WWE’s eighth Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View takes place this Sunday live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. With seven matches advertised for the company’s second event of the “new era” (which seems more like another company tagline since the McMahons are still on-screen authority figures), the card looks pretty strong one as far as match quality is concerned, even if the build for some of the matches has left a lot to be desired.
The Club vs. The Bloodline
As it was at Payback, the main event is AJ Styles challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Since this is Extreme Rules, and every match must have a gimmick shoehorned in, the bout will be contested under “Extreme Rules”, meaning is everything is legal. With that in mind, expect more interference from Styles running buddies from New Japan Pro Wrestling Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows and the champion’s cousins The Usos. Both men should also deliver another quality main event contest, assuming Styles is recovered enough from his injuries.
All By Herself
There are four other title matches taking place this Sunday. First, WWE Women’s champion Charlotte once again defends her title against Natalya after their Payback match ended with yet another tired rehash of the “Montreal Screwjob”. Like the main event, this contest has added stipulations, as the match can only end when one wrestler submits. Additionally, Charlotte’s Hall of Fame father “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is banned from ringside. Stephanie and Shane McMahon added the stipulation in the show closing contract signing segment last Monday, saying Charlotte will be stripped of the title if Flair shows up to ringside. This new wrinkle plays off a match between Charlotte and old rival Paige that took place on the May 9 edition of Raw, where Flair came to ringside even after being banned. Shane O’ Mac and dozens of referees showed up to escort “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” backstage. The Women’s Champ ultimately lost, setting her up as vulnerable heading into the match (and possibly a future challenger should she retain).
New Day vs. Back in the Day
After being named the number one contenders when their match with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady ended due to Amore's concussion, The Vaudevillains get their chance at WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day. The build to this match has been fairly lackluster, with New Day traveling into a “time machine” (a cardboard box with keyboards taped to it) and declaring the “bygone era” the Vaudevillains are so fond of sucks. The segment ended with Aiden English and Simon Gotch getting heat on Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi Kingston with attacks from behind.
Will Rusev "crush" Kalisto's Reign?
WWE built up the Kalisto vs Rusev United States Championship match oddly as well. After winning a battle royal to become the number one contender the night after Payback, the Bulgarian Brute said in an interview with Michael Cole that he would eat Kalisto’s heart. Rusev followed this with a loss to the U.S. champs Lucha Dragons tag team partner, Sin Cara. The match ended when Kalisto, the baby face interfered in the match, allowing “The Man with No Face” to roll up Rusev, the heel. Rusev got his heat back on SmackDown, destroying Sin Cara and then Kalisto. A title change is a heavy assumption here.
Is the "A-Lister's" Reign in Jeopardy?
The build to the other secondary title match has been a bit more intriguing. The Fatal 4 Way Intercontinental Title match build began in earnest at Payback, with both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn getting involved in the Miz/Cesaro title bout. The usual matches between competitors in the math and the obligatory “baby faces team with the heels” tag team match followed. Cesaro, Owens, Zayn and Miz all received some shine heading into what should be another good match.
Welcome to the Ambrose Asylum
A match built around talk shows, a potted plant, a straitjacket, and a light up jacket should not be this good. That is a testament to the abilities of both Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose. Both men delivered on the microphone really going back to the Payback build, and will now compete in the first ever “Asylum Match”. Essentially the match is a cage match with an assortment of items associated with the “Lunatic Fringe”, including a barbed wire 2x4, a potted plant (not Mitch), a fire extinguisher, and a straitjacket among other things surrounding the top of the structure, think TNA’s Lethal Lockdown Match. Ambrose’s promo last Monday suggested that the match is won by pin fall or submission, which eliminates the possibility of a cheap Jericho win, so it will be interesting to see how this match plays out.
The pre-show match is a no disqualification match between Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin, yet another rematch. These two have traded wins and attacks throughout this feud with Ziggler cutting an impassioned promo to try and add some juice to it. There really isn’t much else to say about it.
There doesn’t appear to be a bad match on the card. While it looks like a by the number show filled with rematches, there could be a surprise or two. It all takes place Sunday, May 22 on Pay-Per-View and on the WWE Network.