Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 178 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: August 20 2012
With the exception of WrestleMania XXVIII, Extreme Rules was the best WWE PPV of 2012, which is most memorable for Brock Lesnar returning to the company in the main event, for good reasons and bad, as I shall explain. (By the way, this DVD had been delayed due to technical issues at Silver Vision, along with other DVDs from this time period; the problems were eventually resolved, but chances are that they were related to Silver Vision losing the WWE UK DVD distributor licence at the end of the year.)
It kicks off in fine fashion with a hidden treat of a Falls Count Anywhere bout between Randy Orton and Kane, which was better than their previous match at WrestleMania. Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler feels very random given Clay’s dancing-themed persona and Ziggler seriously threatening to break through the main event glass ceiling at the time.
Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes under Tables rules isn’t very good, though it has an interesting finish; fans in Chicago are well behind the heel Cody (as a premonition for All In, maybe?) and totally against the babyface Show (who would go heel three weeks later). Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan under Two Out Of Three Falls rules is an excellent match, which makes up for the 18-second showdown between the two four weeks earlier at WrestleMania.
Ryback facing two local wrestlers on a PPV is very strange, though it does boost Ryback in this early stage of his career revamp (he had previously been Skip Sheffield). CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is a really entertaining Street Fight, and occurring in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, the atmosphere is predictably great. Next, Nikki Bella faces the returning Layla, who may or may not have been replacing Kharma, depending on who you believe.
Finally, we get Lesnar’s first WWE match in eight years, and what a battle it is. Held under Extreme Rules, Brock absolutely demolishes John Cena, at times for real, in a frightening fashion for the previously-sanitised PG Era. Cena is busted open almost immediately and frequently, again a rarity at the time (the blood and violence means that this DVD actually got a TV-14 rating in the US), and the action is totally believable, making this an awesome fight. Only problem is, Cena still ends up winning, harming Brock’s aura in a way that wouldn’t be completely repaired until Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak nearly two years later.
The finish of the last match aside, Extreme Rules 2012 is a great show on the whole, and is well worth checking out on DVD.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent