Extreme Rules 2011 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on May 1, 2011 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. It was the third annual Extreme Rules event.
Extreme Rules featured professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines which were played out on WWE's primary television programs. Wrestlers will portray villains or heroes as they follow a series of events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Due to the new rules, WWE is no longer allowed to use the terms 'wrestler or wrestling' as it is too reminiscent of the attitude era. Edge was originally scheduled to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match. However, Edge retired on the April 11 episode of Raw due to being diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis stemming from previously sustained injuries. Edge vacated the World Heavyweight Championship and the match was cancelled. It was later announced the winner of a 20-man battle royal would face Alberto in the ladder match; Edge's real life best friend and story line best friend Christian won the right to face Del Rio for the title. In the interim, Del Rio was drafted to Raw in the 2011 WWE Draft.
On the April 11th edition of Monday Night Raw there was a 5-man gauntlet match which would decide the number one contender to face The Miz for the WWE Championship. This match featured John Cena, Randy Orton, John Morrison, R-Truth and Dolph Ziggler. The last two men in the final round were John Cena and R-Truth. After an interference from The Miz and Alex Riley the match was resulted in a double disqualification, which would then lead to the anonymous Raw general manager stating that both John Cena and R-Truth would compete for the WWE Championship against The Miz in a Triple Threat match. On the April 18 edition of Raw, John Morrison challenged R-Truth for Truth's spot in the match and won the opportunity, but Truth turned heel and attacked Morrison after the match. Later in the night, it was revealed that the match would be contested inside a steel cage.
An ongoing feud involves Raw commentators Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. At WrestleMania XXVII, Lawler made Cole submit to the ankle lock, but the anonymous Raw General Manager reversed special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin's decision, thus making Cole the winner via disqualification. On the April 11 episode of Raw, Lawler defeated Cole's trainer, Jack Swagger, allowing him to announce that he would team up with his former broadcast partner, Jim Ross, to face Cole and Swagger at Extreme Rules. Two weeks later, the Raw General Manager declared that the teams would face each other in a Country Whipping match.
Another feud from the SmackDown brand is between Layla and Michelle McCool, formerly known together as LayCool. Dissension between the two divas started on the April 8 edition of SmackDown when McCool refused to tag Layla in a tag team match against Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly. The following two weeks, the two attended couple's therapy sessions, but the latter session ended with McCool attacking Layla, solidifying their break up. During the 2011 WWE Draft, after Layla lost her match against Eve, she attacked McCool for distracting her. On the April 29 edition of SmackDown, after fighting to a double count-out in their match, Layla and McCool agreed to have a No Count-out, No Disqualification match at Extreme Rules with the loser leaving WWE.
Another feud between Raw and SmackDown is Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes. At WrestleMania XXVII, Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio by using Mysterio's knee brace, then the following Cross Rhodes. On the April 22 edition of Friday Night SmackDown, Rhodes and Mysterio would have a rematch; however, Mysterio defeated Rhodes. After the match, Rhodes attacked Mysterio from behind, performed a Cross Rhodes on a concrete floor, and puts a paper bag on Mysterio. It was announced that Mysterio would face Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match at Extreme Rules. At the 2011 WWE Draft, Mysterio would be drafted from SmackDown to Raw.
Two matches were added to the card during the event. Teddy Long added a bonus match between Sheamus and Kofi Kingston for the WWE United States Championship. Also a Lumberjack match featuring the WWE Tag Team Champions, Big Show and Kane against Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson was added.
The first televised match of the night saw CM Punk taking on Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match. While Punk made his way to the ring with the members of The New Nexus, the anonymous Raw general manager declared that the members of The New Nexus were banned from ringside. The first big spot of the match happened when Orton delivered a snap scoop powerslam on the outside of the ring. About ten minutes into the match, Punk executed GTS, on Orton who barely managed to beat the count. The finish came after Punk got caught in the top rope by Orton, and was then hit with an RKO. Once Punk could not answer the count, the referee declared Orton the winner.
After the match, in a backstage segment, the general manager of SmackDown Theodore Long informed Sheamus that he would be defending the WWE United States Championship against Kofi Kingston in a tables match. In the match, Kingston was successful in winning the United States Championship after putting Sheamus through a table with a double leg drop off the top rope.
The following match was a tag team Country Whipping match featuring Michael Cole and Jack Swagger against WWE Hall of Famers, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Swagger and Cole dominated the match early on until Lawler made the hot tag to Ross. After taking Cole down, Ross locked in the AnCole lock in an attempt to make Cole tap out. However, Swagger entered the ring and pulled Ross off Cole. Ross answered with a low blow on Swagger, but was then rolled up by Cole for the win.
The next match pitted Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio against each other in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The first big spot of this match was Mysterio running off the entrance ramp and executing a seated senton on Rhodes. The brawl then headed into the arena's concourse where Mysterio tackled Rhodes into a stand. After getting back inside the arena, Rhodes hip tossed Mysterio over a barricade onto the padded floor outside the ring. The finish came when Mysterio spit mist into Rhodes' face, followed by the 619 and a Springboard splash for the pin.
Main event matches
The following match was a no disqualification, no countout, Loser Leaves WWE match featuring Layla and Michelle McCool. The match started with McCool attacking Layla during her entrance routine. McCool was then able to hit the Faithbreaker, but her pin was reversed by Layla into a crucifix for the win. After the match, the debuting Kharma attacked McCool, hitting her with a lifting double underhook facebuster.
