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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

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411's Roundtable Preview: WWE Extreme Rules 2014
Posted by Sean Garmer on 05.03.2014



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Introduction


This year's edition of Extreme Rules is very important for two reasons. This is the first "B Level Special Event" on the WWE Network. With three major PPV providers dropping WWE from their lineups it is more important than ever that WWE deliver with these shows so they can entice people to order WWE Network for more than just the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania. This event is also important because the card on display is fueled by the influx of emerging talent set to take WWE into the future. The performers have to take these opportunities and run with them so that WWE don't lose faith in their decision to go with a "youth movement" that began at Wrestlemania 30. The Shield look to prove they are the dominant faction in WWE by dismantling Evolution, Bray Wyatt hopes to finally bring John Cena to the dark side by beating him down in a Cage Match, Paige defends her Divas Championship against Tamina, and Daniel Bryan defends his WWE World Title against Kane as well. There's a whole lot more to explore in this event, so let's stop wasting time and get to those match predictions.


The Staff


Sean Walker, Music Zone's "Ten Deep"

Andrew Shillinglaw, Weekly Superstars Reviewer, Wrestling Zone Video Reviewer

Wyatt Beougher, MMA Fact or Fiction Organizer

Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight

Mike Chin, The Magnificent Seven

Jack Bramma, Ring Crew Reviews

Mike Hammerlock, The Wrestling Zone 8-Ball

Justin Watry, Truth And Lies

Alex Crowder, Weekly Main Event Reviewer

Sean Garmer, WWE Roundtable Organizer, Games Top 5 Organizer


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Wee LC Match: El Torito w/ Los Matadores vs. Hornswoggle w/ 3MB
Pre-Show Kickoff Match


Sean Walker : Sigh, where do I sign up for the lobotomy?

Winner: Torito

Andrew Shillinglaw: Vince McMahon's illegitimate son who also happens to be a rock star, the former General Manager of Raw, and a leprechaun who once lived in a special midget world under the ring, will be taking on another midget who dresses as a bull and who JBL marks for more than anyone else on the roster. And there will be small tables, ladders, and chairs involved. This is everything the Minis division should have been. Professional wrestling, ladies and gentlemen.

Winner: Torito

Wyatt Beougher: Full disclosure: I'm well aware that the chuckle that the name of this match elicited from me makes me a bad person; however, I did chuckle nonetheless. That still doesn't make me want to see this match, although I suppose a comedy prop match is a better fit for the pre-show than a tag team title...hey, wait a minute - the tag team titles aren't being defended on this show? *sigh*

Winner: El Torito

Michael Weyer: Ugh. Do I have to? Fine, fine, Torito, Hornswoggle has hogged the mini spotlight way too long, at least they're not bothering to put it on the real show.

Winner: Torito

Mike Chin: Yes, this match is silly and probably won't be very good, but comedy has its place in wrestling and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little intrigued with just how WWE is going to pull this thing off. I actually feel a little bad that after so many years without another small person to play off, Hornswoggle now has to play heel jobber to Torito, but it is what it is.

Winner: Torito

Jack Bramma: Torito won me over at the RR with his comedy spots opposite Punk of all people.

Winner: Torito

Justin Watry: Their Smackdown match was oddly placed but actually did deliver inside the squared circle. Doing a rematch on the pre-show? No thanks. WWE is supposed to be trying to entire viewers and any extra network subscribers to come flying in last minute here. Instead, it is focused on a comedy match. There is a time and place for laughs in wrestling. That time and place is NOT on a PPV pre-show. Have Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler for 20 minutes, let them tear down the house, and allow Michael Cole to tell viewers how amazing that was, BUT Extreme Rules will be even better! "If you thought that was a great match, wait until x, y, and z tonight!" Instead, we get this.

Winner: Torito

Mike Hammerlock: This is a pre-show I can get behind. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the WWE would do well to build a mini division. Is it more spectacle than "serious wrestling"? Sure, but minis can do some things in the ring that the larger performers can't. It's a legitimate and established form of wrestling. Also, if you were a wrestling promotion looking to attract the largest (and quickly growing) minority segment in the U.S., you might want to import some minis from AAA and CMLL. Anyway, this should be all kinds of fun and the crowd will be behind the Minitaur as much as anyone else on Sunday night.

Winner: El Torito

Alex Crowder: This is a match I will probably skip. I actually like mini wrestlers and especially highly skilled ones like Torito. Still, Hornswoggle is not as qualified or well-trained as Torito meaning he can't keep up as well. Hornswoggle will probably give a good effort like he did the previous times, but for me I just need more to become invested in a minis match.

Winner: Torito

Sean Garmer: If this didn't have the Wee LC match stipulation I would say this belongs on the actual show and you could put that Handicap match here instead. But you have to admit that seeing small tables, ladders, and chairs being used by two mini wrestlers is at least fun. I'll be watching this match to see if they can pull off anything exciting and if not, at least I'll get some laughs out of it. Torito will probably win here because Hornswoggle is attached to 3MB that do nothing but lose.

Winner: Torito


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Alexsander Rusev w/ Lana vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods
Handicap Match


Sean Walker : I was a fan of Xavier Woods during his Creed days. So it's sad to say, but this match has squash written all over it.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Andrew Shillinglaw: RUSEV CRUSH!

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Wyatt Beougher: If you honestly think that Truth and Consequences are going to win this match, perhaps I could interest you in a personal wager - I'll give you the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII? Because I'm a nice guy, I'll even spot you 28 points - does that sound good? Seriously, this is a match to get Rusev over as a monster, nothing more. (Sorry Truth and Woods fans.) Hopefully we at least get a double Accolade out of it.

Winner: Rusev

Michael Weyer: Come on, we all know this is going to be a crush to continue to push Rusev as a complete monster, we can only hope it's somewhat entertaining and not just a bathroom break.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Mike Chin: I feel that WWE may be rushing Rusev a little. Squashing R-Truth and Xavier Woods individually is one thing, but R-Truth is still a major enough mid-card name that beating him as half of a team a handicap match seems like a demotion, unless WWE is really strapping a rocket to Rusev's back and taking him all the way to the main event sooner rather than later. In any event, I don't foresee much chance of Rusev losing.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Jack Bramma: As far as I'm concerned, Rusev is the truth. I'm all for Rocky IV gimmicks, so he's a winner in my book. I'm looking forward to him almost killing both while Jerry Lawler screams about how it was supposed to be an exhibition.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Justin Watry: I pick Lana. That is all I care about here...

