Post WrestleMania hangover? Not this year. There’s been plenty to write home about since Daniel Bryan and 75K plus closed out last months landmark event in New Orleans with “YES!” chants. I mean come on, just look at the match leading off Sunday nights card. You know things are going right when El Torito and Hornswoggle are on your pre-show!
In all seriousness, this is a great lineup that has the potential to celebrate what has been an extremely entertaining month after Mania. Below you’ll find our staff picks for WWE Extreme Rules 2014. Feel free to leave your own, or blast off on ours in the comments section.
• Pre-Show WeeLC Match: El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
Matt Addie: Pick: El Torito. I’ll admit that I’m actually looking forward to this. If we get some 3MB interference, I’ll lose my mind. I think Torito gets the win, but I’m not sure why.
Dave Reno: With all the attention being paid to Evolution and The Shield of late, it’s nice that we get to kick things off with the new and not so secret weapon of the most important faction in WWE history – 3MB. Hornswoggle has been a good luck charm of late for 3MB, and that luck will run out in New Jersey. El Torito wins, and it won’t be clean! Expect plenty of outside interference from those Los Matadores cheats.
Sean Sheehan: Seriously? Seriously??? SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?!?!? El Torito.
Alex Reno: This has to be the best pre-show match ever. It’s about time we saw some midget wrestling in the WWE. El Torito is the only reason there is a Los Matadores tag-team. He is the excitement that gave Primo and Epico another chance in the WWE. Hornswoggle probably shouldn’t stand a chance against the athletic moveset of El Torito, but I have a strong feeling that he will win anyway. I’m not even sure exactly how you can call it a “heel turn” for Hornswoggle, but that’s what folks are calling it. 3MB seems to be getting a push with Hornswoggle, and deservedly so. No one strums the air guitar much like Heath Slater, and it’s about damn time that he got recognized for it. He recently broke his losing streak, which dates back to god knows when. Good on you, Heath.
• Jack Swagger vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro
Addie: Pick: Cesaro. Ladies and gentleman, his name is Paul Heyman, and he wouldn’t be involved in this if Cesaro were going to lose to Swagger or RVD. This match should be a pretty good one in the ring, but Cesaro is the only one with anything to gain here. I expect Cesaro to go over, then set his sights on something bigger. Going after Dean Ambrose’s belt might be a good start for Cesaro, but we’ll wait and see. Could we see a 2-in-1 Cesaro Swing in this one?
D. Reno: When one of your clients is responsible for the beating the streak, and the other just so happened to win the inaugural Andre the Giant memorial, I’d say you’re having a pretty good year so far. All signs point to Cesaro winning this one being that he’s gotten a mega push of late. That’s why I’m taking RVD. Old Zeb will find a way to put one over on Mr. Heyman and his newest client. It will only end up hurting Swagger though in the end, and the neutral RVD will take advantage on the distraction.
Sheehan: RVD is a part timer. Swagger is a prospect from five years ago who never made it. Cesaro is a possible future star. Cesaro wins.
A. Reno: I can see this being one of the more exciting matches of the night. RVD is always exciting to watch, and Cesaro and Swagger’s feud has been an entertaining one. It only makes sense for Cesaro to win this and possibly fight the winner of Barrett and Big E for the Intercontinental Championship soon. Also, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Paul Heyman’s client Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Battle Royale at Wrestlemania.
• Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E (C) vs. Bad News Barrett
Addie: Pick: Bad News Barrett. I’m afraid I’ve got some incredibly awesome news! I finally like Wade Barrett again. It took a while, but whether it’s ironic or not, I’m all about BNB these days. He cuts a decent promo, is an above average performer, and will do wonders for the Intercontinental Championship. All Big E has done recently is watch matches on TV, so the writing is on the wall here. BNB wins, and I celebrate.
D. Reno: The former bare knuckle boxer has really come into his own as Bad News Barrett. The build up of this character during his layoff from the ring was great, and now that he’s back – it’s been even better. His maniacal laugh coupled with his ability to actually make cheap heat sound good makes him a threat outside of the ring. Inside, he has the expertise and showmanship to back it all up. Even though he’s only been back for a minute, he deserves this belt already. Let’s hope they give it to him.
