Hello everyone, you've landed on Planet Kayfabe. I'm K.C., as always here on NoDQ here to preview this Sunday's WWE PPV. Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Extreme Rules.
The enthusiasm for this event seems pretty low, but as always, that's a prime opportunity for them to surprise us and put on a great show. Regardless, I think this show is held back by its branding "Extreme Rules" for a number of reasons. The most glaring being WWE is PG. They have been for 10 years now believe it or not. Also on top of their efforts to be safer and with "extreme" style wrestling really being more of a late 90's fad. So what place does "extreme" really have in WWE in 2018 that's really any different than a normal no disqualifications match? Another point is redundancy. They market this as "the one time a year WWE goes extreme". Well... Money in the Bank was last month. A PPV that features matches where anything goes. Granted it wasn't every match, but we got two MITB matches and a Last Man Standing and we see No Dq matches at almost every PPV and fairly regularly we see cage matches and even Hell in a Cell has its own PPV so what's the point of this branding that makes this event so "extreme"?
Anyway, now that I've gotten you hyped up for this event, let's get to the card.
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt (c) vs. The B-Team (Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
It's been a weird feud. If you want to call it a feud. There's been a lot of comedy and silliness so I doubt the match will have much heat. The first time Bo and Axel impersonated Hardy and Wyatt it was pretty funny and in true WWE fashion they had them keep doing the same routine until it got less funny until it stopped being funny at all. Vince must be the guy who at every party tells the same story that got him a big laugh 30 years ago only now people just pretend to laugh when he tells it.
I'm picking the Woken ones to retain. The "B-Team" had some charm at first as babyface underdogs and it was fun watching them win and celebrate in shock. If they win the tag titles now at their first opportunity their story is pretty much over. Where do they go? You could even argue that it was too soon for them to be #1 contenders but whatever.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Singles match for the WWE United States Championship)
What?! No EXTREEEEMEE stipulation here? Yeah, so like I said in the open this is just another PPV with less regular matches than normal. I'm not sure why but I'm leaning towards Nakamura winning this match. Jeff Hardy's US title run has not been great and he has lost cleanly a few times. I'm not sure what they're doing with him or that his recent drunk driving incident has forced the company to be reluctant on really pushing him strong.
I like that he has changed things up a bit, but it's not enough. He's painting his face and cutting weird promos, which I like, but he's coming out to the same 1999 Hardy Boyz music and doing the same entrance. I was hoping with the paint his "No More Words" theme would return but he's just out there doing the same routine only with face paint.
My final call here is Nakamura wins the US Championship.
Finn Bálor vs. Baron Corbin (Singles match)
Another singles match? EXTREME! The feud has been fueled by Corbin telling Finn Balor that he's taller than him and Balor making fun of Corbin's new vest since adapting the position of "constable" of Raw. Whatever. Maybe I got it wrong and that this match is happening because the story has been extremely weak.
Going against my heart and more with my gut I think Corbin wins this match but what difference does it make. They're probably just going to have a pointless rematch at SummerSlam anyway.
Dolph Ziggler (c) (w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins (30-minute Iron Man match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)
I guess this is 30 minutes instead of the usual 60 because it is not a main event match or for a world championship. Here's where my preview perks up a bit. This match has obvious potential to be great. It's also interesting to note that we are inching closer to Dean Ambrose's return. If you're hoping for an Ambrose heel turn he could run in late seemingly to help Seth and then turning on him leading to a SummerSlam match.
If you're asking why Dean would attack Seth, Dean's last appearance on Raw was December 18 of 2017. Seth did a dive outside the ring to take out Cesaro and Samoa Joe. Dean Ambrose was also caught in friendly fire and sold his arm for the remainder of the match and hasn't been seen since as that dive was an angle to write him off. So, Ambrose could easily come out, cost Seth Rollins the match and explain himself the next night by blaming his injury on his now former friend Seth Rollins.
If it wasn't obvious enough... I'm picking Ziggler to retain.
