Thursday, June 24, 2021

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Extreme Rules in Review: ‘Extreme Makeover: McCool Edition’

Extreme Rules is done and over with, and the mixed reviews continue to pour in. Last night, each and every one of us were able to watch the first ever Extreme Makeover Match which starred the reigning WWE Women’s Champion, Michelle McCool, and the lovely, beautiful Beth Phoenix. These two talented Divas fought within the confines of the match regulations and delivered one of the best diva matches we’ve had in awhile. Michelle’s cohorts and resident SmackDown mean girls, Layla and Vickie Guerrero, would make their presence felt, and as the match reached it’s crescendo we all watched as the Phoenix rose again. When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Beth Phoenix was crowned the ultimate Queen of the WWE once again and Simply Flawless were sent limping to the back with their heads bowed down in silent defeat.

Before the match begins, the WWE gives us a close up of the make-up table and the so-called weapons that are going to make this match extreme. Michelle McCool and her Simply Flawless stablemates make their way to the ring first. Michelle does this unnecessary dance at the top of the ramp before she begins to saunter down to the ring. It’s not as if we were able to see her walk to the ring because the ‘E decided to get in a sponsor announcement but hey, at least they didn’t go to commercial a la TNA. Michelle and Layla are matching and Vickie is sporting some sexy mom jeans that didn’t have an elastic waist thus making me wonder if they were even mom jeans at all?

As the Vickie insults start to fly thanks to our wonderful broadcast team, the Glamazon’s theme music hits and Beth receives a massive pop as she makes her way onto the stage. As always, the shapely blonde looks gorgeous and her face reads of nothing but absolute confidence as she stalks down to the ring. As tonight’s “Buffet of Beauty” waits to get underway, Beth poses to the crowd while Laycool plus Vickie try to not look that effected. When things settle down, the referee holds the championship up for everyone to see and then calls for the bell. Michelle and Beth circle one another before locking up and jockeying for position. Beth forces Michelle to the ropes and the ex-teacher slips between them temporarily. Beth doesn’t break the hold but Michelle does get the advantage and nails the Glamazon right in the face. Beth staggers back and Michelle follows it up with a kick, an uppercut, and a whip into the turnbuckle. Beth jumps on the ropes, over a charging Michelle, and rolls her up for a quick pin. Michelle is out after the one count, but the match is off to a fantastic start.

Beth stays put in the corner and lures Michelle towards her. The Floridian eats an elbow and Beth pounces on the second rope and flies off with a devastating clothesline that takes Michelle down hard. Beth goes for another cover but Michelle kicks out, then rolls out of the ring to regroup. She doesn’t get enough time to collect herself because Beth is on her like white on rice and soon enough, Michelle is flat on her back again and this time it’s on the dirty ring mat. While Michelle is withering around on the ground in pain, Layla comes at Beth like a crazy woman and she’s waving a broom. Beth snatches it from her and gives Layla a little dose of pain. She tosses her into the ring, follows her, and even jabs the broom at Vickie Guerrero. Vickie wants nothing to do with that so she quickly drops off the apron. After Beth makes sure Vickie and Layla are in check, she goes to the other side and jerks Michelle up by the hair. Michelle, though, has summoned her inner Beautiful Person/Maryse and fights off Beth with a hair spray shot to the face. Beth is blinded by the Aqua Net and Michelle reaches under the ring for a weapon.

The majestic ironing board makes it first appearance of the night and Beth gets an abortion whether she needed it or not. Beth is covered by Michelle but she manages to kick out after the two. Michelle’s not thrilled by this so she decides to punish her challenger but slamming her with the ironing and then laying it flat across Beth’s mid-section. Michelle jumps right in the middle of it which leaves Beth down and visibly hurting. The devious blond decides to keep up the offense on Beth’s injured mid-section and applies a very painful body scissors to the number one contender. Beth does her best to fight back and finally catches Michelle in the jaw with an elbow. The soon-to-be ex-champion releases the hold and calls for a weapon. She receives an iron via of Layla, but unbeknown to Michelle, the cord of the iron has gotten stuck so when she goes to use it, it slips right out of her hands! Beth is able to capitalize with a quick roll-up but a horrified Michelle slips out of it! She quickly puts the boots to Beth and gets the Glamazon into the corner where she places the ironing board across Beth’s chest. Michelle harassing the crowd then kicks the dastardly weapon leaving Beth stunned from the brutal assault. Michelle pulls Beth away from the ropes, hooks both legs, and goes for the cover. She only gets a two count and it looks like frustration has started to settle in for the graduate of Florida State.

