Pro Wrestling

10 Best Matches In WWE Extreme Rules History Source:

Created as a WWE Pay Per View where every single match has some sort of stipulation, Extreme Rules does not have a long history, with the first one airing in 2009. However, it has become a yearly tradition since then, and several incarnations of the PPV have been considered some of WWE’s best shows. In its relatively short existence as a PPV, Extreme Rules has provided some incredibly memorable moments, a few under-rated classics, and even some of the very best matches of that particular year. Here are a few of the very best matches to take place on the one night a year where WWE goes to the extreme.

10. Hornswoggle vs El Torito – Wee-LC, 2014

There is no way that anyone would have considered a comedy ladder match between two midget wrestlers to be on any sort of list of great matches, but we’re here to tell you that this might actually be one of the best things we’ve ever seen in wrestling. While Hornswoggle has never been anything resembling a wrestler, El Torito was an accomplished luchador before coming to WWE, at one point taking over the role of the legendary Mascarita Sagrada (before settling into a new character known as Mascarita Dorada), which meant that the match actually had a decent amount of skill involved. This was combined with WWE going all out for the presentation of the match, even going so far as to include a commentary desk made up of little people (who were, obviously, better than what we usually get these days). For additional fun, Los Matadores and 3MB made their presence felt in the matches, and even took their share of dangerous bumps that elevated the match beyond pure comedy. It was fun, it was well-put together, it certainly deserved to be more than a throwaway pre-show match, and you should definitely give it a watch when you have a chance. Source:

9. Rey Mysterio vs Chris Jericho – No Holds Barred, 2009

One of Chris Jericho’s more under-rated feuds was his series of battles with Rey Mysterio over the Intercontinental title in 2009. Jericho was at a bit of a loose end after his feud with several WWE Legends (including a shocking in-ring return for Ricky Steamboat) wrapped up, and he began tormenting Mysterio, in a feud that was seen as a decent placeholder for both men, who were significant stars but not currently in the main event title picture. After Mysterio successfully defended his title against Jericho at Judgment Day, Jericho upped the ante for a rematch, leading to an excellent No Holds Barred match that saw both men mix in some limited out-of-ring action and a steel chair to their already prodigious wrestling abilities, creating an excellent match that moved away from the pattern of other No Holds Barred matches to devolve into weapon-filled brawls. The finish involved Jericho ripping the mask off Mysterio as a distraction so he could pin the champion, raising the stakes even higher for a third match, which would put the Jericho’s newly-won Intercontinental title on the line against Mysterio’s mask. Source:

8. Roman Reigns vs The Big Show – Last Man Standing, 2015

Expectations were low heading into this match, as Reigns had yet to have a truly impressive match since becoming a singles competitor and was coming off an absolute shellacking at the hands of Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, where he had not won the WWE World Heavyweight Title, a severe alteration of WWE’s original plan for Reigns. In addition, The Big Show was not exactly the youngest Superstar on the roster anymore, and previous one-on-one matches between the two had been atrocious. However, by adding a stipulation which allowed them to endlessly brawl and exchange impressive power moves, instead of trying to actually wrestle a traditional match, WWE freed up Reigns and Show to put on an incredible fight that played into their strengths, rather than exposing their in-ring limitations. By beating Show in a brutal fashion, Reigns displayed some of the promise that had led to WWE christening him a big star of the future (although they would proceed to drop the ball with him repeatedly over the next year, basically ruining all that progress, something which seems to be a recurring theme for Reigns). Source.

7. CM Punk vs Randy Orton – Last Man Standing, 2011

2011’s edition of Extreme Rules is often a forgotten Pay Per View that doesn’t deserve to be, as it had several incredible matches. We’ll start with this under-appreciated classic between two wrestlers that had a surprising amount of chemistry during the few matches they had together. At the time, CM Punk was the head of the floundering New Nexus and Orton was largely directionless as a character, but the two came together at WrestleMania to have a surprisingly great match, leading to this re-match that saw the stakes raised even higher. Orton and Punk used veteran savvy and a bevy of weaponry to have one of the better Last Man Standing matches ever seen (which is an accomplishment, as the ten-count stipulation of a Last Man Standing match often leads to slow matches with disjointed, anti-climactic finishes). Orton would win the match, but Punk would ultimately get the last laugh, winning the WWE Championship in one of the biggest matches of the year a couple of months later at the infamous Money in the Bank Pay Per View. Source:

6. Edge vs Jeff Hardy – Ladder Match, 2009

The main event of the inaugural Extreme Rules (which evolved from the series of One Night Stand PPVs that had led to the revival of ECW as a third brand of WWE) saw two masters of the ladder match clash for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge was already a multiple time World champion by that point, and Hardy had won his first WWE Championship at the end of 2008, but his title reign lasted less than a month, and this was actually a re-match against the man who had defeated him for the WWE Title (not the World Championship, though…it’s a long story). True to form, Edge and Hardy used the skills that had catapulted them into the spotlight during the original ladder and TLC matches involving The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian, and the match was excellent as a result. Then, just as Hardy claimed the World Championship and looked poised to begin a well-deserved reign, CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and stole the title away from Hardy, denying him a lengthy reign yet again.;jsessionid=FF476FB215B109A9A7B665F33577740A?r30_r1_r1:page=56 Source:

