Tonight, WWE offers its Universe another live special with Extreme Rules. It’s their eighth annual event of the namesake and second in the New Jersey area with this year being in Newark (the first in East Rutherford in 2014). This WWE Network special will continue to push the New Era of superstars that are infiltrating the main roster, only this time we have more McMahon involvement because how else they’ll get over? Sarcasm aside, the card looks very solid on paper with every title on the line and a number of gimmick matches that fit the “Extreme” billing. So let’s not waste any more time and get on with the preview of Extreme Rules.
The entire storyline of who is the true face and heel between the two participants has brought some of the best out of both, in particular Reigns. Before facing AJ Styles at Payback, Reigns was struggling to gain the acceptance of fans and critics as the top guy in the company. Much of it wasn’t it fault as he was a constant victim of haphazard and lazy booking, making him look like a goofball in most cases. Since winning the WWE Title for the third time, there has been a creative change in his presentation, complete with a new tagline in “Not a bad guy, not good guy, but I’m The Guy”. His character is now in a tweener role that has garnered larger reactions week by week, especially against Styles.
AJ on the other hand was ready-made to be in the main event in-ring wise, but rarely showed a spark as a WWE Superstar in that role. It wasn’t until Anderson and Gallows involvement which saw the Styles that kicked ass in New Japan. He’s a little more aggressive, but still has a moral compass that keeps him from attacking Reigns and The Usos from behind and often refusing his friends’ help. It has cause a number of scenarios which left him and Reigns coming to blows and unique spots building to this Extreme Rules match.
It is definitely a match really worth going out of your way of seeing if it’s the only thing you watch on this show. AJ’s blind loyalty will most likely come to bite him and will make him a more compelling face when Anderson and Gallows turn on him. Now the likelihood of it happening Sunday is quite slim, but it is definite that Reigns will retain and this will be the blowoff to one of the more entertaining programs on WWE television right now. What will really be intriguing is what will happen after.
It is technically a cage match with weapons held at the top which include planter pots, strait jackets, and a mop and bucket. There’s not much to expect from this match as Jericho has been inconsistent in big match situations and Dean is also iffy, but the two are likely to make this fun as it can be. Since Ambrose won last time around, it’s very well that Jericho will continue his role of beating a full-time star to give them the rub.
The latter contest brought in the narrative of Ric Flair – Charlotte’s father – interfering on his daughter’s behalf. It has been the premise of her entire title reign in that she can’t get it done without her father’s help and three times over has screwed Natalya out of the title because of that. Now under the order of Stephanie McMahon that Flair can’t second Charlotte going any longer, it doubles in Nattie’s favor when the stipulation is a Submission Match. These two just work well together and Natalya is at her best when she’s motivated and with Ric out of the way, we can expect a great match. Unfortunately, Charlotte is not dropping the title any time soon.
Owens and Zayn are in the midst of a never-ending war between the two which led to Owens being distracted from receiving a one-on-one rematch for the IC Title. Cesaro – who defeated Owens to earn a number one contender spot before – was robbed of winning the title due to Owens and Zayn interfering in his match on Payback. The four’s problems with one another has led to a number of tag matches, one which paired Zayn and Owens together for the first time in close to five years as a tag team. Along with this chaos is Owens embarrassed every week by the McMahon siblings, getting jammed out of a rightful rematch by putting his foot in his mouth each time.
This match should be a total sprint of great spots and nearfalls, with Zayn and Cesaro more than likely looking to steal the show. Still, it is much better for Miz to flourish as the champion while Zayn and Cesaro continue to chase in the time being.
Kalisto is basically doing nothing with the title and his mic skills have been lacking for someone that is looking to be the successor to Rey Mysterio in the WWE. Rusev on the other hand has regained the support of the WWE brass after a couple of humbling experiences, built his body up to beefcake status, and set to appear alongside Lana in the new season of Total Divas. It’s clear where this one is going.
English and Gotch while good in the ring, have struggled to gain footing on the main roster since their debut, but The New Day has done well in making them look like quality opponents. It’s doubtful that it will help that much as no one expects The Vaudevillains to win and it’s very likely The New Day will retain.
So far their series is tied with each team winning a match with one another, but this one will likely settle the score and catapult Anderson and Gallows into the tag title picture with a win here.