Winner: Lana

Mike Hammerlock: I have a hard time getting behind 1 vs. 2 matches, and make no mistake about it, this is 1v2 not 2v1. Truth and Woods stand no chance here. Having two guys just means Rusev gets to spend more time tossing either of them around like rag dolls before he gets the inevitable pin. I'd much rather see Rusev get his initial push by having competitive matches that establish he can work something better than a squash match.

Winner: The Super Athlete

Alex Crowder: I'm surprised that Truth and Xaiver have even gotten the better of Rusev at all. Rusev should win this handily because handicap matches are rarely good. Hopefully, Rusev gets a higher ranked opponent next time.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Sean Garmer: I still don't understand why Truth and Woods can't be used in the tag division? They are breaking up teams left and right and they couldn't plug these guys in there for some numbers? I'm fine with Rusev getting a big SQUASH win here to further his push. Poor Woods has been his personal punching bag for months on WWE and NXT TV for months anyway.

Winner: Alexsander Rusev


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Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter vs. Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman
Triple Threat Elimination Match


Sean Walker : Give these three men 15 or so minutes, and you have a possible show stealer. I've been confused but intrigued with Cesaro's storyline with Paul Heyman. While a fully-fledged heel Cesaro could be another possible contender for Bryan, this incarnation of him won't. I'm picking RVD as he's just returned.

Winner: Rob Van Dam

Andrew Shillinglaw: This should be a singles match. I get that they wanted to fit RVD on the card. I also get that this was a quick way to give Cesaro some actual heel heat by putting RVD in here. If he's feuding with just Swagger, he gets cheered no matter what. But I truly believe this should have just been Cesaro versus Swagger straight up. Either way, this is what we get and it'll be good. Although, I'm of the impression that RVD is nowhere NEAR what he once was and the love he gets is just people living in the past. I guess that's okay though. I have guys like that too. Jeff Hardy for life. The King of Swing is gonna take this one.

Winner: Cesaro

Wyatt Beougher: I really wish RVD would've been in the US title fatal fourway match on Smackdown this week, so that he could've won the US title and it could've gone to someone who would actually defend it at Extreme Rules. As it is, this is a three-way dance, so if there's any justice in the world, RVD will be the first person eliminated and we can get an awesome Swagger/Cesaro match. Unfortunately, my head says that the dueling managers will cancel each other out somehow and RVD will find a way to win, which absolutely shouldn't be happening in 2014, at least not against the Swiss Superman and the All-American Real American. I'm picking this one with my heart though.

Winner: Cesaro

Michael Weyer: While it'd be better as a one-on-one fight with Cesaro and Swagger, adding RVD does make it a bit more interesting. It's tempting to say Rob wins it of course but Cesaro seems to be getting a bigger push with the Heyman angle and still the promise of another drive for him. So I'll give it to Cesaro here and if they get enough time, they might end up stealing the show with a great match that gives the winner an added push to things.

Winner: Cesaro

Mike Chin: Between winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and coming under the tutelage of Paul Heyman, in a 48 hour period Cesaro went from the mid-card to knocking on the main event's door. This match is interesting in that it feels like Cesaro should be above it, but at the same time, it may be just the sort of win he needs to further cement his place in the card. So hopefully he does get that win and can graduate to the next level.

Winner: Cesaro

Jack Bramma: This is another match that will tell us how committed to the youth movement, to borrow a term, the fed is going into the post-WM spring lull. If RVD takes it, it'll come off a bit flat and back to business as usual, while a Cesaro win clean as a sheet over RVD could give him another needed nudge. In RVD's last run, he was mostly a decoy losing to ADR for the WHW strap and playing a secondary role in various 6 man tags scenarios. He's only consistently beaten Damien Sandow in either run. I see RVD continuing to fulfill that niche here. Meanwhile, Swagger is probably going to be left holding the bag and forgotten about within a few weeks, unless he gets himself another tag partner and fellow Colter-ite. There's a whole host of guys doing nothing so Zeb should take his pick of Ziggler, Cody (after the inevitable tryst with Goldust), Sandow, Sheamus, The Miz, Show, etc.

Winner: Cesaro

Justin Watry: Not a bad triple threat here. A simple Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger street fight would have worked for me, but whatever. Too late now. Rob Van Dam can still go. Jack Swagger is still talented, and Cesaro is still on the rise. Lots of "still" words, huh? I am not sold on this whole Paul Heyman Guy connection, but Cesaro is likely to win. He has bigger things on the horizon than throwaway triple threats on pay-per-view. At least I hope so.

Winner: Cesaro

Mike Hammerlock: If they give this match time, these guys could steal the show. They've done a nice job mixing Cesaro's Real Americans past with Heyman's Van Dam past. Cesaro is almost guaranteed to bust out something ridiculous, Swagger works well in multi-man matches and Van Dam hasn't been back long enough for his missed spots to go from endearing to annoying. That said, if I come back in the next life as a professional wrestler, the very first thing I learn is Van Dam's top rope mount. Still awesome every time he does it. As for the winner, Cesaro is the one with the rocket strapped to his back.

Winner: Cesaro

Alex Crowder: This match is the definition of throwaway. Cesaro will probably shine and leave the other two in the dust. RVD does not interest me much if at all anymore. Jack Swagger is mildly entertaining and does have history with Cesaro. I would hope that Cesaro wins this and moves on to a bigger profile opponent; otherwise, the only other guess is that RVD pins Swagger leading to a Cesaro and RVD feud.

