towards the backstage area where Kane threw Bryan's head into something a bunch of times. Bryan then knocked Kane out with a tire iron, loaded him onto a forklift, drove the forklift all the way back to ringside, dumped Kane in the ring, and then hit a headbutt. I know it is wrestling, but while Bryan was loading a clearly unconscious Kane into a forklift and driving him all the way to the ring, why didn't he just pin him? I'm fairly certain the match was falls-count anywhere, and a referee followed them all the way to the back, so what kind of logic is required for it to make more sense to load Kane onto a forklift?

The post-match activities were equally puzzling. You would think that putting someone through a flaming table and then hitting your finisher on them would be the end of the feud, since an injured Bryan clearly displayed that he was better than Kane. However, Kane simply sat up after the match, launched his pyro, and ended the PPV standing tall, which would mean that there is likely more in store between Bryan and Kane. They had an okay match tonight, but do really need another month of this feud?


John Cena vs Bray Wyatt: *1/4 (1.25 stars)

I hated this match pretty much the entire way through. Neither John Cena or Bray Wyatt is going to blow anybody away with their in-ring skills, and putting them inside a steel cage only restricts what both men can do inside the ring. The match basically featured 20 minutes of John Cena once again beating the crap out of not just one, or two, but all three members of the Wyatt Family. Meanwhile, Cena tried to escape the cage about 10,000 times during the match, only to be turned away by outside interference. If this match was supposed to make Cena and Wyatt look like equals, it really didn't do the job. Then again, maybe that was the point.

The finish of the match will probably be very controversial on whether it was really good or really bad. Personally, I couldn't stand it and thought it was one of the dumbest finishes WWE has ever utilized in a major match. The lights going out made me think there was going to be a secret new member of the Wyatt Family, well, it turns out I may have been right, although it could not have been stupider. The kid coming out and approaching Cena's face, with the distorted voice that is normally reserved for gang members on Gangland who don't want to be recognized, was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen while watching WWE. It just struck me as being so corny and lame, with Cena's crappy acting pushing everything over the top.


The case for having that finish is that this will finally be the thing that makes Cena crack. Despite the fact that Wyatt had a chorus of children singing that same song to Cena just six days ago, and the fact that it didn't seem to effect Cena in the slightest, this may finally be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Cena may have to fully embrace Bray Wyatt's tricks in order to beat him (even though he already beat him at Wrestlemania). In theory, this should be interesting, but none of Wyatt's mind games have worked so far, so what is the chance that this one actually works? After all, this was pretty much just a scaled down version of what Wyatt did on Raw last week to Cena. Is costing Cena a match enough to break him? Only time will tell.

The Shield vs Evolution: ****1/2 (4.5 stars)

The best match WWE has produced in 2014, Evolution vs The Shield hit all the marks last night, and probably lived up to its fullest potential, something that is rarely said about a WWE match. The match started off kind of slow, but eventually broke down into chaotic team warfare, a style that The Shield has mastered over their time in WWE.

Roman Reign's got the pinfall and was probably the person WWE was trying to target during this match, in hopes of getting him ready for a solo feud with Triple H this summer. While I have no complaints about Reign's performance tonight, the real star of the match had to be Seth Rollins. Not only did Rollins have the bump of the year so far, but he sold like a million bucks for all three members of Evolution during the early stages of the match and took a wicked bump into the guardrail before brawling into the crowd. Rollins showed why he has so much potential for the future, and that he has a serious case for being not only the best in-ring worker in WWE, but anywhere in the world.


The ending of the match was interesting. Like I said in my preview, the result of this match was fairly difficult to predict heading into the match, and I was little bit surprised that The Shield won so cleanly. Batista taking the pinfall may be a sign of things to come. It was thrown around that a potential new member of Evolution would show up tonight, but that never materialized, although that doesn't mean the potential for Evolution to expand is out of the question. A possible scenario is that Orton and HHH blame Batista for losing the match while they were off fighting in the crowd, and announce that they need to evolve and kick Batista out of the group and reveal a new member. The Shield winning the match handily was an interesting, but still a very positive move into the right direction.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Bad News Barrett vs Big E: **3/4 (2.75 stars)

With a single bull-hammer elbow, the reign of Big E came to an end. Barrett, who should definitely win the comeback player of the year award if such an award exists, reinvented himself and now finally has something to show for the genius that his character has displayed. The match was pretty good, with Barrett carrying a bulk of it and displaying an expanded arsenal of moves. Since his debut in WWE, Barrett's work rate has improved tremendously, and at 33 years old, a future world title run is still very much in play for him.


On a more somber note, the promising Big E title run has come an end, a run that could have actually gone somewhere if WWE had cared to put any effort into it. Despite the fact that Big E has a good look, is very athletic and only 28 years old, WWE didn't really give him a chance to succeed during his title run. He rarely got time to speak on television, and all of his matches seemed to be thrown together at the last minute. In theory, putting the second biggest title in the company on a guy would symbolize that the company has high hopes for him, but Big E never really got the chance to get off of the ground. Hopefully, losing the title would spark a bit more fire in Big E, and he will get an actual feud to work with against a cunning heel in Barrett.

Diva's Title Match: Paige vs Tamina Snuka: **1/2 (2.5 stars)

I really would have liked to have seen these two go longer, as they seemed to have pretty good chemistry together and hit a lot of moves in the match that most Diva's wouldn't even dream of doing. Having them go only six minutes, and having Tamina tap out after being in the hold for less than a second has kind of disappointing. Tamina has improved a lot in the ring since her debut, and Paige has proven herself to be an elite women's worker, although I could do with a lot less wild screaming for no reason during her matches.


Cesaro vs Rob Van Dam vs Jack Swagger: ***1/2 (3.5 stars)

For a match that was kind of thrown together at the last moment, all three guys did the best they could to open the show with a really entertaining contest. The action was fast paced, and they squeezed a lot of exciting spots into a 12 minute match. Cesaro continues to be a wizard in the ring and RVD looked very good for a guy his age. Don't know what is next for Cesaro, but hopefully it is something good because the guy deserves it.

Alexander Rusev vs Xavier Woods and R-Truth: * (1 star)

Typical squash match that could have easily been done on Raw but was instead broadcasted on PPV because hey, we wouldn't to see more time for RVD/Swagger/Cesaro or Paige/Tamina. The match was made interesting in the slightest only because R-Truth got in his first offensive moves of 2014. Congratulations, Ron.

Overall, Extreme Rules was a show of highs and lows. Two of the top matches on the show were disappointing overall, but the Evolution/The Shield match and a strong undercard saved the show and actually made the show pretty enjoyable overall. With the exception of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, there is a lot of room for storylines to progress, which is always a good sign heading into the summer months.


As an added bonus, here are my star ratings from New Japan's Wrestling Dontaku PPV event which took place on Saturday.

BUSHI, Captain New Japan, El Desperado & Mascara Dorada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask & Yohei Komatsu- ***
The Young Bucks vs The Forever Hooligans- ****
Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano vs Shelton Benjamin and Minoru Suzuki- **3/4
Satoshi Kojima vs Wes Brisco- **
Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata vs Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi- **
Kota Ibushi vs Ryusuke Taguchi- ****
Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoaki Honma- ****1/2
Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs Jushin Thunder Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and Togui Makabe- ***3/4
AJ Styles vs Kazuchika Okada- ****1/4