CM Punk v Randy Orton (Last Man Standing) (Extreme Rules, 5/1/11)
I watched the 1/11/13 Big Show v Alberto Del Rio Last Man Standing match yesterday. It was great, maybe the best Del Rio match ever and one of the best of Show's career, but I wouldn't have said I was all that high on the Last Man Standing gimmick. That said, I can think of a decent handful of WWE LMS matches that I'd call really good. This wasn't as good as Show/Del Rio (or Cena/Umaga, obv), but I thought it hit really good level pretty comfortably. I'm honestly not a massive Punk fan, but the guy can be super great on a micro level. Just with awesome little touches here and there. Some of his mocking shtick was a blast in this, like when he does his running knee in the corner and shit talks Orton for a few seconds before going for the bulldog. For a PPV opener this managed to feel like a pretty brutal war with some killer bumps. Orton's back suplex across the guardrail looked sick, there was a nasty Russian leg sweep on a chair, and in a totally crazy spot Punk wrapped a chair around Orton's throat and flung him straight into the ring post. Orton ate it like a fucking psycho as well and I'm wondering how his trachea never got crushed. I'm not sure if they were using sturdier kendo sticks than usual, but every shot looked seriously painful, both guys sold the shit out of them (especially Orton, who really writhed around like he was getting the cat o' nine tails treatment), and they left welts on bodies. Also liked Punk using one as a makeshift walking stick towards the end, hobbling around like the old arthritis-afflicted Hapkido master in a martial arts flick. Don't think they moved from spot to spot down the stretch as well as something like Show/Del Rio, and it never felt as organic as that match either, but the finish was suitably big. This feels like one of the best PPV openers of the decade and I'm surprised I haven't seen it pimped before.