Winner: Cesaro

Sean Garmer: I've been intrigued by RVD taking shots at Heyman and making this a little more personal so that Cesaro has a reason to be wrestling RVD, as well as trying to get rid of his Real American past by ending things with Jack Swagger too. Don't be surprised if we see more entanglements from the two managers as that has been one great thing to come out of this feud. There should be more managers in today's WWE and I've enjoyed seeing Heyman and Colter go at it. That being said, if WWE decides to give these three some time to shine they very well could have a show stealer that results in Cesaro pinning Swagger and they can continue the feud with RVD in solo capacity if they choose to by having RVD saying he didn't get pinned.

Winner: Cesaro



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(Champion) Paige vs. Tamina Snuka
WWE Divas Championship Match


Sean Walker : This is obviously a placeholder feud for Paige until AJ comes back. Paige wins here.

Winner: Paige

Andrew Shillinglaw: I don't get why Tamina won the contendership here. There are better girls on the roster for Paige to wrestle. Why not throw a curveball and have Emma win and let them rehash their Arrival match? Whatever. Either way, the result is obvious.

Winner: Paige

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Tamina. Unlike some people on the roster, she looks like she actually cares about getting better and she's not just out to put herself over at the expense of the product (sup, Nikki Bella?). Unfortunately, that hasn't translated into any marked improvement over the time she's been on the main roster, and being the Diesel to AJ's Heartbreak Chick likely hasn't done her any favors. And, for as much as I love Paige, I just don't know that she's experienced enough to carry Tamina to a decent match. Hopefully if AJ remains on Punk Island going forward, they find a way to get Summer involved in the Divas Championship picture, as she and Paige are actually capable of putting on some good matches. As for the result of this one? They didn't strip Paige of her NXT title just to have her lose the Divas Title.

Winner: Paige

Michael Weyer: Still annoyed they took the belt off AJ, a great champion who'd helped elevate the division more in her time. Not really sold on Tamina, more her family name than real talent and too early for a title shot. Paige should hold it as I don't see a change again so soon, give the division a chance to stabilize and maybe new faces rising as they enter an AJ-less age.

Winner and STILL Divas Champion: Paige

Mike Chin: Not unlike Daniel Bryan, Paige is an uber-talented and largely over new face of a division. I'm expecting her to further establish herself as a champ in this match, and am hoping AJ will be back in the next couple months to properly feud with her and/or that WWE will promote Emma from the comedy ranks into serious contention reprise her NXT feud with Paige.

Winner: Paige

Jack Bramma: Paige because.

Winner and STILL Divas Champion: Paige

Justin Watry: Coming from somebody writing BEFORE Mania about AJ Lee taking time, this match does not surprise me. Paige needs a solid opponent to start things off. Much like Bryan, there is nothing wrong with just picking up a good, clean win on PPV. Paige will have more to do in the future. Tamina Snuka may or may not. For now, the champion retains.

Winner and STILL Divas Champion: Paige

Mike Hammerlock: I like that they're trying to give Paige a push, but she's falling flat without AJ around to build her up. Crowds have been dead for her. Frankly, we should have known the woman who followed AJ would have it tough. It's not like they're going to devote any great amount of time or effort to the Divas division, which makes it nearly impossible for a female to get a character over beyond raw stereotypes (bimbo, bitch, girl next door, prude, party girl). Tamina's been around for years and her character can best be described as null. Anyway, Tamina's a stand-in. She's not here to win. Paige, like the entire Divas division, is waiting on AJ.

Winner: Paige

Alex Crowder: Tamina is a bit sloppy; however, Paige will probably bring her best and make a decent match out of it. I really do not expect this to get much time. I would hope Paige wins, and maybe next month she'll get an even better opponent. I'm not even sure why they didn't just feed Alicia Fox to Paige again since they have decent chemistry and are putting on good matches. Either way, this should be one of Tamina's better matches. Tamina is booked strong, so a decisive win will make Paige look good. Plus, Paige through willpower alone is getting a reaction even if not as big as it could be. I just hope AJ returns soon to put over Paige properly.

Winner: Paige

Sean Garmer: The result of the match is no way in doubt here, as Paige looks to be making her way through every Diva on the roster while AJ takes time off. Tamina is just another step on that Diva ladder and besides, Tamina lost to everyone when AJ was around anyway. Tamina was pretty much the only heel diva they have left to face Paige. I still expect a decent match and a good win for Paige to keep her push going.

Winner AND STILL WWE DIVAS CHAMPION: Paige


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(Champion) Big E vs. Bad News Barrett
Intercontinental Championship Match


Sean Walker : Why hasn't WWE given Big E a second of mic time? The guy is a very charismatic individual that could easily connect with the crowd faster if given the mic. Barrett seems to be having a renewed push, as indicated by his wins over RVD, Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus. So I'm picking him.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Andrew Shillinglaw: I'M AFRAID I'VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS! I love Bad News Barrett. I do NOT love that they're just automatically putting Barrett back in the IC title mix which got him nowhere last time, but I do love Bad News Barrett. The misuse of Big E is something I'll get into on another day, but for now this is certainly Barrett's match to win.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Wyatt Beougher: Oh, man, I'm so torn on this one. On one hand, Big E is my jam - he's believably imposing and his matches are generally fun and well-worked. That said, and stop me if you've heard this one before, his run as Intercontinental Champion has done him absolutely no favors. On the other side of the ring, you've got #BNB, a performer so awesome that he could make what was universally lambasted as an awful gimmick one of the most consistent highlights of any show that he's on. And, on top of that, he's been wonderful in the ring since his return. Oh yeah, but the nadir of his career to this point was his stint as Intercontinental Champion. So, on the one hand, it'd be nice for Big E to pick up a decisive win against a guy with actual momentum, but not if they're going to just turn him back into a prop in the Cesaro/Swagger feud. On the other hand, Barrett has a ton of momentum and could certainly elevate the Intercontinental title, so long as they don't recreate his last title reign. I'm going to go the optimist's route here, and assume that the WWE wants to elevate the Intercontinental title to fill the void left behind when the WWE and World titles were merged, and that they want Barrett to be the guy to bring the prestige back to the title. (Hopefully, that includes Big E chasing the title and eventually winning it back at some undisclosed point down the road, so that he too gets a decent run with a belt that's actually important and isn't the NXT title.)

