Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the misfits who make the biscuits, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we take the first step back out onto that long, long road to the next Wrestlemania. This is the time of the year when the most change occurs, and that is clearly evident here, as the draft has shaken things up in WWE considerably, creating two rosters that look very different indeed than they did a few weeks ago. This PPV, therefore, is like a jelly filled doughnut, except instead of jelly, INTRIGUE. All of the Wrestlemania feuds will be blown off as the competitors are physically separated by being on different shows, all of the matches will be extreme in some abstract way, and an event will happen on this show (and later in the week) that would send shockwaves throughout the wrestling industry. Not bad for a Sunday.
Cewsh: Vice and I were having a discussion the other day about PPV theme songs. He was complaining that so often these days, a PPV will have some kind of poppy song that makes the whole show sound so peppy and ridiculous and not aggressive in the slightest, whereas back in the day, even if it was terrible nu-metal nonsense it would at least set the tone for an aggressive kick ass show. I wasn’t sure if I agreed with trading music that was terrible but appropriate for our current better music that was not really fitting, until I heard the theme for this show. Now I don’t know what collection of scruffy neckbeards composed this anthem, but it is bad. Truly, truly a piss poor effort. BUT, it has loud guitars and a guy who sounds pissed off, and as I watched the various clips of people being harmed, it just felt…right somehow. Only now do I realize how odd it seems to watch people clubbing each other viciously set to a P-Diddy song, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back.
What’s Fred Durst doing these days?
Cewsh: Okay, so here we are at the end of a long, strange road for these two men. Originally this all got started when CM Punk decided to stop his blood feud with John Cena for no clear reason and focus instead on a several year old gripe with Randy Orton. Then Orton injured every member of Punk’s team and beat him clean at Wrestlemania. Now apparently we need the REAL blow off to the feud in a Last Man Standing match, conceivably because CM Punk almost won a match once, and we need to make sure nobody remembers that.
As Punk comes down to the ring with David Otunga, Michael McGuilicutty and Mason Ryan in tow (all of whom apparently heal up like Wolverine to be back already from the Punt) the Raw Anonymous General Manager emails Josh Matthews to let us know that all members of the New Nexus will be banned from ringside. This makes CM Punk very sad indeed, but in fairness, they haven’t ton him or anybody else a ton of good when it comes to beating babyfaces anyway so he’s probably better off.
Now right away this match could have gone one of two ways. Since it’s so so obvious that Randy is winning that Stevie Wonder can see it, the match could have been dull, boring, and the crowd could have totally given up on it. Or, the crowd could be surprisingly white hot as these two deliver the best match in their series. Luckily, the two performers here are Randy Orton and CM Punk, so they bring the later. There are some truly great moments in this match that they pulled out all the stops with, like a Russian leg sweep reversed into a goddamn RKO, and a springboard clothesline reversed into a kendo shot to the left nut that really bring up the quality of the match and ratchet up the excitement.
The real story here, though, is the characters involved. Just watching this match, it is so, so clear that they have something in CM Punk that even we who have been overrating him since he was a scrawny spot monkey working for Ian Rotten hadn’t predicted. When he does his heelish mannerisms, these fans that cheer every heel these days BOO HIM OUT OF THE BUILDING. They HATE CM Punk. Whenever Randy gets the best of him they go batshit insane cheering for it. Finding heels in modern day wrestling that are both talented and heat magnets is like finding a Beluga whale in the Sears Hardware Department, but here’s one right in front of our eyes, losing every night and not losing one iota of his heat.
Then there’s Orton, who many people are getting tired of, feeling that his awesome heel character has been neutered to make him a good guy. That’s probably true to an extent, but what gets lost is the fact that in the ring, he’s a really talented face wrestler. He sells to extremes for everything, he has signature spots that the crowd goes nuts for, and his RKO may be the single greatest babyface finishing move in wrestling history (yes, even more so than the Diamond Cutter, blasphemous I know). This plus that equals a really fun opening match here, that probably would have been much better without the really forced and not particularly effective gimmick of the Last Man Standing match. But fun is fun, and I wont hold the gimmick against them, especially with the brilliant ending sequence, with Orton just going nuts on Punk with a Kendo stick and then giving him a Super RKO to end the match and their feud once and for all.