The next match was for the vacant World Heayweight Championship featuring Christian and Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match. The first big spot of the match came when Christian backdropped Del Rio onto a ladder. After a back and forth match, Del Rio was able to hit an enzuigiri on Christian, knocking him off the top rope. Del Rio then attempted to free the championship, but was unsuccessful. About sixteen minutes into the match, Christian used a spear on Del Rio. After Christian was about to unhook the championship, Brodus Clay ran down to ringside, preventing Christian from winning the match. Clay was busted open after taking a shot from a ladder and then thrown to the outside by Christian. After this, Del Rio applied the cross armbreaker on Christian and began scaling the ladder. However, Del Rio was distracted by a car horn, coming from the retired Edge, who was in a jeep. Christian took advantage of this and threw Del Rio off the ladder onto Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez at ringside. Christian went on to unhook the World Heavyweight Championship and become the eleventh Grand Slam Champion in WWE history.
The next match was for the WWE Tag Team Championship which featured Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson against Kane and Big Show in a lumberjack match. The finish came after Barrett tagged himself in once Jackson had Show down. After this, Barrett was caught by Big Show and then hit with a chokeslam for the win.
The last match of the night was a steel cage triple threat match for the WWE Championship featuring John Cena, John Morrison and The Miz. The match started with Morrison and Cena double teaming The Miz. Cena nailed a diving bulldog on the Miz from the top rope, while Morrison tried to escape the cage, only to be stopped by Cena. As morrison made another attempt to escape, Miz stopped him. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Morrison but The Miz nailed John Cena with the Skull Crushing Finale. The Miz tried to climb the cage but was again double teamed, and Morrison and Cena hit Miz with a double suplex from the top of the cage. Morrison then tried a variation of the flying chuck using the cage wall instead of the ropes, aiming for Cena, but hit The Miz instead. Morrison hit a huge standing moonsault side slam on Cena, but after that was powerbombed into the steel cage wall by The Miz. Then Cena applied the STF on Miz as he tried exiting the ring by the door, but then Morrison climbed the cage and shut the door, which nailed The Miz on the head. Cena then pushed Morrison who landed on the door on his groin. Back in the ring, Miz hit a Swift DDT on Cena, and hit a running boot as well. As Morrison tried to escape the cage, both Cena and Miz tried to stop him, but Morrison hit the Starship Pain from the top of the cage. Later in the match, Morrison was about to escape the cage to win the WWE Championship, when R-Truth came to ringside and took Morrison out with a running knee, and took him back in the ring and kept hitting him, finally ending the assault with the What's Up. Truth went on to deliver a Truth Axe on Cena before symbolically climbing over the cage. The match ended as Cena delivered a massive Attitude Adjustment on The Miz from the top rope for the pinfall victory and thus won his eighth WWE Championship, and tied the record for most WWE Title wins with Triple H, and thus by winning the WWE Champioship John Cena began his Tenth World Championship reign.
Extreme Rules 2011 received generally positive reviews. In his review for The Sun, Rob McNichol reported that the event was "a stunning return to form by WWE." CM Punk and Randy Orton's opening Last Man Standing Match was deemed a very strong opening bout which swung each way several times. CM Punk was not shamed in defeat, being made to look Orton's equal for twenty minutes. The Country Whipping match was described as "unsatisfying" whilst Rey Mysterio vs Cody Rhodes was hailed as "a high quality wrestling match..it felt fresh, and it helped that Rey certainly had his flying and bumping boots on." Kharma's debut was heralded as a special moment sorely lacking from recent WWE PPVs. The Smackdown main event Ladder Match between Alberto Del Rio and Christian for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship was given praise, "The crowd's genuine elation and the celebration with his former partner and best friend made it a very special moment."
"After a quick and forgettable lumberjack match in which Big Show and Kane defeated Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson, the main event saw The Miz defend against Cena and John Morrison in a cage. Cena prevailed after a top rope Attitude Adjustment to win his tenth world crown."
"But the story was Christian's big win and the fact that WWE used the match stipulations — so often a restricting factor on their booking — to great effect."
The Sun gave praise in some matches calling them outstanding and "Extreme", McNicol said that the event lived up to its name, the Last Man Standing match was rated 8 out of 10, the World Championship Ladder match an 9 out of 10 and the WWE Championship Steel Cage was rated 8 out of 10, and rated the show 8 out of 10 overall.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Sin Cara defeated Tyson Kidd
- Randy Orton defeated CM Punk in a Last Man Standing Match (20:07)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus (c) in a Tables match for the WWE United States Championship (15:09)
- Michael Cole and Jack Swagger defeated Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler in a Country Whipping match (17:02)
- Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match (15:43)
- Layla defeated Michelle McCool in a No Disqualifications, Loser Leaves WWE match (8:25)
- Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship (31:06)
- Big Show and Kane (c) defeated Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson in a Lumberjack Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship (14:15)
- John Cena defeated The Miz (c) & John Morrison in a Steel Cage Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship (29:55)
Death of Osama bin Laden
Following the conclusion of Extreme Rules, news was breaking worldwide that Osama bin Laden, the leader and co-founder of the Islamist terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, had been killed by the US Navy's SEAL Team Six in Abbottabad, Pakistan. New WWE Champion John Cena addressed the live audience with a speech about American pride, then declared "The President has just announced that we have caught, and compromised to a permanent end, Osama bin Laden". Cena's comments and the announcement drew a massive response from the audience including many "U-S-A!" chants.
Cena followed up on Twitter moments after leaving the ring saying "CeNation. Proud day in the war on terror. Many brave soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in hopes of what happened tonight. I am not certain if this conflict is over. But tonight was a very very proud moment for the good guys. God bless America." The internal public address system of the St. Pete Times Forum then proceeded to play "Stars and Stripes Forever." Cena's announcement was replayed the next evening on WWE Raw, where Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also addressed the issue prior to his birthday celebration and Lilian Garcia performed the national anthem in the beginning of the show.
Other on-screen talent
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