Brock Lesnar lays a brutal beating on Triple H.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Decent pre-show match between The Miz and Cody Rhodes. The two work well together, but they simply weren't given enough time to shine. Nonetheless, they made the most out of the time they were given and provided a quality contest. Miz recently returned, so his victory shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
Nice opening match between Chris Jericho and Fandano. The two kept a consistent pace throughout the bout and set the tone for the rest of the night. Honestly, I found this bout to be better than their initial encounter at WrestleMania aside from the one minor botch. Fandango winning would have made more sense, but it's rare that Jericho wins on pay-per-view, so I'm fine with Fandango's loss as long as he bounces back with a victory over Y2J at some point in time.
Good match with Dean Ambrose defeating Kofi Kingston to win the United States Championship. They developed excellent chemistry with one another and had an enjoyable exchange. Ambrose winning the match in clean fashion was a very nice touch, as it gives him credibility as a singles competitor. Kingston wasn't doing anything with the strap anyway, so I have hope that Ambrose will finally be the one to restore lost prestige in the star-spangled prize.
Physical Strap match with Sheamus defeating Mark Henry. The concept of a Strap match is a bit lame, but Sheamus and Henry managed to have an exceptional match. The crowd popped for the hard-hitting action and looked on as the two behemoths traded blows. I would have liked to see Henry score a victory here, but Sheamus winning was what I should have expected.
Solid "I Quit" match with Alberto Del Rio defeating Jack Swagger to become the new number contender to the World Heavyweight Championship. They have had some great matches in the past, but I felt as if the "I Quit" stipulation hindered the bout more than helped it. The Swagger swerve was nicely done, but the restart could be seen coming from a mile away. Why did the referees wait until now to finally use replay instead of all the other times heels cheated to win matches?
Fun Tornado tag team match with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeating Team Hell No to become the new WWE Tag Team Champions. I expected more from the Tornado stipulation, but the two tandems still made good use of it. The finish to this match was telegraphed earlier in the evening when Dean Ambrose won the U.S. title, but that didn't take away from it whatsoever. The Shield undoubtedly owned Extreme Rules and it still amazes me how dominantly they've been booked since debuting six months ago.
Entertaining Extreme Rules match between Randy Orton and Big Show. Their matches last year were quite boring, so it was nice to see that they had a much more enjoyable bout together this time around. Orton was incredibly over in his hometown and I was glad to see the punt kick make its highly anticipated return. I'm not sure whether that was supposed to foreshadow an eventual heel turn for The Viper or not, but either way, I hope this was the end of the line for his feud with Big Show.
Great Last Man Standing match between WWE Champion John Cena and Ryback. With this being their first ever match against one another, I was pleasantly surprised by what they were able to produce in the ring. Of course, the no disqualification stipulation greatly benefited them, but it's clear that they can work a solid match without it as well. Ryback tackling Cena through the video wall on the stage was a scintillating sight and made Ryback look like an absolute beast. It's too early in the feud for either guy to lose, so the draw was smart booking in allowing the rivalry to continue.
Strong Steel Cage match with Brock Lesnar defeating Triple H. They managed to tell a story during the course of the contest and create suspense with the false finishes. I was a bit baffled by Paul Heyman's interference, as the whole point of a Steel Cage match is to prevent interference from even occurring. Nonetheless, the right guy went over and I surely hope that the feud doesn't continue beyond this point. There are a number of fresh feuds awaiting Lesnar and going forward with this rivalry would be a giant mistake.
Overall, a solid show that featured enjoyable action and logical outcomes for most matches. Although the event lacked excitement, I was throughly entertained by each of the matches and was satisfied with the pay-per-view as a whole. The Shield made the event noteworthy with the title changes while there were more questions than answers heading into the upcoming edition of Monday Night Raw. Needless to say, this year's installment was far better than WrestleMania 29 and continued the strong streak of excellent Extreme Rules events.