Putting these two characters in the ring together never fully clicked at Elimination Chamber or Wrestlemania, but here, given full reign to do whatever they wanted, they finally made it work.
79 out of 100.
MichaelC: When was the last time Punk won on PPV? Extreme Rules 2010, I believe. A whole year of jobbing out on PPV, breaking the 2002 Jericho record by some distance.
This was a hell of a one sided feud. Punk got one pinfall in the entire thing, in the Chamber after Orton had already pinned him clean, then Orton single handedly beat up all of Punks friends, and pinned Punk clean three times.
No wonder the poor sod wants to leave!
Cewsh Note: Allegedly wants to leave. I wont believe Punk is gone until they pry him from my cold dead hands.
Cewsh: In this case, it is their history of taking relevant issues, and making irrelevant jokes about them for no reason. Here, Sheamus is backstage with Teddy Long and Teddy tells him he’ll have to defend his United States title against Kofi Kingston in a Tables match tonight. Sheamus says that would be fine, but that he refuses to wrestle someone who isn’t even from America and he DEMANDS to see Kofi’s birth certificate.
See, its funny because our President Obama has had to deal with a new crop of criticism about his alleged non-citizenship of late, and that’s, like, topical and shit! Never mind that Sheamus is also a foreigner, Kofi has never claimed to be from the United States (though Ghana and Jamaica are pretty far apart) and that this makes no sense. NUH UH. Its joke time goddammit, and we’ve gotta fit that shit in somewhere.
Cewsh: This is a Kofi Kingston match. Therefore instead of an actual review, here I have for you a series of quotes from the movie Cool Runnings.
Sanka Coffie: So what are we gunna name the sled?
Junior Bevill: How about… “Tallulah?”
Sanka Coffie: Tallulah! Hahaha! Tallulah! Sounds like a 2 dollar hooker! Where you come up with that?
Junior Bevill: That’s my mother’s name.
Sanka Coffie: Look, Star. Let me tell you a little something, alright? When you need something from me, you don’t have to hand me a bunch of lines. All you have to do is look at me in the eye and say, “Sanka, you are my best friend, we’ve been through a whole heap together, and I really, really need you.”
Derice Bannock: Sanka, you’re right. And you are my best friend. We’ve been through a whole lot together.
Sanka Coffie: “Heap, heap!”
Derice Bannock: Sorry, mon. Whole heap together.
Sanka Coffie: “And I really, really need you.”
Derice Bannock: And I really, really need you.
Sanka Coffie: [nods head slowly, then] … Forget it!
If Kofi Kingston were Sanka Coffie, this match would get a 100. As he is not, but Sheamus did his best, it gets a…
72 out of 100.
Cewsh: We’re backstage with Todd Grisham, and the newly heeled R-Truth. Now, if you’ve only seen R-Truth in WWE, you may expect this promo to go a certain way. Truth says some ridiculously cheesy catchphrases, maybe raps and dances a little and is off the screen before people remember that he was never supposed to get mic time in the first place. But HEEL, R-Truth is something different altogether. When Grisham asks him whether he’s upset that he isn’t in the triple threat title match anymore (after losing the title shot to John Morrison on Raw) Truth explodes into a tirade about how it’s a conspiracy (including the legendary header quote), and goes on to say, “Conspiracies are not good, Todd! They’re bad! Like John Morrison’s breath!”. He then delivers some of the most absurd facial expressions since the Maestro reacting to James Brown, and wanders off mysteriously into the night.
