WWE gets EXTREME tonight, The Shield look to prove their dominance once and for all, Wyatt gets not only the “Whole World in His Hands”, but Cena in a cage, and there’s what can only be described as a…well…let’s just say “match” on what’s no longer a pre-show, but a “Wee-Show”. Strap in folks, it’s Extreme Rules time!
Well hello again fair reader!! I’m back from my grand American adventure, refreshed, recharged, and ready to get even more predictions hopelessly wrong. Big thanks and much love to Contel for covering for me last month while I was losing my voice screaming at an 8 year old John Cena fan (that’s another story for another time). But I’m back, so as they put on EVERYTHING in New Orleans “laissez les bon temps rouler”!
Wee-Show “WeeLC” Match
Hornswoggle vs. El Torito
C’mon, we’ve gotta call it a “Wee-Show” instead of a pre-show this time around, right? Right? Guys? Are you still reading this? Come back, I promise not to make any more bad jokes. Well, not too many of them.
Did you notice me rambling in that last paragraph? It’s mostly because I honestly don’t know what to make of this match. Like, part of me wants to watch this match to see what happens, but the other part of me is setting off the old “WrestleCrap” alarm. Maybe it’s some kind of morbid curiosity?
But I do have things I want to see from this match. I want to see a tiny ladder. I want to also maybe see a teeny tiny table…although I think a miniature chair may be pushing it? Or maybe they could go completely in the other direction and have Big Show’s giant chair, and then have neither of the little fellas be able to lift it?
Or (and this is my favourite idea, from Matt on the podcast) since it’s a WeeLC match, have Khali stand in the centre of the ring holding a tiny briefcase over his head, that the tiny blokes have to fight for. Imagine them climbing him to get their tiny hands on that tiny briefcase. Go on, imagine it and have a giggle, you know you want to.
Who I want to win: Great Khali. Oh, you want a serious answer? Ummm…I’m really not bothered. Sorry, but I have no horse in this particular race.
Who I think will win: Surely it’s Torito? Hornswoggle’s heel turn has landed him in the middle of downtown Jobber Central, so expect to get slapped around by a tiny Mexican in a bull suit for the foreseeable future. Just dead God don’t let there be a revival of the Juniors division…
2 on 1 Handicap Match
Alexander Rusev vs. Xavier Woods & R-Truth
The man with the 2nd best entrance music of our current time faces off against “WWE Black Guy Tag Team #78”, and this one has “squash match filler” written all over it. Not to detract from Rusev, because I do really like the guy and I’m impressed with his work on NXT and the main shows so far, I’m just super frustrated that there is this little for guys like Truth and Woods to do. Why are they even in a tag team to begin with?
And what the hell happened to Little Jimmy and R-Truth being batshit crazy? That was the best I’ve seen R-Truth in years, and you take it away from him? Truth and Woods are currently in the same position as Big E, where they are capable of being these wildly charismatic characters (seriously, check out anything Big E does on social media), but for some godforsaken reason they aren’t allow to show the world what they can do.
Split the tag team up, let Woods get over on his own merit, let R-Truth go back to being scared of spiders and ladders, talking to pigeons, and visiting DisneyLand (“I don’t think that’s PG!”), and we’ll get to Big E in a little while…
Who I want to win: Rusev. I also look forward to hearing Lana’s little remix of Rusev’s music as she makes her entrance to announce her client. I know Lana’s music is probably the last thing most of you notice about her, but I noticed it, I liked it, and I thought I’d mention it.
Who I think will win: Rusev. In devastating fashion.
Triple Threat Match
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. RVD
I’m still not entirely sure how this has all come about. How did RVD suddenly get interjected into the middle of this feud? We all expected a straight up Cesaro vs. Swagger showdown, and we get this triple threat instead. I’m not complaining, I always love to see Van Dam ply his trade, I’m just a little surprised in the direction this one has taken.
Can I also say here and now that Cesaro’s new entrance music is horrible. I hope they’ve got CFO$ (or whatever he’s called, how do you even pronounce that?) working on something better for him, because this new one is so generic and bland that it almost offends me to listen to it. Hell, give him another remix of the Dean Malenko theme over what this air raid siren abomination is.
Okay, I promise to stop ranting about entrance themes now and do something you’re probably not expecting, and that’s praise Jack Swagger. I know, right? But seriously, if you’ve been paying attention over the last 2-3 months Swagger has become quite a solid workhorse in that ring. He and Cesaro started to show the spark of some real chemistry before the inevitable split, and its almost as if Swagger’s now realised he has to up his game or stand the chance of once again being lost in the grand midcard shuffle. Swagger has indeed upped his game and I appreciate him actually giving a damn and putting some effort in now.
Who I want to win: Cesaro. Let’s see him dispatch the man who cost him his IC Title shot, and the guy he lost the match to, which should perfectly place him as the next number one contender to whoever wins the Barrett/Big E match.