Michelle rolls to the outside and picks up a red mop bucket. Whatever’s inside she tosses on Matt Striker in frustration (perhaps she was listening to the commentary?) and she reaches for what seems to be the supporting guest star in this match: the ironing board. As she goes to crawl back into the ring with it, Beth drop kicks her, and Michelle flies back into the make-up table, bouncing her head off it in the process. The crowd is shocked at the sheer brutality of the spot and Beth goes to capitalize. She’s greeted by Layla and Vickie who double team her long enough for Michelle to stand up in a dazed state and grab another can of hair spray. Beth wiggles away from Layla and Vickie just in time for Michelle to spray her BFF in the face. Layla starts screaming that she’s blind and Michelle slams the Aqua Net to the ground in disbelief that Layla just got sprayed instead of Beth. Beth grabs Michelle by the hair and throws her right across the make-up table giving all of us reason to think something awful is about to happen to McCool. Beth keeps her grip on Michelle’s hair and slams the other woman’s face into the wood a couple of times before just pushing the table over and sending Michelle sprawling onto the mat.

Beth uses her half a minute free time to start throwing weapons into the ring before she pulls Michelle back inside. The groggy champion halfheartedly gets to her feet but Beth is waiting and ready to knock her down again. Beth slams the red mop bucket into Michelle’s abdomen and then hits her in the back with it. If that wasn’t awful enough she throws all her weight behind the bucket and launches it right at Michelle’s face. Michelle isn’t able to duck or anything, so she ends up slumping to the ground thanks to the ferocious beating she’s taken for the last few minutes. Beth goes for the cover but by sheer instinct alone Michelle manages to get the shoulder up. An annoyed Beth decides that she’s basically ready to the end the match. She places to ironing boards together in the ring and goes to get Michelle. She hoists her up and places her on top the rope, climbing up after her. At this point, Vickie and Layla do the only other thing they can do and that’s start batting at Beth’s feet with a mop and a broom. I guess this distracts the Glamazon from superplexing Michelle down onto the ironing boards, because next thing you know Michelle is able to muscle the stronger woman off of her. Beth lands flat on the metal weapons and you have to think that the Glamazon is out of it at this point. Michelle goes for the cover but Beth somehow by the grace of God (…or David) manages to kick out. Michelle lets out an ear piercing shriek and pitches a fit, not that I blame her. Beth has been hit with everything at this point and she won’t stay down. There’s really nothing else left for Michelle to do.

She gets Beth up by the hair and looks to be setting up for the Faithbreaker. Beth has come to far to give up now she digs deep and reverses the attempt by picking Michelle up on her shoulders. Michelle fights out of it but she ends up in a position for Beth to hit the Glam Slam. Beth hoists Michelle in the air and we all know what’s coming. Michelle starts screaming bloody murder but Beth has no sympathy and puts Michelle out of her misery. She goes for the cover, gets the pin, and we have a brand new champion! Layla and Vickie are so shocked and horrified, and tears spring to the eyes of Beth as she is announced the winner. The crowd is very happy with this outcome and Beth poses with her newly won championship.

The Good: I think the first thing that needs to be applauded is WWE management. We lay the smack down on them each and every week, and rightfully so, but tonight they gave their amazing divas an ample amount of time to go out there and work a match that would satisfy diva fans and maybe even make a few haters open their eyes to the fact that these girls are no joke. Beth and Michelle are two of the best on the WWE roster right now and despite the fact the match could have been so much more, they did their absolute best with what they were given. Beth took an amazing bump from the ropes onto an ironing board. Michelle more than proved that she is the top diva heel in the company. She beat on Beth and never really held back, not to mention she took some punishment of her own. One of the best spots of the match is when Beth took the mop bucket and began to beat Michelle with it. How much fun was that? I know that all of you want to beat someone down with a plastic bucket now because it honestly looked like it hurt like hell. And you know what? Deep down, we all have a sadistic side. Each of us laughed a little bit as the leggy, dominate Women’s Champion got her ass beat by something as simple as a bucket. It was the ultimate humiliation, in my humble opinion, and Michelle deserved that beating!

The Simply Flawless stable is probably the best thing to happen to the Divas in a long time. The combination of Michelle and Layla, along with Vickie, gives anyone who comes into contact with them an instant storyline. I find it horrifying and shocking that people want this group to break up. People should want to see more Simply Flawless segments on their television because the longer it lasts, the more opportunities for segments and fun matches the divas will have. I’ll agree that Flawless has done everything they can on Smackdown, and Raw certainly needs some life injected into it. What better way to get Eve over than throwing her to the wolves and giving people a chance to get behind her? Michelle, Vickie, and Layla are hated enough that people will rally behind Eve and cheer her to the moon if she can take them down. Last night’s PPV was pretty decent as a whole, and my unbiased opinion allows me to believe that Simply Flawless getting dismissed in such great fashion by Beth was one of the best moments of the night.

