Coming off such a lackluster WrestleMania, the WWE really needed Extreme Rules to pick up some steam and carry the company through the post-WrestleMania slump of spring and into summer, holding them until the fans return for SummerSlam. But then The Rock said he wasn’t going to job to Cena two PPVs in a row, and then Punk absolutely needed some time off, so they started juggling things around.
Extreme Rules was already starting to look like it was going to be struggling in a huge way, then Cena screwed up his Achilles tendon and everything was up in the air. Many of us were starting to question what was going to happen with the WWE Title at Extreme Rules, and would this destroy any shot the PPV had? Then, in true Cena fashion, the injury isn’t wasn’t bad as they thought, and he bounced right back into the ring with barely a stutter step. Because of how Super Cena did it again, Last Man Standing is a fantastic idea for his match with Ryback. Knowing what lengths Cena will go to win this type of match, this might not turn out so bad after all.
I have been calling for Triple H to return to the ring over the past year. I think he could do a lot to push some of the younger performers to a higher level in the ring and on mic, yet he keeps going back to working with the bigger names. While it’s true he’s only worked the ring a couple times in the past year and a half, those matches have been with either Brock or Taker. To me this is a huge waste of Trip’s talent. I will admit that their build toward Extreme Rules has been creative, and somewhat entertaining, I think the WWE is banking on this match bringing in a lot more than it actually will.
Then there’s Sheamus and Henry. They have been building toward this match since right after WrestleMania, and have done a solid back and forth with them. The stipulation for this match hasn’t been decided, but after the implements that have brought these two to the ring recently, I’m seeing possibly a Strap Match, a Texas Bullrope Match (Henry is originally from Texas, and JBL was hinting at it recently), or something along that ilk. As long as it’s not an On A Pole Match, I won’t be too annoyed, but that doesn’t mean that this match will bring up the buyrate, or impress the fans.
The only other match on the card right now is the World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match. This was one that could have been a show stealer. ADR, Swagger and Ziggler have all won at MITB, and are not strangers to Ladder Matches, and have been pushing each other hard in this three way feud. But now this match is in question due to Ziggler’s health. I must admit that I am worried that Ziggler will be stripped of his Championship for the sake of having a World Heavyweight Championship Match on the card, but it think that would be a travesty. Ziggler has been proving himself week in and week out, even though some rather risky work by others in the ring. Everyone involved in this feud have been lucky to not be injured after some of the reckless work we have seen – specifically this past Monday night by Swagger. Stripping Ziggler of the Championship would push his career back a year or more, and could seriously injure both AJ and Big E’s pushes. I am sure there’s a lot of scrambling around to decide what to do about this match, and I hope that Ziggler isn’t the one screwed in the end. EDIT – WNW just posted JR’s Blog about the severity of Ziggler’s concussion. Yes, every concussion is serious, and I’m thrilled that the WWE is starting to take head injuries serious. If it looks like Ziggler is going to be out for a longer time, they might have to strip him of the WHC and go in a different direction. I hope that whoever caused this concussion – if it came about through recklessness – is reprimanded accordingly. My heart goes out to Ziggler, and I hope he recovers quickly.
It has been looking as though there might be a match between Big Show and Orton at Extreme Rules, but that hasn’t been set up yet (I have not read the Smackdown spoilers), but in all honesty, it’s nothing I’m really chomping at the bit to see. And Jericho’s feud with Fandango seems to be heading back to the ring as well, but I don’t see that being a show stealer either – even though they’re both fantastically entertaining.
I will admit that I’m hoping for a solid Divas Title Match between Kaitlyn and AJ, but if the Divas matches of the past couple years show anything, this won’t be anything special. Gone are the days of Trish, Victoria and Lita going hardcore on each other in the ring. I’m speaking specifically of Survivor Series 2002 where Victoria beat Trish in a Hardcore Match for the Women’s Title in a match that saw Trish busted open. And then there was the November 2003 RAW Roulette where Victoria beat Lita in a Steel Cage Match when Matt Hardy slammed the door in Lita’s face. Those two matches prove that WWE Divas have been more than capable of going into serious matches and making it work. Kaitlyn and AJ would absolutely rip up a match worthy of Extreme Rules, if given the chance.
The Shield is WWE’s biggest hope for Extreme Rules. Those three men, and the three they face in the ring could really make Extreme Rules worth watching, worth paying for. As of writing this nothing has been announced for them, but running off what we saw this past week on RAW, The Shield facing Team Hell No and Kofi with all belts on the line. The way Ambrose was eyeballing the US Title on RAW was seeming to foreshadow what’s to come, and those six men in the ring together could be epic. The Shield has been proving themselves every time they’ve been in the ring, and on mic. Even when they just come to ringside, but don’t end up doing anything, they sell it! At this point The Shield, this match, seems like Extreme Rules’ only hope.
So where does all this leave the WWE? Well, I think it’s going to leave them with a very low buyrate for Extreme Rules. I know not every PPV is going to have the best numbers, but the WWE waits six weeks for the first post-WrestleMania PPV because they don’t want the fans too not buy the show so soon after doling out big bucks for WrestleMania. This time of year is always a problem for the WWE as many fans take a break from wrestling after the heightened fervor brought on by The Road To WrestleMania, and WrestleMania itself. The problem is that many people were not overly impressed with WrestleMania XXIX, and that’s going to lead to even more troubles going into Extreme Rules.