3 Questions Heading Into Extreme Rules

WWE offers another pay-per-view this Sunday in its Extreme Rules: Horror Show broadcast from the Performance Center in Orlando, Fla. After another week of Raw and one more SmackDown on FOX to go, here are three questions WWE will build on in the go-home week before Sunday. 

How will the stipulations play out?

Extreme Rules tends to be an exciting pay-per view during the WWE calendar and each match typically has a unique stipulation attached to it. This go-around, there are several interesting stipulations. 

Seth Rollins has been in a personal feud with Rey Mysterio for several months. Upon returning from having his eye pierced by The Monday Night Messiah, Mysterio chose to take vengeance from Rollins in the form of the first-ever Eye for an Eye match. This will likely be a cinematic match as the way to win is to extract your opponent’s eye. 

WWE Champion Drew McIntyre went straight from Bobby Lashley to Dolph Ziggler after Ziggler was traded to Raw. McIntyre allowed his challenger to pick the stipulation for their championship match, but Ziggler will announce his choice on the night of the match.

This has left some anticipation that makes this match more intriguing, and WWE has that wild card to their advantage. McIntyre should have no problem with Ziggler no matter the stipulation, but WWE must capitalize on the anticipation and mystery. 

Bray Wyatt returns to challenge Universal Champion Braun Strowman. In a non-title match, the two will compete in a Wyatt Swamp Fight, likely another cinematic match. WWE has teased the old persona for Wyatt in recent promos, so it looks like the company is covering all of the bases in which Wyatt and Strowman have engaged with each other.

Having a non-title match is interesting because it means this rivalry is deeper than championship gold. So does Wyatt really have a deeply personal issue with Strowman, or is The Fiend’s mindset hungry to regain a title?

Will Bayley or Sasha Banks blink first?

Two superstars who have arguably outworked any other competitors over the last month and a half by appearing on Raw, NXT and SmackDown on FOX head into Extreme Rules with plenty of championship gold and ego. SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and Women’s Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks have thrown their names into the main event scene in the form of mix tag team matches and a championship tag-team match against the Kabuki Warriors. 

Banks has picked up the most steam after she and Ziggler defeated McIntyre and Raw Women’s Champion Asuka in a Champions vs. Challengers match on Raw. She contests Asuka for the gold on Sunday while Bayley will square off against Nikki Cross, who either will be a forgotten threat to the champion or is only in the match to continue her build for later in the future. 

Bayley likely will be the one between her and Banks to blink as Cross could be that forgotten threat and steal the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Banks has been thrown into matches involuntarily by her friend over recent months but has fended those challenges without hesitation, so it would not make sense for WWE to choose The Boss to slip up and put a ripple into their championship team. 

What surprises should be expected?

Extreme Rules: Horror Show is WWE’s last pay-per-view before its marquee summer event, Summerslam, on Aug. 23. WWE already moved that event from Boston to the Performance Center in wake of the pandemic, which likely hinders the bookings for superstars as the brand thrives off of crowd pop. 

To set up an intriguing summer card come mid-August, WWE must remind fans that Otis is “Mr. Money in the Bank.” Otis has not been featured lately on SmackDown, and this does not help his case in taking down Universal Champion Braun Strowman come time to cash in his briefcase. Perhaps Otis’s absence is what is key because if fans leave him in the back of their minds, does that mean the same for Strowman?

WWE could tease the return of Brock Lesnar, who has not been featured on programming since losing the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36. Shayna Baszler returned on the July 13 edition of Raw, so WWE is already thinking of return storylines. McIntyre likely will remain champion heading into Summerslam and an appearance from Lesnar on Sunday’s pay-per-view to distract McIntyre could kick-start the build toward Summerslam.

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