Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE Extreme Rules 2018

In this day and age, you can’t just “predict” a PPV anymore, you have to account for the capricious whims of WWE’s septuagenarian, sleep-deprived egomaniac owner. You can’t just “preview” a PPV…you have to preview how things should go, in a reasonable and sane world, and then add “so of course…” and explain what Vince McMahon will probably do instead.

LAST TIME ON SO OF COURSE, it was MONEY IN THE BANK time, which came right as WWE was announcing some huge money contracts for Raw and SmackDown. In the month since then, TV ratings have cratered, with the most recent Raw drawing New Generation-era numbers. I find that funny, I dunno about you.

We’re one PPV away from SummerSlam, which means the company is almost ready to start caring again. In the meantime it’s July, which means THIS is your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE EXTREME APATHY IN THE FACE OF STUBBORN UNWILLINGNESS TO ADAPT, CHANGE, OR OTHERWISE MAKE AN EFFORT

RULES!

It’s a fairly big card so let’s keep it light and breezy, m’kay?

FINN BALOR vs BARON CORBIN

What it is in fifty words or less: A holding pattern for Finn Balor, who desperately needs a heel turn but instead is stuck in the “creative has nothing for you” zone, taking on Baron Corbin, a man for whom creative has so much nothing they made him a heel authority figure on a show that already has an authority figure. Because when I think of Baron Corbin I think of a boss man type in a suit; that’s a really great use of him. Sorry that was a lot more than fifty words.

What it should be in fifty words or less: A squash win for Balor.

SO OF COURSE…

JEFF HARDY vs SHINSUKE NAKAMURA

What it is in fifty words or less: Nak trying to win the B-title after failing to win the A-title despite getting fifty chances in a three month period. He’s in a bad place in that he turned heel to get some momentum, failed to win his feud (which kills momentum) and now has to slide down the card with no momentum. A loss here would be devastating.

What it should be in fifty words or less: A Nakamura win and the beginning of a nice little heel title run to give him some semblance of a head of steam.

SO OF COURSE…

CARMELLA vs ASUKA

What it is in fifty words or less: James Ellsworth suspended above the ring while his girlfriend(?) takes on a hungry but very vincible Asuka. Let’s not kid ourselves; this’ll end up being a tease and a let down (two bits!). Ellsworth will do something to help Carmella retain, because there’s nothing Vince loves more than a weak heel champ who slips by stronger, more obvious contenders.

What it should be in fifty words or less: It’d be really interesting if Asuka won the title here and feuded with Charlotte going into SummerSlam, considering they feuded for the title at Mania, only with the roles reversed and Asuka failing to win. There’s a dynamic there that can be played with if they wanted.

SO OF COURSE…

MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT vs THE B-TEAM

What it is in fifty words or less: Bray vs Bo!

What it should be in fifty words or less: Bo joins Bray!

SO OF COURSE…

AJ STYLES vs RUSEV

What it is in fifty words or less: A WWE title match so overlooked and so underappreciated, it’s likely to miss being the PPV main-event (again), despite it being the only world title match on the card. Rusev has been tremendously over lately, but this just feels like a one-off match on a throw-away PPV.

What it should be in fifty words or less: Another Styles win. I love Rusev but it’s not the right time to take the belt off AJ. There’s a lot left in the cards for him, including Samoa Joe and potentially Daniel Bryan. Here’s hoping for a hard-fought match and a clean finish. It’s not the most exciting thing, but it should be the default thing.

SO OF COURSE…

ROMAN REIGNS vs BOBBY LASHLEY

What it is in fifty words or less: AMBIEN!

What it should be in fifty words or less: If this thing main-events over an IRON MAN match, a WWE Title match, and a women’s title match (that presumably will feature the return of Ronda Rousey) then just pack it up. If this does main-event it’ll be the instigator of a mass audience walk-out.

SO OF COURSE…

BRAUN STROWMAN vs KEVIN OWENS

What it is in fifty words or less: Something to keep Braun occupied. Kevin Owens is (sadly) an afterthought here.

What it should be in fifty words or less: A 2000-era hardcore match with bells and whistles, trashcan lids and kendo sticks, but instead it’s a steel cage match which just feels wrong for this feud. Then again, it’s likely going to feature Braun ripping a cage wall off and spinning it over his head like a pizza chef. So I’ll allow it.

SO OF COURSE…

THE BLUDGEON BROS vs TEAM HELL NO

What it is in fifty words or less: Something to keep Daniel Bryan occupied before he either (A) chooses not to re-sign with the company, at which point they’ll rush him through all his big feuds and matches, or (B) re-signs with the company, at which point they’ll…do the same thing only take a little longer to get through each big feud. Kane is only here for the nostalgia. Then again, the election’s not till November and he doesn’t seem particularly busy at the moment so who knows.

What it should be in fifty words or less: This is tricky. On the one hand, I’d say Bryan and Kane should lose because I’m already bored with their reunion, but who wants to see Bryan lose so quickly after coming back? On the other hand, Bryan could lose by virtue of Kane turning on him, that would save face (good) while setting up an obvious Kane vs Bryan SummerSlam match (bad). It’s tricky. Let’s split the baby and call for a quick Hammer Bros. win with Kane getting the pinfall and Bryan kept looking strong heading into a big SummerSlam title match.

SO OF COURSE…

ALEXA BLISS vs NIA JAX

What it is in fifty words or less: A ten minute wait before Ronda Rousey returns.

What it should be in fifty words or less: That.

SO OF COURSE…

DOLPH ZIGGLER vs SETH ROLLINS

What it is in fifty words or less: An IRON MAN (always all-caps an IRON MAN match) match, albeit a 30-minute one between the hottest worker in the company and a vet who can be counted on to rise to just such an occasion. It’s likely not to be the main-event, but I wouldn’t mind it. Either way it’s going to be epic, dramatic and thrilling in the final minute. Can’t wait.

What it should be in fifty words or less: A hard fought Rollins loss (shenanigans are allowed) to get the title off him and slide him into the main-event to take the Universal Title off Brock Lesnar. Nothing else matters.

SO OF COURSE…

Oh well, there’s always NXT.

Here’s to Sunday.

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