Traditionally, Extreme Rules/Backlash (remember that?) was the PPV for WrestleMania rematches. And that’s not far from the truth with Extreme Rules 2015. Once again, the build-up for another WWE PPV/Special has been lacklustre. There’s no excitement or anticipation for most of the matches. The WWE Network has deducted WWE’s need to tempt people into buying their PPVs. If you have the WWE Network, you’ve already paid for the PPV! Simple as that! The European Tour also has taken up a lot of WWE’s time. But let me run down the matches:
Daniel Bryan (c) vs Bad News Barrett (Intercontinental Championship)
Not happening, according to wwe.com. Bryan is medically unfit to compete. So instead, we get Neville vs BNB…on the Kick-Off Show. When you’re relegated to the Kick-Off Show, there’s no hope for you. Well, at least Neville gets a sniff of being on a PPV. A good match, I’m sure, but I can’t see Neville winning.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c) vs The New Day (Tag Team Championships)
I’m sure this match was going to be on the Kick-Off Show. That tells you all you need to know about the Tag Team Titles and WWE’s feelings about them. The New Day, after floundering ever since their arrival, have been thrust into the title scene due to the absence of any other contenders (i.e. The Usos). The New Day still haven’t proved that they deserve the titles. I’d be shocked if they won. Kidd and Cesaro will hold the titles until WWE remembers them!
Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus (Kiss Me Arse Match)
Yes, you read that right. Vince McMahon must have been reliving the glory days of people literally kissing his arse. What other reason is there to book this match? Sheamus is supposed to be an aggressive heel. Why would he want someone to kiss his arse? It should have been a No DQ Match, where Sheamus can batter Ziggler. It will be a very good match, but I don’t think anyone wants to see the outcome. A man kissing another man’s arse does not appeal to me. Sheamus has to win this if his heel character is to catch on.
Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper (Chicago Street Fight)
A match that will be notable for the trauma these two guys will put their bodies through and the CM Punk chants that will pepper the match like machine gun rounds. Ambrose continues to float around in WWE. Harper is just there, looking just as crazed as Ambrose. Harper isn’t the best wrestler in the ring, but he’s willing to put his body on the line. Much like Ambrose (See: WrestleMania 31 Ladder Match, powerbomb through ladder). Why not put something on the line for them? Like a shot for the Intercontinental Championship? Like Ziggler vs Sheamus, entertaining but ultimately pointless. At a guess, Ambrose to win. He needs vengeance!
Roman Reigns vs The Big Show (Last Man Standing Match)
Oh Big Show…he’s still a top heel! Why oh why…These two have been feuding since before the Royal Rumble. It wasn’t interesting back then. And it sure isn’t interesting now, even after Big Show chokeslammed Reigns on a taxi. This match suits Big Show, as he can lie down for most of the match and not do anything. With the Big Show, I think the heart is willing, but the body is weak. Time for retirement, perhaps? Last Man Standing matches are disjointed at the best of times, but without a Bryan to carry him or a Lesnar to destroy him, Reigns will struggle with the Big Show. Reigns needs a bigger and better opponent to rebuild his stature after Mania. Reigns for the victory, of course. Then hopefully he will never fight Big Show again.
Nikki Bella (c) vs Naomi (Divas Championship)
A match with decent build-up. Both Nikki and Naomi have upped their game in recent months. They’ll never be on the level of a Charlotte or a Sasha Banks, but they try their best to put on a show. Can’t see Naomi winning here. Maybe Paige will interfere…
John Cena (c) vs Rusev (Russian Chain Match for the United States Championship)
Their feud will presumably end after the match. It’s for the best. Their feud has ran out of steam. Cena has been more focussed on the ‘Open United States Championship Challenge’ than Rusev. The story is more about the disintegration of Rusev and Lana than the rivalry between Cena and Rusev. They’ve had two good matches in a row at Fast Lane and Mania 31, but the chain stipulation seems more like a hindrance than a help. Rusev needs to move on to a higher level of competition. That means he will lose.
Seth Rollins (c) vs Randy Orton (WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Cage Match, RKO is banned)
So the RKO is banned…but so is the Curb Stomp! But WWE don’t seem to be making a fuss about the latter. Kane is the ‘gatekeeper’ (Will Rick Moranis interfere?) for no other reason than to justify his wages. Will he cost Orton the match? Probably, even if it’s inadvertent. Their match at Mania was the best on the show, and I’m sure that will be the case at Extreme Rules. Their feud leading into Mania was illogical and downright stupid at times, but they’ve been given time to breathe since that. Rollins still isn’t presented as a champion, however. A clean win here would elevate him no end. But I doubt that will happen. I remember a match Orton had with HBK at Survivor Series. HBK was banned from using Sweet Chin Music. At the end of the match, he went for the move, but hesitated when he realised he couldn’t use it. Orton hit an RKO straight afterwards and won the match. I can see something like that ending this match. Rollins for the win!