Sheehan: BNB is currently my favourite gimmick in WWE, he is hilarious. Big E has held the title long enough now, he will either step up or become a jobber. Remains to be seen. BNB wins.
A. Reno: I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS…..Big E will retain his title Sunday night.
• Divas Championship Match: Paige (C) vs. Tamina Snuka
Addie: Pick: Paige. Not much to gain from giving Tamina the title, but that’s nothing against her. Paige is on a decent run, and I fully expect her to keep the title until AJ Lee makes her return. The Paige vs. AJ feud should be a pretty good one, so I’m keeping my sights set on that.
D. Reno: Paige just relinquished her NXT title to stay up with the main roster. I see a dominant run as Divas champion in Tamina’s future but it’s Paige’s time to shine right here and now. My prediction, well, my hope is that AJ will return as a babyface, at least on the surface. She’ll join forces with Paige and we’ll even see them become inaugural Divas tag team champions. After feuds with the Bella’s and the Funkadactyls, AJ will double cross Paige, claiming that she was using her all along. Then that’s when the real feud begins. Paige vs. AJ is the feud the Divas division needs, but it deserves a proper build up. Let’s hope creative gets it right. Rant over. Back to Paige vs. Tamina. Paige wins in one of the better matches of the night.
Sheehan: I really like Paige. Tamina is the perfect diva to put her over.
A. Reno: Raise your hand if you penciled in Paige as the defending Divas champ for Extreme Rules. If you have your hand up, then you’re full of shit. No one saw this coming, which is why I still love WWE for continuing to surprise me. Paige and Emma’s emergence has rekindled the Diva’s division and has made it much more entertaining as of late. Paige will defend her title once again, and will show off her awesome submission finisher move again (whatever it’s called).
• Alexander Rusev vs. Xavier Woods and R-Truth
Addie: Pick: Rusev. I am so bored. I might watch an episode of WWE Countdown during this match. I like Rusev and Lana (ahem), but good gracious, why am I sitting through this? I feel bad for Woods. I wonder when he got his call-up if they flat-out told him he’d be jobbing for a living. Either way, let’s just move on.
D. Reno: Rusev’s camel clutch is one of the nastiest finishers in the game right now. His delivery is ice-cold. I don’t really get why this match is on a PPV, but there’s a lot I don’t understand in life. Why not just send Xavier Woods back down to NXT and give him a better storyline. I feel like he’s being wasted here. Either way, someone has to help put Rusev over since 3MB is busy with Hornswoggle and El Torito I suppose. Rusev wins.
Sheehan: R-Truth and Xavier Woods on the f*****g PPV. Are we really doing this? Squash matches should be on Smackdown, not PPV. The Bulgarian Brute wins.
A. Reno: This is a pretty obvious push for Rusev. I’ll be honest, I’m not completely sold on his character. He doesn’t excite me and I wasn’t a big fan of him in the very few NXT matches I watched. This is probably the match I decide to take my bathroom break. With there being 8 matches on the card, it will probably be a short ass-whooping by Rusev.
• Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Addie: Pick: Bray Wyatt. For me, this one is simple. Cena beat Bray at Wrestlemania, so Bray must beat Cena now. Wyatt is about to take off into something better (see above), and what better springboard than a victory over Cena. The last promo Cena cut actually made me interested in this match again, only because there was some weird finger-pointing at the WWE Universe. There is no way we’re seeing a heel turn, right? Right? I’m all in on this now, but I fear I’ll be in my seventies before Cena turns heel (yes, he will outlive me).
D. Reno: This one is simple. Cena won at Mania, Bray wins at Extreme Rules, and a third encounter is set up for Payback. Works for me. Who would’ve thought this feud would turn out to be this great?
Sheehan: He’s got the whole world in his hands…. Bray Wyatt is the shining light in the WWE at the moment. He sells the creep angle so well After Cena took the win at WM30 I think it could be time for him to put Wyatt over here.