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Michael Weyer: Fun to see the IC belt defended but annoyed the build has been quiet, Big E really not given time to show off or on the mic. I'd like to see him retain and continue a possibly good feud but Barrett has been on a roll with various wins and so seems like he'll be getting the belt here. A shame as Big E had potential to be a real breakout, deserves longer to try it out but Bad News is coming for him this weekend.

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett

Mike Chin: Big E's fall from grace has been pretty profound, from the guy second only to Roman Reigns as the future of the company, to a complete afterthought. Bad News Barrett is hot right now and all signs point to his momentum carrying him to another mid-card title run--and hopefully beyond.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Jack Bramma: The WWE honored Warrior's passing with a renewed energy in the IC strap. On the night they paid homage to the life and career of Warrior, they also began a tournament to crown a new top contender to the belt he was most known for, the IC belt. In terms of pecking order, Big E's role on the show seemed to switch from the new Diesel to the new guy who eats pinfalls in 6 man tags with Cena and Sheamus to the guy who jobs to ADR to build him up for the Andre the Giant battle royal. BNB, on the other hand, seems finally destined for bigger things. He has been featured and won in a tournament setting. He went over Sheamus CLEAN and Van Dam mostly clean. Much like Miz in 2011 in the RAW tournament to crown a new champ after Punk left at MITB, BNB has almost become a fan favorite because beating guys and winning matches is cool and makes the people like you. Shocking, I know. All this, while Big E has barely been featured the past few weeks. That bodes well for the Brit.

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett

Justin Watry: I was ready for a new IC Champion back in February when Jack Swagger got his title shot. Big E got his chance and slowly faded into obscurity. Seriously, during this entire tournament to crown a new #1 contender, Big E was nearly invisible on television. Just amazing. Bad News Barrett was a great character on the JBL & Cole show well before the act showed up on Raw/Smackdown, so I happy to see him finally move past lame jokes and a gavel. Barrett has to win the belt here.

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett

Mike Hammerlock: I loved the #1 contender tournament leading up to this. It made the IC title look important. Barrett won two dynamite matches against Ziggler and Sheamus. They even built the Cesaro-Swagger-Van Dam match out of the tournament. Just a little bit of booking and some well-worked matches and Barrett's more viable than he's been in ages. That's the good part of this match. As for the bad part, I have now been saying for six months that it is imperative for Big E to lose an IC title match so that he can have a worthwhile feud. Unfortunately, since he's spent six completely forgettable months as champion, fans may be more interested in having him exit the title scene. I mean, it's not like he's given us any reason to get excited for his matches. He's been mostly invisible during the tournament. No one's going to shed a tear when he loses.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Alex Crowder: I actually really feel bad for Big E who has really gotten nothing since winning the IC strap. Nonetheless, I'm sure he'll work his ass off like he did at Elimination Chamber. Bad News Barrett has seemingly improved his in ring work and gotten over with a gimmick that everyone thought would fail(I will even admit I thought it would fail, but I wanted it to succeed). Also, the Bullhammer is a far better finisher than Wasteland. This one could be a sleeper hit if given time.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Sean Garmer: I never understood why Big E couldn't use his "5" gimmick from NXT? I guess they didn't want to step on Daniel Bryan. But I hope with this obvious IC Title loss upcoming they can bring him back into importance and let him try to get it over with some mic time. Bad News Barrett has been getting tons of mic time over the last many months and what do you know, it paid off. Now people actually react to Barrett when he wrestles and I wouldn't be surprised if the New Jersey crowd pops big for him too. Hopefully, this renewed push of Barrett means he will bring the IC Title belt back from the dead and make it a big deal again.

Winner AND NEW WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Bad News Barrett



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John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Steel Cage Match


