By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
The build-up for this year’s Extreme Rules has seemed lackluster. But perhaps that’s not fair. WWE apparently wants to cast Ryback as their new lead villain. But CM Punk is such a tough act to follow, especially after all the controversy generated by his Wrestlemania angle with the Undertaker. Then we’ve also got the inevitable comparisons being made to last year’s red hot Extreme Rules main event between John Cena and Brock Lesnar. It’s not easy to be Ryback these days. But given time I’m sure he’ll be an effective lead villain, if in fact that’s the direction WWE wants to keep going with him. With luck, this main event match with Cena will help him in that respect.
Let’s see what we’ve got to look forward to…
The Miz has had some issues getting on pay per views this year. This is the second consecutive big event he’s been relegated to the pre-show. Granted, he took a bit of time off to do a movie, so there wasn’t necessarily much time to work him into anything. But if this trend continues, he might want to consider a return to his heel roots. It’s nice to see Cody Rhodes getting a somewhat high-profile singles match. I’m ready for him to resume his singles career, especially after that match he had with Randy Orton a few weeks back. But this night belongs to the Miz. Unless maybe they want these two to start a program together, which might be interesting.
Rob’s Prediction: The Miz
The outcome of this match likely depends on how long Chris Jericho will be sticking around. If he’ll be here another month, then I say let’s give this one to him, and wrap it up with some kind of gimmick match in June. If he’s leaving soon, then let’s give this one to Fandango and keep his upward momentum going. I’m going to hazard a guess that Jericho’s sticking around, so let’s give him a win.
Rob’s Prediction: Chris Jericho
What was it I said back when Kofi won the title? “So Kofi Kingston wins the United States Title from Antonio Cesaro. Why? So he can drop it to a different midcard heel?…So the question isn’t really about what Kofi’s going to do with the US Title, but who the next champion is going to be.” Apparently, it’s going to be Dean Ambrose. And good for him! He deserves to be the Shield’s breakout member, because he’s got the most charisma, and the most star power out of the three. Or at least that’s how it seems right now. Let’s toss the strap on him and see what he does.
Rob’s Prediction: Dean Ambrose
I had originally predicted Team Hell No’s run would end back at the Royal Rumble. But they’ve lasted well into the spring. And they won those belts back in September! But I do believe Extreme Rules is the end for them. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns aren’t exactly a dream team. But for storyline purposes it makes sense to put the belts on them. Hopefully this will open the door for a babyface tag team (The Usos, Tons of Funk, or maybe even the Prime Time Players) to work their way up the card and challenge the tyrannical Shield, ultimately becoming the first team to beat them.
Rob’s Prediction: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
I don’t have high hopes for this one. But making it an Extreme Rules match definitely opens some interesting doors. I keep waiting for Orton’s inevitable heel turn to happen. You’d think Wrestlemania would have been the perfect chance to turn him, and put him against Sheamus. But instead we’re keeping this story with Big Show alive. Orton’s ring work is always solid, but it’s definitely time to freshen him up from a character standpoint. I understand WWE is reluctant to invest a bit more in him right now, as one more wellness policy strike means they’re obligated to let him go. But he’s been back awhile, and apparently things have been fine. So I saw use him while we’ve got him. I’m going with Big Show on this one, with the theory that it’ll be another step toward an Orton heel turn.
Rob’s Prediction: The Big Show
As an older fan, I like this one. When was the last time we saw a good ol’ fashioned strap match? I can’t even remember. When I think strap match, I tend to think of Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega from 1996, Triple H vs. The Rock from 1999, or Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL from 2004. Didn’t Randy Orton and Dusty Rhodes have one a few years back? Either way, I like this one. It’s a good way to play up Mark Henry’s size and strength. Let’s just hope we don’t get a stupid tug o’ war spot. I like Sheamus as the conquering hero here. I imagine this will probably go another month, though.
Rob’s Prediction: Sheamus
No big mystery here: It’ll be Del Rio. We were building to a Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio match anyway, right? Jack Swagger crapped the bed by getting arrested for marijuana possession in the middle of the biggest push of his career. But let’s take nothing away from his athleticism, and indeed, there’ll likely be some great athleticism on display here. No doubt we’ll also see Ricardo Rodriguez and Zeb Colter involved in some way. But in the end, it’s a win for Del Rio, likely with the cross arm-breaker, and he goes on to face Ziggler at the appropriately named Payback pay per view.
Rob’s Prediction: Alberto Del Rio
So…it’s got to be Brock Lesnar, right? After that rant Triple H had this past Monday about Lesnar’s mystique, and that essentially another loss would make him just another guy. If Brock is going to be a special attraction, the last thing they want him to be is just another guy. Triple H got his big Wrestlemania win, and proved his still an ass kicker. So let’s go ahead and let Lesnar have this one. Let him be the “beast incarnate” that WWE needs him to be.
Rob’s Prediction: Brock Lesnar
The best advice I can offer to Ryback for this one? Watch out for duct tape. We all remember what Cena did to Batista in their Last Man Standing Match a few years ago, right?
For me, the biggest question surrounding this match is whether Ryback will join the Shield, and as such win the title. It would make sense, wouldn’t it? The company’s would-be lead heel, in-league with the hottest heel faction they’ve seen in years. Still, he doesn’t necessarily have to join them at Extreme Rules. If it does happen, I see it being in the final segment of a Raw. Cena handing Ryback yet another major defeat might be the last straw in terms of finally pushing him onto the ranks of the Shield.
Rob’s Prediction: John Cena
Front page image from bleacherreport.com. Interior images from wwe.com.
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