Extreme Rules 2012 is another PPV that happened during my “dark years”. I wanted to find a highly rated PPV that I had never seen before and this particular one seemed to be on most, if not all of the top PPV lists I could find. I purposely looked up nothing about it and went in with a completely blank slate. The only match I even knew about was Brock Lesner vs. John Cena, which is the rumored SummerSlam Main Event. For now, let’s just say that I’ll be very surprised if they are able to top their performance from 2012. But we’ll get to that later.
This is a solid card, but if ever there were a PPV that really showed how WWE tried pushing certain “superstars” onto their fans, this is the one.
No doubt. If you’re an internet smark (what’s up?), the results just weren’t in your corner. However, the card still shines.
Santino kicks off the PPV with a match against The Miz. And I hate the Miz. Seriously, I hate him. It’s amazing to me that WWE has invested so much time into him. The sooner he gives up on his in-ring career and starts playing second fiddle to Renee Young’s commentary, the better. I watched this match after I had heard about Santino’s retirement, which made me appreciate it maybe a bit more than it deserved. It did remind me just how long Santino had been doing the same gimmick and still seemed to love his job. Santino wins with a Cobra to the throat. Throwing in a small plug to listen to the Talk is Jericho podcast where he interviews Santino in kayfabe the entire time. It’s just as awesome as you think it is. I want to remind everyone that Extreme Rules 2011 was main event-ed by the Miz and in 2012, he was on the pre-show where he belongs!
And I would like to remind everyone that the Miz headlined a WrestleMania and I’m still pissed about it.
Wait, how come when I watched this on WWE Network they didn’t show the pre-show? Boo.
Next up is Kane and Randy Orton with a falls count anywhere stipulation. Good match with two future Hall of Famers. I enjoyed the quick trip to the back to have Zack Ryder get a good 5-seconds on camera. Great finish that involved a nasty RKO on a chair to give Orton the win.
Side note: Heel Michael Cole is weird. I’m so glad I missed out on all of that.
That was a decent match. Randy Orton winning wasn’t a surprise, but still fun. I thought their backstage segment felt forced and went a little too long. If I recall correctly, that Paul Bearer segment they showed was the last appearance of him in character on WWE. There were points all night where Michael Cole seemed to forget he was supposed to be heel.
An entertaining bout, but forced nonetheless. They knew what the title of the PPV was and in turn, gift-wrapped an immediate play on words. I may admittedly enjoy dumb shit, but I prefer it not be spoon-fed.
But if Kane v Orton was the second match…
The next match on the card is a fresh, and new, Brodus Clay (with two black chicks and a midget) against Dolph “Push Me” Ziggler (with Vickie G. and Jack Swagger).
(Note: I’m sure there’s a more politically-correct way of describing, and I quote, “TWO BLACK CHICKS AND A MIDGET”, but for the sake of continuity…)
Good timing with this match due to a number of reasons. Sadly, Brodus and Vickie have both left the WWE within the past month, and the Funkadactyls broke up last week on Raw. Damn, they’ve been working together a long time! Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with Brodus in this match. I never really saw long-term potential in Clay and apparently, neither did Vince! BOOM! (I’m going to hell.)
Anyways…Poor Brodus. He wins by literally running over Dolph. Not a bad match at all, but nothing spectacular to report.
A prime example of trying to push someone on people is Brodus Clay. He even seemed to hate himself. This is what you do with a man who looks like a monster? Did they not learn from Mark Henry? Mark Henry isn’t a joke, he’s a fucking monster. Once they got through with Sexual Chocolate and all the other bull shit they made him deal with, they finally said,“Oh, wait, he looks like a monster,” and Mark Henry became the character he deserved to be.
Middle of the card is Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes in a table match. This fight was determined by a seemingly random spinning of the wheel ala Raw Roulette. Why was this the only match determined this way? No one knows and no one cares. Good short match with Show dominating the entire time, then accidentally slipping off the apron via a drop kick from Cody and literally stepping through a table on the outside. Great clever finish. I loved it. Show then goes on a rampage, destroying Cody in the process. Cody looks strong getting up after the beating and receives a solid pop from the crowd. Great story telling with a clever finish that I had not seen before.