Sean Walker : Bray Wyatt NEEDS to win this match. There is no debate about that. I've been reading that a Bray Wyatt loss would be okay because the focal point of this feud isn't about him winning, but rather bringing out a different side of John Cena. While I agree with that to a point, I indubitably disagree with him losing again. He is coming off as a martyr for a change in Cena that, win or loss, won't happen. Kane tried this once and was damaged goods until Team Hell No. Bray winning will create a new star. Bray winning could easily continue this feud for another month if needed. Or even better, Bray winning would be a great segue into a WWE Championship feud with Daniel Bryan. John Cena could easily shrug off the loss like he always does and not lose an ounce of credibility. Bray has to go over here.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Andrew Shillinglaw: I remember thinking Bray Wyatt was going to win at Wrestlemania. To me, it just made sense. Hometown-ish area. Young star. Cena nearing that point where his job is going to be to put the new guys over. But then my friend looked at me and said "Andy, it's John Cena." And I remembered the world that we live in. And don't get me wrong, I love John Cena. I'm the first one to defend him in any conversation I have. But this month? Not that it's not Wrestlemania? This is Bray's month to win. He needs it. The only thing that worries me is that Cena hasn't really gotten an edge for the entire feud, especially after Bray Wyatt presented "Children of the Corn" on Monday. However, the build and feud has been great and the first match between them was stellar. I'm sure they follow it up big time. Come on Bray. I'm pulling for you.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Wyatt Beougher: It's really a shame that John Cena doesn't inhabit the same dynamic world that Bray Wyatt does, or this feud would actually be as awesome as all of the effort that Wyatt has put into it. Instead, we get one of the most awesome openings to RAW in quite some time, which left Cena looking particularly unnerved while it was happening, but then later in the show he completely no-sells it and ruins the whole thing. John Cena is why we can't have nice things, and while it makes perfect sense for Cena, a character who exists in a world where wins are everything BECAUSE HE WINS ALL THE TIME NO MATTER WHAT, to say that if he beats Bray Wyatt in the cage, his message won't matter anymore, the fact remains that win or lose, Cena is just going to show up on RAW Monday and start a super-serious hushed voice John Cena promo. By the end of the show, he'll be back to making jokes at Bray's expense, and we will have gotten absolutely nowhere. The sooner Wyatt is disentangled from Cena and his uncanny ability to make anyone look bad, the happier I'll be. Sadly, I see this one going a least another month, so Wyatt gets the escape victory here, so that Cena can "compliment" him for winning the match by running away. And, at least in a storyline vacuum, this match should be really, really good.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Michael Weyer: Like many, I thought for sure Wyatt would get the win at Mania but things didn't turn out that way. Here's the chance to make up for it as these guys have a good chemistry and should be giving us a great battle in a cage. It'll be up and down, Cena holding up well but in the end, Wyatt gets the win as he deserves as the guy is clicking as an awesome character and setting up a showdown with Bryan. A month late but at least Wyatt is getting the win over the company's biggest star to push him more after a great fight.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Mike Chin: This feud was built to get Bray Wyatt over as a main event level heel. While the Mania loss may have slowed his momentum a wee bit, his theatrics in the aftermath have helped shore his spot as a major player, and I'm guessing he gets his win back on Sunday.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Jack Bramma: Unlike most, I was lukewarm on the go-home RAW segment where Cena was serenaded by a bunch of sheepish kids. I'm also lukewarm on the whole feud ever since Cena won the first go-round. The rather pedestrian lackadaisical build into Mania was all fine and good because it was the result that mattered: Bray Wyatt was going to win and go over Cena clean just like he did Daniel Bryan at RR. But, for me, the second that Wyatt lost, the whole thing kind of tail-spun into a waste of time. Why make Bray into just another monster that was fed to Cena like Umaga was at NYR 2007? What does Cena gain from beating Bray? Nothing. What does Bray gain from beating Cena? Everything. What does Cena lose from losing to Wyatt? Nothing. What does Bray lose from losing to Cena? Hard to say, but it seems like a lot in the short term. Still, all Bray needs is a mic, a lantern, and some plague masks and he can make magic. So all hope is far from lost. I'm not even biting on the potential Cena heel turn because the WWE has head-faked us with that one about a 1000 times in the last decade including most recently at TLC 2013. I see a Bray win via nefarious means and Cena responding by isolating and attacking each member of the Wyatts on RAW one-by-one.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Justin Watry: My early favorite for best Raw segment of the year is Bray Wyatt singing with a choir six days before Extreme Rules. What does that have to do with this? Simple. I think WWE noticed the strong/creeped out reaction from fans and will want MORE of that coming out of Sunday night. That means a Bray Wyatt victory and some fun mind games with John Cena. We saw them wrestle at WrestleMania XXX, and a cage match should top that. Somehow, someway - Bray Wyatt wins.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Mike Hammerlock: How many times must the mouse bite the electrified cheese before it learns? Seriously, how many times have we seen John Cena have this feud? Guy steps up to challenge Cena, gets crowd reactions and looks like a serious threat. Then Cena wins round 1. Guy comes back, ups the stakes, looks like even more of a threat. Cena wins round 2. Guy goes ballistic, throws the kitchen sink at Cena, who continues to act like nothing the other guy does really matters. Cena wins round 3, burial of opponent is complete. THIS is why so many people hate Cena. Wyatt Beougher wrote a fine recent article on 50/50 booking and I would say this is exactly where you need 50/50 booking. If you want to have a trilogy, then it's imperative the fighters split the first two matches. Cena has flouted this throughout his career. I keep thinking we're hitting the point where the WWE will break it's Cena pattern. Wyatt deserves to get a big win over him. This is the one match on the card where the outcome actually matters. So, where's that electrified cheese? Because I'm gonna bite it.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Alex Crowder: Steel Cage matches are always fun if not anything else. We rarely see Steel Cage matches anymore, so seeing one for a heated feud actually fits for once. Bray Wyatt in a way is making the Steel Cage match his specialty after the one with Bryan. Regardless, this should be better than Wrestlemania since the story won't be as heavy. Additionally, John Cena probably wants to make up for his lackluster Wrestlemania performance. On top of that, the WWE will have lost their mind if Cena wins this match. I think they have changed their ways and will make the right decision in having Bray win or having Cena go psycho on him.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Sean Garmer: This could be match of the night if they are able to tell a story, use the cage effectively, get the crowd invested, and have Bray Wyatt emerge victorious by any means necessary. WWE has a wide open opportunity with this cage match to cement Bray as a big time heel. They can also have the Wyatt Family interfere and cost Cena the match, holding Cena down while Wyatt escapes the cage or beating Cena up so that all Wyatt has to do is hit Sister Abigail and win. I don't care how they do it, but Bray Wyatt NEEDS to win this match. I know the story has been about Bray getting into Cena's head, but no one is going to take Bray seriously if every time he's put into a wrestling situation with Cena he loses. Come on WWE use logic and keep the momentum on the up swing for Bray here.

Winner: Bray Wyatt


 photo EvolutionvsShield_zps1a844e2d.jpg

Evolution vs. The Shield
Six Man Tag Team Match


Sean Walker: I've said this once, and I'll say I again; I don't care about this feud. According to lack of reaction from the audience, neither do they. The build to this match has been underwhelming at best, boring at worst. We should've expected that seeing as Batista, Orton, and HHH are each just as boring as they were 10 years ago. However Batista aside from, these men know how to put on a great match when the time comes. The Shield has been on fire since their face turn, so I won't expect any less from them here. The Shield needs to win here to continue this feud.

Winner: The Shield

Andrew Shillinglaw: Evolution is my favorite faction of all time. I understand the importance of groups like the Horsemen and the Freebirds, but I wasn't watching wrestling while those guys ran the table. I started watching around Wrestlemania 18 season, right as the Invasion was wrapping up. Within a few years, Evolution was together and absolutely killing it on Raw every week. That 2003/2004 period in wrestling is seriously underrated as far as quality television goes. Fast forward to today, and they're still all doing well. Triple H is the best character on television. Orton has been consistently wrestling his butt off for the past year. Batista, since turning the heel switch up to eleven, has been massively entertaining. The Shield has been one of the best things in WWE since they debuted. And that brawl on Raw really got me all in on this. I'm all about this match, I'm all about Roman Reigns picking up a pin on HHH (I assume), and I'm all about seeing what The Shield goes on to do from here.

