The 2016 edition of WWE Extreme Rules is in the history books. It was a night of intrigue, surprise, and questions, as fans easily could be pulled a myriad of ways following some of the booking decisions, and happenings of the night. We saw the return of former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns once again get booed out of the building on Pay Per View, and one of the greatest Intercontinental Championship matches ever. Conversely, the Women’s Championship match was a victim of circumstance; a good idea turned cold by adding in a completely unnecessary factor. The US Championship has found a new (old) home and The New Day continued to prove their greatness.
It was a lively crowd in Newark, as the Northeast proves to be a worthy PPV area, no matter what city the event is held in. The show was home to at least two match of the year candidates in Owens/Miz/Zayn/Cesaro, and Reigns/Styles. Overall, the level of extreme was tempered from in the past, but there were a few moments that Mick Foley himself would be proud of, as Chris Jericho took something directly out of his playbook in his Asylum Match against Dean Ambrose. AJ Styles ended his honeymoon period with WWE and turned himself to a permanent fixture at the top of the company.
Nevertheless, Extreme Rules closed the post WrestleMania period, and as we look toward the summer months, there are several burning questions to ask in the fallout of the event, and going forward. I’ve gathered up 12 of them, feel free to ask any more in the comment section.
12. Is It Time To Turn The Usos Heel?
Throughout the years, The Usos have proven to be a future Hall of Fame tag team. Unfortunately, no one seems to care anymore. Their affiliation with Roman Reigns, as referenced by JBL on commentary, has doomed them to boos and apathy. It’s like the world forgot their work from 2013 to 2015 and just said, “You know what? It’s time to boo these guys.”
If there was ever a time for The Usos to embrace the boos, this would be it. Roman Reigns has proven to have a level of heat most heels would kill for and his cousins have picked some of it up by osmosis. They went out in prompt defeat in their match against Gallows and Anderson, and depending on who you ask, they screwed AJ Styles out of the championship. They’re loved by kids, but the reaction they’ve gotten seems to have lit something inside them. I’d like to see them run with it.
11. The Club vs The New Day?
There were two tag team matches at Extreme Rules and the correct team won them both. After an initial scare that Xavier Woods was going to lose the tag team titles, The New Day recovered to extend their potential record breaking reign. As previously mentioned, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows dispatched The Usos with ease, with as close to a squash match as it gets.
Naturally, The Club vs The New Day is the top match left in the division. It may be wise to save that for SummerSlam, but there would be no issue speeding it up a little bit. Gallows and Anderson are the only team that look to be able to compete with The New Day as far as starpower. While they aren’t undefeated, they maintain a certain aura that makes them worthy, and ultimately, dangerous challengers to the brothers in booty.
10. How Long Will Rusev Be United States Champion?
In the only title change of the evening, Rusev reclaimed the United States Championship by defeating Kalisto, ending his reign at 119 days. It was time for the title change, as Kalisto didn’t do much with the title. He often found himself confined to the pre-show through no fault of his own. Perhaps later down the line he can challenge for another championship, but this reign did him no favors in the eyes of the average fan.
Conversely, Rusev has a chance to re-elevate the championship, as he persevered through a horrible love square feud and the awful League Of Nations idea to show he was more than a one dimensional foreign heel character. Obviously, the elephant in the room is the return of John Cena, which will be May 30th. There were reports of Cena re-starting the US Open Challenge upon his return, but that remains to be seen. Whatever the plan is, Rusev will continue to shine with any role he is given.
9. Who Will Enter The Money In The Bank Match?
Throughout the show, WWE began airing advertisements for next month’s Money In The Bank show by showing last year’s event spliced up into pieces. Why they would remind anyone who won the briefcase last year is beyond me, as Sheamus was one of the worst ever winners. However, it sparked the question of what guys do we have to choose from this year?
An easy place to start would be the three guys on the losing end of the Intercontinental Championship match, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Cesaro. Another place to look would be AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. From there, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus loom, as well as newcomers like Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews. We’ll see what happens there.
8. Was Jericho vs Ambrose Actually Good?
Now that their feud seems to be complete, it’s fair to ask, was this feud a let down? The Asylum Match was like a musical album with too many songs on it. Trimming a few of the songs, in this case, some of the minutes off the match, may have steered it in a better direction than the gimmicky, time wasting affair it was.
There were several things to appreciate about the contest, as it is always a treat to see a wrestler show up to a violent match in “Come As You Are” attire as Jericho did. Never would I have thought we would see someone not named Mick Foley falling on thumbtacks anymore, but even that wasn’t enough to save this match, as it just went on far too long to be effective.
While the right man won, Dean Ambrose is in sort of a no mans land. He would be a perfect candidate to turn heel at this point, as he could drop the funny business that he gets stuck carrying at times. Did Ambrose vs Jericho live up to the hype? Let us know.
7. Why Is Dana Brooke Charlotte’s Goon?
In one WTF moment of the night, Dana Brooke dressed up as Ric Flair to distract Natalya in her submission match against Charlotte. After the match, Flair, Dana and Charlotte strutted around the ring and looked pleased with themselves at the crowd sat in confusion.
Having debuted a few weeks ago with wins over Paige and Becky Lynch, Dana Brooke being slotted as Charlotte’s lackey is absolutely illogical. The only possible road I see this going, is Dana convinces Ric to turn on Charlotte, thus making Dana the most hated woman in WWE. Is she ready for that? It remains to be seen, but she’s definitely being fast tracked for something. It’s reported Dana is someone WWE is wants to make a star and, with this latest move, it seems to be confirmed. Get well soon Emma.
