SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Extreme Rules is a themed PPV event on WWE’s calendar and one that it regularly felt like the company completely forgot about until about three weeks out from the show. The same thing happened with Hell in a Cell, TLC, and Elimination Chamber PPV events as well. Because of that obnoxiously horrible planning, feuds and matches took place with those stipulations and it led to a watering down of said stipulations ahead of WWE actually needing them to close out a program. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to roll your eyes every time this PPV came around, just remember that Rey Mysterio’s eye was “popped out” of his eye socket on this show just two years ago.
2022 Extreme Rules? Miracle. The feuds and programs that have stipulations are worthy of the stipulations for the most part and the one that isn’t is a first-time ever match that stands on its own merits.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Liv Morgan vs. Ronda Rousey – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Extreme Rules Match
Liv Morgan’s champion run was halted and stunted before it really got started. Bad booking hurt the audience’s sympathetic perception of her and she’s simply not experienced enough to overcome it. Ronda Rousey is Ronda Rousey. She’s the bigger star with more on the horizon than Liv at this point. Rousey wins.
Brawling Brutes vs. Imperium – Donnybrook Fight
This feud would win “most random feud of the year” and “unexpected feud of the year.” These two factions fit perfectly together and both have been greatly elevated because of the other. With Gunther retaining the Intercontinental Championship on Smackdown this week, it’s only right for the Brutes to get a victory – especially if Paul Levesque wants to keep this thing going. Brutes take it.
Edge vs. Finn Balor – “I Quit” Match
This is a nice match to have on the show. It’s not obnoxiously taking up space in the upper part of the card, but increases intrigue in the middle. Edge and The Judgement Day has been a hit and miss program given to the drastic shifts in momentum for Judgement Day. Balor, Ripley, Priest, and Dominik Mysterio have freshened their faction up enough to where this final match with Edge makes perfect sense. Now, they need the win and Balor will get it. I don’t think Edge brings up his family if that doesn’t play into the finish in some way. Look for Balor to leverage that story to get the “I Quit.”
Bianca Belair vs. Bayley – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Ladder Match
This match stands out like a sore thumb in terms of the stipulation fitting, but the history plays, so I’m ok with it. What I’m not ok with is the lack of chemistry we’ve seen between the Bayley and Belair characters. They aren’t meshing well and it’s caused the drama of their program to fade. Can they find it in the ring? Maybe. We’ll see. Bayley’s character has felt cold since her return at Summerslam and Paul Levesque puts the strap on her here to jumpstart the act again.
Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross – Strap Match
Just what the hell is Karrion Kross made of as a WWE wrestler. We’ve seen the character work. Thumbs up. The ring work has to be present in order for him to stay where he is on the card and where Levesque wants to put him on the card. He’s setup for success here at WWE Extreme Rules because of the strap stipulation, so this is the moment. Kross losing to McIntyre really takes the wind out of his sails in a major way. So, Kross gets the win in what is a vicious match. If the strap shots from Kross this week are any indication, this one should be filled with brutality start to finish.
Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins – Fight Pit Match w/ Daniel Cormier as special referee
Top notch work from both Rollins and Riddle with this entire program. It paced nicely and is culminating in a major way with a fresh stipulation. Rollins needs to cut it out with the babyface-esque prompting of his song being sung, but outside of that gripe, I’m not sure how they could have built this better. Riddle needs this win and he’ll get it. Rollins vs. Cormier at Crown Jewel perhaps?