If this all sounded totally absurd, it was. If it also sounded wildly entertaining, it was absolutely that too. The man they called Truth is back, ladies and gentlemen. And as long as he has a live mic, get ready for some promos of Scott Steinerian proportions.
Cewsh: Welp, here we go then.
Last month at Wrestlemania we got a match between Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole. It happened to be one of the worst train wrecks in Wrestlemania history, and single handedly wrecked about 6 months of an interesting storyline. Luckily, though, Michael Cole remained a heat magnet afterwards, and the addition of the beloved Jim Ross has kept the fans interested over the past few weeks. Which was great, it was fine tv. But unfortunately the day had to come where the actual match took place, and well…let’s just say that the highlight of the match was Michael Cole wearing bubble wrap to the ring to protect himself.
Now, as you may expect, this match is not REALLY between Jim Ross and Michael Cole. This is a match between Jack Swagger and Jerry Lawler, with Ross thankfully being used sparingly, and Cole being used way, way, WAY too much. Unfortunately, just like at Mania, somebody thought it would make sense to make sure that Cole got the advantage on Lawler, because that’s how WWE style matches work, the heel gets heat, building to the babyface comeback. But in this case, the heel doesn’t seem like he could successfully assault a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, so the heat just kind of kills the crowd. The crowd is hot for Ross to get some revenge though, so when he does his thing whipping Swagger and then locks in a goddamn Anklelock, the crowd eats it up. This inevitably leads to the clash of the two people the fans care about the most (Ross and Cole) who also happen to not be professional wrestlers. Luckily, they handle this by having Ross beat the shit out of Cole for 5 minutes while the crowd goes wild, therefore learning from the mistakes they made at Mania.
And then Michael Cole wins.
Look, this match was the best it could possibly have been, and special props go to Cole and Ross for sustaining interest in this feud, but it had no business continuing beyond this point. The Cole thing becomes more grating and dull by the hour, and Jim Ross is a 60 year old announcer. They do not need to have further matches, and they DAMN SURE do not need to all be in the booth sniping at each other for another 800 years.
In fairness, though, it amuses me to no end that Josh Matthews and Booker T are trained professional wrestlers commentating on matches between two announcers. That’s almost poetic in its lack of sense making, really.
63 out of 100.
Cewsh: Sheesh John, I haven’t had a Choco Taco since February 16th, 2009 but you don’t see me complaining about it.
I label you a crybaby. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy a swimming pool full of Choco tacos.
Cewsh: This feud has been ridiculous, awkward, silly, and really hard to get into due to its utter lack of sense making. All of these things are pretty common knowledge.
Now watch this video and try to tell me that.
I’m not sure I have ever seen a hype video that incredible and beneficial to a feud for just a midcard match on an unimportant PPV, but it filled in all the gaps of logic, and through letting Cody’s words tell the story, this whole mess transforms from a ridiculous albatross around the neck of Rhodes into the best feud he has ever been a part of, and it transforms my interest in this match from something resembling your interest in a pie eating contest after your parents die in a tragic pie accident into…wait, how would pie kill your parents? Drowned in custard? Explosive pie tin? Overenthusiastic clowns? I don’t know, you fill in the blanks. What was I talking about again?
Anyway, when it comes down to the actual match between these two, they follow the Falls Count Anywhere blueprint, wrestling all over the arena, bumping into things, and giving some lucky crowd members something to tell their Granny about. St one point while they’re back in catering, Cody jumps up onto a counter and kicks Mysterio in the face, promoting a hallway full of rowdy falls to spontaneously burst into totally inappropriate chants of “Holy shit”. Eventually they work their way back into the ring and start having a regular old match, until Cody puts Rey on the ropes and out of nowhere, Rey Mysterio spits the fucking MIST into Cody’s eyes, allowing him to pick up the victory. What the fuck?
This was a fine match, just like all their others have been. Nothing overly special is going to come out of these two guys in the ring, but I certainly don’t mind watching them. Pretty much the full story on Rey Mysterio these days as a whole.