6. Can The Women Have A Non-Screwy Finish? Ever?
Yes it’s a new era and the women are getting time to wrestle. However, the wrestling isn’t getting a chance to be properly paid off month after month. Even at WrestleMania where Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch had the match of the night, there had to be some type of foolishness involving Ric Flair at the finish. Yes, Charlotte is a heel, and heels take advantage of opportunities, but this is getting out of control.
Furthermore, three weeks ago we saw The Montreal Screwjob come to Chicago live in front of Bret Hart’s face. Now we’ve got Dana Brooke dressing as Ric Flair, interrupting what was supposed to be a match with a definitive winner. Until we’re proven otherwise, there is no reason to think WWE won’t mess up the finishes in the women’s matches. Perhaps this will lead to someone actually beating Charlotte for the championship, but who knows when that will be. We’ll all just expect the decision to be reversed.
5. Did We See One Of The Best Intercontinental Championship Matches Ever?
Seriously, the second Sami Zayn Helluva Kicked Kevin Owens to begin the match, we should have known where this match was heading. Three of the best wrestlers in the world (and The Miz) had an awesome series of false finishes engaged the crowd, and each man got a chance to demonstrate their strengths in what should be a match of the year candidate on anyone’s list.
Subsequently, it had small touches like Cesaro and Sami Zayn facing off, evoking memories of their classic series of contests in NXT, and The Miz being the best scoundrel heel going in wrestling today. Zayn and Owens finished the match at each other’s necks, while Miz pinned Cesaro for the second straight PPV, feasibly ending his chances at the championship. The Intercontinental title hasn’t felt this special in ages and while the least popular guy left with the belt, it will make his eventual loss of the championship mean more. You know, if the right guy beats him, which remains to be seen.
4. What Will Pin Roman Reigns And Is He John Cena Now?
If Roman Reigns was hit by a truck during a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, would he kick out of the following pin? Honestly, after kicking out of the Styles Clash ON A CHAIR, which has been established as a super finisher, I doubt anything will beat Reigns aside from a briefcase.
Jokes aside, he and Styles followed up their clash at Payback with a wonderful match, that was as spectacular as it was physical. Roman Reigns powered through the ridiculous “You Can’t Wrestle” chants he received to add to his growing file of good to great PPV outings, with new moves and high impact spots that should theoretically not get him “You Still Suck” chants. The chants demonstrate it’s not the character folks don’t like, it’s him. WWE has began painting him with the polarizing brush it used for John Cena for so long, and fans have felt this coming since late 2014. In reality, fans are scared of potentially hating WWE’s top guy for 10 years again and, despite their cries, WWE is determined to run their company as they see fit. He’s the new Cena everyone. It’s official.
3. Where Does AJ Styles Go From Here?
AJ Styles is simply phenomenal. There was a point when he was laying waste to The Usos and Roman Reigns, where anyone could figure out the finish was being setup for Styles to lose. It just felt so wrong. Styles walked in and out of Newark, New Jersey with more fan support than any man on the roster. He has been the glimmer of hope for many fans already sick of The Roman Empire and the standard of excellence between the ropes since stepping in a WWE ring.
Quite frankly, AJ Styles should probably be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion based on merit. Unfortunately, things work a lot differently in the world of WWE. Whatever Styles does next, he’s proved himself to be a made man capable of taking on any role he’s given. With Seth Rollins targeting Roman Reigns, Styles will be searching for a new opponent. Might I suggest a returning 15-time World Champion?
2. Will Anyone Actually Boo Seth Rollins?
Seth Rollins showed up shortly after Roman Reigns defeated AJ Styles to a thunderous ovation and his actions demonstrated that he’s back for one thing; the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Last November, Rollins tore his ACL and was forced to give up the championship he never lost. Combined with our natural tendency to cheer guys who have been gone from television for a while, in many schools of thought, Seth Rollins is now the #1 good guy in WWE.
Unfortunately, the struggle to create worthy heels has necessitated Rollins coming back as just that. He’s miscast in that role at this point and it’s really hard to imagine what he could do to have fans cheer Reigns instead of him. However, look for WWE to buck conventional wisdom and try to force something that isn’t there.
1. Is Seth Rollins Our Next Champion?
All signs point to Seth Rollins being the next challenger to WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns. Rollins vs Reigns is a feud that has been tried several times in the past, but has gotten delayed due to injuries to each man. The story of Rollins looking to regain what he feels is rightfully his is more than enough to send this feud off to the races. While I wish Rollins would have shown up with his own belt to set up a ladder match for Money In The Bank, his sudden appearance created a deafening moment that made WWE’s future direction crystal clear. It looked like something out of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Aside from John Cena or Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins looks to be the only man WWE would actually let defeat Roman Reigns in straight up competition; in that respect he’s looked at as a savior in some sense. Whatever the case may be, Rollins never got to finish what he started last year, and we should all be excited for him to get the chance based on how hard he worked to return in a faster than expected time period. Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title, I can dig that.
Ziggler vs Corbin 2.5/5
The Usos vs Karl Anderson Luke Gallows 3.75/5
Rusev vs Kalisto 2.75/5
New Day vs The Vaudevillians 3/5
Fatal 4 Way 4.5/5
Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho 3.25/5
Natalya vs Charlotte 2.75/5
Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles 4.25/5
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