It has now been six years since the WWE launched their version of ‘Extreme’ with their annual PPV known as “Extreme Rules.” The event started in June of 2009 in New Orleans with a main event that featured Edge as World Heavyweight Champion taking on Jeff Hardy in a ‘Ladder Match’ for Edge’s championship.
Starting in 2010, the event became the first big PPV card after WrestleMania, meaning that it wouldn’t be uncommon to see matches that were WrestleMania rematches.
John Cena has been in the main event of ‘Extreme Rules’ in three of the six years since it’s been on the WWE calendar of PPVs, with his match against Brock Lesnar in 2012 in Rosemont, IL still being talked about as one of the craziest matches the company has seen in recent memory.
The event this year will return back to Rosemont, with newly crowned WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins putting his belt on the line for the first time against the man who he lost to at WrestleMania, Randy Orton.
The match will be held in a steel cage and should give an early indication of how the title reign for Rollins should go, as many think there’s not much of a chance the company will move the belt off him this early in his title run and give it to Orton.
With six events of ‘Extreme Rules’ under the WWE’s belt, today we take a look at some of the best of the 54 matches that have been at the event, as we present the “Top 15 All-Time WWE Extreme Rules Matches.”
15 Christian vs Tommy Dreamer vs Jack Swagger – Triple Threat Hardcore Match for ECW Championship (2009)
This was a solid match that showcased weapons (kendo sticks, trash can lids) and a number of great 2-on-1 spots. The fans were clearly in the corner of Dreamer, who was the underdog coming in, but was able to get the pin once he hit a DDT on Swagger. He hot the belt and begun to celebrate what was the ending of the era of ECW. The WWE made a TON of mistakes with the return of ECW, but giving the title to Dreamer was the right move.
14 CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio – Hair Match (2010)
This match was given nearly 16 minutes and was part of a great feud between two of the best in Punk and Mysterio, who really stepped his game up in this program. Punk also had a great stable at the time with Luke Gallows and Serena, as they pushed their ‘Straight Edge Society’ on fans who would actually listen (some even shaved their heads!). This bout saw another follower of Punk (turned out to be Joey Mercury) with a mask attack Mysterio and allow Punk to hit his ‘GTS’ finisher to get the pin.
13 The Shield vs Team Hell No – Tornado Tag Team Match (2013)
This match signaled the end of an era, as it ended the over one year title reign for ‘Team Hell No,’ who was made up of Kane and Daniel Bryan. Earlier in the night, Dean Ambrose won the U.S. Title, so it was fairly obvious that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins would win this match and all three members of the Shield would have straps. That’s exactly what happened when the Shield got Bryan in a backbreaker and driving leg drop to get the win at the 10:15 mark.
12 Bray Wyatt vs John Cena – Steel Cage Match (2014)
This match was a return match from WrestleMania XXX, and it was showcased by the eventual chorus of a spooky kid singing Wyatt’s tune ‘He’s got the Whole World, in His Hands.’ Call it hokey, but it was a cool visual and give Cena credit for pulling off the visual of being totally stunned by the sight of Wyatt’s ‘disciples.’ These two had a solid program that continued the following month at ‘Payback,’ with Cena getting the win to end the feud with him on top.
11 Jack Swagger vs Randy Orton – Extreme Rules Match for World Heavyweight Championship (2010)
This was during the time when the company really wanted to push Swagger, who had won the title two nights after WrestleMania XXVI, by cashing in his ‘Money in the Bank’ to beat Chris Jericho. They fed him Orton, who was a solid opponent and gave Swagger a legit contender to try and build the title run. This Extreme Rules match was good, as it lasted 13:59 and ended the right way, with Swagger getting the pin and keeping the strap.
10 John Cena vs Batista – Last Man Standing Match for WWE Championship (2010)
The main event of the 2010 event saw John Cena do battle with his WrestleMania XXVI foe, Batista. Cena had won the belt at Mania, which furthered the headed feud between the two, with this match really showcasing the program. The ‘Last Man Standing’ stipulation added some flavor, and the end came when Cena smartly used duct tape to tape Batista’s feet to the ring ropes, not allowing him to answer the count of 10 and lose the rematch to the new champion.
