April 21, 2015
The go-home show for Extreme Rules this Sunday took place at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., Monday night. With the next WWE pay-per-view just days away, the company was in push mode for Extreme Rules, the third free pay-per-view of the WWE Network era.
The build for Extreme Rules hasn’t been as terrible as, say, WrestleMania by any means, but I think it’s too obvious Rollins walks out of Rosemont, Ill., with the championship on Sunday night. And that’s the right call, but I think knowing that’s what should happen and what likely will happen takes all the excitement out of the match. I think that’s why WWE decided to involve Kane in the match, and we’ll see how it did that later on.
Two of the top feuds going into Extreme Rules were certainly given a great deal of attention Monday night -- as they should have. Randy Orton opened the program with a promo inside a steel cage that was already surrounding the ring. It wouldn’t be WWE if WWE World Heavyweight champion, Seth Rollins, didn’t interrupt him and jaw back and forth verbally with the Apex Predator from the stage. Both Rollins and Orton exchanged threats, the ultimate one being Orton promising to hit Rollins with an RKO, his finishing move that’s banned from Extreme Rules. The guy must be psychic, because he did. Inside of a steel cage. In spectacular fashion.
Anyone could see that was coming at the end of the program, but predictability isn’t always a bad thing. Seeing Orton stand tall to end Raw likely means Rollins is retaining his title, which I would have expected anyway. WWE wouldn’t put the title on Rollins just to take it off of him less than a month later. This main event on Sunday should steal the show.
An interesting sidenote: Justin LaBar of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Wrestlezone.com reported earlier on Monday that WWE decided to ban Rollins’ finishing move, the Curb Stomp, from any use in the immediate future, and probably beyond. This lends credence to the fact that he didn’t use the move to defeat Ziggler in the main event of Raw, but rather an implant DDT. LaBar reported this was a political decision within WWE to ban a move that could result in a head injury if not performed correctly.
Is the Curb Stomp really banned, or was this a one-time thing? Sometimes wrestlers don’t always use their finishers in their matches before pinning their opponents. Could this be pure coincidence, or did WWE really ban the Curb Stomp? Only time will tell.
John Cena and Rusev are really having an old school type of feud and I’m loving it. Maybe it’s the whole United States and Russian angle, but I’m sold. They both tell a great story, Cena’s passionate promos about his American pride don’t feel forced at all, and Rusev still is a dominant force that can only hope to be stopped. After Cena’s match against Kane, Rusev attacked him in the back with the Russian chain they will use during their match on Sunday. What are the rules for the match? Glad you asked. From what we’ve been told, both men will be strapped to each end of the Russian chain and can ostensibly use the chain as a weapon should they choose to.
Triple H returned to television for the first time since WrestleMania to announce the return of Tough Enough on the USA Network, even though he officially announced the news previously in the day on YouTube in this video. He said it was time to find the “next Seth Rollins,” which was pretty awesome. Tough Enough will premiere on Tuesday, June 23rd at 8 p.m. Triple H promised that one out of 10 men and one out of five women will win the opportunity to sign a WWE talent contract.
But the Director of Operations, Kane, interrupted Triple H before he was finished. It appeared Kane tried to get ahold of his boss via phone calls, text messages and emails, and Triple H said he was just letting Kane “cool off.” Kane eventually gave Triple H his two week notice, but Rollins came out and he and Kane had a war of words that was actually very entertaining before Triple H got them to settle down and officially made Kane the “Guardian of the Gate” for the Steel Cage Championship Match at Extreme Rules.
Interestingly enough, Triple H sided with Kane on this issue with Rollins. Of course, it could be a swerve. Is Kane really leaving The Authority in two weeks? Or will The Authority make Kane leave? This certainly sets up something big to happen in the main event on Sunday.
Later in the program, Rollins dedicated his main event match against Dolph Ziggler to Kane after apologizing to him.
Roman Reigns returned to television for the first time after being chokeslammed through a British taxi cab last Monday night by Big Show. Reigns called out Show, but we were treated to the return of newly-goateed Bo Dallas, who ran down Reigns and called him a bust – comparing him to our very own Philadelphia Eagle, Tim Tebow. This might have been the greatest moment on the show; I’m not entirely sure because I blacked out from excitement. Reigns left Dallas lying after a Superman punch.
We’ve likely seen the end of the Damien Mizdow/Miz feud as The Miz defeated Mizdow for full control of “The Miz brand” after Summer Rae turned on Mizdow. This is a shame, because Mizdow might be the best character Damien Sandow has had so far in his WWE career. Should they go in a different direction with him, I sure hope he maintains the momentum he’s garnered with the Mizdow character through the last several months.
We’re still waiting on who Bray Wyatt is targeting. His promos, while still great, basically say the same thing week after week after week now. The time is now to get that next feud going. Hopefully, we’ll find out who his next target is this Sunday night.
On Raw Monday night, Michael Cole and JBL hinted towards the Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules between champion Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett may be “in jeopardy” due to the health of Bryan. Bryan was sent home by WWE officials last week while touring Europe after the SmackDown taping at the O2 Arena. Apparently, Bryan’s health is a huge concern in WWE right now, as he’s been pretty banged up due to him not changing his in-ring style since coming back from injury.
Speaking of possible card changes, there was no update on Paige’s condition to compete at Extreme Rules. After the attack by Naomi last Monday on Raw, Paige still isn’t confirmed for the pay-per-view, despite WWE currently advertising her to challenge Divas Champion, Nikki Bella. Paige is set to begin filming a movie soon, so this will be a way of writing her off television for the time being.
Here’s your updated lineup for Sunday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view:
WWE Tag Team Championship: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (c) vs. The New Day [Kofi and Big E]
Kiss Me Arse Match: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige
Last Man Standing: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
Chicago Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper
Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Bad News Barrett
Russian Chain Match for the United States Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Rusev
Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship --The RKO is banned: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Randy Orton
• Dean Ambrose NC (No Contest) Luke Harper. The two fought all over the arena.
• #1 Contenders Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles: The New Day [Kofi Kingston and Big E] d. the Lucha Dragons by countout after Xavier Woods grabbed the feet of Sin Cara while under the ring apron, preventing him from getting back into the ring before being counted out. Orton then came out and delivered RKO’s to both Woods and Kingston. Kofi and Big E will now challenge WWE Tag Team Champions, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, at Extreme Rules.
• Fandango d. Curtis Axel by pinfall via a flying legdrop off the top rope.
• Naomi d. Brie Bella by pinfall via the Rear View.
• Sheamus d. Zack Ryder by disqualification after Dolph Ziggler interfered on Ryder’s behalf after Sheamus destroyed Ryder slowly and methodologically. Sheamus talked on the mic for most of the match before Ziggler arrived.
• United States Championship Open Challenge: John Cena (c) d. Kane by pinfall via the Attitude Adjustment.
• Winner gets “The Miz” brand: The Miz d. Damien Mizdow (w/ Summer Rae) by pinfall via the Skull Crushing Finale. Summer Rae turned on Mizdow with a rake to the eyes, giving Miz the opportunity to hit Mizdow with his finisher for the win.
• Ryback d. Adam Rose by pinfall via Shell Shocked. Ryback then beat up guys dressed as a hot dog and a banana from Rose’s posse.
• Non-Title: Seth Rollins (c) d. Dolph Ziggler by pinfall via an implant DDT after Sheamus distracted Ziggler at ringside.