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I apologize for the lateness of my Extreme Rules results/analysis.  Real life got in the way.  Good real life, though, so it was worth waiting a day to write.

I’ll start with Extreme Rules, and then talk a bit about Raw and ECW since I essentially watched all three today.

United States Championship Fatal Four Way Match – Kofi Kingston (c) retains the title over MVP, William Regal, and Matt Hardy

This was absolutely necessary.  Kofi needs to establish himself as a strong champion, and defeating three other guys was a great way to start off his reign as the US Champ.  The match itself was actually not all that great.  Overall, it felt rushed, and because of that, there were many sloppy-looking moves.  Actually, I vaguely remember most of those mistakes coming from MVP.  It sort of made me start to doubt his chances at being a world champion.  Of course, when you’ve got four guys trying to get all their key moves into a 6 1/2 minute match (yes, I timed every match), then you’re bound to have some mistakes.  Not a great start to a PPV that looked awesome on paper.  But awesome on paper doesn’t always translate to awesome in real life.

Intercontinental Championship No Holds Barred Match – Chris Jericho wins the title from Rey Mysterio

Definitely one of the better matches on the card, and there’s no reason to expect anything less from these two.  A great back-and-forth match with lots of teasing and great psychology.  At around 13 minutes, this was the third-longest match on the card, and the length of the match gave both of these guys ample time to work to their heart’s content.  The finish was a touch weird, but Jericho did exactly what he said he was going to do, and unmasking Rey caused Rey to not kick out, so he the two most important items of his career within five seconds of each other.  Whether this translates to a mask vs. title match is anyone’s guess now.  I was initially expecting Jericho to win but to fail in getting Mysterio’s mask, so there’s nothing left for these two to do.  Who’s going to step up to the plate to face Jericho?  By the look of things, I’m guessing John Morrison.

And if anyone’s curious, I’m 2 for 2 in picks.  But this is where things start to go sour for my picks.

Samoan Strap Match – CM Punk defeats Umaga

I was not expecting this.  Probably nobody was.  Though now, after heading over to Wrestleview.com and getting caught up on all the events of the past three days (I don’t check the site until after I finish watching a PPV so as to not ruin the outcomes of any of the matches), I just found out that WWE released Umaga.  Lovely.  Or, as another story states, he quit the company.  Great.  One of the guys I was hoping to see at The Bash is gone from the company with no explanation.  I wonder what he’s going to do with all the tattoos of himself.  That shit is expensive to remove.  Unless he just wants to look like a psycho for the rest of his life.  Anyway, as far as the match itself is concerned, it was decent enough, but I seriously was not expecting Punk to win.  Of course, with the news of Umaga leaving, it makes all the sense in the world, as well as what happened later on in the evening.  9 minutes, by the way, and I’m 2 for 3 in picks.

ECW Championship Triple Threat Hardcore Match – Tommy Dreamer wins the title over Christian and Jack Swagger

This was, by far, the most emotionally charged and emotionally fulfilling match of the night.  Throughout the match, I was wondering who would finally get that final pinfall.  Each performer had a good reason to win the match, but the most important guy won out in the end.  A very satisfactory 9 1/2 minute match with a great reaction from Dreamer as he held the title aloft in the thick of the crowd.  It was great to see him win the ECW Title and not lose it the same night.  Oh, and it was also wholly satisfying to watch Swagger get the ever-loving crap beat out of him with trash can lids, a singapore cane, and a crutch at the end.

Miss Wrestlemania Hog Pen match – Santina Marella wins the title from Vickie Guerrero

This marks the third straight match I picked incorrectly.  The only good part about this was seeing Vickie get a face full of slop.  And watching Chavo get a bucket dumped on his head followed by Santina punching the bucket and crying out in pain was worth a chuckle, but otherwise I was entirely uninterested in this.  We got 2 1/2 minutes of rolling around in slop and Chavo almost falling on top of a couple of actual live pigs.  I’m betting WWE’s getting a nasty letter from PETA about the treatment of the pigs during their match.  PETA can go suck a donkey’s balls for all I care, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they stuck their noses in the slop of this match.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Batista wins the title from Randy Orton

Upon the conclusion of this match, all I wondered was why was this match only 7 minutes long?  Then I find out just now that Batista apparently suffered a torn biceps…I’m guessing just shortly before the PPV match with Orton.  I have no idea how or when he did, but apparently he did, so that’s why they kept it so short.  It’s a little mind-boggling why they put the title on him for not even a day, then turn around and vacate the title so a winner can be determined next week on Raw.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The match was okay.  About as decent of a 7 minute cage match as you can do.  Lots of Orton scurrying around trying to escape the cage, a few Batista power moves, and a Batista Bomb and that’s all.  That makes four straight matches I’ve picked incorrectly.

