It’s Extreme Rules tonight, which means WWE have spent the last 7 weeks shoe-horning the word EXTREME into every possible sentence in the most extremely extreme way any extremity has ever been…umm…extremed? Either way, tonight’s the night when the gimmick matches come out in force, and supposedly the violence gets kicked up a notch. So let’s EXTREME have a look EXTREME and see what EXTREME we EXTREME think we can EXTREME expect…Extreme.
Wow, have you ever typed the word “Extreme” so many times that when you look back at it, it just looks weird? Yikes.
Right, I’m gonna get this off my chest straight from the jump here. CM Punk is gone for a while. They teased him returning on May 27th, but apparently that has been nixed too, so it looks like we’ve gone from a Summer of Punk to a Punk-less Summer, and as such I’ve been one of those people who has been struggling to find something else to hold my interest week in, week out. I needed something else to make me want to watch. Something else to draw me in. Something to…believe in?
I chose to believe in The Shield. (BELIEVE IN THE SHIELD!!)
And tonight is the night that looks likely to finally pay off on that belief. Extreme Rules (for me at least) is all about The Shield and the very real possibility of them leaving tonight with the United States AND the Tag Team Titles. In a PPV card that leaves me feeling a bit “meh” when looked at overall, tonight could mean we need to believe in The Shield now more than ever…
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Oh look. Miz is back. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really notice he was gone. Oops.
Y’know what’s gonna be the worst thing about this? We’re gonna have to spend the next few weeks watching trailers and behind the scenes vignettes for whatever god awful movie he’s been away filming. Bleh. I really want to turn some kind of corner on Miz and try and find something to like, but it’s still just not happening.
But yay for Cody Rhodes being given something to do. Even if that something is most likely jobbing out to Miz so he can promote his movie. Stupid movie.
There’s not a lot to say about this match really, I imagine it’s gonna be typical pre show fodder with Miz getting the win to further help push his movie. Stupid movie. So instead of thinking about that, think about this instead. What if Cody Rhodes was Kaitlyn’s mystery admirer? Think about it, remember the promo when the Bellas came back for the night a few months ago? When Cody “must-ache” Kaitlyn a question? How cool would it be if WWE considered that people have memories longer than 6 months (well…apart from Dolph right now, but he’s recovering so that’s thankfully cool) and harkened back to something they set up a while ago? I don’t think it is gonna happen, but it’s nicely filled up this space in a match I didn’t have a whole lot to say about. 😀
Who I think will win: Miz. Stupid movie.
Who I want to win: Cody, and then for him to be revealed as Kaitlyn’s mystery admirer, and a face push. Which pits him against Sandow, who is trying to talk some “sense” back into his friend. I reckon it could work.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Wow, it hasn’t been that long since I wrote one of these previews for WrestleMania, yet in that time the Fandango craze has apparently been and (thanks to WWE trying to force it down our damn throats) gone. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the whole Fandangoing thing in New Jersey, and I even bought the “Cha Cha La La” single that week to try and push it up the charts, but damn do WWE ever know how to overkill something. They lost me the very next week on Raw, when instead of just allowing the Fandango thing to develop organically, they chose instead to send Johnny Curtis out to literally beg people to say his name, hum his music, and do the dance. The whole thing reeked of WWE desperately screaming “LOOK AT US!! WE’RE COOL!! VIRAL!! INTERNET!! TOUT!! FAAAANDAAAANGOOOO!!”…yeeesh.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like Johnny Curtis, and he’s doing as good a job with this character as he can right now, but I can’t help but feel that Fandango is more than a little one-dimensional at the moment. There’s not really been anything to flesh out the character or draw me in, and this current feud with Jericho hasn’t really set the world on fire. And that’s not for the want of Jericho putting effort in. Y2J has thrown his all into trying to get Fandango over, but there isn’t a lot you can do when you’re being booked in ridiculousness like this past week’s dance competition.
You’d have to expect Fandango to go over here, as that’s the ultimate goal of this whole feud with Jericho, to install Fandango as a heel on the main roster. The question isn’t about Fandango winning, tonight is all about how impressive he can look from bell to bell. We’re at a precarious point where Fandango can either show he can hang with established stars when it matters, or disappear without trace and become another footnote in the hall of forgotten gimmicks. I’m genuinely hoping he does pull out the goods tonight, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see?
Who I want to win: Fandango. And look impressive while he’s doing it. That’s the best way to silence your critics.
Who I think will win: Fandango. But I hope to God that WWE actually book something decent for him and expand the character out. But rumour has it he’s Vince’s new pet project, so expect it all to go down the pan at speed from here…
Extreme Rules Match
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Okay, excuse me while I summon up the will to pretend like I give a damn about this match…one second…
Wow, so the Viper clashing with the World’s Largest Athlete I’m…nope, sorry, I can’t do it. I honestly don’t give a damn about this match. I know I should be wanting to see Randy finally get some payback on Show for all he’s done since walking out on his team at WrestleMania, but I just don’t. At all.
