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KFR presents WWE Extreme Rules (Live Coverage)

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Extremely good show: WWE delivers a PPV effort superior to WrestleMania.

Surprisingly, Triple H kicks things off with the Street Fight. Can’t recall the last time that’s happened, with HHH in the PPV opener. Oh, wait, he’s not. Camera cuts to Sheamus and the Game brawling in the back. Sheamus lays out HHH with a pipe before they’re separated. I’m sure this opens the door for Triple H to valiantly answer the bell later in the show only to lose to Sheamus in the Street Fight. Or maybe they’re scratching the matchup because it looks like they’re giving us a bonus bout.

Looks like an unannounced ShowMiz match is next in a Gauntlet, thanks to Miz running his mouth and Teddy Long responding with a three-team challenge. Winning team gets a title match tomorrow on RAW. Sets up a likely Hart Dynasty win tonight and title match tomorrow, when Bret is supposed to concede the title of “Greatest Tag Team Ever” to ShowMiz. First team is up: Dear God no…R Truth and his annoying theme song. Make it stop. Morrison is disqualified when he refuses to break his submission hold on the Show. MVP and Henry are up next. MVP hits the playmaker and goes for the cover. Show nails MVP with the knockout punch, enabling Miz to steal the win. Hart Dynasty hits the ring in Money in the Bank title win fashion with Bret Hart, with Smith and Kidd hitting a modified Hart Attack (with a twist…Kidd hitting Flyin’ Brian Pillman’s springboard clothesline) finish for the quickie win. Wouldn’t surprise me to see a title switch tomorrow.

Rey vs. Punk is next. I’m thinking Punk has to win this one to set up an eventual hair vs. mask bout. Or maybe they blow it off tonight and separate these two on the draft. Nice reference by Striker to Lawler when the King spoke of Punk competing with a hairy chest: “Hey, pal, you used to compete with a hairy chest-on a white horse.” (A reference to Lawler coming to the ring for his 1981 bout with Hulk Hogan on a horse.) Striker with another good one, re: Serina: “I love her. I do.” Crowd is hot for this one and the near falls early on Punk. Gallows is starting to look like an oversized version of Steve Austin…at least standing outside the ring…maybe not so much in the ring. Looks like they’re getting a little time here, unlike their WM matchup. Crowd chanting 619 as Punk gets heat on Mysterio, working on the lower back, telling a nice story. Nice roll of the Rs by Striker regarding a submission move made famous by Gory Guerrero.Rey fights out of a GTS but is tripped by Serena on a 619 attempt. Ref throws out the SES, forcing Gallows to Serena to the back. Rey hits a beauty of a moonsault outside the ring. Legrop back in the ring for a near fall on Punk. Crowd hanging on every count…good stuff. Already way better than their WM match…great near falls. Crowd chanting 619. He hits it!

Wins by a hair: Punk escapes with his precious, pure locks intact.

But a mystery man (bald guy with hoodie pulled tight to conceal his face) slips a chair to Punk and then attacks Rey on the apron. Rey’s out cold. Punk rolls him back in the ring. GTS…it’s over. Winner: Punk. Fantastic bout and the finish sets up the rematch. I’d imagine the new SES member is revealed tomorrow on RAW.

Strap match with the former Cryme Tyme is up next. Crowd dead for this one. Highlight early was Lawler throwing his hometown under the bus when arguing with Striker about the dangerous streets of New York: “Oh, yeah? Well, Memphis was voted the 2nd most dangerous city in America.” Nice counterpoint, King. JTG wins in a upset, outsmarting Shad for the win to tag the fourth corner.

Todd Grisham announces that it’s highly unlikely Trips can face Sheamus, citing “nerve damage.” I’m still thinking he makes it to the ring later only to lose. (Hey, you didn’t think he’d put Sheamus over clean, did you?)

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton for the title is next. Swagger badly needs a win here, but hard to see Orton losing so early after his babyface turn. I like Swagger’s stoic, all-business entrance, but they badly need to change his theme music to something more fitting of the champion’s new attitude. Swagger has ditched the Kurt Angle look for an all-black singlet. Crowd is awake again for this one. Nice mat wrestling to open. Man, Swagger is smooth. Telling the early story of Swagger outwrestling Orton…despite the “Extreme Rules” stips. Swagger goes for Orton’s punt, but misses. Action spills to the outside of the ring, where Swagger hits a Northern Lights Suplex. Swagger punishing Orton with two more suplexes (with Striker giving a tip of the hat to Gordon Solie’s pronunciation), including a belly to belly. They’re making Swagger look strong, so perhaps he’s dropping the belt. Occasional RKO chants, but Swagger quiets them down with his (almost too) methodical, punishing approach. Orton making his comeback after a lame belt shot spot. Orton goes for the back-in-ring DDT but Swagger backdrops Orton over the top. Brawl breaks out on the floor. Orton nails Swagger twice to head with a garbage can (no chair shots, thank you very much). Orton hits the Garvin Stomp in the ring. Orton hits the back-in-ring DDT, cutting off Swagger who was bringing a chair into the ring. Orton sets up the chair for an extreme RKO but Swagger reverses it into a backbreaker on the steel. Swagger hits the gut-wrench powerbomb for the pin. Good finish and a tremendous win for Swagger to (finally) help get him over as champ and put him on the next level in the fan’s eyes. Orton hit the RKO on the floor after the bout, with the crowd chanting “Randy, Randy.” I’m thinking Orton goes to Smackdown in the draft tomorrow to set up a rematch. Winner: Swagger