Submission Match – John Cena defeats The Big Show

My streak was snapped at four.  This match was slower than a snail drinking molasses, and about as interesting.  I found myself having to shake myself awake several times during this 19 minute snooze-fest of a match.  Big Show should just change his name to Big Slow because he moves around like a…something very slow.  Cena did his best to keep things entertaining, but it was mostly a failure.  I did, however, love two things about this match.  First (and this actually applies to all Cena matches), I love the way Cena takes bumps when he’s in the air.  For example, on Sunday, he tried a flying shoulder tackle on Show only to crash into Show and fall to the mat, as well as a Cena bulldog attempt where Show shoved him off.  Cena just has a great yell and he kind of flails when he’s airborne, and it’s hilarious and I love that.  And second (spedific to this match), I LOVED the finish.  Cena was ingenious in trapping Show’s leg in between the ropes and locking in a Crippler Crossface.  I was actually cheering as he started applying this combination hold, and I let out another cheer when Show tapped.  It was a glorious moment.  Big props to Cena for doing everything he could to make this match fun.  And for picks, I’m 3 for 7.

World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match – Jeff Hardy wins the title from Edge

Bar none, match of the night.  20 minutes of daredevil stunts and raw emotion.  Plus, the two spots of the night occurred in this match.  The spot of the night, no questions asked, was Hardy and Edge falling off a 12 foot tall ladder that was on the floor onto another ladder propped between the ring and the security wall.  Hardy took an especially nasty fall, with it looking like he overshot the second ladder and had his ankles get a little caught in the rungs of the ladder and get twisted around as he fell to the floor.  The second great and disturbing spot was Hardy executing his facebuster suplex on Edge onto an upside-down open ladder, and Edge landing on the ladder supports.  That was sick and twisted and I could feel Edge’s pain.  But the best part of the match was the finish.  Edge pulled in between two rungs of a 10 foot ladder up to his chest, facing up, watching Jeff Hardy take the title away.  It was a supremely beautiful moment.  Then the unexpected:

CM Punk cashes in Money in the Bank and defeats Jeff Hardy to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion

As I heard the music, I was cheering, “They’re finally turning Punk heel!”  I’ve been hoping for that for months.  He’s much more limited as a face, as are most everyone.  But I’ve heard about Punk’s exploits in ROH as a major heel, and this can only end up good for him.  Plus, I remember someone on Wrestleview mention that a Punk/Hardy program would be perfect, with Punk being the elitiest straight-edge wrestler condemning Hardy’s past and Hardy being the noble imperfect warrior who wants redemption.  Although with reports of Hardy likely taking time off, this may not last long.  Still, it’s a storyline that writes itself.

Now, on to Raw.  Batista gets the royal beatdown to start the show, in order to get him off TV for a while so he can get his torn biceps fixed.  I saw a comment saying that Batista should face Mr. Kennedy in a best of seven match for the title of “Mr. Injury.”  I love the idea, but I don’t think they’d be able to make it seven matches without someone getting injured.  Anyway, the beatdown was convincing and not too overly drawn out like so many WWE beatdowns these days.

And for all the time guys like Orton hog the stage, you’ve got six men who get all of three minutes of air time.  This includes three extremely talents men who will never get anywhere in WWE simply because they’re smaller (in relative WWE terms) guys.  Chavo, Brian Kendrick, and Jamie Noble lose to the horrific joke team of Goldust, Festus, and Santino.  I just don’t get it anymore.

The biggest announcement of the evening came shortly thereafter, when Vickie Guerrero said that she was resigning as GM of Raw, to quite possibly the biggest pop in years.  Then Edge came to the ring and announced that because she was no longer in a position of power, he was divorcing her, and finally admitting that he only became involved with her because it would guarantee him plenty of championship opportunities.  Edge got to be a face for one night.  Good for him.  The segment was actually pretty well-done, leaving Vickie screaming in the middle of the ring, with nothing to her name.  In reality, she gave her notice to the company and is leaving to spend more time with her family, which is the right decision.  Though I don’t think WWE will ever find another heat magnet quite like her.  Now Edge can move on on Smackdown and we have an opening for the Raw GM.  I wonder who’ll take over…

Oh, yeah, and Triple H returned.  Whee.  Less TV time for everyone else!