Winner: The Shield

Wyatt Beougher: Is there any chance this will be as good as the six-man at Elimination Chamber? I say no, but I'm hopeful that Evolution wears their working boots into the ring on Sunday night. If booked properly, this match could still be all kinds of good, but that's going to mean eliminating long stretches of time where Batista is in the ring and on offense. I see this being more of a grinding affair though, with the heels slowly grinding down the more dynamic Shield. The Hounds of Justice will mount an impressive comeback that gets the fans excited, but Triple H and his Amazing Friends will squash that en route to a win. If rumors are to be believed, this angle is going to continue until Summerslam, so giving Evolution the win here is a pretty solid first stepping stone (so long as this doesn't turn in 2000-2004 Triple H, where he never gets his comeuppance).

Winner: Evolution

Michael Weyer: The set-up for this has been pretty well done and it's clear the Shield is on the rise big-time. HHH, Orton and Batista are still capable of going and uniting together really elevates them more (especially Batista) and they're the powerhouse who seem to have it all together. However, WWE is hot on the Shield and while it's tempting to think a loss will drive their break-up, it's far more likely that Evolution gives them the rub with a win. Either way, expect a terrific battle that'll give the Shield more push and Evolution some nice face time with a great match to get fans hot.

Winners: The Shield

Mike Chin: WWE has treated this faction war as the main event angle post-Wrestlemania, and, as dream matches go, this shoudl be a decent piece of business. Perhaps best of all, it's not an easy match to call. Do you pick The Shield in a passing the torch moment? Evolution to further the feud? Is Ric Flair involved? What the implications of this match be for who challenges Daniel Bryan for the strap after Extreme Rules? It's all up in the air and I'm interested to see where this one goes. I'm cautiously voting for Shield to go over but to get beaten down afterward to lead to a rematch.

Winner: The Shield

Jack Bramma: Wrestlemania XXX, unlike say WM XXVIII, seemed to signal the end of an era. UT went down clean and took the streak with him, Trips got his ass handed to him twice, the NAO and Kane, three Attitude Era fixtures, were sent packing in squash fashion, Cesaro scooped up and dumped out Big Show, and 3 of the biggest stars ever opened the show to announce that tonight was mostly about the younger stars and not themselves. The only real wrench in that narrative is Cena beating Bray Wyatt, but we'll get to that later. Still, there have been plenty of game-changing moments at Mania that turned out not to be so tide-stemming as they seemed initially. Warrior went over Hogan at WM 6 but had dropped the strap less than a year later and was out by Summerslam 91. Miz "beat" Cena at WM 27 and hasn't been seen from since, though I could be wrong about that one. Cena lost to Rock and would never be the same except for beating Brock Lesnar the next month and getting his win back against Rock the following year. Are the results of WM 30 a genuine sign of things to come or are we back to business as usual?

There's easily a back-to-the-drawing-board story here where Flair turns on The Shield and helps Triple H and Evolution regain their heat back at the top of the card emerging victorious. That's the finish that would have happened last year, two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, but I don't know if that's the finish that happens this Sunday. The Triple H from years past would almost never drop two high profile matches in a row. The Evolution-Shield feud is, potentially, a classic backstage politician lateral move where a top guy (Triple H) gets to put over someone (DB), but keep their spot on the card and even possibly vault who he put over. Dragon stays mired in the midcard with Kane in an upgraded version of the same Benoit feud from 2004 while Triple H gets to main event with his buddies like he did at Bad Blood 2004. The seeds are all right there for this to another retcon back to The Authority reigning supreme with an iron fist and DB getting one segment a week with TV defenses running the midcard heel gamut of Damien Sandow, Jack Swagger, and Titus O'Neil. Hopefully, the Fed at EE, unlike WCW, will keep the new blood rising, but I think Evolution needs to win the first go-round to keep it interesting.

Winners: Evolution

Justin Watry: So tempted to pick Evolution. So tempted! It just seems so obvious that Ric Flair helps Evolution win, and all four of them celebrate on Raw. Also, if this battle is going to continue another month or so, logic says The Shield can wait the blowoff match at a later time. Give the heels a win now before losing at a huge gimmick match. Again, it just seems logical. Even so, it has been difficult to pick against The Shield during the past 18 months. With Batista rumored to be taking time off and Triple H still being (pretty much) a part-time wrestler, you have to go with The Shield. I would say this is the hardest match of the night to predict. If it is to continue building to Triple H vs. Roman Reigns or something else, Evolution find a way to win. If this is just a one-off reunion for Evolution, then go with The Shield.

Winners: The Shield

Mike Hammerlock: For the record, I wanted Evolution vs. Shield at WrestleMania. So I'm happy they've gone there. This feud almost had to happen. We haven't seen a faction like the Shield since Evolution. Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose are going to be huge players in the WWE for the next decade, but first they need to ensconce the Shield among the immortals. I assume this feud stretches to SummerSlam and beyond. That being the case, either team could win this first battle. These guys are going to pummel each other for the next year. There's multiple roads to WrestleMania in this feud. For the purposes of Extreme Rules, I say keep your eye on Randy Orton. He lost the belt at WrestleMania (where he took a crazy bump) and technically has a rematch awaiting him at some point in the near future. I could see this playing out as a war of attrition with Orton as the last man standing.

Winner: Evolution

Alex Crowder: On paper this should be the match of the night. Most would not admit this but Batista is starting to regain some of his lost skill. Randy Orton in my opinion usually puts on a good match; especially with the right opponent. The Shield seems to get a good match out of about anyone. The Shield are almost always the right opponent. Seth Rollins impresses me the most; I never thought he'd make it in WWE. Back to point, The Shield constantly try to one up everyone putting on match of the night. Triple H in his last match really brought the goods despite any rust. I think Batista will be motivated to disprove his doubters. All in all I look forward to this one.