Carmella (c) vs. Asuka (Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship | James Ellsworth will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage)
Your extreme stipulation here is that Ellsworth, a comedy character, will be suspended above the ring. Ellsworth plays his role well, but I don't love Asuka in this role. She deserves better and I'm actually picking her to win. You might think I'm picking with my heart, but Carmella walked away with the heat at the go-home edition of Smackdown and using "go over on TV/lose at PPV" logic it fits.
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) (c) vs. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) (Tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Again, it's just a regular tag match as of this writing. Since Kane has returned to help his old buddy Daniel Bryan, I've enjoyed the pairing. They continue to show their old chemistry and timing and its fun to watch.
However... I don't see it lasting long and I don't see them winning. Glenn Jacobs, as you all know, is running for mayor of Knox County TN and election day is August 2. I'm not from Knox County or Tennessee for that matter but from what I hear, Jacobs is the heavy favorite to win. Could Team Hell No win the titles? Sure. I don't see them winning just for a feel-good moment on one show. Kane's not going to be here for long and I really see this as just a quick wave to the fans before he is tied up with his political duties. Glenn Jacobs is lighting the way for our future, but his future is not with WWE. Best of luck to him on election day.
The New Day vs. Sanity (Tables Match)
It's a tables match. Someone is going through a table. Woo. Sanity hasn't been booked that strong so, I'm not sure where to go. I'm leaning towards Sanity, which would make this a pretty heel-heavy show. However, it's just a tables match. Falling through a table in banana peel fashion isn't like getting pinned for the 1-2-3. So, in that regard I can see New Day winning. Whatever. It's kind of a coin flip match if you ask me.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax (Extreme Rules match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship)
Probably the one match that shouldn't have "extreme rules". This match isn't really about the match. Its about Ronda Rousey. They had her do this weird interview where she said even though she is suspended from Raw, she is not suspended from the PPV so she's buying a ticket. Well, why the f*** does she have to purchase a ticket from her employer to watch a show if she's not suspended from this particular event? Can't she just... show up?
It's a weird explanation that really makes no sense. I don't know why they over-complicate things. They could have had her just say "even though I'm suspended, I purchased a front-row ticket to Extreme Rules and I'll be watching you, Alexa". Instead we are told she's suspended but not fully suspended but still not welcome to the arena unless she pays the company she works for. What?!
Anyway I'm picking Alexa to retain.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev (Singles match for the WWE Championship)
A regular ass WWE Championship match at EXTREME RULES! EXTREEEEMMEEE!!! I don't have much to say here. Rusev has shown some aggression, but he's still somewhat a comedy character while paired with Aiden. The crowd will likely be split which is fun but AJ is winning this clean.
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Steel Cage match)
Even though it's a Steel Cage match which would normally imply this is the end of some heated rivalry, this match is really just a placeholder to get these guys to SummerSlam. You can tell this is very much a transitional event. Not much to say. It could be good. It could suck. We'll see. I think they keep Strowman strong here with a win.
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley (Singles Match)
The rumored main event for this "night of extreme" is once again just a singles match... as of this post anyway. You know how WWE changes shit hours before the show and sometimes before the guys even step out into the curtain so this could easily become a "falls count anywhere" or a standard hardcore match or whatever.
The feud has been kind of dumb. Roman's new gimmick is basically he's LeBron James beating his chest saying he's the man, yet whenever he loses, even in championship situations he always has an excuse and comes out whining about it. Similar to how Bret Hart adapted a whiny gimmick before he fully turned heel. Reigns got rolled up by the Revival proving that no one is safe from the dreaded roll up of doom. Roman's response, because NOTHING is ever his fault, was to blame the loss on having the "worst tag partner ever" and then later on in the show not being able to pick up a legitimate win in another tag match because he was too prideful to tag Lashley into the match. So yeah. Roman is LeBron James only a a hundred times less famous and has a thousand times less impact on WWE's business as LeBron is to the NBA and whatever team he's on.
Anyway, sticking with Rift's logic. It's hard to pick against Roman Reigns, so he's my pick to win. Who knows. Maybe the match is thrown out by Lesnar interfering and Lashley is thrown into the mix for SummerSlam if the company is nervous about yet another Reigns/Lesnar singles match in the main event.