What is extreme in the PG era?
This sunday, we’ll be treated to the 2014 edition of Extreme Rules, a pay per view that finds its roots in the ECW-themed One Night Stand PPV’s that WWE started in 2005. The matches are usually nominally “hardcore” matches in one sense or another – maybe chair are legal, but they are always carefully swung. Maybe there’s a steel cage surrounding the ring, but it is never used to bust open a wrestler’s face like a cheese grater. Maybe to win, you have to put your opponent through a table, but the table is never on fire. This is the one night it seems like the WWE is allowed to let its hair down and really cut loose, and to emphatically tie up all those loose end left over from Wrestlemania, however, they don’t. They don’t because the wrestlers don’t want it. They don’t because the sponsors don’t want it. They don’t because the fans don’t want it.

Hardcore matches are a vestige of an earlier time when a man swinging a metal trashcan full speed at another man’s blood drenched head was both a shocking and novel image. These days, the dark corners of the Internet are where we go for shocking. The UFC is where we go for blood. There is still a market for the controlled chaos of hardcore wrestling, but it’s best left to the pros, like Combat Zone Wrestling or Big Japan Wrestling. Even those two promotions, who have perfect the art of the deathmatch are evolving their wrestling cards to feature more technically skilled wrestlers in traditional matches.

What is extreme in the reality era?
Even the word & idea of “extreme” is a discarded left-over from decades past. Today the passion that “extreme” evokes is met with disdain. Extreme sports aren’t extreme anymore – they’re action sports. Even Extreme Doritos have turned into “Doritos Jacked”. Today, if you ask a person on the street what “Extreme Rules” means to them, they are just as likely to talk about fascist dictators as they are about wrestling. Of course, the McMahon family is all about ruling ruthlessly, but let’s not give them any ideas here…

Anyway, extreme for the WWE would be taking a short, normal looking fellow and having him beat HHH, Batista and Randy Orton, all on the same night at Wrestlemania. It would be giving a guy a push more because of this wrestling ability rather than his look or backstage politicking. The card reflects this sort of extreme booking. It would be nice if the WWE gets with the times when it comes to naming their events, but it is comforting to know they are with the time when it comes to the talent booked on the events. Expect wins this weekend from people who you never thought would even grace a WWE ring. So don’t worry about chair swings, or blood, that’s as extreme as we’re going to get.

Around the World
Japanese wrestling star KENTA has announced his resignation from Pro Wrestling Noah. He left this note on his Facebook page. Even with Google translate, I can only understand that the gist of this announcement is that his last match will on 17 May. For a more thorough explanation, English translating puro superfan @puro_yottsume https://twitter.com/puro_yottsume says that Kenta intends to challenge the major league. When I first heard that, I wanted to make a Taka Tanaka joke, but Yottsume beat me to that as well. How is that guy so well versed in both Japanese and American pop culture? If you want to be a hipster who follows Japanese pro wrestling, but you’re tentative because of the language barrier, give him a follow. He’ll clear it all up for you.

The next international WWE superstar?

Anyway, the first thought that comes to mind is that KENTA means WWE by “major league”. Again reported by Yottsume, he recently had a workout at the WWE performance center, but was adamant that it was just a workout, not a tryout. However, he also said it was always his dream to compete in the WWE. KENTA would be an interesting addition to the WWE roster. Not only does he work a much more stiff style than you usually see in the E, but Daniel Bryan, AJ Lee and CM Punk have stolen his signature moves. Anyway, just thinking about the possibilities makes me excited. Bryan, Cesaro, Zayn, Ambrose & Rollins would all be perfect foils to introduce KENTA and excellent bases to showcase his skill.

Add to all this the fact that the rumor mill concerning Prince Devitt getting signed to the WWE is stirring again since he dropped the ICW title & doesn’t really have anymore bookings in the UK. If all these rumors are true, we could be getting some very good, very fresh match ups in the WWE pretty soon.

Willow brings an umbrella to a parasol fight

In what was somehow not even the most ridiculous thing that happened on TNA Sacrifice last Sunday, Jeff Hardy’s alter ego Willow did a top rope splash onto the outside while holding an open umbrella. Anyone with a basic understanding of physics knows that an umbrella will slow you down in this situation, and a slower Jeff Hardy means less damage to his opponents. Did he think he would catch an updraft in an indoor arena? Maybe he outsmarted everyone and thought Rockstar Spud and EC3 wouldn’t catch him. No one has ever accused Hardy of being smart though, so it’s possible he thought his umbrella had special Mary Poppins secret powers…

Or that holding it gave him the Kirby parasol special ability…

Match of the month
Bryan Danielson VS KENTA in NOAH, from 2008