Who I think will win: Probably Cesaro, for the reasons stated above. With the main titles now unified it’s about time they went about attempting to elevate the Intercontinental Title to somewhere near what it used to be, and I can’t think of anyone better to hold that title (and most importantly, defend it frequently) than ‘The King of Swing”, Cesaro.
WWE Divas Championship Match
Paige© vs. Tamina Snuka
Remember when I told you to look out for Paige coming in from NXT? Well I didn’t expect her to appear on Raw in quite the fashion that she did. I’m all for her arriving in a whirlwind of controversy, but I’ve got to admit to being a little disappointed that WWE felt the need to soften her character and glam her up slightly for her move up to the big leagues.
It’s actually a bit of a shocking trend as of late. They take someone from NXT and move them up to the main shows, while simultaneously removing that special something that made them so popular in developmental to begin with. It’s nothing to worry about too much just yet, but I think they definitely need to look at the way they transition NXT stars to the main roster. I guess we’ll see with the impending arrival of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas?
As for this match, it’s got to be a title retention for the champ? Tamina is…not great, and definitely shouldn’t be beating Paige this early on in her reign.
Who I want to win: Paige. And I really want our Anti-Diva Paige back.
Who I think will win: Paige. No doubt in my mind.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Big E© vs. Bad News Barrett
Does anybody else keep up with Big E and his Instagram shenanigans? Or some of his epic tweets? If you do, no doubt you have been asking yourself the same question I’ve been asking for a while now. “Why the hell isn’t this Big E the one we see on TV?”
Big E is a prime example of a guy who got bumped up to the main roster, then had everything that made him interesting and stand out stripped away from him. Big E’s 5 count gimmick could have been fantastic on the main stage, but they took that away and actually damaged him in the process. Now he’s just this big muscly guy who holds the IC Title, but never really gets any non-wrestling TV time to make us sympathetic to the character. Hell, it’s very rare they bother to wheel him out to defend the title anymore.
I could see creative switching the title to Barrett in this match and looking at Big E as a failed push, whereas they should be kicking themselves for not utilising everything Big E has to offer to it’s fullest extent.
Who I want to win: Big E. But this would be Creative’s last chance to give him something interesting to do. Resurrect the 5 count gimmick, give the man a damn microphone and let him entertain the people!
Who I think will win: It could well be Barrett. He is riding a wave of momentum and goodwill from the crowd recently. And you know how WWE like to sling that IC title around. Don’t be surprised if we get a title change.
Steel Cage Match
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Are you singing, brothers and sisters? Are you swaying and clapping your hands? Do you renounce the virtues of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect? Then join us, join us in our chorus…
“HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS…”
This is by far my current favourite storyline in WWE. I could be reading entirely too much into it here, but in my mind this whole angle is a play on the difference in people’s perception. Good vs. Evil, virtue, morality, insanity, mob mentality, it’s all there if you care to look for it.
John Cena believes he is right and true, and basically everything good about the WWE. Bray Wyatt doesn’t pretend to be any of these things, he just begs you to realise that John Cena isn’t the man he professes to be, and instead intends to reveal the monster John Cena truly is to the unknowing world.
Well, that’s how it started anyway. Then something magical happened. We embraced Bray Wyatt and hung on his every word. To your average 8 year old, Bray Wyatt is the stuff nightmares are made of, while John Cena is a superhero and all round good guy. To (a lot of) us older fans John Cena represents the status quo. The same old schtick with the tired old catchphrases, while still being rammed down our throats a full decade after WWE initially began ramming John Cena down our throats. While on the other hand, Bray Wyatt represents something fresh, exciting and new. A more than welcome change from the norm which has been met with a resounding response. In our minds John Cena is the bad guy, and Bray Wyatt is the hero. That’s a dynamic I really like.
I also find it refreshing that WWE have finally allowed someone to just come out and say “the people are turning against you, John”. Take this past Monday on Raw, John Cena comes out asking why the WWE Universe threw him to the wolves, when the wolves themselves come out with a full children’s choir and John Cena has to watch as a huge portion of the audience, HIS WWE Universe, sing along, clap their hands, sway along, and happily hand themselves over to what Cena perceives to be the “dark side”.
The WWE Universe that John Cena has worked so hard in front of, for so many years are turning in droves to this man who wishes to expose him for the fraud he is. It’s intriguing stuff, that if played right could very well set Bray Wyatt up for years to come. John Cena has been saying for a while that the next generation needs to go through him first, and I’m pretty sure that’s it’s about damn time one of them did.
Who I want to win: Bray. Clean. With no disputes, no ref bumps, no real amounts of shenanigans, just a clean Bray Wyatt pinfall victory. They best not be trying any of that “escape the cage” rubbish. Especially since it’s meant to keep Harper and Rowan out.