All-American Heel: Swagger slithers his way to a victory over the Viper and gets some World champion cred in the process.

Sheamus is in the ring calling Trips out. Grisham announces backstage that Trips can’t answer the bell; the Game bursts through the door…it’s on, baby. They’re selling it as the Game only has “one arm” because of the nerve damage a la the Dusty Rhodes finish in dropping the NWA belt back to Harley Race in 1979 five days after winning it. Hunter on the offensive early, hitting the spinebuster…but can’t follow up with the pedigree because he can’t use his left arm to hit his finisher. Sheamus hits a lariat and goes to work on the Game. Trips refuses to stay down and waves Sheamus on to bring it on. Announcers are selling that Trips can’t use the pedigree so he’s at a disadvantage. Sheamus hits a neckbreaker on the floor. Lawler says the Trips really should have forfeited. Game hits a DDT out of nowhere but can’t follow up because of the arm. Sheamus goes for several pinfalls, but can’t finish off the courageous son-in-law of Vince McMahon. Talk about grapefruits! No wonder Stephanie married this man. Sheamus hits Trips with the pipe…goes for the cover…Game kicks out! How does he do it?! Sheamus goes for the Pale Justice (Diamond Cutter) but Game escaped and backdrops Sheamus over the top rope. Trips suddenly regains feeling in his arm and nails repeatedly Sheamus with kendo stick, prompting a Buford Pusser/Bill Watts reference by Striker: “He’s walking tall now!” (God, I love Striker. I do.) Trips goes for the pedigree on the floor but Sheamus backdrops his way out of it. Crowd is alive now, with Triple H chants. Sheamus nails his foe with that brutal kick of his. Trips is crawling…appears to be out of it…but he’s hanging on! Another kick to the skull. And another! (That’s four if you’re counting at home.) It’s over…God bless Triple H, the most courageous man in sports. Sheamus wins. Another good bout and keeps the heat on the feud. A bit of a copout with Trips, but very good storytelling. Beautiful shots of the welts on Sheamus’s pale back as his celebrates on the win. They try to stretcher Trips out…but he’s not having it! He’s walking on his power…but Sheamus attacks him from behind again with yet another kick. (Yes! Down goes the Game, down goes the Game!) Triple H is stretchered off…cool visual. Again, another case of the WrestleMania rematch being superior than the bout held on the biggest stage. Edge vs. Jericho will likely continue the streak tonight. Winner: Sheamus

Pales in comparison: Sheamus beats Triple H at his own game

Divas title match is next. I’m going to make a sandwich. Striker just asked Lawler if he once dated 70s wrestler Joyce Grable…nice…and follows it up with a Gino Hernandez/Chris Adams blinding reference. (Striker is a god!) Beth Phoenix hits the Glam Slam for the pin. Striker: “Who would have thought an Extreme Makeover match would be so brutal?” Indeed. Winner: Phoenix