Another great moment was Beth recapturing the Women’s Championship. This has been a long time coming and it couldn’t have happened to a better worker. Beth has worked her butt off for the WWE and has become the top face on the Diva side of the spectrum. I’ll be happy to argue with anyone who disagrees with that and I’ll even say she is/was more popular than Mickie James. There is just something about Beth that makes everyone take notice of her. Her run as a face is so exciting and just so fresh and needed. She’s going to be able to carry Smackdown to even better heights now that she’s the face of the division. Last night Beth was powerful, endearing, emotional, and she shined like a star. No one can say she holds the title all the time because it’s been a long while since we saw Beth with some gold. The world is her oyster now and I can’t wait to see who steps up to challenge her first.

The match itself was good. Both girls have great chemistry together and with the exception of a few awkward moments, the whole match came off really well. Beth and Michelle made use of the “weapons” they were given and both took a nice amount of punishment. Vickie and Layla were full of shenanigans (that’s totally my favorite word) and their involvement in the match wasn’t overbooked. We speculated on the pre-show that perhaps Mickie James was originally slated to interfere in this match. We’ll probably never know if she was or not to be honest. But lets say that if the match did have to be rebooked, I’m glad it happened. Beth is the type of character that doesn’t need help in order to win. The WWE stayed true to her last night. Simply Flawless gave Beth everything she could handle last night and then some, and Beth still refused to stay down. If the match had some alternative ending, it would have definitely taken away from the emotion of the contest and Beth’s eventual victory.

The Bad: As much as it pains me to say, some of the interference from Vickie and Layla last night was bad. They provided the awkward spots of the match but none more strange than when they took the mop and the broom and attempted to bat the Glamazon away from Michelle while the girls were battling on the top rope. I literally cringed at this segment and tried not to think about how badly it would get slammed by the wrestling press. The interference wasn’t really needed and it made Vickie and Layla look kind of dumb and useless. We all know they’re not, but this came off awful and I have to question what they were thinking when they decided to go ahead and put that in the match.

The weapons were pretty bad. It’s like they took every stereotypical girl object ever made and threw it down at ringside for Beth and Michelle. I can see why some people would find this cute and whatnot, but I found it stupid and borderline sexist. I’m sorry if that bothers people, but why do girls have to use mops, buckets, brooms, and make-up as their weapons? What they should have done is let Cena and Batista play with the brooms and mops, and let Beth and Michelle play with the duct tape! Am I serious with that comment?

The Ugly: The only thing that was ugly about last night’s match was the horrible commentary, in particular Matt Striker’s. When you are naturally as wonderful as Matt Striker, you tend to overshadow those around you, and during the diva match Matt Striker unfortunately stood out for his crappy remarks more than King and Michael “Vintage” Cole. It’s sad because Striker is one perfect looking man. From his piercing blue eyes to his stunning tan to the fact he wears suit jackets and dress shirts with jeans. He’s gorgeous and intelligent, and he plays perfectly into the female hot teacher fantasy. But his stupid, sexist remarks brought a great match down to elementary school level and showed just how little the divas are cared about in the WWE. He had no clue what was going on in the match and King and Cole weren’t any better. I know Vince McMahon tells the commentators what to say, but there is a fine line he keeps crossing. He may not give a damn about the divas but he doesn’t have to force feed crappy lines to his announce team. And if Matt Striker came up with his sexist comments on his own, then shame on him. Double shame on him for the Vickie Guerrero insults. We know she’s an older woman who isn’t a hot, young diva but talking down on her isn’t acceptable. King and Cole were tacky too and deserve a nice telling off as well.

Of course I’m sitting here and saying all this when I would gladly slap on an apron, a pair of five inch pumps, and a cute dress and make dinner for Matt Striker on any night of the week. Ahem.

Overall, Extreme Rules was a superb night for the divas. They gave it their all and put on a match that gave all of us a little bit of hope. I hope this isn’t one of the classic “one step forward, two steps back” thingies the WWE is good at when it comes to the divas, but we’ll have to wait and see. We have the draft in a few hours and that is bound to shake things up for the girls. Anything will help at this point and the more balance the rosters are given, the better. I want to end this article by saying Congratulations to Beth (and David) for winning the Women’s Championship last night, and congrats to Beth and Michelle for bringing everything they had to last night’s table and giving all of us something to be very proud about.

Match Rating: 4/5 stars!

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