By: Todd Martin
Date: 04/18/11 from London, UK.
The Big News: R. Truth lost his pay-per-view title shot after only a week, but appears in better shape now than he was after getting the shot.
The show started with Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole on commentary. With Cole toning down his act and Lawler and Ross controlling the commentary, the angles and matches got over so much better than usual. They would be so much better off if they just let Ross and Lawler do the commentary and made Cole the top heel manager.
R. Truth came out and said that he would win the triple threat title match and be the most fighting champion ever. His delivery was weak and he got a negative reaction from the crowd. John Morrison then came out and said Truth got lucky last week. The crowd booed Morrison too. Morrison then showed video of Truth drinking a little water between falls last week and ridiculed Truth for it. The crowd again booed Morrison.
Morrison laughed at Truth for being out of shape. Truth asked the crowd if he was in good shape and the crowd reacted negatively to him too. Morrison continued by mocking Truth for smoking cigarettes. Truth said Morrison was trying to get in his head to force a match between them for Truth’s title shot. Morrison responded by saying he accepted the match. Truth said that the people didn’t want to see Morrison vs. Truth. The crowd half-heartedly indicated they did. They joked back and forth about the idea of drinking water during a match and basically agreed to wrestle.
This segment was a disaster. The material was awful, the interplay was unbelievably awkward, and both guys came across as unlikeable losers. I was waiting for Steve Austin to come out, cut a promo on both of them, and tell them to go home. The focus on shaming R. Truth for drinking water was particularly bizarre, as if world class athletes in every sport don’t drink water during games. Keeping hydrated is not in fact a sign of weakness.
John Morrison beat R. Truth to take Truth’s spot in the Extreme Rules title match. Truth was in control for about three minutes before Morrison hit starship pain out of the blue for the win. This was not good and felt like a burial of Truth.
Things turned around, however, with the post-match angle. Truth pulled Morrison off the ropes as Morrison was celebrating. He then hit a great looking running knee to the head and another spectacular looking running to the head that sent Morrison’s head into the barricade on the outside. Truth seemed conflicted and sorry about this, so he hugged Morrison and helped him up. Then he shoved Morrison back down.
Morrison grabbed a water bottle and his Morrison with it. He said Morrison did this to himself and gave Morrison a downward spiral on the floor. Truth then grabbed a cigarette and lit up. The crowd chanted “That’s illegal.” He blew cigarette smoke on Morrison and threw the butt on Morrison. Even after all the problems leading up to it, this was a great turn. Truth’s growing frustration and anger throughout was handled very well and the little touches worked well, particularly the cigarette bit.
Dolph Ziggler beat Evan Bourne in a short match. Ziggler has a new look with a haircut and no more dyed hair. That’s a really good move. The bleached blonde look just didn’t work that well for Ziggler and I think he’s got a better chance of getting over now. Ziggler worked over Bourne. Bourne came back with kicks, knees and a double foot stomp but missed the shooting star press. Ziggler then hit the zig zag for the win.
Miz and Alex Riley came out for a brief promo. In a very positive sign, Miz got a big star reaction with lots of cheers. Miz was annoyed about having to face not only John Cena but also John Morrison, and in a steel cage. I really don’t understand the reason for making that a cage match. It just seems like the prostituting of stipulations with no positive gain. Miz vowed a sit down strike until he was interrupted by Sin Cara and John Cena. The GM made a tag match.
John Cena and Sin Cara beat Miz and Alex Riley. The heels worked over Cena, who received dueling positive and negative chants. Cena used a body slam on Riley and tagged Cara. Cara came in with punches and kicks, then a springboard huracanrana, dropkick and enzuigiri. Riley took out Cara from behind and the heels worked over Cara. Cara finally got the tag to Cena, who came in with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and five knuckle on Riley. Miz left while Cena in the ring hit the FU. Cena then tagged Cara and Cara hit a springboard second rope moonsault for the win. This was a very good match and was perfectly laid out to showcase Cara while building Cena vs. Miz.
Eve Torres beat Nikki Bella in a brief expose of the business. Eve hit punches, kicks and an arm drag on Nikki. Eve missed a baseball slide and Brie Bella slammed Eve’s leg into the apron. Eve came back with a cradle for the win. Just about every move in this match ranged from bad to terrible.
Michael Cole introduced Jack Swagger as his trainer and friend. Cole put on a cape and Swagger read from a goofy scroll proclaiming him Sir Michael Cole. They announced a knighting ceremony and Queen Elizabeth came out. It didn’t appear to be the real Queen Elizabeth. They cut to Lawler and Ross looking completely disgusted. The Queen knighted Cole and Cole kissed her on the lips.
The newly knighted Cole then told Ross to come in the ring and kiss his feet. They made up Cole’s feet to look disgusting. Lawler and Ross came into the ring together but Swagger jumped Lawler and took him out. Swagger and Cole then went after Ross. Cole told Ross to kiss his feet. Ross told Cole to go to hell. Swagger put Ross in the ankle lock and made Ross kiss Cole’s disgusting feet. We’re at the point where Ross has been humiliated so many times that it doesn’t get heat on the heel but rather just makes you roll your eyes at Vince McMahon.
Sheamus beat Santino. Josh Mathews did commentary the rest of the show with Michael Cole. Sheamus dominated the match. Santino tried to go for the cobra but was too weak and was hit with the Brogue kick for the pin.
Randy Orton beat CM Punk. There were dueling chants for Punk and Orton throughout the match. Orton hit some stomps and then Punk some knees. Orton hit a powerslam but Punk avoided an RKO attempt. Punk took control and beat down Orton for a while. Punk hit a running knee but Orton countered the bulldog attempt. Orton went for the Angle slam but Punk escaped and hit the bulldog.
Punk then used a springboard clothesline. Orton kicked out of the pin attempt and came back with a superplex. He went for the draping DDT, which was countered into a GTS attempt, which was countered into an RKO attempt, which was countered into a Punk kick to the head for two. Punk went for the GTS again. Orton escaped but Punk went for the high kick again. Orton ducked under that and rolled up Punk for the pin. This was a very good match.
After the match, Nexus ran in. Mason Ryan was shoving other members of Nexus like he was out of control going after Orton. He gave Orton the side effect. Ryan went to punt Orton, but Punk wanted to punt Orton himself. They argued back and forth until Punk finally convinced Ryan to get out of the way. By the time Punk finally went for the punt, Orton got up and gave Punk an RKO.
This show got off to an inauspicious start, but it really picked up from there. It had some good wrestling, good angles, and focused on showcasing and putting over specific rising stars.