WWE’s annual Extreme Rules pay-per-view will be coming up fast on May 22nd and while the company has made a track record out of waiting until the last minute to finalize many cards over the past year, this time around, a good bulk of the event seems to be set up in just one week.
To get an early perspective of what’s supposed to go down at the event, let’s take a look at the direction WWE seems to be going with the feuds that will be booked on the show.
Confirmed: WWE World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match
Before Payback had even fully concluded, the main event for Extreme Rules was set up with an aptly named Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Roman Reigns will be defending his title against AJ Styles once more, which makes sense, seeing as how Styles won two out of three of their matches at Payback.
Some might argue that this should have been a 2-out-of-3-falls match, but I can’t submit to that philosophy. Styles and Reigns worked well together, yet I don’t think that stipulation would be conducive to a better match than a street fight. Styles doesn’t have much of a chance to win, but it should at least be fun watching them battle it out.
Confirmed: Women’s Championship Submission Match
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I both don’t care about this feud in the slightest bit, as well as think that this match will be better than what transpired at Payback. Despite Bret Hart being one of my favorites of all time, I had no enthusiasm for seeing him after the interviews where he stated that he essentially didn’t want to be there, and the whole screwjob finish left me feeling sour about it all. A rematch is not something I’m craving, but at least we’ll get a break from Ric Flair being ringside and the stipulation is slightly (albeit ever-so) from what we normally see, so I think it will have a higher quality return as far as the in-ring action goes. The outcome will be just as predictable, though, as Charlotte clearly retains.
Confirmed: Tag Team Championship Match
After the situation with Enzo Amore’s injury, it was a done deal that The Vaudevillains would be the #1 contenders to The New Day’s championship belts. Myself and many others naturally assumed the heels would have won that match regardless, so I doubt this will end up straying far (if at all) from the path WWE originally intended to go down. The Vaudevillains are quirky and could do some good stuff with The New Day, but they won’t be winning those titles. Simon Gotch and Aiden English have a weird enough gimmick and are still fresh enough to the audience that they haven’t fully gotten over with some crowds, so it makes no sense to put the titles on them and to ignore something as popular as The New Day. When the time comes for Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods to defend those belts against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, though, that will be a different story.
Unconfirmed: Intercontinental Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
When Kevin Owens declared his intentions to get back into the Intercontinental Championship hunt, the idea of a Fatal 4-Way was instantly springing to mind. This is a better option than to just have rematches between Cesaro / The Miz and Owens / Sami Zayn, or to switch dance partners and pair Cesaro up with Owens and for Zayn to get a title shot against The Miz. I’m sure that will happen on the Raw and SmackDown episodes leading up to and following Extreme Rules, as well as tag team matches and so forth, but such is the case when building to a Fatal 4-Way. All of these guys bring something different to the table and entirely different energies, so I wouldn’t be shocked at all if this was the show stealer of the night. It also is an environment where The Miz can retain while not looking the strongest, so my money is on him.
Unconfirmed: Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose
Chris Jericho implied on Twitter that he would be leaving WWE for a while, yet appeared on Raw to continue his feud with Dean Ambrose. While he could just have done that to get the last word in and could still be gone, not scheduled for Extreme Rules and not expected back for many months, I’m inclined to believe this feud is not ending before May 22nd. This could go either way, and we won’t know for sure until Extreme Rules itself, but either a rematch takes place with some sort of gimmick attached to it, or WWE will need to set up a different opponent for Ambrose as soon as possible. Tonight’s SmackDown tapings will be the biggest indicator of all as to which choice WWE goes with, and if it isn’t Jericho who goes up against Ambrose, the only other people that I could see filling in the gap are Alberto Del Rio or Sheamus, which seem like bummers in comparison.
Unconfirmed: United States Championship Match
Simply put, Rusev won the battle royal to earn a title shot and it’s got more of a chance of happening here than just on Raw or SmackDown. Kalisto’s title reign has been absolute garbage and the United States Championship itself needs a change, so if Rusev is the guy WWE has picked to give the title a shot of adrenaline in the arm, so be it. I’m not as thrilled about that concept as I would be a lot of other options (Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, a returning John Cena, Cody Rhodes back to form, etc) but at this point, it seems like anything is a better idea than keeping it on Kalisto. When WWE doesn’t care about prioritizing something like the United States Championship, it shows, and 2016 has been a terrible year for this belt. It’s time to try something new, even if it fails, just to at least try.
Unconfirmed: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Considering how these two kept their feud going during the battle royal this week, it’s a safe bet that they’ll have another match down the line and if WWE is looking to fill some time on the pre-show, this could easily fit that spot. Since Ziggler walked away with the victory the last time, this will pretty much have to be the match where Corbin dominates and looks strong with a decisive victory.
Unconfirmed: The Usos vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows