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[2012-04-29-WWE-Extreme Rules] Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus (2/3 falls)

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World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan - Extreme Rules 2012 Two Out Of Three Falls

I really liked the dueling chants of "Daniel Bryan" vs "18 Seconds". Very creative by the babyface fans. This match comes on the heels of the infamous 18 second loss by Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania that launched the Yes Movement into the stratusphere. 

First Fall: Power vs Science in this match was the obvious story to tell. Sheamus has one of the deepest offensive arsenals in US history. He reminds me a lot of Greg Valentine in how stiff and snug he works, but he has a lot of Bret Hart in him with his diverse offensive onslaught and his great credible selling. Sheamus is definitely one of the best WWE wrestlers of this generation. I like Daniel Bryan in WWE more than ROH for the most part. I think he is more committed to the character and storylines and less focused on throwing as many bombs as possible though in WWE he does tend to blow off selling for his explosive comeback. As a KENTA homage act, he is pretty good in WWE. Since he is not a babyface in this match, we do not to worry about his KENTA tribute act.

Sheamus established the power game early with shoulder tackles and side headlock takedown. BROGUE KICK~! Tease! I love it. Perfect play off the Mania match. Sheamus scores the first big move with a rolling Fireman's Carry and then applies the Cloverleaf, but Bryan makes the ropes. Bryan uses his speed to briefly get the advantage so Sheamus wisely powders to break his rhythm. This works as Sheamus catches Bryan and drives him hard into barricade. I didnt like that Bryan went back on offense so shortly after this. That felt like an emphatic spot that should have giving Sheamus definitive control. Sheamus heads to the top rope maybe for a Battering Ram, but we will never now as Bryan knocks him off the top rope. This leads Bryan's heat segment. Bryan is great as a heel here nothing fancy, lots of stomps and torturing the arm like he is Capn Redneck Dick Murdoch (though not as focused as Murdoch). Sheamus is great about peppering in hope spots. I loved his running knee. Sheamus overcommits a lot in this match and charged into the post. Bryan hit a wicked kick into the buckle into Sheamus' face. Bryan gets a nearfall off this. Sheamus blocks the top rope Frankensteiner. Battering Ram! Sheamus now with a nearfall! They tussle over finishers, Celtic Cross vs LeBell Lock. Again, Sheamus' passion gets the best of him as he rams into the ringpost. Now Bryan really goes to town on Sheamus' shoulder ramming it into the post and wrenching around the post multiple times. Bryan relentless rifles Sheamus' bad wing with stiff kicks even in the ropes and the ref is forced to call for the bell because Bryan has lost his mind. I thought Bryan really sold how crazed he was trying to break Sheamus' arm with these kicks so it made the DQ more palatable, but it is still not my favorite finish. 

Second Fall: Not surprisingly, this is a short fall. Bryan explodes out of his corner like a bat outta Hell with a dropkick the face. Wrestles him down to the ground with the LeBell Lock really tight after some struggle. Sheamus passes out. This is the same Ironman psychology of getting yourself DQ only to win the next fall. Tied 1-1. So far I thought this match was great but has not met my lofty expectations of a Match of the Year Contender. 

Third Fall: Excellent fall, a real rousing finish! Quicker than I expected, but this was high level stuff. Since Sheamus passed out at the end of the 2nd fall it was unclear if he was even going to be able to continue. They milked this really well and huge kudos to Bryan for really putting over how cocky he was and that he had it in the bag. Bryan comes flying in just like the 2nd fall only this time he eats a BROGUE KICK~! to the mush! AWESOME! 1-2-NO! Sheamus needed that home run shot! It was pure desperation but it is what he needed. Rocking Bryan's head is the only way to mount his comeback. Sheamus had some wicked body shots. Bryan had a wicked, wicked kick to the head for his last nearfall! I loved how Bryan missed both the diving headbutt and a dropkick in the corner before Sheamus could consolidate his advantage with Celtic Hammers. I am a big believer that missed moves should be how transition in control can be accomplished. I liked how it was two big missed moves and then a barrage of Celtic Hammers that won Sheamus the day. Makes it feel earned. Irish Curs Backbreaker and Brogue Kick ends the match in favor of the Celtic Warrior!

Once the shoulder hit the post, this match clicked into a high gear. Bryan was the great crazed, cocky challenger that took his lucky break and milked it for all its worth, but he got caught with a big Brogue Kick at the beginning of the third fall which was a great way to start Sheamus on the comeback trail. I loved all the missed moves and the economy of Sheamu's fiery comeback. I thought the beginning of the match was great, but was not quite at the same level as the back half and so I didnt think this was MOTYC level, but still this is a feather in the cap of both men. ****1/4

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The early stuff with Sheamus pretty much owning Bryan in almost every department is some very good stuff, but it's once his left shoulder hits the post that the match kicks into a REAL high gear. Bryan of course notices that the shoulder ate some shit there, so he immediately goes to wreck it against the post multiple times. Then he does his repeated kicks to it, DQing himself in the process. It's all a part of a plan though, you can see it on his arrogant smile after that. That's the 1st fall for Sheamus, and we even things out when Bryan's plan completes itself as Bryan makes quick work of the weakened Sheamus by making him pass out to the LeBell Lock - all the pressure on the bad arm of course. I love the rest-period after that w/ Bryan hosting a little concert of YES & NO chants. It's some amazing stuff, and he came off as such a cocky prick doing that, being so proud of his work. The final fall is excellent as well; love the beginning with Sheamus delivering that Brogue Kick, and his selling throughout the whole fall is absolutely tremendous. I also love how the missed moves are indeed the key to the finish here -- Bryan misses two of his signature bigger moves in the Diving Headbutt & the Corner Dropkick, which gives Sheamus enough for that one last big flurry to finish him off. Excellent, excellent match. I adore Bryan seeing a real plan in destroying Sheamus' shoulder after it hit the post, and him making that plan come to life creates for some extremely compelling stuff. Sheamus' babyface performance is terrific as well -- he sold that arm like it was absolutely dead, and his overall selling of fatigue in the final fall is great as well. Great redemption from getting 18 seconds at Mania for these two. ****1/2

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