While it is never really looked upon as a major pay-per-view, Extreme Rules is one of the most important shows of the year for the WWE. The post-Wrestlemania fallout is typically one of the most interesting times in the WWE, and in the past 2-3 years, Extreme Rules has been consistently one of the best events of the year. However, the prospects for this year's show are not looking too bright, as the WWE has seemed to accelerated itself into its summer rut early in 2013.
The main event of the show will most likely be Triple H vs Brock Lesnar in a steel cage match. While the cage is a nice, traditional, touch to the feud, overall the rivalry between Brock and HHH has been lacking in overall feel. Many fans had already felt that pushing the feud all the way to Wrestlemania was ambitious enough, but having yet another match at Extreme Rules has clarified that the feud between Triple H and Brock Lesnar has been stretched out to the maximum.
At this point, it seems to just be running in circles. Brock does something destructive, HHH comes out and talks about how tough he is, Brock does something destructive, and HHH comes out and talks about how tough he is. Triple H has really underperformed in his promos, almost like he is just going through the motions for this storyline, and that his mind is elsewhere, committed to other duties.
The finish of the match should really only have one possibility: Brock Lesnar wins. Brock recently just signed another contract with the WWE, and since his return, Brock has lost more matches then he has won. If they WWE is committed to having Brock be a monstrous destructive force, they cannot have him lose again, to Triple H, whom a victory would not really benefit that much.
The WWE Title will be on the line with John Cena defending it against Ryback. Everything about this feud screams boring. In classic new-era WWE style, John Cena is being booked as someone suffering from a severe injury and trying to stave off a ferocious challenger. At this point, you know what we are going to get out of Cena, the wild-card is Ryback. Ryback as a heel has been lackluster to start, as he is consistently losing viewers during his apperances on Monday Night Raw and the crowd is not necessarily frothing at the mouth to see him get beat.
Ryback is not ready to be the WWE Champion, I think we can all agree on that. If he were to win at Extreme Rules, it would be an extremely short reign, likely to end the following night on Raw. The "Last Man Standing" stipulation reeks of a variable thrown into the match to prevent two less-skilled wrestlers from working a typical in-ring contest for long enough to embarrass themselves.
The undercard's prospects are not much better, with the exception of The Shield's matches. Dean Ambrose is the most talented member of the group (although Rollins and Reigns certainly have their strengths) and giving him a shot at the US Title is a very wise move. Ambrose and Kofi Kingston will likely have the best match on the card, and bring more attention to Kofi and the US Title in the process. Team Hell No putting the titles on the line against the other two members of The Shield should also be very entertaining, as the two groups are easily some of the more popular properties in the WWE.
Dolph Ziggler's concussion has put a significant damper on the Smackdown side of the show. The WWE will go with Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger in a number one contenders match as the alternative, but that match is bound to be very weak. Neither Del Rio nor Swagger have shown a great proficiency in inciting a crowd reaction, and in an "I Quit" match, crowd reaction is everything. Most of the WWE fans do not care that much about Del Rio or Swagger, so the drama of waiting for a competitor to "Quit" is really not going to be there. It's safe to say that a ladder match between the two along with Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Title would have been a much more intriguing matchup.
The two remaining matches, Sheamus vs Mark Henry and The Big Show vs Randy Orton are really the same match, just with different competitors and stipulations. Both matches feature a face (Sheamus and Orton) looking to slay a much larger foe (Henry and Show) in a match where violence is extremely encouraged (strap match and No Disqualification). In the long run, a victory or a defeat would do very little for any of the wrestlers, both matches just seem to be things that were thrown together to get four guys who were not doing anything else on the show.
The overall outlook of Extreme Rules is looking like a very bad event, one that is not worth the outrageous price the WWE charges for a pay-per-view these days. Going from the quality of the last few Raws, I would definitely recommend saving your money for this show. However, the WWE has run ppv's that looked terrible going into the show, but ended up being quite good, in the past. You just shouldn't get your hopes up too high.