Winner: The Shield

Sean Garmer: I have no doubt in my mind they are using this as a vehicle to eventually get to a Roman Reigns vs. Triple H match at Summerslam. This means, even if Batista takes time off, Evolution has to win the first match because then the crowd won't care to see Shield eventually get the big win. If Batista does go promote his movie it doesn't really matter because it's no like Triple H is going to wrestle on RAW, so as long as Batista returns before Payback it won't matter. I don't think this will be anywhere near Wyatts vs. Shield level of awesomeness, but if these six can deliver even half of that I'll be satisfied.

Winners: Evolution


 photo BryanvsKane_zps6306f18a.jpg

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: (Champion) Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Extreme Rules Match


Sean Walker : Let's face it, who else would've have been a better choice for Daniel? This almost reminds me of Stone Cold's first title defense against Dude Love, in that there was no one else credible enough to challenge him. All of your top heels are occupied, so you rejuvenate "The Big Red Monster" Kane, have him wreck shit, and there's your number one contender. Plus with the two years of being enemies/tag-team partners, this has a lot of storyline support behind it (even if WWE hasn't acknowledged their history). Daniel Bryan and Kane have great chemistry, and the extreme rules tag will definitely benefit the action. Daniel Bryan gets the win here.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Andrew Shillinglaw: So, this is weird. I don't want to see Kane in yet another main event title feud, especially after spending all these months as a corporate stooge and having dumb arguments with Brad Maddox. But ultimately that's the beautiful part of a guy like Kane (Big Show falls into this same category). Due to his size and his past, you can make him main event ready at the drop of a hat, and that's exactly what they did. I wish they had played up the past relationship between Kane and Daniel Bryan more here, but I guess you really can't do that with the story they're trying to tell. Ultimately, Kane is the only top level heel that's not tied up right now, and he's a good establishment defense for Daniel Bryan. This will be nothing to write home about, but it will be fun and serve its purpose.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Wyatt Beougher: The only way Kane is winning this match is if Bryan wants/needs an extended period of time off to deal with his father's sudden death, and I don't think that that's the case. Bryan is going to take Cena's role in this PPV, and NEVER GIVE UP, and he'll find a way to beat Kane. I'm actually disappointed that they didn't throw these guys into the Shield/Evolution match so that they could give their unresolved issues from the dissolution of the Team Hell No era more time to play out. As it is, the WWE has booked themselves into a corner - Bryan already owns multiple wins over Corporate Kane, so if he beats the Big Red Monster here, the feud is officially dead. But, with this being an Extreme Rules match, there's no way for Kane to lose by DQ and Bryan to retain the title, and there's no way Bryan's losing the title without risking a riot, so I guess Team Hell enters history not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Michael Weyer: So the first big post-Mania match for Bryan and nice set-up for it. Sure, can wish for a better competitor than Kane but it plays into the storyline and an Extreme Rules match fits Kane well. It'll be a hard battle and sure to see some harsh spots but in the end, with the crowd roaring him on, Bryan gets the win to continue his amazing run and assert himself more as the crowd champion favorite WWE needs.

Winner and STILL WWE World Champion: Daniel Bryan

Mike Chin: Daniel Bryan is at the front end of what I hope will be a long and meaningful title run. Kane is no longer booked at his level. I actually appreciate the work WWE has put into re-establishing The Big Red Machine as a monster over the past few weeks and am more excited to than I would have expected to be for this match. That said, the conclusion (should be) a foregone conclusion.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Jack Bramma: This match seems like it simultaneously could be so much more and yet it's exactly as big as it was always going to be. DB going on a honeymoon and losing his father obviously handcuffed the booking to an extent. But that doesn't entirely excuse the fact that WWE easily dropped the ball on some overlooked continuity. There's been no mention of Team Hell No that I've heard anything about. There's been no mention of Kane putting Daniel Wyatt in a cage with Bray so he could turn on him. Instead, it's just been Stephanie continuing to have a high profile role as a mouthpiece opposite DB, smacking and berating her way through semi main eventers on her way to awakening the Big Red Monster. It wouldn't be so annoying if Stephanie periodically got a comeuppance, but she's easily the most protected character in the company the last year. She got to fire Dusty Rhodes, harangue Showster for months on end, smack Daniel Bryan, and of course, has Kane's manhood in a glass case to show off whenever she liked. The only payback that she got was being accidentally knocked over by Orton going into TLC and knocked off the apron by Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. This isn't ECW and she doesn't have to be Singapore caned into oblivion on a weekly basis, but there has to be some retribution from the faces, probably Brie Bella for the whole exercise to have a point. Instead, it's been left to Orton, The Shield, Triple H, and every other heel proxy to get beat up and shown up for her. Kane, at least, has been booked to look like a force of (super)nature the past few weeks, Tombstoning DB at every spare moment on every piece of plunder within arm's reach. Here's hoping that these guys get enough time to do their stuff, but that Daniel Bryan moves on next month either to a rematch with the H's or Bray or possibly even Cena or Rusev before Brock comes calling at Summerslam.

Winner and STILL WWE World Champion: Daniel Bryan

Justin Watry: Team Heck No finally gets a proper finish. Maybe if Charlie Sheen and Dr. Shelby show up than this feud could be interesting again? Also, if Harold...what? Oops. We are past all that. Okay, Daniel Bryan is the WWE World Champion. Kane is nearing the end of the road for his full-time in ring career and seems to be more than content losing to others. Thankfully for us, he can still deliver in promos and matches just as we all know Bryan can. This matchup may not be the greatest thing ever, but that is fine. Let Bryan get a clean win on pay-per-view and go from there. Bigger feuds and opponents will be waiting.

