With this year’s event just around the corner, Matthew Roberts fires up the TWM Time Travel Machine to take a look at the very first Extreme Rules PPV, from 2009.
Technically, Extreme Rules 2009 followed on from the previous ECW One Night Stand PPV specials, hence the “Extreme” sobriquet. Of course this was always going to be the “sanitised” version of Extreme in the PG era but looking at a line up that has Edge Vs Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho Vs Rey Mysterio and enough short-cutting gimmick matches on show you should be at least guaranteed some excitement from the show.
Sadly, those two matches mentioned above are the only ones that really excel on a night of passable, but largely forgettable action.
The Smackdown World Title Ladder match between Edge and Jeff Hardy that headlines is by far the best match of the night. Full of the insane stunts that these two were trotting out a decade or so earlier in their TLC Tag Team Wars (albeit slightly slower) this may seem like nothing more than a series of those insane spots at times but you can hardly criticise a match (even more so a gimmick one) that promises something the fans want and gives it to them. The finishing sequence is one of the coolest in Ladder match history too. Jeff Hardy’s celebration is short-lived however as his title reign proves to be a quick one when CM Punk cashes in his second Money In The Bank contract to relive Jeff of his newly won title. At the time, many thought Punk’s “second chance” would go the way of his first; hindsight shows that it was anything but a re-run!
The No Holds Barred match between Jericho and Mysterio can’t quite match the main event but it is still a very solid match-up. Jericho’s pre-match promo, as he walks to the ring through the crowd, is one of those that is destined to be forgotten as it happened on a B-show but is actually up there with some of his best heel work. Jericho’s win signified his NINTH Intercontinental Title win and if there’s the feeling that the match never quite hits the heights you might expect it’s still a very entertaining affair.
Match quality, sadly, drops off after these two.
No-one needs NINETEEN minutes of the Big Show and John Cena in a Submission match. I’m not one of these who dismisses everything that Cena does but even his ardent supports would have to concede that “selling” isn’t one of his strong points. So watching him sell submissions only to easily break them and show no ill effects for such a long time is simply not entertaining and makes it impossible to suspend disbelief. Throw in a completely predictable ending and you’ve twenty minutes or so of your life that you are never going to get back. CM Punk’s Samoan Strap Match with Umaga is another that suffers from the match gimmick. Strap matches are fine when it’s two people beating the crap out of each other due to intense hatred; they are less fine when two people in a lukewarm feud are battling over who can touch four turnbuckles first. The (very) occasional “wow” moment does not make up for the pedestrian action.
Given the decent build up for it (with a storyline involving Legacy and Ric Flair) Randy Orton’s Raw World Title defence in a Steel Cage against Batista is a huge disappointment. Despite the fact that, for once, this is a feud that could be said to warrant the Steel Cage being wheeled out the match is boring and over in well less than ten minutes. Still, it may be considered an eye-opener to travel back nine years and see Orton running through virtually the same routine he does to this day.
The ECW Title three-way between Christian, Jack Swagger and Tommy Dreamer is as bad as you’d expect a 2009 match involving Tommy Dreamer to be. The only real surprise in the match is that with a match built around it possibly being Dreamer’s last match should see him win the belt. Very unlike the usual “hometown hero loses in hometown” WWE attitude. That match is arguably better than the Four Way for the US Title between Kofi Kingston, William Regal, Matt Hardy and MVP. It that sounds like a huge clash of styles waiting to happen, giving it six minutes doesn’t help matters much. If we’re being kind, the quartet does as much as they could given the time restrictions.
All that’s left is a Hogpen match between Santina Marella and Vickie Guerrero. If you’re expecting anything at all from that one, I pity you.
The two good matches on the show (Edge/Hardy and Jericho/Mysterio) are worth checking out and the a Money In The Bank cash-in is always entertaining. But with only 40 minutes of a near three hour show being worth it first time around, never mind a second viewing, it’s not a show we can recommend.