A. Reno: I picked John Cena to win this match at Wrestlemania, and now I believe it’s Bray Wyatt’s turn. I’m not usually a big fan of WWE repeating the same match over and over, but I think a Bray Wyatt win here would set up a perfect best 2 out of 3 match for Payback next month. WWE loves to hammer John Cena as far down into the ground as he can go, only to have him rise above all odds and overcome adversity. As much as everyone hates John Cena, you have to respect the guy for taking so much heat, and still refusing to turn heel. The WWE universe has turned on Cena, and he is aware of it. We are all going to see a sad, lonely and depressed John Cena sunday night.
• WWE World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Kane
Addie: Pick: Daniel Bryan. Look everyone, Kane wears a mask again! Sarcasm aside, I’m perfectly fine with this as a placeholder match for Bryan. He’s been dealing with the death of his father, so a low maintenance feud with a built-in backstory is perfect for the time being. Kane has as much chance at beating Bryan as a JTG run-in during the show. We’re just in a holding pattern until Bryan’s next major feud in his title run (Bray Wyatt Part Two?). Kane does some weird stuff, Bryan leads some YES chants, then Bryan wins.
D. Reno: There was a fear that Daniel Bryan would cool off following Mania if he won the title. Sometimes the chase really is better than the catch. There’s really nothing to worry about though for the near future. This whole Kane feud is just something to hold us over until Brock comes back for Summerslam. That’s when the real fun begins. The Yes Movement will live on.
Sheehan: I dislike Kane so much that I’m probably going to sleep through this PPV and watch it on Monday. The WWE is often criticized for holding onto storylines too long but you couldn’t say that with Kane. Masked demon, unmasked demon, babyface Kane, masked Kane, unmasked Kane again, corporate Kane and now masked demon Kane again. This is all in the last two years. It’s getting old for me. Bryan will win this, Kane probably has some paperwork to do.
A. Reno: Hide ya kids, hide ya wife, the devil’s favorite demon is back. He has risen from hell, and took a pit stop underneath the ring last monday night. Kane’s head popping up through the mat on RAW was priceless, and it’s nice to see him back as the monster he once was. There is no way in hell (pun intended) that Bryan will lose this title so fast, however. Bryan lands a flying knee and the crowd erupts.
• Evolution vs. The Shield
Addie: Pick: The Shield. I’m pretty notorious for making a pick, then explaining why it’s a bad pick. That’s what I’m going to do here. Evolution needs a fourth member, and The Shield will eventually break up (at least one will break off). Wouldn’t Dean Ambrose be a perfect fourth member of Evolution? I could absolutely see Ambrose turning on them, joining Evolution, and leaving Rollins and Reigns as faces representing The Shield. Now, for a counter argument to my conspiracy theory: Batista is taking time off, so the Evolution reunion likely won’t go on much longer. Smart money is on The Shield simply going over, but why not get weird with it?
D. Reno: Flair siding with The Shield? Something is rotten in Denmark. Was it just me or did he give a little wink to Evolution win he sang those high praises? You can count on some high jinks to close out this affair. I’d go with the whole Evolution wins, The Shield gets their Payback in Illinois on June 1st scenario, but isn’t Batista taking a break after this event? Anything is possible here, especially with this match up serving as the main event. I’m looking forward to just sitting back and enjoying the ride. I’ll take The Shield to win, but I think there’s going to be a whole lot more to it.
Sheehan: Believe in The Shield. There really isn’t lot at stake here. The Shield are over. Win or lose, they are staying that way. This should be a fun match up. I dislike all of Evolution separately but together I’m a big fan and love this first. I’ll pick The Shield.
A. Reno: When HHH, Batista and Randy Orton walked out to “Line in the Sand” by Motorhead, one thing was for certain. The faction known as Evolution was back, yet there was hardly any uproar from the crowd. No one really cares that Evolution is back. Orton and Batista are not what they once were, and Ric Flair isn’t there to change their diapers anymore. Speaking of Flair, last monday night he actually decided to endorse the Shield instead. So when your former fourth member is backing your enemy, things probably aren’t going to go your way. The Shield wins, and Evolution is no more.
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