Extreme Rules, as well as its predecessor Backlash, has made its entire history on the fact that it is the first PPV after Wrestlemania, and thus gets a lot of the Wrestlemania aftermath for its matches. This year however, is going to be a little bit unique because the show is relying on a lot of new match-ups that did not take place at Wrestlemania, with only one rematch from Wrestlemania XXX set on the card.
The presumptive main event will not be the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Kane, but instead will likely be the 6-man tag match between The Shield and Evolution. The matches' build-up has been pretty strong, with the brash and confident Shield mocking the relatively elderly members of Evolution and Evolution using their cunning and political power to hurt The Shield.
Despite the fact that all three members of Evolution have seen better days in the ring, the match should be really good, mainly because the freewheeling Shield is involved, and the story and the drama leading up to the match has been so strong. The Shield have often had the greater support of the fans even when they were technically heels, but now that they are facing the greatest coalition of heels in WWE, fans have been given carte blanche to root for the rebellious group, which should make for a really strong crowd in what is essentially going to be a New York City crowd.
The outcome of the match has been tricky to predict. Rumors are circling that Batista is leaving WWE after this show to go promote Guardians of the Galaxy, returning sometime around Summerslam. With that in mind, it would be weird to see WWE have Evolution go over The Shield when one of its primary members is leaving right after the show. On the other hand, after re-establishing Evolution, it would be kind of silly to have them promptly lose their first match as a group.
In my opinion, the best option for WWE to go is to debut a new member of Evolution that will interfere and cost The Shield the match. For starters, whoever debuts (and it could really be anyone) will obviously receive a huge boost in their career by hooking up with Triple H and company. Secondly, it is pretty clear that the feud between Evolution and The Shield is going to go beyond Extreme Rules, and with Batista gone and Triple H still not a full-time competitor, Evolution will need another gun to work with Orton against The Shield.
For his first title defense, Daniel Bryan will face Kane for some reason. Bryan and Kane have fought a lot over the last six months or so, with Bryan getting the better of Kane pretty much every time. Poor booking and even worse acting have plagued this feud since the get-go, and of all the people WWE could have had Bryan feud with, instead of having him have a re-match with Orton, Batista, or even Triple H, they chose Kane.
With Bryan now getting his first serious run with the world title, and after WWE pushed him to the moon at Wrestlemania, it would seem logical to try and make him the most important guy on the next PPV. Improbably, Bryan isn't in the most important match at Extreme Rules, hell, he probably isn't even the most second most important match on the card. Who are in those matches you may ask? Why, that would be Triple H and friends and John Cena, you know, the same guys that have been all over WWE for the last 10 years. I'm not saying his feud with Kane will completely submarine his title reign, but when you have someone as hot as Bryan making the leap to being the number one face, the world champion, it is really important to keep his momentum going as strong as possible, and that starts with big feuds against big-name opponents, not against heels he has already beaten a million times before. You can't just take Bryan and push him at Wrestlemania and then say "Okay, you are good for now, hold on for a second while we do this other stuff and then we will get back to you doing something huge." No, pushing someone new is a 100% commitment that is an endless progression, 365 days a year.
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