WWE Extreme Rules 2014: Most Controversial Moments in PPV's History
This year's WWE Extreme Rules card is already shaping up to be a good one, as John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt in a Steel Cage match, The Shield vs. Evolution and Paige vs. Tamina Snuka for the Divas Championship are already set in stone for the event. The annual pay-per-view almost always delivers, so the 2014 installment should be no exception.
Extreme Rules has played host to several monumental moments since its inception in 2009, but it has also been known for its controversial decisions in the past. Whether you loved them or hated them, Extreme Rules has always been one of the most talked-about shows each year.
This list will break down several moments from past installments of Extreme Rules that stirred up controversy within the WWE Universe after the show concluded. Not that all of them can be considered bad booking decisions, but there is no doubting that each of these occurrences created some sort of buzz.
Also, please keep in mind while reading that the following moments are listed in no particular order. Feel free to sound off with your thoughts down below at the end.
CM Punk Cashes in Money in the Bank on Jeff Hardy (2009)
The main event of 2009's Extreme Rules event saw Edge put his World Heavyweight Championship up for grabs (literally) in a Ladder match against Jeff Hardy. The two obviously had history with one another dating back a decade, but in the months leading up to this pay-per-view, Hardy was unable to take the title from Edge due to various reasons.
The Ladder match is a specialty of both individuals, so it was no surprise that they had one of the matches of the year on that night. Hardy and Edge brought their A-game and delivered an exciting, excellent matchup.
With the Rated-R Superstar trapped in the rungs, Hardy ascended the ladder to gain possession of the prestigious prize. The audience exploded with enthusiasm and gave Hardy the loud reaction he deserved.
SmackDown commentator Jim Ross entered the ring to interview Hardy during his championship celebration, but before he could even say a word, "This Fire Burns," the signature song of CM Punk, hit the arena. He was cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
Despite having just gone to hell and back, Hardy was a fighting champion and was willing to put his strap on the line at that very moment. Punk wasted no time in connecting with the Go to Sleep on Hardy, of which the Charismatic Engima kicked out.
A stunned Straight Edge Superstar was nearly rolled up by Hardy for the win, but he got out of it and hit his devastating finishing manuver once more on Hardy to pick up the victory. Although he was a babyface at the time, Punk received a mixed reaction from those in attendance, probably because of the way he went about winning the title.
Fans were upset to see Hardy reign as champion for such a short period of time, but this moment marked the start of Punk's slow-burning heel turn. He'd go on to engage in an unfogettable feud with Hardy and become one of the best heels in the business.
A New Straight Edge Society Member Debuts (2010)
One year removed from his controversial capturing of the World Heavyweight Championship at the same event, CM Punk took on Rey Mysterio in a WrestleMania rematch at 2010's Extreme Rules. The stipulation was that if Punk was to lose, he would have his head shaved.
At the time, Punk was pushing for Mysterio to join his Straight Edge Society, a group that also involved the likes of Luke Gallows and Serena. They looked to aid Punk to victory, but once they were banned from ringside, Punk was on his own.
Mysterio appeared to be on the verge of victory when all of a sudden, a masked man emerged from underneath the ring and laid out the Master of the 619 behind the referee's back. He quickly made his way back under the squared circle as Punk scored the three-count.
Some fans wondered whether Low-Ki (later known as Kaval) was under the mask, but needless to say, it caused commotion within the WWE Universe in the weeks that followed. The Straight Edge Society was riding a wave of momentum at the time, and the latest addition to their stable was only creating more buzz around the group.
It wasn't until July that the masked member of the Straight Edge Society was revealed to be a bald Joey Mercury (with zero buildup to boot). The group was never the same from that point on, but it was certainly at its peak at the time of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
John Cena Beats Batista... with Duct Tape (2010)
On the road to WrestleMania 26, John Cena and Batista were embroiled in a rivalry over the WWE Championship. At the event, Cena was successful in defeating Batista for the belt, but their feud was far from over.
Batista intended to invoke his rematch clause at Extreme Rules but not in a standard singles match. Their WrestleMania rematch was later announced to be a Last Man Standing match, where a winner would be determined once one of the competitors couldn't answer the 10-count.
Personally, I highly enjoyed their match from 'Mania and was entertained by their Extreme Rules encounter even more. They had great chemistry together as opponents and had a great main event match by utilizing their extreme environment to their full advantage.
The only issue with the bout came during the finish. Instead of finishing off The Animal with an Attitude Adjustment or even an STF, Cena opted to tie the legs of Batista with duct tape around the ring post, which led to him scoring the win.
In a way, I guess it protected Batista and made Cena look clever, but it was still a stupid visual, and it's asinine to think that duct tape could finish a match off. What's worse is that it was repeated not even three years later during the Last Man Standing match between Alberto Del Rio and Big Show at 2013's Royal Rumble event.
"Duct tape? Are you serious? Really? Duct tape?!" Batista said it best.
JTG Defeats Shad Gaspard (2010)
After being a staple in the tag team division for nearly four years, Cryme Time officially parted ways on the April 2, 2010 edition of SmackDown when Shad turned on JTG. This came after a quick loss to John Morrison and R-Truth, opting Shad to take out his frustrations on his former friend.
