Outside of WrestleMania last month, I thought Extreme Rules was the best WWE pay-per-view in quite some time.
While there have been some good matches here and there on WWE pay-per-views lately, the events from top to bottom left a lot to be desired.
However, that was not the case Sunday night at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. I thought the card delivered overall and it made for an enjoyable show.
Before we delve deep into the happenings of the event, let's take a quick gander at the full match results from the show:
- Pre show match: El Torito def. Hornswoggle
- Cesaro def. Rob Van Dam & Jack Swagger
- Alexander Rusev def. R-Truth & Xavier Woods
- Bad News Barrett def. Big E to win Intercontinental Championship
- The Shield def. Evolution
- Bray Wyatt def. John Cena
- Paige def. Tamina to retain Divas Championship
- Daniel Bryan def. Kane to retain WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Now here are my observations and takeaways from Sunday's event:
Daniel Bryan-Kane feud looks like it has another match on the way
First, let me say that I was surprised that Daniel Bryan and Kane closed the show. I know that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is usually the main event, but this particular match was not built as if this would close the show.
I wasn't surprised by the fact that Bryan retained his title in only his first defense. As for the match itself, I thought it was good. There were a lot of cool moments that harkened back to the "Attitude Era" with the fighting backstage and Bryan bringing Kane back into the arena on a forklift.
However, I didn't like that after Bryan hit the head butt from the forklift, Kane kicked out as if he was merely suplexed or something. Before the head butt, Kane was hit with a crowbar six or seven times, but I guess he shook those off pretty quick despite lying on the forklift for two or three minutes.
I also wasn't a fan of the flaming table spot, but only because Kane popped right back up after the match. What was the point of having the spot if he's barely going to sell it? It's not that I didn't like the spot itself, it's just that I didn't like the fact got up as if he fell into a foam pit rather than a flaming table.
Kane popping back up and setting off his pyro after the match was a sign that this feud has not reached its climax just yet. Bryan even hinted to it in his press conference after the show where he said that he's not sure whether or not he's done with Kane yet.
If another match between these two actually comes to fruition, I fully expect Bryan to win that match as well.
The Shield, Evolution match stole the show
The expected main event delivered on about as many fronts as one could imagine. I dug pretty much everything about this match. I dug the structure. I dug the action. I even dug the outcome of The Shield coming out on top. To me, that was the right decision.
The Shield puts on great matches every time they step into the ring, but kudos should go to Evolution for not only keeping up with The Shield's sometime frantic pace, but also doing the favors in the end. It was needed in order to make The Shield to continue to look like the dominant force they really are.
The Shield's last meaningful feud was against The Wyatt Family and they lost both encounters, so the group almost needed the win.
But the man of the hour had to be Seth Rollins. I've always thought he was very talented, but he had to take a bit of a backseat in The Shield with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns getting significant time in the spotlight.
But Rollins has recently gotten the limelight shown on him and now everyone gets to see just how good he is. Not to mention how crazy he is.
That jump off the stairs he did was insane, not just because he was flying from maybe 20 feet in the air, but because there was no soft landing at the end of this jump. There was nothing but concrete.
I did find it interesting that Batista took the pin again. He tapped out to Bryan at WrestleMania and was pinned by Reigns Sunday after taking the spear.
You would think that would be Randy Orton taking those defeats, but that has not been the case. Batista essentially has only won one big match since his much-ballyhooed return in January, and that was the Royal Rumble. No, his win over Alberto Del Rio at Elimination Chamber does not count.
Little Johnny beats John Cena
Well, that didn't technically happen, but that's essentially what went down at the end of Cena's cage match with Bray Wyatt.
Cena and Wyatt put on a rather average match where Cena could have won about a half dozen times if it weren't for Luke Harper and Erick Rowan thwarting his escape attempts from the cage.
Eventually, Cena found a way to get Harper and Rowan inside of the cage (no, seriously) so that he could get to the floor without any roadblocks. Despite there being three people in the ring with Cena, he still found time to attempt another escape from the cage.
But there was someone out there to thwart him again. This time, it was a little boy singing, "He's Got the Whole Word In His Hands" in a heavily altered voice. Cena didn't know what to make of the creepy kid, turned around and walked right into Sister Abilgal. As soon as Wyatt hit the move, he calmly walked out of the cage to win the match.