ECW was pretty entertaining.  Dreamer looked happy as hell with the title over his shoulder, and the opening segment was well-done, though I do not believe at all that a powerbomb through a table would take Tommy Dreamer out of any match, ever.  And Tiffany declares afterward that the ONLY choice is to put Swagger in the main event as Christian’s tag partner?  What about, oh, I don’t know, ANYONE ELSE?  Well…looking at the paltry ECW roster, the only other wrestler who’d fit with Christian is Finlay, and who knows where he is.  Probably had to tape a match for Superstars or something.  Actually, Christian’s only other choices were DJ Gabriel (whom we haven’t seen in months), Ezekiel Jackson (whom we also haven’t seen in months), Paul Burchill, and Zack Ryder.  Great choices.  Yeesh…

The Evan Bourne/Tony Atlas match was about as good as you would expect for a Hall-of-Famer facing off against a ridiculously quick face.  It was decent, but Bourne had to tone down the offense in order to make sure Atlas could keep up.  The Kozlov handicap match was what it was, except for the very odd giant smile plastered across Kozlov’s face.  I thought I heard some cheers, too.  Are they trying to turn him face?  Because no one would actually cheer for him after the destruction he caused on Smackdown for a year.  I found it very strange.

The main event was great.  Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith are improving every week and looking more like champions in the making.  Smith will probably be a champion first, but Kidd is the more deserving athlete.  Tyson has all the tools to be a great champion.  If only he didn’t screech so much during his matches…anyway, Christian made the Hart Dynasty look like a million bucks, and Swagger was a jackass as usual, costing his team the match at the end and attacking Christian after the match ended, only to have Tommy Dreamer run (yes, run) down the ramp, cane in hand, and smack Swagger four or five times.

And next week there’s a three hour Raw with all three world championships being contested.  Cena, Show, Orton, and HHH will face off to determine the new WWE Champion, and Tommy Dreamer defends the ECW Title against Christian.  No word on the Smackdown side of things, but let’s presume it will involve CM Punk somehow, and I’m guessing Jeff Hardy and/or Edge.  I just have one teensy little thing to say about this:

WHY NOT WAIT TWO WEEKS?  You’re having a PPV event in less than three weeks, and you’re having ALL THREE TITLES up for grabs not two weeks from it?  Why not just have all of these matches at The Bash and not deprive the fans in Sacramento who are going to the show of three great matches?  HUH?  I swear, if we get another HHH/Orton match at The Bash, I’m just not going to go.  Why can’t we have Dreamer vs. Christian at The Bash, or a tournament over the next two weeks to determine the two participants for the WWE Title at The Bash?  Have an 8-man tournament, with Cena, Show, Orton, HHH, and four other guys.  Let’s say…MVP, Miz, Kendrick, and…Festus?  Just make it obvious who’s going to win.  Here, I’ll even do my bracket for fun.

First round (which takes place next week on Raw):

Cena vs. Miz, Cena wins

Show vs. Festus, Show wins

Orton vs. MVP, tossup who wins

HHH vs. Kendrick, HHH wins

Second round (the following week):

Cena vs. Show

Orton/MVP vs. HHH

Finals (at The Bash):

Winners of the semifinals

Doesn’t that seem a hell of a lot more logical?  I know that there isn’t a GM to make this decision, but it seems a lot more fair to the guys who are trying to get into the upper portion of the card.  I’m sick of the same four or five guys at the top all the time.  Inject some new talent at the top!  Put MVP up there, but turn him back into a heel.  He was so much more entertaining as a heel.  Let Miz actually DO something in the ring.  Give Kendrick an honest shot at something.  And…well, there are others, but they’ll never get a main event shot because of lame gimmicks or some other hindrance.

See how easy that is?  I should be the Raw GM.  Better yet, I should run the Creative team.  Then maybe we won’t get this ridiculosity that takes on the form of a plot.  And give the folks in Sacramento something to look forward to instead of just the same old shit.

I swear if the card sucks for The Bash, I’m not going.  I’ll get my money back for the ticket I purchased, come hell or high water.  Let’s hope that the card shapes up decently enough in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, keep reading, and I’ll keep writing.

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