Monday, April 26, 2010

Extreme Rules! For Maryland, at least.

I didn't have high hopes for Extreme Rules, the April WWE PPV in Baltimore at the Arena, because the Maryland Athletic Commission is notorious for laying out hefty fines for hardcore wrestling.

Vince surely took a hit to the pocket book for some of the matches last night, though they were nothing compared to the vision most wrestling fans would have when looking forward to an extreme event. Not a drop of blood spilled, though Orton stomped a mudhole in Swagger's face against the steel stairs, and the Glamazon Beth Phoenix practiced a great deal of violence against Michelle McCool to regain her Women's Championship belt.

We walked in to a backstage setup of Triple Haitch getting piped by Shame-Us. Is this the extreme portion of our programming? I want tables and ladders and chairs, oh my.

Come to think of it, not a ladder appeared all evening. Guess my purple and green ensemble didn't have it's hoped for effect.

At the entrance of ShowMiz, hope for the entertainment value of Extreme Rules increased ten fold. Miz got on the mic and shot off at the mouth about Bret Hart naming ShowMiz the best tag team that was, is, or ever will be on RAW the following night - until Teddy Long made their title defense a three match gauntlet. Show didn't swallow Miz's face with his hands soon enough to avoid it, sigh.

Morrison and R Truth came out as the first team up. Did they explain how R Truth returned from the dead on Smackdown? I need to DVR that crap. I don't care how he returned, I had fun screaming "What's Up!" alongside the sheep. This first matchup was highlighted by some quick exchanges between the former tag team partners, and a tree of woe type thing placed on Show by Morrison as a counter to the choke slam. Wrestling's favorite gymnast wouldn't let go of Show, and the tag team champs held on to their titles...for the moment.

Henry and MVP ran in next, all in shiny new jumpsuits that were black with red accents for their acronyms. Mr. Porter slid in to attempt a quick pin on Show, but failed. Henry came in at Miz's arrival and broke him down, but WSM taggged MVP for Ballin' and a KO punch from Show on the outside allowed Teh Awesome to reverse MVP's pin attempt and get two down for the Tag Champs.

Pink filled the arena, and I squealed like the Bret Hart fangirl I've been for years. The Hart Dynasty stormed the ring with the Excellence of Execution by their side, hit a short yet beautiful Hart Attack, and got the pinfall. Look at how proud Uncle Bret is. Huggles all around.

Next up, a straight edge shearing. Although I couldn't cheer for Punk's demise all that hard, he gave a great story in this match along with his society, and what's a Christ-like figure without the hair? Good spots all around and Punk pulled it out with the help of a new SES member, who appeared out of nowhere after Festus and Scary Sherri got barred from ringside. 123wrestling made me aware of a rumor it's Matthews back from obscurity, and one can only hope our hometown boy is back in the big leagues.

Though I would have much rather seen him with Morrison and Melina in the first match. They worked that angle so damn well. The only hardcore aspects of this match were Festus's stink and the squirrel on Punk's chin. And the amount of near pinfalls. My god. Here's a favorite from close to the end.

Then we got into the strap. Keeping with the theme of former partner heat, JTG and Chad of CrymeTime attached themselves with leather and got down for some borderline BDSM fun. The most creative parts of the match were these dangling moves over the ropes.

JTG won by pulling off his finisher after following Chad's slaps of the first three corners. Little Naitch got in my way of seeing this. JTG ended the match collapsed in the fourth corner. Hopefully this is not an indicator of Marty Jannetty syndrome.

The match I was looking forward to the most was next. The All American American and the Viper had a classic match, rolling around on the mat to showcase Swagger's amateur skills as well as taking it outside for Orton to show us he's still vicious as hell. I'll give it to our still reigning champion, he will take a damn beating. Here's a money shot from this spectacular match.

Swagger was a suplex king, although Orton did pull of the DDT with Swagger's legs on the ropes that he seemed obsessed with making. The All American American countered the RKO with a suplex for the win. I didn't care he retained, I can only hope these two will run another match together soon.

I went for food after the green promos. Haitch was weak after getting mauled by the White Witch on the Concrete with the Lead Pipe. Came back with my hamburger and fries just in time to see them enter the ring...uh, actually, to see the Game getting neck braced. He did the whole real man thing and walked out with it on after refusing the stretcher. Typical. Let's just say the fake ambulance was still sitting outside with an empty stretcher beside it when we pulled away from the arena. This shot of the Titantron shows the scope of the PPV, however.

It says volumes about Bethie's wrestling ability and how much you have to pay in fines for violence against women in my state that the Women's Championship Makeover Match was after Haitch vs. Shame-Us. I mean, the blinding white face was on the chairs, for crying out loud. Anyway, McCool's henchmen, lead by my favorite heel Vicki Guerro, were confused as to the proper props for a makeover match. There was the shot with the ironing board that didn't fall apart as it should, and a lot to do with a broom. Ms. Phoenix Glam Slammed McCool to get back her gold.

Ah, the cage, and Baby Flair in it where he belongs. This would've been my favorite match, but I had to watch Edge painfully attempt not to injure himself the entire time, which is always a bummer. Too many good spots to count, Jericho the spider monkey tried to escape as soon as he entered the cage and five more times over the course of the match. Here's the best escape shot.

Unfortunately, Jericho the Lionhearted One couldn't forget what a douche the spearmaster is, and had to pull back from exiting the cage clean to chair shot that ugly face. Edge gets the pin on the man who is still Undisputed Champion of all wrestling in my heart after pulling him down from the cage for the sixth time or so.

Here's the Cena vs. Batista Last Man Standing Match from my point of view:

That's right, we decided it would be more interesting to go smoke in the parking lot. Best not to ruin our memories of a solid, well paced pay per view from WWE. It's been awhile, with the exception of Wrestlemania.

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