In advance of tonight’s Post Raw & Impact Show, here are some news and notes from Extreme Rules last night:
* The 1st Mariner Arena is tiny! Only about 12,000 people were there and the place was full.
* The crowd was really, really fired up at the beginning of the night. The dark match Dolph vs. Kofi got a huge pop and seemed like a good opener (Kofi won).
* The opening of the PPV seemed to confuse a lot of people and I think it took a while to get the crowd back. First Sheamus attacked HHH backstage and it looked like we wouldn’t see that match at all during the show. You could hear people expressing their disappointment. Then the Miz/Big Show segment with the 3 tag teams was messy and didn’t make a lot of sense. Bret Hart got a nice reaction but he was only in the ring for 2 minutes.
* I was told I couldn’t use my camera during the show. Ridiculous. It does have a zoom lens, but it is not a real high resolution one and I have used the camera before. I was not happy but the security guard said: “The WWE is really cracking down”. What? Truthfully, the security was overly visible throughout the entire show – God forbid that people stand up and cheer. They were constantly taking signs, telling people to move, sit down, etc. Apparently the side we were on (with the cameras, production equipment, etc) is monitored more closely because the cameras need to capture all the action for the audience on TV. Ironically it makes those same people think none of us down front were into the show. We felt like war criminals sitting there.
* The Cryme Tyme strap match was the designated “bathroom break” for most people. Not enough build yet for this one (in my opinion). I’m not sure anybody cares that Cryme Tyme isn’t together anymore. Maybe we are all a little relieved, actually. While walking to the bathroom this guy looked at me and said: “This is 1 of 2 bathroom breaks tonight, the other is the women’s match.” I wanted to punch him.
* The lead pipe that Sheamus carries around looks like it is made of hollow tin. Not scary. Plus, his face was on the souvenir chairs (similar to the WWE.com wallpaper) and I can’t tell you how disoriented it made people to look at his white face all night before you sat down. The guy has 5000 teeth too. A dentist’s dream.
* I read some of the comments on Diva Dirt that Matt Striker was really annoying during the Beth-Michelle match. I am anxious to go back and hear what he has to say. Something happened to this guy recently, like he is trying too hard to get over. Great announcers don’t have to try, they just naturally evoke these emotions. Can’t he permanently stay on NXT?
* I thought the stipulation was weird for the Punk-Rey Rey match. So if Mysterio wins, Punk loses his hair. If Punk wins… then nothing happens. Umm… okay. I love how big tough men cower at the thought of losing their hair. And I love that they had 8 cans of shaving cream on display, which made my friend ask if they were also shaving Punk’s chest.
* People really woke up for Randy Orton. It has been interesting to see him get this reaction from fans after being so hated for so long. Just a great worker in the ring. I thought Swagger would win, which makes total sense considering he has lost clean on SmackDown Friday (groan).
* The Women’s Championship match was much better than I thought it was going to be. I thought they did some interesting spots with the “makeover weapons” and Vickie and Layla did try to interfere but not to the point that we didn’t get any work from Beth and Michelle. I have to go back and watch the match again because most of the time I was watching the match like people watch “Friday the 13th” – through my fingers, almost unable to open my eyes. When Beth hit the Glam Slam and won the championship, I jumped around like a little kid, hugged my friend (who was horrified), and screamed really loudly. Then I looked around and saw everyone just sitting there staring at me. I didn’t care – what a beautiful moment for Beth and her fans. I’ll never forget it.
* The steel cage looked tiny hanging above the ring all night, and even when they brought it down it wasn’t as big as it looks on TV. Jericho and Edge put on a good show and had some nice cage spots, but like the Punk match, what was really the point of the match?!? No titles on the line, no storyline ramifications.
* God bless Cena, whether you love him or hate him he does get the crowd on their feet. He and Batista wrestled a solid main event, but with word leaking that big Dave (Cryssi’s favorite) is probably leaving the WWE, the outcome seemed pretty certain. I did think the duct tape was an interesting way to end the match.
All in all we thought it was a pretty good PPV that featured one sublime moment. Beth Phoenix now wears the WWE Women’s Title belt. Everybody raise an ironing board and toast the new champion!