I will admit it, when I first saw that kid it scared the hell out of me. But upon further thought on the matter, something struck me.
It struck me that three grown men couldn't take down Cena, but an eight-year-old with hoarse voice shook Cena so much that he stopped dead in his tracks and lost the match. Really? I know the kid was creepy and all, but Cena is kind of like a 14-time world champion.
It turns out the kids' name is Little Johnny and either is or looks eerily similar to the kid in the NFL Play60 commercial with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
I get the story of the children — the one segment of the audience that cheers Cena no matter what — turning against him and even costing him a match, but besides scaring the crap out of me, it didn't quite make sense.
Plus, the booking was kind of backward, especially for a cage match. I mean, people getting into a cage match is bad enough, but now we have a babyface that's bringing people in the cage on his own.
If anything, Wyatt should have won with interference and shenanigans at WrestleMania. Then, the WWE could have had Cena beat Wyatt in the cage, but only if there's no interference.
Bad News receives some very good news
The good news for Bad News Barrett: He defeated Big E to win his fourth Intercontinental Championship Sunday night.
The bad news: He won the Intercontinental Championship.
If the startling curse of the Intercontinental title continues, Barrett will be receiving the bad news that he's losing non-title matches on television on a weekly basis.
For his sake, and for the sake of the once prestigious Intercontinental Championship, hopefully that changes.
I will say this, the title is around is the waist of a man that is already over with the fans instead of being on someone that the WWE hopes gets over because they are the champion. That's one of a plethora of reasons why the title hasn't meant much lately — because the WWE hopes someone gets over after they have won the title already.
Barrett is already over. Why? It's because people have a reason to care about him. People didn't have a reason to care about Big E other than the fact that he wasn't a bad guy. People don't care that he has was a power lifter and has big muscles. You watch enough wrestling you're going to see your share of muscle heads, and they get less impressive every time you see them. There has to be something else, and right now, WWE has not given Big E that something else. I can't blame him for that.
The company expected him to connect with the crowd basically because he's jacked. That's not going to work. Barrett has connected with the fans and hopefully WWE can push him and the title along with him. Maybe a feud with Cesaro could help. Honestly, a feud with anyone would help.
"WEELC" was exactly what you'd expect
When the WWE does comedy, it usually overdoes it every single time. The "WEELC" match from Sunday was a prime example.
Let me make this clear, did everyone work hard? Yes. Did they do what they were told? It looked like they did, but WWE always feels the need to tell people, "Hey, this is our comedy segment," and it takes away from it being actually funny, which is the whole point of the segment to begin with.
The WWE went all out to be funny Sunday night with smaller versions of John Bradshaw Layfield (JBelf), Michael Cole (Micro Cole) and Jerry "The King" Lawler (Jerry Smaller) all sitting behind a little announce table. One of the little announcers had a pretty thick New York accent, which made it sound like Vince Russo was calling the match. WWE also had a little referee and ring announcer.
El Torito and Hornswoggle bashed each other with small tables, ladders and chairs, and even got their cohorts in Los Matadores and 3MB involved.
One cool spot was Jinder Mahal falling back first through a table with ladders on top of it. Since there was nothing hanging above the ring, El Torito won by pin fall.
At the end of the day, the WWE spent a good amount of money just to tell one joke throughout the match: "Look how small they are."
The logic behind Rusev match was good
The match itself was rather uneventful, as Alexander Rusev earned his first pay-per-view match, but I did like the structure of the match.
Before the match officially started, Xavier Woods tried to attack Rusev, but Rusev fought him off and eventually tossed him into the frame of the ring, which I guess knocked him out cold.
From there, it was essentially a one-on-one match between Rusev and R-Truth. Rusev won despite taking all of Truth's big moves, which didn't do Truth any favors, but in a weird way, the WWE sort of protected Woods.
All of the damage he took was before the match, so essentially Rusev didn't beat the both of them. Although it will say that in the record books, he really only beat Truth and took out Woods before the match.
Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way or thinking way too deep into this, but that's how I looked at it.