Once again, here they are trying to push Show. Despite the crowd being behind Cody and his win, that act from Show afterwards was supposed to be the act of a face? Crazy. Nobody wanted to see Show win, and nobody wanted to see Show period. The finish was clever for sure, though.
So, remember how I had no idea what was on this card before watching it? Well, when Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan two-out-of-three falls came onto my television, I was pleasantly surprised, especially since I knew that their infamous 18-second WrestleMania happened only a month prior. These guys had some great chemistry. Good back and forth in this match. It was great to see the methodical short-haired Daniel “American Dragon” Bryan that I love. I still enjoy the current Daniel Bryan, but nothing beats a technical slow brutal D-Bry match. At one point, Bryan pulls some great heel moves and sacrifices a fall by DQ in order to kick Sheamus’s shoulder off. This match really got me in the mood for a Bryan heel-turn and haircut. But honestly, the finish was a bit lack-luster. I mean, they had a great back and forth going, with both wrestlers turning the tables and getting some solid moves in, then, Sheamus pins him clean. A little anti-climactic but still: a great match.
I too am ready for heel and trimmed Daniel Bryan to come back. That was a solid match, but man, once again, here comes Vince trying to push the wrong guy on an audience that just doesn’t want him. Kudos to Bryan for getting a Chicago crowd that was rabidly behind him to suddenly turn on him (well, for some of them to, anyways) just by saying a few words in a promo to piss them off. These are two guys who should both be heel now.
I missed out on heel Bryan so this was interesting, to say the least. Then again, it’s hard not to misconstrue your opinions about something when the Voice of the Voiceless are involved. That’s what leads to Paul Heyman introducing Cesaro and, coincidentally, Daniel Bryan being an awesome hell.
Having said that, I bet Daniel Bryan was an awesome heel.
Ryback defeated Aaron Relic and Jay Hatton for some reason. Why is there a squash match on a PPV?! I know they recently did this with Rusev destroying Ron Killings and Xavier Woods, but hey, at least they were on the roster. These guys were obvious local talent with no business on a PPV. Although, Ryback doesn’t have much business being on this PPV either. BOOM!
This was early Ryback, being pushed as a monster (after having a dumb hick-gimmick for a while…shocker!) and just destroying whoever was put in front of him. It’s crazy to think just how far Ryback has dropped since then.
Side note #2: I hate Booker T as an announcer. He’s bad. Really bad. I wish he wasn’t but he is.
The promo video before the CM Punk vs. Jericho match made me sad. I missed this fued. I kind of want to go back and watch all the segments leading up to this match. The sobriety test looked ridiculous and awesome. These are two of the best talkers the business will ever see and two wrestlers in my top 5 favorites of all time. Punk was so good pre-Heyman and got even better with him to bounce off of. Despite a couple botches, it’s still a great match. The fire extinguisher spot was great and kind of a throwback you don’t see much anymore. This match also got me really excited about the upcoming Jericho vs Wyatt feud.
Although Jericho proves in this match he is best as a heel, I think he can still bring a lot to the table in a Wyatt feud. If Jericho doesn’t make it into the HOF, we riot. Right, guys? Right?! Punk wins in his home town and celebrates overcoming his genetic disposition to alcohol and child trauma.
This was absolutely the match of the night. I still want to believe that Punk will come back some day, and when he does, I want whatever it is that makes him come back to be just like the moment when Jericho goes after his sister. Punk loses his fucking mind and it’s incredible. This was probably the last time we saw heel Jericho, and I’m really afraid that we’ll never see it again. I’m sure 99% of ideas that are pitched to Y2J to get him to come back are face ideas, but hopefully a time comes when nothing interests him and they pitch him, or he pitches his own heel idea and comes back that way. This is the only match-and-outcome combination of the PPV that I think a WWE audience today would accept.
