What does the WWE have in store for Extreme Rules?
Extreme Rules is Sunday and the product hasn’t progressed much in the last month. Is WWE ready to move in a new direction for its New Era? What are we looking forward to?
1) Should we put any stock in the declining Raw ratings?
Corey: Eh it’s a toss up. For one it means that Raw doesn’t have that superstar power to keep the ratings consistently high. But at the same time ratings do tend to lag from time to time. I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. Especially with all the returns that are about to start happening due to the injuries from late last year.
Josh: Absolutely not. The reality is that Nielson ratings just don’t hold the same value they once did. Media consumption is drastically different than what it was even 10 years ago and relying solely on ratings to determine whether a product holds water with the collective conscious is a bit of a fool’s errand. Raw is still a very socially active medium with Raw events trending worldwide almost weekly. The numbers for the Network are good, definitely not where they would like them to be, but still positive. WWE is fine, wrestling is fine and using ratings as evidence that Reigns isn’t getting over as champion or that the product is stagnant isn’t much an argument.
2) What’s your impression of the Asylum Match?
Corey: I’m intrigued. Honestly I thought this would be a one-shot feud, but it looks like they may have two more pay per views, including this Sunday. But at the same time due to the current landscape and without blood, it takes away from how brutal of a match that this could be. In the end Ambrose NEEDS to be the winner of this match as well as this feud.
Josh: It’s interesting that Ambrose is getting his own speciality match in the same vein as Mankind (Boiler Room Brawl), Undertaker (Casket Match), and Kane (Inferno). Let us all hope this gimmick is closer to those than The Great Khali’s (Punjambi Prison).
3) Should WWE move forward with a Dana Brooke/Becky Lynch feud?
Corey: Maybe I’m the only one, but I have absolutely zero interest in Dana Brooke. None at all. And for her go over Becky Lynch cleanly this early on just seemed like bad booking. I wouldn’t mind if they put a stop to this feud yesterday. Becky is still gold in my eyes and to go from chasing after the Women’s Championship and being in the match of the night at Wrestlemania to this boring feud is beneath her.
Josh: Tough break for Dana Brooke. Emma is on the shelf with back surgery (herniated disk) and is probably out for close to a year. The combination of Emma and Dana would have worked well with beating up on the plucky underdog of Becky Lynch. I don’t believe you can move forward with a one to one feud and have Dana look credible without making Becky look weak. I’d probably pair Dana with Summer Rae and move forward to try salvaging this angle.
4) What’s the match to watch at Extreme Rules?
Corey: Without a doubt it’s going to be the fatal four way with Miz/Cesaro/Owens/Zayn. I love fatal four ways and with the amount of talent in this match it’s easily going to be the match of the night.
Josh: Absolutely the four way match for the IC title. That’s the consensus show-stealer. Rusev/Kalisto also has some darkhorse potential. Plus that camel clutch (or Accolade if you will) Rusev slapped on Kalisto was downright nasty.
5) Make a prediction for Extreme Rules:
Corey: Hmm so let’s get right to it, Reigns/Styles, Reigns is coming out of this the victor. Plain and simple. But I can bet money there is going to be interference at some point. Hopefully it’s Balor that costs Styles the title which can then lead to a feud between those two which everyone would love to see. Natalya/Charlotte: I would LOVE to see the Women’s Championship on Natalya, but I honestly feel like they won’t make that call for Charlotte to drop the title until her and Sasha Banks feud so I’ll give this win to Charlotte. Jericho/Ambrose has to have Ambrose as the winner. He needs a winning feud like nobody’s business! New Day/Vaudevillains. This one is a toss up. Vaudevillains winning would be great for them seeing as how it’s always more entertaining when it’s the faces that are chasing the title, but at the same time New Day is riding high on their popularity right now as well as their merchandise always selling out and we all know WWE likes to keep the titles on the top merchandise sellers. Zayn/Owens/Cesaro/Miz is also a toss up. I have no idea who they are going to have win this and I’m not mad at at. I love unpredictability. All three challengers would make great IC champs and if Miz retains I wouldn’t mind that either. But just for the sake of making a prediction I’m going to go with Cesaro. Corbin/Ziggler is definitely going to have Corbin going over seeing as though it looks like they are using Ziggler as a way to get Corbin over with the Raw crowd. Usos/The Club (I hate typing that name) is going to have to be incredibly brutal for it to keep people entertained. The Usos need a new gimmick and The Club needs a new name. But I digress. I’m going to have to go with Anderson and Gallows on this one. As for Kalisto/Rusev I would love to see Kalisto retain and I actually hope he does, but for some reason I have a feeling that Rusev is going to go over so I’ll go with Rusev on this one.
Josh: Extreme Rules is a hard card to predict. Conventional wisdom says everything stays status quo, but you also have to think there’s something brewing in the WWE to lead to big summer shake-up. I think the only likely title change we’ll see is the US title going to Rusev. That frees up Kalisto to continue with the Lucha Dragons and possibly start feuding with The Shining Stars.