72 out of 100.
Cewsh: Here, we have our Divas match for the night. It is a mess, but interestingly, it is not a mess in the usual way.
See, this match was wrestled capably by two decent to good wrestlers who have fine chemistry and a clever set of near falls in mind. That is pretty much what I pull my hair out about not getting in most Divas matches, so theoretically I should be thoroughly satisfied. Except that this match is heel vs. heel, has a gimmick that has no build whatsoever since the decision was made for McCool to retire the week of the show, and there is really no fanfare to it at all. Layla (playing the face, despite the fact that she really has yet to do anything remotely facey or good) and Michelle just get in there and wrestle to complete silence, and then Michelle loses and that’s the end. Underwhelming, disappointing, and frankly, McCool deserved better even though I understand fully that there wasn’t time to give it to her.
Sometimes, them’s just the breaks.
53 out of 100.
MichaelC: I really enjoyed this match, much to my surprise. Layla has always been rather special, and Michelle was going all out for her final match. False finishes, heat and attempts to tell something of a story in the 4 minutes they were given. Shame the crowd couldn’t give a shit.
Isn’t it typical, just as you starting to enjoy someone, they go and leave?
Cewsh: Wait, did I say it was over? Oh, far, far, far from it boys and girls. Because what happened next made Papa Cewsh feel allllllll better.
Here, in pictures, is the story of the best WWE moment of 2011.
MichaelC: Kharma shows up, in almost a changing of the guard. One diva leaves, one comes in. If they do the same with, say, The Bellas and Eve and Melissa/Portia/Daizy, I’ll be even happier.
The bit where Layla showed up backstage and faced all the divas seemed to have similarities to Layla’s PPV debut at Summerslam 2006, where she also faced all the divas. That also featured the only good use of Ashley Massaro in her life.
Cewsh: Okay here…wait, what’s that? MichaelC wants to take the driver’s seat for this one? Well its unorthodox, but sure, I could go for a sandwich.
Hmm, do we have any Muenster cheese…
MichaelC: Ah, right, let’s see. MichaelC Facts:
– Christian has been in lots of Ladder matches, including four Money in the Banks, and a hell of a lot of TLCs. He’s been in countless IC title Ladder matches, defended his ECW title vs. Shelton, and also been in those TNA reverse ladder thingies.
– He even WON a few ladder matches, mostly with Edge when they were a tag team. And the one vs. Shelton, because Shelton is rubbish.
– Alberto Del Rio is nowhere near being the fastest Ascension to world title status anymore, that still belongs to Brock Lesnar in modern times.
Ah good old Christian. He actually bloody won! I didn’t believe he’d win the belt, till I saw it in his hands.
I remember getting in wrestling as a kid, I loved the Brood. Who wouldn’t? Gangrel, Edge and Christian. Gangrel got the focus, but then after Christian charitably gave up the whereabouts of the satanical kidnapped Stephanie McMahon, he was ritually beaten up by The Undertaker and the Ministry. The Brood were a bit unhappy about this, and after Undertaker went too far and was going to crucify Christian for his sins (good old Attitude era, eh?), the Brood rebelled and turned on the Ministry. And 12 year old me had my first proper mark out moment as a fan.
(Teletext used to run cryptic spoilers on a Tuesday of RAW upcoming, the Monday RAW being shown on Friday night in the UK back then. That week, “BROOD REBEL” was one of them, and having got a definition of rebel off my parents, that was the biggest reason to tune into RAW that week! Ah, being young, and your favorites being faces being important to you!)
The Brood went, and in came Edge and Christian, one of my favorite tag teams ever. They were heels, they were horrible to teams I liked, like the Acolytes, but they were so damn entertaining. Then Christian split and did his whole “At Last” phase, where I got one short mark out moment when he actually won the IC title off Edge in Edge’s mega push stage. He then lost a Ladder match to give Edge back the title – see what I said about Christian in ladder matches!
