WWE: Extreme Rules 2012
World Wrestling Entertainment // PG // $19.93 // May 29, 2012
Review by Randy Miller III | posted August 7, 2012
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Since 2009, WWE's Extreme Rules pay-per-view (usually held during April or May) is their attempt to resurrect the unpredictable, less polished side of American pro wrestling, in the same vein of ECW, WCW and WWE before the dreaded "PG Era". In fact, Extreme Rules is an offshoot of the company's own ECW-style events from the mid-2000s, One Night Stand. While this attempt hasn't worked flawlessly, I enjoyed the last one...and this year's installment is just as good, if not slightly better. Held on April 29th at Chicago's Allstate Arena, this three-hour extravaganza continues the tradition of free-for-all brawls, tables, chairs and even a few cups of blood. All three main events manage to carry their own weight... but not surprisingly, a few less-than-impressive matches threaten to slow down the momentum. Luckily, the overall viewing experience is something that former WWE fans should be pleasantly surprised by.

Match Listing for Extreme Rules 2012

Kane vs. Randy Orton [Falls Count Anywhere Match]
Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler
Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes [Tables Match for IC Championship]
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan [2 of 3 Falls for World Heavyweight Championship]
Ryback vs. Two Jobbers [Grab a Snack Match]
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho [Chicago Street Fight for WWE Championship]
Nikki Bella vs. Layla [Bathroom Break Match]
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena [Extreme Rules Match]

It's funny to see two former main event wrestlers play "curtain jerker", but Kane and Randy Orton's loose, enjoyable brawl is a decent way to start off the show. Brodus Clay and the underused Dolph Ziggler keep the momentum going during their short but entertaining match. Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show will be more known for its winking non-ending than anything else, but it's short enough to earn a pass. From there, Extreme Rules 2012 alternates between excellent and forgettable, as neither Ryback's jobber match nor the disappointing Divas belong anywhere near a pay-per-view. Or regular TV, for that matter.

Luckily, the three main events more than make up for most of the other distractions: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan is a well-paced and satisfying "2 Out of 3 Falls" match, while CM Punk and Chris Jericho serve up a red hot Chicago crowd-pleaser during the evening's longest brawl. The returning Brock Lesnar even participates in a different but enjoyable match that involves John Cena getting smacked around. What's not to like, besides for a slightly rushed ending? On the technical front, WWE's DVD package pairs up a decent A/V presentation and another lack of bonus features...so whether you already enjoyed Extreme Rules 2012 or it sounds like your kind of rasslin', give it a spin. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Quality Control Department

Video & Audio Quality

Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 displays, Extreme Rules 2012 looks about as good as other recent WWE DVDs. Colors are bold and bright, onscreen graphics are razor-sharp and black levels are typically solid. With that said, there's a notable and expected amount of compression artifacts and digital combing on display here, most likely due to the fast action, wide crowd shots and smoky pyrotechnic displays. It's a decent presentation of tricky material; nothing more, nothing less.

The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround; likewise, it's similar in quality to recent WWE releases. Crowd reactions and play-by-play commentary come through loud and clear, creating a rich and satisfying experience overall. As expected, a Spanish play-by-play track is included during the show.

Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging

Seen below, the menu designs are basic and easy to navigate. This three-hour show is divided into a dozen chapters, one per match or significant filler event. No obvious layer change was detected during playback. This one-disc release is housed in a standard keepcase and includes a promotional insert.

Bonus Features

As expected, the only extra included here is a post-match Bonus Interview with the charismatic CM Punk. I'm still hoping that WWE will eventually start including "dark matches" on their DVDs and Blu-Rays; just for the record, Extreme Rules 2010's pre-show match featured The Miz and Santino Marella.

Final Thoughts

Though not without a few rough patches, Extreme Rules 2012 is a better-than-average PPV with plenty of entertaining highlights...and more often than not, these matches make pretty good use of their respective gimmicks. This release is right on target with other recent WWE DVDs (for better or worse), from the decent technical presentation to the lack of bonus features. Since no Blu-Ray option is available, this low-priced disc should appeal to those who didn't catch Extreme Rules 2012 or plan to watch it more than a few times. Recommended, but everyone else should be happy with a rental.

Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects, teaches art classes at a local gallery and runs a website or two. He also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing stuff in third person.

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