WWE rolls out it’s most “extreme” PPV of the year, and it’s the second one of the “new era”…
What have we learned from the New Era of WWE (other than that they love to say that phrase over and over again?). Well it has brought in some much needed new blood to the main roster, and it’s presented us with a fairly decent card for our first A-Show of the New Era. It’s Gimmick Match-a-Mania! However much of what is here feels like either a re-tread of last month’s show but with added stips. Let’s see what we’ve got in store…
Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles in an Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Last month these guys had the best match on the show (arguably) and they stand to achieve the same result again tonight. Styles has brought the best out of Reigns in the ring, and his more subtle heel tendencies have really brought his character to life. Reigns hasn’t been this interesting since his days in The Shield. However, I do get the feeling that WWE feel like he’s the babyface in this scenario, with Styles and The Club acting like cheating pricks in order to ruin his title run. For Cena’s return they’ve booked him in a trios match teaming with Reigns and Ambrose against The Club – so they clearly see Reigns as the conquering babyface. Styles flits between acting like a heel with his Club buddies, but also shows he doesn’t want to cheat in order to win the belt which creates a great dynamic going into this match. It’s been very well booked with a very logical and well-told story. Amazing really, isn’t it? Roman should retain here, and while it’s a shame to have Styles lose twice in a row it makes sense for Reigns to keep the belt until Summerslam.
Charlotte vs. Natalya in a Submissions Match with Ric Flair banned from ringside for the WWE Women’s Championship
These two also had a good outing last month, but it was ruined by a very screwy finish. With Flair banned from ringside, we can expect to see more screwiness here too. What boggles the mind is the booking of this match. Two weeks ago Shane McMahon banned Flair from ringside, and Flair coming out distracted Charlotte leading to her being pinned by Paige. So, if anything, Flair being out there is a hindrance to Charlotte as she had the match won before he showed up. Shouldn’t she have won to prove Charlotte needs him out there to win? Charlotte should retain here as her being the face of the Women’s Division is more interesting that Natalaya at this point, but one hopes that Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks are pushed back into this title picture very soon. Hell, even Dana Brooke is a better choice at this point.
The Miz vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
While The Miz has been much better than he usually is, he is really dragging this match down. It will be good, but he feels like a square peg trying to get in a round hole against the likes of Cesaro, Owens and Zayn. He’s the remnants of “The Old Era” while the new guys are trying to break boundaries. They’re so far above him in terms of in-ring quality that it’s not even funny. This should be a fantastic match though, and Owens or Zayn will probably walk out with the belt. Zayn needs it the most as he’s lost far too many matches already, but Owens winning for a third time is also fine. With that said, Owens should be moving into the main event scene in the autumn, so holding the IC belt could hold him back.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho in an Asylum Match
What’s an Asylum Match you ask? Bloody good question. It’s basically the last part of TNA’s rip-off of War Games, only there isn’t a roof on the cage. Boiled down to its basic elements, it’s a cage match with weapons. Poor ol’ Dean Ambrose has continued to be booked like a complete dork against Jericho, so he needs the win once again here to rehab himself. Jericho at this point doesn’t need to go over, especially if it’s a match that should in theory play to Dean’s strengths. But, of course, Ambrose won the last match in the feud so 50-50 booking dictates that Jericho wins here. Should be a fun match.
The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains for the WWE Tag Team Championship
I feel so sorry for The Vaudevillains. They’re an excellent act with a great gimmick, but they weren’t given a chance to get over. They needed a whole series of vignettes to get the gimmick over, but instead they were just brought up to the main roster with little fanfare. Why WWE haven’t emulated the silent movie gimmick they did during their feud with the Lucha Dragons in NXT is beyond me. Instead they’re just pushing them like any other tag team. They could be The Colons in this situation and nothing would have changed. It’s a bit of a waste. Ultimately, they’re not ready to win the belts so I imagine The New Day get the win here. Could be the kiss of death for The Vaudevillains…
Kalisto vs. Rusev for the WWE United States Championship
Let’s keep this quick and simple: Rusev needs to win here. Flat out. He needs to win. The belt has done nothing for Kalisto because they have booked him like a chump, and Rusev needs so much rehabbing after a dreadful post-WrestleMania 2015 and all of 2016 so far. He will do more for the belt and bring it back to the status it was during his 2014 run and Cena’s reign in 2015. WWE have seemingly given up on Kalisto, so it makes sense to give the belt back to Rusev.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification Match
Didn’t this feud end? Didn’t they have a match on Raw where Corbin won in a decisive manner? Why are we having this match again? Are there no other jabronies Corbin can kill? Isn’t Zack Ryder free? Corbin wins clean. End of Days.
The Usos vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in a Tornado Tag Team Match
The added stipulation actually helps this match more than any other on the card. We’ve seen The Usos and The Club go at it over and over again (and they’ve only been here a month or so), but the Tornado Tag element brings it to life somewhat. It should be a good match, and The Club should go over as they have lost a few outings against The Family recently.
Will Extreme Rules be a good show? Probably, yeah. This is a pretty decent card and the main event and the 4-way should be the true highlights. What’s exciting about this card is just how much it will be shaken up next month once Cena is back and the impending returns of Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Factor in Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke and there could be some very exciting months worth of TV and PPV ahead. What should be noted, however, is that this is the second PPV in a row where Baron Corbin has been on the pre-show and the second that Apollo Crews hasn’t been a part of? Are they going to the victims of bringing too many guys up too quickly? For now though, let’s enjoy this PPV as it should be pretty damn good.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the co-host of The Flickering Myth Podcast and Scooperhero News. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen and read his weekly feature The Week in Star Wars.
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