Then came tantrum stage, which wasn’t pretty, and UnAmerican stage, which was cut off far too soon. Then a feud with Cena got canned and he quit, went to TNA, won the NWA title once or twice, but that was TNA. TNA has never felt like big time wrestling, it’s more the Last of the Summer Wine style retirement home for wrestlers. And that is a major insult to Last of the Summer Wine. Sorry, Compo.
(Where ROB makes obscure pop culture references, I make obscure cult TV references. Go me!)
So anyhow, the point of that rather long history lesson is Christian has always been someone I follow and cheer for. He’s not on the level of a Taker, Benoit or Perfect for someone I invested LOTS of time in, but he was just below that. (One can easily be a fan of many people!) As a fan, I’ve always wanted to see my favorites do well. Hell, I want to see DH Smith do well, good talent there. (Not going to happen.)
But Christian never seemed able to put it together. Maybe he wasn’t liked backstage. Maybe he was just unlucky. Maybe he just wasn’t good enough. Terrible doubts run through your mind.
So Christian WON THE WORLD TITLE! It wasn’t clean, he needed Edge, it wasn’t the best ladder match of all time, he’s not a top star and it won’t last long. WHO CARES? Christian won the World title! A proper World title! In the history books, right there. World Champion!
After 12 years of Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Edge Christian who?…. I’ll take it.
Even if Christian was to lose this title on Smackdown, he’d still not even be in the top 5 shortest title reigns in WWF/E history. (Thanks, Yoko, Orton, Hardy, Andre, HHH, etc!) So there’s that too. Even if it the shortest of reigns, better to have a short reign than none at all. After all Perfect, Bam Bam, Bulldog, Bossman never got title reigns. Is it better to be one of the weakest title holders or the best man to never win the title? People speak highly of the latter, I know I do, but as a fan, you’ll always have the victory to savour. That moment when they announce: “And here is your new World Champion!”
Just goes to prove in wrestling. Good things come to those who wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait…
Good old Christian. Made a lacklustre PPV worth it.
Cewsh: I do not think that Christian should have won the World title here.
Yes, I know. In 13 words, I’ve more or less made myself an internet pariah here, but hear me out. Christian is a very capable wrestler. At various times in his career he’s turned in great performances and charismatic characters. He is a guy who would be a credit to any wrestling organization and would be the perfect upper midcarder to keep on your roster from here until eternity. But Christian is not a star on the level of the other people at this level, and I have always struggled with the idea that anybody should become World champion just because they “deserve” it after having been mired in midcard obscurity for a long period of time. If Christian is to be a babyface, then he had already been occupying the role he was meant to play in that role. He was a loved fan favorite, who was a tier below the real stars, because he just wasn’t very interesting as a character. Were he to turn heel (and there are signs pointing to him doing just that) then my opinion on this could change 100%, but I cannot comprehend the people who look at Christian the 38 year old bland babyface who doesn’t have the look, has trouble cutting convincing serious promos, and who has not had a win over a really credible name since he came back to the WWE and see the man who not only should be the World champion, but MUST be.
Now the match that is actually here is kind of lost in the shuffle due to the actual implications involved in Christian winning, and I doubt the actual match that got Christian his first World title will be remembered much in the years to come. It was a fine ladder match, and indicative of WWE toning down these matches and instead building to a dramatic finish, which I approve of heartily.
But it wasn’t something to set the world on fire or anything, and ultimately it will wind up being a forgotten footnote in history due to the sad circumstances of the Edge retirement which engulfs it.
Just like Christian becoming World Champion.
76 out of 100.