Cage match is up next. This is likely the blowoff, so logic says Edge wins. Jericho has already riled up the crowd prematch with chants of “Spear.” Edge selling the heel injury with a slight limp as he makes his way to the ring to a big pop. Jericho stalls outside the ring, so Edge goes out to get him, tosses him into the ring and the cage door is locked. Jericho tries to escape immediately, but Edge grabs him by the trunks, exposing the former Y2J’s ass-vintage Ric Flair from 80s-era cage matches. Woo! The story is that Jericho wants to escape the cage, but Edge wants to finish it in the ring. Edge goes for slingshot, shades of Lawler defeating Hennig for the AWA World title (Striker was asleep on that one) but Jericho jumps up the top turnbuckle and tries to escaped before Edge catches him. Striker compares Edge’s athleticism to David Beckham since they suffered the same injury. Edge called a spot that was audible to the PPV audience..yikes. Edge is trapped in the Walls of Jericho and the crowd rallies him to reach the ropes…but there’s not breaking it in a cage match. Edge escapes anyway and gets a near fall. Edge catches Jericho with a boot that would make Bruiser Brody proud and goes for the spear…but Jericho slipes away nearly makes it out of the cage. Jericho slams the cage door on Edge’s head, shades of Terry Gordy and Kerry Von Erich (c’mon, Striker, get in the game…where are ya?). Jericho could have escaped the cage, but he pauses on the ringsteps and re-enters the ring to finish off Edge with a chair. Edge ducks and nails a spear for a great false finish, with Jericho barely kicking out. Jericho hits a Codebreaker out of nowhere, but Edge kicks off. Great stuff here. Jericho has come to his senses…going the escape route again. Edge scales the ring and barely catches him and drags his foe back into the ring. Edge crotches himself on the top rope, again a la Flair in the ’80s (most notable in the cage match loss in Detroit to Ron Garvin in 87). Jericho is dangling from the cage…his arm is caugh, giving Edge time to again drag him back inside. Jericho nails a springboard Codebreaker from the top rope…very cool. Edge kicks out again…Jericho can’t believe it, telling Edge “stay down, you stupid idiot!” Jericho goes for the chair short on the ankle, but misses. Edge makes the Superman comeback and rams Jericho repeatedly into the cage. Edge closes the cage door on Jericho’s leg…making his foe beg for mercy. With tears seemingly in Jericho’s eyes, Edge put him out of misery with the Spear to take the win. Winner: Edge

Cagey veteran: Edge caps his comeback with a win over his former tag partner.

Brings the story full circle with Jericho selling the leg injury as Edge triumphs. Another good bout on what has been an overall solid thumbs up of a show so far. Very emotional, intense match.

Last Man Standing match is up. Batista hasn’t signed a new deal and WWE loves to finish on a positive note for PPVs, so Cena should retain. Should. Loud chants of Cena Sucks early, which Lawler tries to cover saying Batista’s hometown is nearby and Cole gushes “No one elicits a response like John Cena!” God, Cena’s head slam spot looks weak (more so than usual) when his opponent is bald. Batista viciously attacks Cena’s ankle (geez..didn’t these guys watch the last match?), and the crowd is rallying behind Cena. Remarkable response, certainly. Striker expertly questions Cena’s decision to wear sneakers instead of boots, which would have better protected his ankle. Nice work by Striker tonight. Hate to say it, but he outclasses Lawler in the color role. Batista goes for the figure-four as the crowd “Woooos!” Cole brings up that Ric Flair trained Batista…nice point. Clearly Flair taught Batista the hold, as Cena easily reversed it…once again like Flair in the ’80s. Who’s booking this show…Dusty Rhodes? (Stay with me, Striker.) Cena rallies, hits the 5 knuckle shuffle, but Batista scoots and nails Cena with a turnbuckle tool carelessly left under the ring by the ring crew. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on the chair, but Batista makes it to his feet before the 10 count. Two Batista spears…the ref counts…but the Champ makes it to his feet at the 8 count. Batista escapes the STFU, kicking off Cena through a table. Batista punishes the back, ramming Cena into a ringpost and throws him through the ringside barricade (which appeared to have been gimmicked…still a great visual). Batista still can’t put him away and he goes crazy, tearing apart the announcer’s desk and setting up the ringside steps as a weapon. Batista goes for the powerbomb on the steps but Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment through the announcer’s desk…great spot. Batista went FLYING. Crowd counts with the ref…but Batista gets to his feet at 9.5. Very cool. Cena sets up a table in the ring and goes for another Adjustment but Batista counters and hits the spinebuster through the table. Cena makes it up at 9. Both men are barely standing at this point…great storytelling once again. Batista hits a powerbomb, but Cena staggers to his feet again. The Champ slips on the STF, and Batista taps out repeatedly, but the match goes on…until the Animal has apparently passed out from the pain. Ref and the crowd count…but Batista beats it. Cena wracks Batista against the ringpost (shades of Austin Idol and Tommy Rich attacking Lawler). Cena reaches down into the mess of the ring crew’s toolset scattered about at ringside and duct-tapes Batista’s feet together against the ringpost. The Animal can’t get to his feet, so Cena wins the match. Winner: Cena

Duct'd off: The Animal is enraged as Cena taunts him post-match.

The finish was far more effective and clever than it reads…very Memphis-like. (In fact, Lawler beat Idol in a chain match in Memphis in ’87 when he duct-taped the Heartthrob’s wrist to the ringpost.) Makes it four for four tonight on the WrestleMania rematches…all better bouts across the board. Excellent show.

Thumps way up. A better show than WrestleMania, as the bouts had more time to build and tell a story.

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