Winner and STILL WWE World Champion: Daniel Bryan

Mike Hammerlock: I know we're all a little sensitive about the idea of an up-from-the-indies WWE champ not getting the main event slot of a WWE pay-per-view, but D-Bry vs. Kane really should go on before Shield vs. Evolution. That's not a knock on AmDrag. It's a knock on Kane. Glenn Jacobs isn't winning this match. I respect the guy. He throws himself 100% into everything he's given. He's an automatic hall-of-famer. Yet he's a palate cleanser for D-Bry after the WrestleMania feast and before he sinks his teeth into something new. I hope they can have a surprisingly great match (though I'm skeptical about it). They just shouldn't be the final match of the night. No one's aching to see these two go at it. If they go after Shield-Evolution, it's going to feel anticlimactic.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Alex Crowder: This match could surprise people. I know Kane isn't exactly Cesaro, Luke Harper, or whatever other big man is the best currently; yet, Kane is quite capable even in his late 40's. Daniel Bryan somehow brings the best from Kane as both partner and opponent. Plus, Kane has been built strongly, so he probably feels motivated to have a good match. I know most are looking towards Shield and Evolution, but Kane and Daniel Bryan may steal match of the night. Daniel Bryan will probably come out like a madman and help the 47 year old Kane turn back the clocks for a night. I expect Kane's best and for Daniel Bryan to make up for any possible shortcomings Kane may have. I already remember the good to great match they had on Main Event in February or March. That one went 15-17 minutes. If they get the same chance here with plunder added it should be good at its worst.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Sean Garmer: Bryan has been able to pull out good matches out of Kane before and now that this is on a grander scale I expect Kane to really give his effort here and we get something memorable from these two considering the Extreme Rules stipulation is in effect. I think they picked the best opponent possible for Bryan's first title defense, but I just wish they could have played up their previous history a lot more too. This should be a one and done feud for Bryan, but the important thing is that he gets his first big win as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Winner AND STILL WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Daniel Bryan


Overall Thoughts & Buy/Watch on WWE Network/Not Worth Watching



Sean Walker: Not Worth Watching Unless you have the WWE Network, there is no reason to watch this PPV. With the exception of the cage match, this PPV screams filler. No match on here has the potential to be a MOTY contender, or even have any replay value after watching it once. It seems like WWE is dragging their feet until a bigger PPV. Fair enough. I just will wait until that big PPV happens.

Andrew Shillinglaw: Watch on WWE Network Look, at this point there is no excuse not to watch PPVs unless you just can't be at home. The price of the Network is just too good to pass up. And if you're reading this and you haven't already bought it, GO DO SO RIGHT NOW! The triple threat, 6 man tag, and cage match all have the potential to be absolutely great. The IC finals and World Title match will both be fun as well. Just watch it. It can't hurt.

Wyatt Beougher: Watch on WWE Network If I didn't have the WWE Network, I probably wouldn't be buying this show because I still don't fully trust the WWE Creative team. However, as a subscriber, the only thing I have to lose is three-plus hours of my time on a Sunday night, so I'm willing to take those odds, especially with four or five matches that could be good-to-great (Cesaro vs Swagger vs RVD, BNB vs Big E, Wyatt vs Cena, the six-man, and even Bryan vs Kane). This is the WWE's chance to show that they're fully committed to the youth movement that they started at Wrestlemania, so here's hoping they follow through with it.

Michael Weyer: Not Worth Watching A filler show in some ways to continue Mania angles, the main event of Bryan-Kane has promise and Evolution/Shield should be a great fight. But not that huge to me, just WWE setting up the next year of angles and such, doesn't seem to promise anything huge. I'd say give it a pass or catch it for free on the Network but not quite worth putting money down overall.

Mike Chin: Watch it on WWE Networkt The undercard feels simultaneously very predictable and very compelling--loaded with new or freshly revamped and re-pushed talents who really should go over. I don't know that the cage match will be a classic, but it could have meaningful implications, particularly if Wyatt goes over. And then there's the six-man tag. While I kind of resent seeing Daniel Bryan relegated to the semi-main event when he's holding the strap, it's still thrilling to see The Shield graduate to the top of the card as faces, and their war with Evolution should be a good one. All that said, as a Network subscriber, it would have to be a pretty abysmal show for me to regret watching at this point--Extreme Rules should more than exceed that criteria.

Jack Bramma: BUY The Shield haven't had a bad match this side of ever and Cena/Wyatt in a cage is almost appointment viewing. The new blood getting a chance to shine with Rusev, Cesaro, and BNB potentially lined up for impressive victories puts this one in the buy column.

Justin Watry: Watch on WWE Network I will be watching on the WWE Network. After a solid 24 hours straight of a Big Brother marathon over the weekend, tuning in for Extreme Rules on Sunday night will be a nice change of pace. Bray vs. Cena should be good. Bryan vs. Kane should be good. A few of the under card matches should be good. For my money, Evolution vs. The Shield should be the most memorable match on the show and if history tells us anything, you will NOT want to miss this six man tag. The Shield have been far too entertaining since late 2012 to doubt them. Overall, WWE has my purchase thanks to their $10 per month value on their network. Can not beat that value.

Mike Hammerlock: Watch on WWE Network Pay-per-view is dead. If you're the one person reading this preview who could get the WWE Network but doesn't have it, spend the $9.99/month already. This card looks like fun. In general, the build for Extreme Rules has been better than the build for WrestleMania. If the execution at Extreme Rules matches the execution at WrestleMania, then this should be a candidate for Show of the Year. The current talent level in the WWE arguably is near an all-time high, so 10 years from now you're probably going to want to say you these matches when they happened.

Alex Crowder: Watch on WWE Network This event doesn't appear outstanding or anything, yet it could surprise people. I'm hoping with only 8 matches, each match gets a good amount of time. The undercard is starting to look a lot better. Big E and Bad News Barrett should be a hard hitting match. Cesaro will probably wow the crowd a little. Rusev should completely obliterate both of his opponents. Paige will probably bring the best out of Tamina. Shield and Evolution should be awesome. Kane and Daniel Bryan may steal the show. My only worry is the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt match. If Bray wins against John Cena and this match is good there will be no worries. My only gripe is that the Usos are not on the card against someone like Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. The card looks solid but unspectacular. Lowered expectations usually make for a better event.

Sean Garmer: Watch on WWE Network I can't buy PPV's anymore if I wanted to because I have DIRECTV, but I will be watching on WWE Network. There is enough here to warrant the $10 for sure. The only thing that's going to be boring is the Handicap match, everything else is in at least the decent to good territory. Big E vs. Barrett could surprise people as could the Triple Threat match as well. Bryan vs. Kane will probably be better than most are expecting and who knows.





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