Extreme Rules is one of the few minor events to survive the PayPerView purge of this year. Sorry, Great Balls of Fire. You didn’t make the cut. The Universe breathed a collective sigh of relief when WWE announced they would be returning to the old model of one PPV per month. But the “Extreme” name can be thrown around pretty loosely in 2018. When you think of Extreme Rules one usually thinks of weapons and violence, blood and gore. But there are only a few matches that really fits the concept on this card. And the only one that fits the namesake is the WWE Raw Women’s Championship match between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. WWE Extreme Rules Rusev to win WWE championship tonight?
Little Miss Bliss might be the most charismatic heel in the Women’s Division since Trish Stratus, which makes for a great champion. The Extreme Rules stipulation will allow Alexa to use any resource at her disposal to defeat the more powerful Nia Jax. The size difference in this ongoing feud always makes for a beneficial power dynamic for Nia Jax, but considering the Ronda Rousey factor, expect Alexa to come out victorious. WWE will want to put the strap on Rousey as soon as she can work a decent match, and hopefully she can be sufficiently trained by Summerslam. While a triple threat match with Nia and Alexa would be more flattering for Ronda’s current skill level, it’s still a better selling point to have a heel champion defending the title at Summerslam. WWE Extreme Rules Rusev may win the WWE title tonight.
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Other than the literal “Extreme Rules” match, we have a Tables Match between The New Day and Sanity. Even though this match is on the Kickoff Show, it should be pretty solid. Sanity has something to prove as the new NXT talent on the block, and The New Day simply never disappoints. Table matches can be a bit iffy. When the finish of the match is based around the one piece of furniture, it’s not easy to keep the audience’s attention. Really, I don’t think the words “classic tables match” have ever been uttered. But, if anyone can pull off a riveting Table match, it’s these two teams.
WWE Extreme Rules Rusev to win WWE title tonight?
A Steel Cage does technically fall under the Extreme umbrella. After all, what is a cage if not one massive foreign object surrounding the ring? Braun Strowman finally gets his hands on Kevin Owens. Since Braun’s style is bordering on comic relief and Owens is a perfect foil, this should be a fun match to watch. Expect a lot of begging, pleading, and Owens getting those hands.
All extremes aside, this is a pretty stacked card. Rusev finally gets a shot at the WWE Championship when he faces A.J. Styles, and on Rusev Day of all days! After a career of great matches and his newfound charisma, Rusev’s ship may have finally come in. Arguably, no one is more over than Rusev right now. And despite the fact that Shinsuke Nakamura is challenging Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship, there is still some smoldering embers in the Styles/Nakamura feud. A run-in by the King of Strong Style could be beneficial for Rusev. It could also be the beginnings of an international alliance between two of the most likeable foreign heels to ever lace up a pair of boots and cut promos in broken english. Yes, the classic pairing of Bulgaria and Japan could be back in action. At the very least, this will be an excellent match. WWE Extreme Rules Rusev to win WWE championship tonight?
On top of all that, we get James Ellsworth in a shark cage suspended above the ring. I don’t like Asuka’s odds in this one. The Ellsworth factor is undeniable, and his influence in the outcome of Carmella’s matches are usually creative. Truly, nobody is ready for Ellsworth. But we also get the long awaited push of Dolph Ziggler, defending the Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins in an Iron Man match. Neither of these matches are necessarily “extreme,” but they’re seldom used stipulations and make for a welcome addition to this card. But, do I really consider a 30-minute match to be an “Iron Man” match? In a traditional sense...Hell no.
Which brings me to Team Hell No; the reunion of one of WWE’s most unlikely pairing and catalyst for some of the best segments in recent memory. They will battle the Bludgeon Brothers, Daniel Bryan’s fellow Wyatt Family members for that one week. Remember that? I do. No one has helped Kane’s career in his later years more than Bryan. This is most certainly a nostalgia act, and there’s nothing wrong with a little nostalgia. So just sit back and enjoy the antics.
This is bound to be a pretty solid show. It’s a shame they’re trying to push Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley on us so desperately. This feud has resulted in some very lackluster promos all revolving around whose “yard” it is. And yes, this rivalry is aptly about as entertaining as a couple of old neighbors arguing about a tree limb hanging over the hedges. Lashley. Roman. No one cares whose yard it is. Thankfully, these two great orators are in the same match, so it won’t take up too much of the show. I am somewhat looking forward to the boos that will surely accompany this match, however. And if that sounds extreme, thems the rules.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke