Extreme Rules hits New Jersey tonight and while it no longer has any shred of evidence of any ECW influence whatsoever, WWE seems to have been able to carve out an interesting niche for itself with this WWE Network event. What is probably most intriguing is what will come of The Club, and how Dean Ambrose will channel his inner Mick Foley.
Let’s get to the matches and see what is in store for us.
On the preshow, Dolph Ziggler goes one-on-one with Bacon Rorbin. I can’t stop calling him that. This feud became worthless as fast as the significance of winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Ziggler isn’t a veteran like Mark Henry, but at this point he’s just used as enhancement talent. Blame the injuries, blame bad booking, at this point it is a moot point. Crowd loves to see him on screen because he is an energetic guy and wrestles his heart out. Chances are, Ziggles will lose, because a loss for Corbin, confirms the uselessness of being pushed by the Andre Memorial.
The United States Championship is on the line as Kalisto defends against Rusev. Giving it back to Rusev allows the big beast to be somewhat relevant, however taking off Kalisto will likely saddle him back to his role in the Lucha Dragons which will likely lead to nowhere. This is why I believe Kalisto will retain the U.S. Title. The only advantage of Rusev with a championship is to see more of Lana.
The Usos vs. The Club in a Tornado Tag Match essentially means no tags, everyone in at the same time. Expect this one to be a brawl with the Usos generically usual spots. If this took place a year ago I might have been excited. Usos were better then. Now, they are stale. To the younger fans, they still are exciting. I also worry about The Club members looking weak, again. They are supposed to be beasts. They are supposed to be a menace. Right now, they are being killed on a weekly basis by The Usos. The Club should win here, through underhanded tactics.
Speaking of tag matches, The Vaudevillians will challenge The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championships. This will be a great match. The Vaudevillians will make for great opponents, but I don’t see them being the ones to dethrone the W…W…E… World… Tag… Team… Champions. Yeah, you can’t get Big E. gyrating out of your head now, can you?
The Women’s Championship is on the line as Natalya challenges Charlotte. I often wondered why Natalya is opting for some weird ring gear lately, but hell, she is on television way more now than she has been in the past decade. The hype is high and strong right now. The gimmick is pulling Ric Flair from ringside to prove Charlotte can win without him. We have a submission match. It is a gimmick match, so things could go sideways at a moment’s notice, however this could be just the right way for Natalya to win, in the middle of the ring with the Sharpshooter. I can see it.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho in an Asylum Match. This match is going to be great. We have the zany addition of various objects and even a straightjacket inside a steel cage. Rumor has it, based on the cage seen on RAW last week, there are platforms in each corner of the cage. Props to Jericho for going forward with what may be a dangerous match, and major kudos to Dean Ambrose who is going to probably astound us with some ridiculous stunts. This worries me as we have seen many injuries due to risky moves, and hopefully this will be fairly injury free. The thing about this, is the expectation of an absolute car-crash of a match. There will likely be blood and some dangerous spots. This is one where it won’t matter who wins or loses, just as long as we get a potential show-stealer.
On the topic of show-stealers, we may have a show-stealer of the year. We have a four-way Intercontinental Championship match featuring Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. The Miz. This one should go at least 20 minutes. At least. We are talking about four of the most talented people on the roster. Yes, this includes the Miz. The guy can sell spots and the guy can deliver some great moves in the ring. Sadly, there will be no Damien Sandow to interfere. The big question mark here is the usual Qui Bono question. Who benefits? Putting the title back on Owens increases his value as a credible titleholder. Leaving it on the Miz increases the heel and crowd hate factor. Giving it to Zayn or Cesaro will get a huge pop from the crowd. Zayn vs. Owens can happen at SummerSlam, with or without championship. Cesaro could wrestle a broomstick for 15 minutes and it might be a showstealer. The call is tough, but fatal-four ways tend to see some crazy endings, and this one might see the title go back to Mr. KO.
Finally, we have our main event. WWE Championship Extreme Rules Match between AJ Styles and Roman Reigns. Good lord, I never get tired of watching Reigns get booed out of the building, however this past week on RAW I could have sworn I heard cheers. On SmackDown you always hear cheers from the added sound effects in post-production. Oops. I gave away a trade secret. I’m fired. In any case, Styles is being given another main event spot before he heads back to feuding with another major wrestling star. No, I don’t see Styles winning the WWE Championship yet. It will be a great match, and there will likely be lots and lots of interference. This would be a good moment for someone to come back from injury or a surprise heel/face turn by someone. Extreme Rules is a No DQ match. Call it whatever you want. No Holds Barred. Roman Reigns will retain the WWE Championship but the finish will be far from clean. I expect this to continue to SummerSlam.