Who I think will win: I think it’s gonna be Bray. Cena had his win at WrestleMania purely because it was WrestleMania, so let’s have Wyatt win this one and start to expose the weaknesses in Cena’s virtues.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match
Daniel Bryan© vs. Kane
Can you believe there’s already some people on the internet complaining about Daniel Bryan’s title reign? Already. Yeesh. It’s been all of 4 weeks (which Bryan hasn’t been around for half of, through no fault of his own) and already the same people who 6 months ago were complaining that Bryan wasn’t pushed enough, are now complaining because the reality is Daniel Bryan is now entirely too popular to be their “cool indie guy” so they’re jumping bandwagons to Cesaro. Well congratulations internet, your impatience is a contributing factor to the state wrestling is in today. Now go think about that while I talk to the sane, rational people reading this.
Granted it has been a slow start to Bryan’s title reign, but WWE are currently skirting the fine line between making a champion vulnerable yet able to overcome the odds, and a champion who just gets beaten up a lot. I think the deciding factor here is going to be how Bryan retains (because he is going to retain).
We know that Bryan has to work selling the neck and head injuries from the last few weeks, so we can expect the majority of the match to involve Bryan getting little offence in while Kane works him over. Since this is an Extreme Rules match we can expect Bryan to manage to resist Kane’s initial attack, only for Triple H to send someone down to try and finish the job on Kane’s behalf.
If played right this comes off as exciting, much like when the Corporation was throwing the kitchen sink at Austin in an attempt to claw the title out of his hands. But that depends on this being played right. Bryan needs to tone down the YES! Thing just a tad now, and set about the serious business of being a fighting champion that will overcome whatever you throw at him. And Bryan knows how to do that, it’s all a matter of WWE not being afraid to book Bryan as a strong champion. I’m not saying we need a long CM Punk-esque run, but we do need 6 months of Bryan wearing that strap, minimum, while being allowed to cut loose and wrestle the great matches we know he’s capable of. The main problem now is where does he go after winning this match with Kane?
Who I want to win: Daniel Bryan. Let’s get this title reign underway right!
Who I think will win: This should all be set up to make Bryan look strong as champion, regardless of his neck injury. As mentioned, I expect them to throw the kitchen sink at Bryan to try and get the title from him, but I also expect the champion to persevere and retain in the end.
The Shield vs. Evolution
Unnf. I can’t wait for this match. It’s listed on WWE.com as the headliner on the card (which should be Bryan, come on, he’s the champion so treat him like one) so now my mind is running wild with ideas of how they’re gonna end the night with a bang. Especially if you add in that we know Batista is gonna be going off to promote Guardians of the Galaxy for the next few weeks. That means we could well be looking at a situation tonight where Dave is thrown to the hands so Trippers can escape relatively unscathed. Hammer of Justice (because that is what the Triple Powerbomb WILL be called from here on out) through the Spanish announce table, anyone?
It’s actually a little scary to see how The Shield keep leaping from strength to strength. There seems to be limitless potential to what the group is capable of right now, and they continue to mostly evade the usual WWE trait of taking something we like and beating us around the head with it until we’re sick of it. I’ve mentioned it a lot, but whoever is responsible for looking after The Shield in Creative and backstage deserves one hell of a raise.
In fact that’s the one thing that reassures me heading into this match. The Shield have been booked so consistently well since their inception, that my usual worries of WWE insisting on keeping the “old guard” looking dominant don’t really apply here. The whole world and it’s dog realises that guys like Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are gonna be leading the company into it’s next generation while the remnants of the last generation start to wind down. So surely tonight is the beginning of that transition?
In fact, the only worry I do have is where do The Shield go following the Authority angle? Inevitably they will split, but do we have to have the same old tired angle where one of them turns on the others? Or could we just have a simple but elegant discussion where it’s decided they have achieved all they can as a collective unit and choose to set out on their own paths, safe in the knowledge that they will always be there for each other if needed?
Imagine if we get a couple of years of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns competing in singles action, winning titles, putting on great matches, then during an angle one of the three is getting beatdown by a bunch of guys only for “SIERRA. HOTEL…” to come booming over the sound system. Surely that’s better than watching them turn on each other, then slowly but surely have WWE do their rewriting of their own history (as they tend to do) and have us “forget” that something as awesome as The Shield ever happened to begin with?
And just before we wrap things up, calling Evolution “Creampuffs” was a thing of beauty. As was the devastation they wrought on Smackdown (particularly Dean Ambrose giving Maddox a kicking behind the sofa). Just magnificent levels of win from all 3 men recently, and long may it continue!
Who I want to win: The Shield. Believe.
Who I think will win: I think The Shield are gonna take this, with Dave being thrown to the Hounds of Justice so Triple H can make his escape. We’re not gonna get to see the boys get their hands on the Boss just yet…
And that’s Extreme Rules in a nutshell. But what do you think yourself? Why not leave me a comment below telling me exactly how wrong you think I am? Or you could continue the discussion over on the TalkWrestlingOnline Forums (the new Fantasy Wrestling League Season starts soon, so get thinking about your picks!).
I’ll hopefully be back soon with my WrestleMania diary (there’s lot of pictures and video, so it’s taking a while!), but until then enjoy Extreme Rules (and if you’re in the UK have a great Bank Holiday)!