Cewsh Note: Randy Orton would go on to defeat Christian for the World title on Smackdown the following week, giving Christian one of the shortest title reigns of all time. It is strongly believed that this is leading to a Christian heel turn. People are very upset about this. I’m interested to see where it goes, and we should have a better idea come our next WWE review. But make no mistake about it, its one of the most insanely controversial things that have happened in wrestling since Rhino was last employed. It bears keeping an eye on.
MichaelC: Why couldn’t Corre have won? I have Zeke in my fantasy team!
Short, standard match that did it’s job. Now Zeke HAS reason to distrust Wade as much as he claims he has. An attempted Zeke face run wont be far off. Which will either mean the death of the Corre, or the return of Skip. Yep yep yep.
Lumberjack matches are always great for “spot the jobber” and “I still has a job” moments. DH Smith and Primo getting their well deserved PPV checks here.
Cewsh: It is at this point that I will take Mrs. Cewsh’s place in this review and use her customary line for these very occasions.
We have tag titles?
67 out of 100.
Cewsh: I want to say, first off before anything else, that the Miz’s title reign has been an unqualified success that has taken him an enormously long way, and I think its cemented him as a star for as long as he last in the wrestling business. The reason I wanted to make that clear is because, in case you didn’t guess, John Cena defeats Morrison and Miz here to win the WWE title, which all signs point to him holding all the way until next April or so. So before we move off into the next era of Cena domination and Miz gets bumped down the card a bit, I just wanted to make clear for historical reference that the Miz really WAS a great champion, he really DID, have a great reign, and John Cena really, really did actually lose a match at some point prior to this.
Now this match was better than the sum of its parts really. Morrison has really come into his own as a guy who sells his ass off and then brings the insane moves out of nowhere, Cena was Cena, and the Miz did his best to keep up with two guys simply better in the ring than he is. There were a number of memorable moments in the match like Morrison’s Starship Pain off the top of the cage which was totally insane and cost him the time (faces, huh?) and the match ending Super Attitude Adjustment off the top rope to the Miz. But the two most important parts were the one where R-Truth ran in to keep Morrison from winning the title getting his revenge for Morrison finagling his way in, in the first place, and the part where John Cena and John Morrison attempt to murder the Miz.
This was a good match, and it felt a great deal fresher than many of the main events we’ve had in the recent past. Everybody did their part, the characters in play were interesting, and even Cena winning didn’t hold that same familiar sting that it usually does.
Well played, WWE. Well played.
MichaelC: My thoughts are identical to the Elimination Chamber match featuring Morrison and Cena in February. Damn good match, everyone gets to look good, then suddenly Cena wins with a big move like that and it’s like nothing happened before. Feels anticlimatic. Doesn’t help we’d seen the top rope finisher already that night.
R-Truth’s interference would have been much funnier had he actually kicked Morrison out of the cage like he nearly did.
Not a patch on Rock/Foley/Shamrock, it has to be said.
(Incidentally, if anyone spots any errors in my bits, it’s actually Hero’s (with a !) fault. Honest.)
Cewsh: This is one of the dreariest wrestling shows I have watched in a long time. Every match seemed unnaturally prolonged; nothing rose above the distinctly mediocre or was even bad enough to enjoyably make fun of, and the whole Christian title win is now clouded over by so much controversy that it’s really not even possible to enjoy it for what it was. One shining moment from this entire show sustained my interest, and that was the absolutely perfect debut of Kharma as an absolute destructive force of nature.
That the best part of this show came not during any of the actual matches is really as much a sign of what this show was than anything else. I’m usually the optimistic one of the group here, but tonight all I am is disappointed.
Alright, that’ll do it for us boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our somewhat abbreviated, but never alleviated review of WWE Extreme Rules 2011. Everything will be back to normal later this week as we review, sheerly for our own pleasure, Ring of Honor’s Unified 2005 show. Ring of Honor used to kick major ass and we’re going to watch and review it to prove it. Its really one of the eras of wrestling that we’ve yet to cover so we’re going balls deep, which may or may not be as arousing as it sounds. So until then, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.