May I mind you that this moment received no buildup and basically came out of nowhere. Officials were apparently keen on pushing Shad Gaspard as a singles act, but Cryme Time had been irrelevant for so long that hardly anyone cared about their split.
They had a forgettable feud in the month that followed, leading to a Strap match at Extreme Rules. For those unaware, the objective of the match is to pull your opponent to all corners of the ring while slapping each of the top turnbuckles.
Shad dominated almost all of the match, though still lost after JTG outsmarted him and pulled out the victory. It didn't even matter, however, as Shad won the rematch days later on an episode of WWE Superstars, putting their rivalry to an end.
JTG hasn't done anything of note since (he doesn't even appear on WWE TV nowadays), and Shad was later released from his contract. I surely hope neither Titus O'Neil nor Darren Young, both of whom also recently went their separate ways, meet the same fate.
Christian Wins the World Heavyweight Championship (2011)
Originally at 2011's Extreme Rules event, Edge was set to do battle with Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship. However, due to Edge's abrupt retirement, the world title was vacated and Christian replaced him in the matchup.
After a 17-year-long career in professional wrestling, many thought that Christian's time of being a world champion was behind him. Aside from the ECW Championship, he had never been a world champ in WWE, so this was his time to prove it to the world that he was indeed worthy.
Del Rio, on the other hand, had been touting his destiny since his arrival in WWE in August 2010, and this appeared to be his chance to finally capture the prestigious prize. Either way, fans knew they were in for a great match going into the event and were certainly not left disappointed.
Christian and Del Rio had had very good matches in the past, but the Ladder match environment added an all-new layer to the contest. The momentum rapidly shifted between the two competitors as the golden prize hung high in the balance.
The interference of Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez benefited Del Rio for the moment, as a returning Edge distracted Del Rio and allowed Christian to capitalize on the situation. Captain Charisma then ascended the ladder to win his first World Heavyweight Championship.
It was a monumental moment and definitely a deserving one for Christian. While a majority of fans were happy to see Christian finally see "the big one," his reign lasted all of two days due to being cut short by Randy Orton.
Who knows? Had Del Rio won here, his heel heat might not have died down as quickly as it did and could have left Christian in chase mode for a little while longer.
Brock Lesnar Loses His First Match Back (2012)
One night removed from the spectacle that was WrestleMania 28, Brock Lesnar made his shocking return to WWE and laid out John Cena with an F5. A match between the two, Lesnar's first in nearly eight years, was made official for the 2012 Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Lesnar decimated Cena at almost every turn going into the event, and while Booking 101 would usually call for Cena to go over Lesnar, it made no sense. Lesnar had a major amount of buzz around him upon his return to the company, so having him lose would have done a significant amount of damage to his strong momentum.
Plus, Cena was playing up the story that he just couldn't cut it anymore following his loss to The Rock at 'Mania. Fans figured he'd come up short against Lesnar and keep the storyline going, but we thought wrong.
The match itself was phenomenal and easily one of the best of the year. Within seconds of the match starting, Lesnar bloodied Cena and brutalized him for the rest of the contest, allowing the Cenation leader to counter with little to no offense.
Despite that, Cena got the better of The Beast for a brief moment by hitting him with an Attitude Adjustment on the steel steps and following it up with the three-count in typical "Super Cena" fashion. It was quite the shocker, to say the least, as it left everyone in the arena and watching worldwide absolutely appalled.
Afterward, Cena grabbed the microphone and announced he'd be taking a "vacation" for a while, presumably due to the injuries he sustained in that match against Lesnar. However, he was back the very next night on Raw, so that promo proved to be pointless.
As mind-boggling as the match result was, it stirred controversy in the WWE Universe and got people talking going into Raw the next night. As noted, the match was fantastic and made up for the asinine finish.
Randy Orton Brings Back the Punt Kick (2013)
At WrestleMania 29, Randy Orton and Big Show teamed up with Sheamus in an unsuccessful effort against The Shield. After the match, Show knocked out Orton with a hard right hand, triggering a rivalry between the two.
They traded wins in tag team action leading up to Extreme Rules, where they were set to battle in a match of the same name. In this contest, there would be no disqualifications, no count-outs and no remorse from either individual.
To the surprise of many, Orton and Show ended up having a pretty good match. It may not have been the brutal brawl that John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar was, but it exceeded expectations and delivered in being an entertaining match.
The live crowd was heavily behind Orton the entire time, which only made sense considering the event emanated from his hometown of St. Louis. Though Orton connected with an RKO on Show, the World's Largest Athlete managed to kick out at two.
Realizing that he had not used everything in his arsenal against Show, Orton backed up into the corner and set up for the patented punt kick, a move he hadn't used in WWE since 2011. He followed through with the swift kick to the skull of Show and emerged as the victor.
The punt kick was a move that made Orton famous during his time as a heel from 2007 to 2009, so seeing him bring it back on this occasion had fans stirring as to whether a heel turn was on the horizon. As it turned out, Orton returned to his villainous roots a mere three months later, so this instance might have been a sign of what was to come after all.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.