Christian was crowned the new World Heavyweight Champion last night at Extreme Rules, and it was a truly emotional event. After battling it out with Alberto Del Rio in a very entertaining ladder match, Christian looked like he was bested. However, as Del Rio ascended the ladder in an effort to retrieve the belt, a beeping horn distracted the Mexican superstar from achieving his destiny. The horn came from a jeep by the entrance ramp – a jeep driven by Edge. The momentary distraction was all that Christian needed to topple the ladder that Del Rio was on. Captain Charisma then managed to climb his own ladder and grab hold of the World Heavyweight title, capturing Smackdown’s top prize. It’s great that Christian was finally awarded a World Title in the WWE (ECW’s sham belt doesn’t count in my eyes), and it was awesome to see him congratulated by long-time running buddy Edge. The moment was obviously emotional for both Edge and Christian, who embraced post-closing bell. Congratulations are in order for Christian, he’s certainly earned this spot.
In the other main event, John Cena recaptured the WWE Title, defeating the Miz and John Morrison in a triple threat cage match. There were a few points in this match where it looked like Morrison stood a chance at escaping the cage, using his parkour style to dart up the walls and nearly gain victory. Ultimately though, he was undone by the interference of R-Truth. Truth, who was originally scheduled to be the third man in the match, entered the cage and dismantled his replacement. With Morrison laid out, Cena was able to hit Miz with an Attitude Adjustment from the ropes for the three count. I’m a little disappointed to see the belt back on Cena, and even more disappointed to see it off of the Miz. Miz has been a fantastic heel champion, and I would have loved to have seen his reign continue. Alas, John Cena is the belt’s new owner, and it’s rumored that he’ll enter into a feud with Alberto Del Rio to headline SummerSlam. The rest of Extreme Rules, including another title change, after the jump.
- In a last minute addition to the card, Kofi Kingston was able to defeat Sheamus in a tables match to win the United States Championship. The match was pretty fantastic, with many close calls on one of the guys going through a table. I have mixed feelings on the result, but I think I mostly support. It’s a shame to see the belt come off of Sheamus so soon, especially after he modified his tights specifically to match the title. That being said, Kofi Kingston needed something to rejuvenate his career – he’s been floundering. And it keeps the US and IC belts on separate brands, which is important, as they’d be redundant both on the same show. Losing the title also opens the door for Sheamus to ascend back into World Title contention on Smackdown. With the departure of Alberto Del Rio, the Friday night show is in need of top heels, and Sheamus can fill that role just fine.
- In another late addition, the Tag Team Titles were defended by Big Show & Kane against the Wade Barrett & Big Zeke in a lumberjack match. Barrett was pinned after tagging himself into the match, and dissension in the ranks of the Corre continues to be teased. Eventually, I feel like a babyface Jackson will engage in a feud with Barrett over the Intercontinental Title. It was interesting that Zack Ryder was missing from the lumberjacks at ringside; WWE recently confiscated signs supporting the Smackdown superstar, and now he was held off of TV in a match that featured the rest of the company’s low-card talents. I’d like to know creative’s beef with Mr. Ryder.
- Layla notched a win over Michelle McCool, and thus sent her packing from the WWE. The match was actually a pretty good one, and McCool hit a pretty awesome Styles’ Clash in it. I’d like to see Layla thrown into the Divas Title picture, as I think she’s a more capable wrestler than Eve or the Bellas. After the match, Kharma made her long-awaited debut, leveling the already distraught McCool with a high angle double underhook facebuster. It looks like Kharma’s character is going to be a bit deranged, as she exhibited abrupt mood shifts in her debut, from maniacally laughing to stone face serious and back again.
- Randy Orton defeated CM Punk, AGAIN, when Punk was unable to answer the referee’s ten count after taking an RKO from the ropes. The match was pretty good, and was a great way to kick off the show. Kendo stick shots, a steel chair guillotine, and plenty of use of the environment (ring posts, barricades) came into play, and there was one awesome spot where Orton missed a punt on the outside of the ring and was countered and met with a GTS onto the ring steps. That being said, the wrong guy won for the second month straight. A win over Punk does nothing for Orton, he’s already as over as over gets. Meanwhile, a win over Orton would have significantly helped Punk cement himself in the main event scene. Rumors are swirling about Punk being unhappy with his role in the company, and when he’s jobbed on pay-per-view after pay-per-view despite being one of the WWE’s best workers, it’s easy to see why.
- Rey Mysterio beat Cody Rhodes in a falls count anywhere match, making the pin in the middle of the ring and thus negating the stipulation. The action did spill all over the arena prior to the match’s conclusion though, with the competitors brawling through the crowd and into the arena’s concourse. It was awesome to see them fighting all over the building, as it’s something that used to be commonplace during the Attitude Era but I feel like we haven’t seen in a long time. Mysterio ultimately got the win by spraying Rhodes with a mist (ala Tajiri) and connecting with a springboard cross body. Rhodes should take another step towards becoming a main event player despite the loss, and I’ll be interested to see who his next feud pits him against with Rey moving to Raw.
- Sir Michael Cole & Jack Swagger went over JR & The King in a country whipping match when Cole pinned Ross with a rollup. Ugh. Predictably, this was a gigantic waste of time. I can respect a good heel, but Cole repeatedly yelling the same line over and over (as he so often does) is annoying, and nothing more. The King has yet to earn a victory in this feud, which means it’s probably going to continue, thus dragging Raw further into the pits of stupidity. Hopefully this is wrapped up sooner than later.
Extreme Rules was a good, eventful pay-per-view. It was certainly better than April’s WrestleMania. Christian’s title win provided a memorable and emotional moment, while Cena’s main event victory was a little perplexing. I think that R-Truth and Morrison could have a really good feud if it’s executed properly, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses. The upper mid-carders really shined last night, with Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, and Cody Rhodes all performing exceptionally well. In addition to three title changes, Kharma also made her debut, so this show was really packed with news worthy moments. With the exception of the continuing Michael Cole vs Jerry the King inaneness, I really have no complaints.