5. John Cena vs The Miz vs John Morrison – Steel Cage Match, 2011

It wouldn’t be surprising to find many fans who think that The Miz’s WWE Title reign ended in the main event of WrestleMania, when he faced John Cena. This is mostly because that’s what everyone assumed would happen, and also because The Miz’s reign ended pretty summarily just under a month later, leading many to wonder what the point of him beating John Cena one-on-one at WrestleMania (albeit with a huge assist from The Rock) was supposed to be. The good news is, the match where The Miz lost the title was far better than his Mania match, thanks to hard work from all three participants. Cena brought veteran savvy, John Morrison brought breathtaking highspots, and The Miz brought his incredibly hated character, which was actually so well-done that WWE was totally justified in making him WWE Champion, even if nobody remembers that fact. Some had hoped that this match would also turn Morrison into a main event star, but his time in WWE was already running out, to the dismay of fans of slow-motion entrances and chiseled abs everywhere. Source:

4. Christian vs Alberto Del Rio – Ladder Match, 2011

Following the sudden and unexpected retirement of World Heavyweight Champion Edge, the title was vacated and put up for grabs in a match between Alberto Del Rio, who had failed to defeat Edge in what turned out to be the Rated R Superstar’s last match ever at WrestleMania, and Edge’s best friend, Christian. Many thought that the end result was academic, as Del Rio was being pushed as a main event talent, having just won the first (and only) 40-man Royal Rumble to earn his WrestleMania shot, which had been expected to be his crowning moment. Meanwhile, Christian was no slouch himself, but had nowhere near the career of his former tag team partner, and at the time had zero World titles to his name. In something of a tribute to Edge, both men tore the house down in a spectacular ladder match, which ended in a feel-good moment for fans, as Edge assisted Christian by distracting Del Rio, allowing Captain Charisma to capture the first World title of his long and under-rated WWE career. Source:

3. Evolution vs The Shield – Six-Man Tag, 2014

Okay, so over the years, some stipulations have been less “extreme” than others, but that didn’t really matter in this case. In 2014, The Shield was absolutely on fire, putting on spectacular six-man matches with a variety of opponents, including a spectacular match against The Wyatt Family earlier in the year that would end up on most “Best of Year” lists. Along the way, the crowd started getting behind them, and the group began showing a spark of individuality, after a few months of worked as unofficial goons for The Authority. That didn’t sit particularly well with Triple H, who decided to re-form Evolution in order to teach the upstart team a lesson. This first match was actually a lot tamer than the No Holds Barred match which they’d have a month later, but it was still excellent in its own right, and catapulted The Shield from mid-card mercenaries into legitimate main event threats (no doubt directly leading into Seth Rollins’ shocking betrayal just a few weeks later). Source:

2. Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan – 2/3 Falls, 2012

After the backlash of Sheamus’ sub-60 second victory over Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, this rematch was almost seen as an apology by WWE for short-changing fans who had expected an actual wrestling match from the two Superstars. Perhaps dealing with some frustrations of their own, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan let everything hang out in this match, showing off an incredible chemistry together that had fans continuing to question why WWE had given them so little time at WrestleMania. Bryan, of course, was one of the best wrestlers in the world, and Sheamus was in the midst of peaking as a solid worker, who could believably brawl with big men, but also wrestle more than competently when necessary. Given more than enough time and three falls to work with, Bryan and Sheamus put on an absolute in-ring clinic, full of great brawling and superior technical wrestling, and both men became bigger stars as a result (although Bryan’s true rise took nearly two years to accomplish, and Sheamus ended up sidetracked by terrible feuds post-Bryan). Source:

1. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena – Extreme Rules Match, 2012

This was Brock Lesnar’s triumphant return match after nearly a decade away from WWE. When he left, Brock had developed into a well-rounded wrestler who also used an array of power moves. But after a successful run through UFC, Brock Lesnar returned as a world-destroying monster who didn’t bother trying to wrestle his opponents, since he could simply beat them into submission. Lesnar went right after the biggest star in the company for his first match, and in this match, he absolutely laid waste to John Cena, in a way nobody had before, dominating the match and only losing due to a lucky shot from Cena that allowed him to escape with a pinfall. Many decried the result, since it continued the growing resentment against Cena’s Superman-esque stature, but with Lesnar only contracted to wrestle a few feature matches over the year (no one knew at the time that Brock would stick around in an increased, but still limited, role for several more years), putting over the full-time Superstar was probably the right move. Besides, if you want to watch Lesnar turn Cena into a fine paste and win the WWE Title in the process, they had a rematch at SummerSlam 2014 where you can see that. However, this first match re-established Lesnar in his new persona as the Destroyer of Worlds, one that fans were more than willing to get behind. Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.