Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WWE Extreme Rules Preview

Extreme Rules is Sunday.  We got seven matches, including three title matches. There's also a new development on the media front as a few cable/satellite providers (Dish Network and DirecTV) are not carrying the event.  This is undoubtedly a result of the WWE Network launch; for those who don't know, the WWE Network is an all-internet streaming service that offers all the pay per view events as part of the $10 monthly fee.  It's not crazy for cable providers to see this as a slap in the face.  It's hard for them to sell pay per view events for $50-plus a pop when people can stream them for $10 a month.  As somebody who prefers watching things on television to smaller screen PCs, tablets, etc. this will be interesting to watch unfold.  Will more providers bolt or will they hang in there?  I think there has to be some percentage of people like me, enough to make it worthwhile for some cable/satellite providers to keep offering pay per view events.  But they may have to come down off of the price now, which of course they don't want to do.  But anyway, on to the show.  Here's the card:

  • Six Man Tag Match: Evolution vs. The Shield
  • Extreme Rules WWE World Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
  • Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
  • Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E Langston vs. Bad News Barrett
  • Divas Title Match: Paige vs. Tamina Sunka
  • Triple Threat Match: Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
  • Handicap Match: Xavier Woods and R-Truth vs. Alexander Rusev
As far as the subplots, here are the ones I think are important:

  • Will the Yes Nation show up? - Oh, I'm sure they'll be in the building decked out in their T-Shirts, and they'll be vocal in their support.  But will the ones who aren't in the building shell out the money for the event?  Bryan is facing Kane, and I doubt anyone who's been watching for more than five minutes thinks Kane has any chance of walking out as champion.  This is exactly the kind of match that the powers that be use to judge a wrestler's drawing power.  The biggest stars have been able to bring in a good audience even when there was no doubt what was going to happen in their match that night.  Can Bryan do that, or does he only sell at WrestleMania when there's always a big number just because?  The other thing to watch is where do they place this match?  If it goes on before the Main Event, then you can rightly judge that as a sign of doubt from upstairs.  If it goes on before Cena vs. Wyatt and the six man tag team match, that's not a good sign.  And if the event doesn't do a good number in terms of buys, he will get the blame, fair or unfair.
  • Is Bray Wyatt done at the top? - I said the WrestleMania match between Wyatt and Cena could be a turning point for both men.  It turns out that the bookers decided to stay with the tired and true, and Cena went over clean.  Now they're in a cage match, where you have to win by escaping.  If Wyatt goes down decisively, then he's a high midcarder from here on out.  There will be no real recovery from back to back losses to Cena; he'll be just another victim.  Having gotten a win at WrestleMania, Cena can afford a loss here.  If I were in charge I'd give it to him.

  • Faction Wars -  The six man match has two groups that won't be together for long, the still together Shield and the reunited Evolution.   The Shield was on the road to breaking up earlier this year, but have been kept together and Evolution went from being foreshadowed in the road to WrestleMania to becoming a reality again.  This match should be excellent and will tear the house down.  But happens next?  Is this a one night, one shot deal or will this be a prolonged rivalry, lasting until perhaps Summerslam?  With the rumors of a WarGames style match in the future, I could see this lasting long enough for each group to find one or two more people to team with for that kind of match.  Adding Kane and Bryan on each side wold be real quick, clean, and easy here.
Predictions?  Here we go -

  • World Title Match: Bryan retains the title
  • Six Man Match - non-finish, setting up some future encounter
  • Cage Match -Wyatt over Cena 
  • I-C Title Match - Langston retains by DQ
  • Divas Title Match - Paige retains the title
  • Triple Threat Match - Cesaro wins
  • Handicap Match - Rusev wins

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