Is it just me or does this reek of both guys treading water on the outskirts of the title scene, just waiting for their turn? They’re feuding because creative don’t seem to have anything else for either man to do right now, and to be honest there’s a general air of apathy emanating from the whole feud for me. Randy doesn’t seem all that bothered at the moment, and if he doesn’t care, then why should we? We haven’t even got the possibility of old school chairshots to the face to liven this up a bit. Sigh.
Who I want to win: I dunno. Flip a coin. In fact I will. Oh look, Big Show.
Who I think will win: Probably Show. But it’s not like it really matters in the grand scheme of anything.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
“I’MA WHUP YOU LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHIN’!!” Oh Mr Henry, you truly are the greatest unintentional smack talker in history. That’s up there with charging rent for air, but (as he’s so eager to tell us) that’s what he do. Actually, I’m quite hyped for this. Henry is back to being the immense badass he’s been for the last 2 years, and I’ve honestly warmed to Sheamus more in the last few months.
Actually, rumour abounds that WWE are looking to freshen Sheamus up and give the Irish folk tale telling and joke cracking the old heave-ho. I really hope that’s not the case, because I quite like the Sheamus that enjoys a laugh before kicking you square in the face. I can understand that there definitely needs to be a serious side to Sheamus, but some of my favourite Great White moments are his one-liners (“If you’re Lipschitz, then what does your arse do?”). I think to remove that from Sheamus’ character is to remove a lot of what makes him so likeable. Now it doesn’t take a genius to realise that you don’t want to make your babyfaces less likeable. That’s just bad business sense.
Well whatever WWE decide to do with Sheamus, I think it’s a safe bet to say that this match should be a knock down, drag out fight. Henry and Sheamus are gonna beast each other, and I can’t wait to see it.
Who I want to win: Mark Henry. Screw it, push him back towards the title. I’ve got a lotta love for seeing him induct bitches in the Hall of Pain.
Who I think will win: Hmmm. Not sure. If it wasn’t a strap match I’d probably plump for Sheamus. As it stands I reckon something’s gonna happen with Sheamus knocking Henry out and not being able to drag his deadweight around all 4 corners. Either that or there’s the possibility of the old Eddie Guerrero/JBL ending, which could be kinda cool I guess?
WWE Tag Team Tornado Championship Match
Team Hell No © vs. Shield Members Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
Have you watched this week’s Backstage Fallout? No? Then sit back and watch the first 2 and a half minutes of this:
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That right there sums up why I’m hyped about seeing what happens with them tonight. Tonight is the night that The Shield takes things to the next level, and you have to believe that the first step is to take the Tag Titles from Team Hell No.
For what it’s worth, Team Hell No have been exceptional Tag Team Champions. They’ve consistently been entertaining, their matches have often been stand outs on whatever card they are involved in, and the whole Anger Management angle was possibly one of the most fun things I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.
Be that as it may, it’s starting to feel like it’s about time for Kane and Daniel Bryan’s Tag Title reign to be brought to an end. If that is the case I can’t think of anyone better to be passing the baton to than The Shield. It makes sense to me that the Tag Team Titles should be held by the best team in WWE, and right now The Shield are the most cohesive unit in the whole of the WWE. They’ve not only survived, but also thrived in the face of every challenge thrown at them. Team after team have been put together to face The Shield, and ever last one of them failed to match the teamwork and sheer ferocity of Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns.
I’m kinda expecting this to be my match of the night, and I’ve got no reason to think theses guys will disappoint. If Hell No are going out, then I’m pretty sure they’re going out with a bang.
Who I want to win: The Shield. BELIEVE IN THE SHIELD!!
Who I think will win: The Shield. The real question is, will they defend the titles under Freebird Rules?
United States Championship Match
Kofi Kingston © vs. Shield Member Dean Ambrose
Oooh, as if the tag match didn’t have me hyped enough. This little beauty right here could quite possibly steal the whole show. We all know Kofi likes to push the boat out on PPV, and Ambrose definitely has the hungry look of a guy seeking to push on to the next level.
In a way, I’m kinda torn over this. I really want Ambrose to walk out of this “dark alley” (go watch the Backstage Fallout video and you’ll know what I’m on about) with the US Title, but Kofi has been putting in solid work for the last couple of months and I feel he needs to be suitably rewarded for all the effort he’s put in. In fact, if Ambrose does win here, then I reckon the pay off should be that Kofi gets to be instrumental in the eventual defeat of The Shield. If booked correctly Kofi could look like an absolute superstar coming off the back of being the man to (help) defeat The Shield. Instead of doing the usual and giving that kind of privilege to Cena, why not have a bit of faith in a guy who’s given his all for you, silently plugging away in the background while WWE continually stop-started his career at their whim.