Great match, and I want Punk back, but still: Any time I see CM or A.J., I immediately think of the young wrestling Messiah we all missed out on. For shame.
Layla defeated Nikki Bella/Brie Bella in a very average match. I honestly had no idea Layla had been in the WWE for this long. The old switcheroo from the Bellas seems weird to me if only because I don’t think they look enough alike to pull it off.
The main event featured the return of Brock Lesner in an extreme rules match against John “Super Cena” Cena. It’s amazing to me that this was Brock’s first match back since his very underwhelming performance against Ryback (I mean Goldberg) at WrestleMania 20 in 2004. This match really impressed me. To come back after 8 years better than when you left is not an easy thing. It’s a strange match, though. There aren’t many “wrestling” moves performed. Still, these two did have a certain chemistry.
It seemed like Cena getting busted open at the beginning of the match from Brock’s elbows was planned, but either way, I believed that it was a real cut and not a blade job. Then it seemed like there was a 10 minute period of a thousand people trying to convince Cena to not continue the match. At a certain point, I completely bought in to Lesner brutalizing Cena. Lesner looked like the monster that he is and I loved it.
And let’s not forget about the greatness that is Super Brock.
One of my favorite moments was Lesner jumping into the air to hit Cena on the apron, only to crash all the way to floor in a nasty looking bump. He gets up almost immediately and starts laughing. Perfect! I loved it. They trade some near-falls building to what I assume is a Lesner win when… Cena overcomes the odds and pulls out the win…and what an emotional moment or something. I can’t say it ruined the match or the PPV, but it did seem like a cheap finish to a stellar bout.
The first of only seven matches that Brock Lesnar has been in since returning to the WWE over two and a half years ago was certainly an awesome return.
Read that sentence again, except this time, try and keep your brain from short circuiting.
I have no doubt that Cena told Lesnar to bust him open legit at the start of the match and would take the heat for it. That and the pile driver Punk performed on Cena early last year are two examples of when (at least I think that) Cena will occasionally say, “Fuck it, what are they going to do, fire me? I’ll just tell them I told him to do it.”
The entire match was pretty much Lesnar destroying Cena. Eventually, Lesnar really did himself in and caused the most damage to himself, allowing Cena the cheap win, which, as Kevin notes, is what is referred to as “overcoming the odds.” Ugh. What a way to crown off a night of finishes nobody wanted.
I feel like I got really lucky picking this PPV. With zero expectations going in, I felt like this was a very solid PPV and definitely stands out in my top 10 of the recent WWE era. It’s always great catching up on WWE moments that I missed, especially the good ones.
There were some real solid matches on this show, but boy was almost every outcome terrible. As I’ve repeated throughout, the whole time it just felt like there were so many poor attempts to push guys that nobody was really interested in. Brodus Clay, Sheamus, Cena…all the while, if you look at the WWE now, their opponents are in way better situations; Ziggler won Money in the Bank and the World Heavyweight Championship and, more importantly, is still regularly on TV, Bryan (who, granted, is out now) wrestled two amazing matches at Mania against three opponents, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and (Paul Heyman voice) Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Brodus Clay was fired, Sheamus has the United States title after being out for a year, and Cena has lost more title matches than he has won and seems to be getting ready to pass the torch to Roman Reigns, who was still a few months shy of even being on the main roster during this time.
Overall, I was pleased. It was a great look into the history between Brock and Cena and really, one of the more amazing “Super Cena” moments to date. I mean, the guy basically broke Lesnar. That’s incredible.
All I know is that if he wins at SummerSlam…
The crowd reaction, considering this was Chicago, is pretty interesting. Those “let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants are way leaning toward the latter rather than the former, as they did on this show. I think it was an interesting look at how things can quickly change.
Kevin Bowden’s Grade: A-
Michael Edwards’s Grade: C
John Daigle’s Grade: B
Average Grade: B
Next Time: Great American Bash ’90