9 CM Punk vs Chris Jericho – Chicago Street Fight for WWE Championship (2012)
This was an excellent program that ended with a great 25 minute match between two great wrestlers at the 2012 Extreme Rules in Rosemont, IL. The feud was built around Punk having an alcoholic father, and there was even a spot in the match of Y2J pouring beer on the champion. Punk got to do his ‘Macho Man’ elbow, and won the match after dropping Jericho on an exposed turnbuckle and landing his ‘GTS’ finisher. A great match on what turned out to be the best of the ‘Extreme Rules’ cards to date.
8 Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan – 2 of 3 Falls Match for World Heavyweight Championship (2012)
This was a rematch of their rather head scratching 17 second match at WrestleMania in Miami the month before, in which Sheamus won the World Heavyweight Title to open the card. This time around, the two were given close to 23 minutes, and it was a solid back and forth with Sheamus getting the win by scoring the third and decisive fall. The ‘Brouge Kick’ saved the title for Sheamus, and it was a sign of things to come for the eventual main event bound Bryan.
7 Brock Lesnar vs Triple H – Steel Cage Match (2013)
This was the final in a three-match series between the two, which also included a match at WrestleMania. Lesnar won two of the three bouts, including this one which lasted 20:07 and ended with Triple H done in by Lesnar’s ‘F5.’ The two had good chemistry and did good business together in the ring, although they weren't the quickest matches of all time. Anytime you have Lesnar in the main event, good things tend to happen and this time was no exception,
6 Christian vs Alberto Del Rio – Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship (2011)
This match came about after Edge was forced to retire with a neck injury following WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta. Everyone assumed right away it would be Del Rio getting the belt, but instead it was Christian getting the win in what was a much better match than many felt it would be, though Del Rio did win the belt eventually. Del Rio and Christian had a solid program and this was the best match between the pair.
5 Daniel Bryan vs Kane – Extreme Rules for WWE Heavyweight Championship (2014)
Sadly this is the last time we’d see Bryan with the WWE Title, as it wasn’t long thereafter that he was under the knife for neck surgery. This was a solid Extreme Rules match with his former tag partner, a match that ended with a dive off a forklift and Bryan going over to retain the title. Kane gave a solid performance in this one and he and Bryan did a good job with this main event in the 22:30 they were given to end the show.
4 Chris Jericho vs Rey Mysterio – No Holds Barred Match for WWE Intercontinental Championship (2009)
This was solid program, with the premise being that Jericho was trying to get Mysterio’s mask. In this Intercontinental Title match, these two went 14:39, with Y2J getting the best of Mysterio by stopping Rey’s 619 and eventually getting the mask off, and then getting the pin to not only win the belt, but remove the mask from Mysterio. No doubt these two could have been given more time, but they had a solid ‘No Holds Barred’ match, giving the fans a memorable match during the first ‘Extreme Rules’ card.
3 Randy Orton vs CM Punk – Last Man Standing Match (2011)
These two had maybe the second best match on the card at WrestleMania XXVII, and came back with another solid match the next month. During this feud, Punk was involved with ‘Nexus’ as the faction’s leader, but for this match they were not allowed at ringside. The end came with Orton hitting a solid RKO from the top rope, and Punk not being able to answer the bell by 10, ending the match at 20:06 and giving Orton his second straight win over his rival.
2 Jeff Hardy vs Edge – Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship (2009)
The first main event of Extreme Rules saw Jeff Hardy capture the championship from Edge in a solid 20 minute ladder match. The bout had a number of dangerous high spots between the two foes, and Hardy was able to win the belt when Edge had his legs trapped in the rungs of a ladder. Hardy’s title reign lasted only a few minutes as CM Punk came down and cashed in his ‘Money in the Bank’ briefcase to win his first Heavyweight title in WWE, in a cool and unexpected finish.
1 John Cena vs Brock Lesnar – Extreme Rules Match (2012)
Brock Lesnar’s return to the WWE in 2012 was highlighted by a great and memorable first match back with the WWE’s top guy, John Cena. The two waged a great back and forth war outside of Chicago that saw Cena get cut big time just a minute into the match by a Lesnar elbow. The visual was great for the bout and showed just how much these two were willing to give to pull off a great encounter. From chains to stairs, these two went at it 100 percent for 17:43, with Cena trying to avoid the arm bar and Lesnar trying to stay out of the ‘Attitude Adjustment.’ In the end, Cena got his finisher on Lesnar on the metal stairs, earning a hard fought win in what was the best match in WWE Extreme Rules history.