Yes it’s definitely time to believe in The Shield, but it’s about damn time they finally started to believe in Kofi Kingston too.
Who I want to win: Dean Ambrose, because tonight IS The Shield’s night.
Who I think will win: Ambrose. All the pieces are laid out for The Shield to grab the WWE by the short and curlies, and seizing control of the US Title is only part of that.
“I Quit” Match for #1 Contendership to the World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
So who else was gutted when Dolph got pulled from this match? I know he needs time off to rest up, and head injuries are nothing to scoff at, but damn it I was really looking forward to seeing Dolph bump his ass off in a Triple Threat Ladder Match.
As it stands we’re now left with Swagger vs. Del Rio in an “I Quit” Match. At first I was pretty down on this, but then I realised we’ve got two guys who’ve whupped the ever-loving snot out of each other for the last few weeks, and they both have established submission finishers that have put people out of action.
Now we’re talking. An “I Quit” match where the loser may have to quit to save themselves from injury. In fact, I reckon that’s the story of the match right there. How far are you willing to push yourself for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Are you willing to suffer a possibly career ending injury in pursuit of the title, or would you rather utter the two shameful words “I quit”?
Swagger’s been an absolute beast lately, and although Del Rio hasn’t fully settled in as a babyface still, I can see him working well as a foil to Swagger in this match. All Alberto needs to do is sell his heart out, and Swagger (and Ricky Rod to a certain degree) should be able to help him take of the rest.
Who I want to win: Hmmm. Probably Swagger. Although I’m fine with either guy winning this one.
Who I think will win: I don’t know why, I just can’t see Alberto actually quitting. Unless maybe Ricardo ends up throwing the towel in for him or something? I’ve got a hunch Alberto is gonna get the win, but I’m by no means certain about it.
Steel Cage Match
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
Oh Triple H, when are you going to finally understand that your time is pretty much over now. You can’t continue to pretend like you’re some kind of badass now you’re at a point where you should be hanging up your boots and tights for a sharp business suit. See I don’t really give a damn about this match, and the main reason for that is because not once has HHH seemed vulnerable in the build to this match. He’s still playing this off like it’s 2001 and he’s a guy in his prime. This whole story kinda hinges on Triple H reaching the twilight of his career and trying (and ultimately failing) to stand up to a monster like Brock.
Except Trippers isn’t appearing vulnerable. In fact he’s been his usual douchey self. Especially with him reacting to Brock smashing up his office by being all “that’s not my office lolz”. If Triple H doesn’t seem to think he’s in any kind of peril, then what is there for the audience to fear , or cheer for that matter? Without allowing the bad guys to get one over on you, what do you have to give you the sympathy of the crowd? Nothing. You have nothing to get the crowd on side Triple H, other than being “The Game”, which doesn’t have the same legs behind it as it had before.
Long story short, Brock needs to win this. But looking at how the feud has progressed so far, I don’t know if Trippers ego will allow that to happen.
Who I want to win: Brock. And in convincing fashion.
Who I think will win: Probably HHH. Like a douche.
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match
John Cena © vs. Ryback
So the question being pinged around is how are WWE gonna book the end of this match without making Ryback look like a chump, while still allowing Cena to be the kid-friendly, odds defying superman we’ve all become more than familiar with.
Once again WWE have booked themselves into a corner, and once again it seems like they are gonna have to pull another screwy ending of “Referee Brad Maddox” proportions to get around this situation. But then I’m one of many who are of the opinion that there was no need to turn Ryback heel to begin with. This match could’ve gone ahead as a face on face encounter, and it would have been perfectly fine. But because this is WWE and John Cena we’re dealing with, then everything has to be in black and white, with very distinct lines between good guys and bad guys, because that’s how dumb they think some fans are.
You know what I’d do with this match? I’d have The Shield wipe them both out. If this really is the night that the Hounds of Justice make their big push, then what better way to cap off winning the US and Tag Team gold, than wiping out both competitors in the WWE Championship match. Have Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns interrupt the main event, take out Cena and Ryback for the ten count, and be left standing tall at the end of the show.
Cena keeps the title, Ryback has a legitimate reason to want a “proper” title shot, and The Shield look like the badasses they need to be right now. If WWE truly do believe in The Shield, then I reckon this is the perfect way to demonstrate that.
So there you have it. Extreme Rules is a few short hours away, and if my predictions come to fruition The Shield will be ending the night large and in charge. But that’s just my opinion, let me know what you think either in the comments section below, or by posting on the TWO Forums. Oh, and check out tonight’s TWO Community Podcast (9pm GMT) to see what Fury, Magic, Denton, and Maxxy have to say about their predictions for tonight’s show.
Until next time!!