With the Extreme Rules pay-per-view now on the horizon, we must begin our bitter sweet descent from the road to WrestleMania.
And although the card looks to be taking shape, it does need some fine tuning between now and May 19th.
So in an effort to develop a clearer picture of what's in store, here is how I would book WWE Extreme Rules through some logic and wishful thinking.
Just as any post-WrestleMania Raw does, this past Monday's show provided us with a few hints towards the next pay-per-view card. A potential WWE Championship match between John Cena and Ryback is certainly one of them.
And I know what you're thinking...how about Mark Henry?
As of now, this match does not warrant his presence. He already lost in his WWE Championship shot and Ryback, who is coming off the feud with Henry, now seems a tad more interested in Cena.
Henry, however, wouldn't necessarily be written off the angle entirely. He could run-in out of frustration of being left off the card and take out both men during the extreme rules match.
Having Cena drop the title so quickly after defeating The Rock wouldn't make much sense, so we'll throw him the win.
But the screwy finish would supply creative with a number of sensible outcomes.
For one, it'll keep whatever credibility Ryback has left intact. After coming off numerous pay-per-view losses, his character could ill-afford to suffer yet another clean. If he drops a match again, then why should we care about Ryback?
Second, Henry running in would also give us an alternative ending to the traditional Super Cena comeback victory, similar to his win against Brock Lesnar at last year's event.
And last, this would supply creative with a solid and lengthy triple-threat storyline for the next few months. Finding a legitimate contender to Cena's title isn't the clearest task at the moment. Prolonging this feud for a decent amount of time would give the creative team opportunities to develop some credible threats for the champion soon after the angle ends.
Regardless, we watch Extreme Rules to see, well, the extreme. Cena and Ryback should have no problems delivering that to us.
As stated earlier, we already have indications of which matches will be taking place at Extreme Rules. Alberto Del Rio, who just dropped his World Heavyweight title to the cashing in of Dolph Ziggler, will invoke his rematch clause as soon as his ankle heals.
(Of course, his injury would be cleared up by the time the pay-per-view rolls around.)
Anyway, we can lay witness to an exciting 2-out-of-3 Falls match. Being that Del Rio most likely feels he was slighted out his title, an end-all, be-all sort of stipulation would make sense.
In terms of pegging the victor, I'll opt for Ziggler.
After his cash-in Monday night, the guy is just as hot with the fans as any another talent in the company. (Besides Fandango and his "ChaChaLaLa," of course.)
Not to sound too smarky, but Ziggler deserves a decent run.
Despite The Shield stepping in during Undertaker's post-'Mania promo, I highly doubt the Deadman will be working Extreme Rules. Recent reports have also indicated that it is unlikely that Taker will wrestle again anytime soon.
In that case, let's switch things up and have two members of The Shield take on Team Hell No for the tag titles.
Although I do consider Dean Ambrose to be the best overall package of the three, I'll leave him on the outside and pair up Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. This would leave Ambrose open for singles competition, an area better suited for his talent, and match up Kane and Daniel Bryan with a big and a small in Reigns and Rollins.
(But if all else fails, they could just work under the "Freebirds Rule" in defending their titles.)
To keep this Shield machine finely tuned, I'll give them the victory over Team Hell No in a tables match.
Triple power bombing superstars through tables seems to be this group's speciality. So why stop now?
So what exactly is a "Ballroom Brawl?"
Well for those hardcore fans out there, you know how bizarre brawl-themed matches can be. There's been parking lot brawls, boiler room brawls, bar brawls and so on.
Being that Fandango upset Chris Jericho at WrestleMania, he would be allowed to select the stipulation to their imminent rematch at Extreme Rules. If so, perhaps the overnight sensation will opt for some home-field advantage in the ballroom?
As far as the match set up goes, the ring would be filled with objects you'd find in a ballroom. Such items would include chairs, tables set with fine dining ware and a disco ball hanging from the center of the ring to top it all off.
(Hey, it might sound a little sketchy but at least it's something different.)
And despite the sudden popularity Fandango and his catchy tune have garnered, I think it's about time Jericho picks up a win on a pay-per-view card. A loss to a legend like Jericho shouldn't damage Fandango's stock too much.
Here's another relatively clear booking.
With the Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton feud most likely coming to its peak, there has to be a blowout match to top it off. And given each superstar's specialized skill set, a falls count anywhere stipulation should suffice.
Whether Orton comes out a heel as a result of this angle, who knows?
Perhaps the Viper and the Celtic Warrior make an outside pact to team up and take out Show early in the match. Show seems to have sucked all the momentum out of the storyline, so doubling up on the giant would be a sensible plan.
The strategy, however, would eventually backfire sometime during the match. Sheamus would miss a Brogue Kick to Show, only to hit and knockout Orton. Show could then, of course, deliver the WMD to Sheamus and pick up the win.
After the match, Orton and Sheamus would argue with one another. Orton would then lay him out with an RKO, beginning the long-awaited heel turn.
Such a result would promote Show's evident push and develop the imminent feud between Orton and Sheamus.
Yes, I know I suggested holding a double ladder match for the Intercontinental and United States straps on my WrestleMania XXX card.
But since these two feuds are continuing to grow, why not mix them up in an extreme environment?
I doubt many people would be happy about forking over the hefty pay-per-view fee to watch Barrett vs. Miz and Cesaro vs. Kingston, two matches we've seen plenty of over the past two weeks.
These feuds are still of relevance and should still continue. But instead of having us pay for Raw and SmackDown matches, let's mix it up by booking this as a double ladder match.
Both titles will hang over the ring, allowing for any of the four participants to climb the ladder and the grab them. So yes, one superstar can, by the end of the match, be the Intercontinental Champion and the United States Champion.
But regardless of that prospect, I'll allow Barrett to retain and Kingston to capture the U.S. gold.
Cesaro, who has been stuck in storyline purgatory of late, needs a little revival. Now should be the time to drop the seemingly meaningless U.S. title and move onto a much more interesting feud.
When it comes to establishing the pre-show match trend, the WWE has nailed it. Given that they're not the most intriguing bouts, these matches give fans a reason to tune into the product much earlier than the show itself.
For Extreme Rules, I'd book a four corners tag match in an effort to blanket the fan base. Since there are fans of many different talents out there, the more superstars the better.
CM Punk: In case this is coming as a surprise to you, Punk is not currently advertised for the event. Additionally, there has been talk of giving him some time off to heal his nagging injuries.
Undertaker: As much as we'd like to see him take his shot at The Shield, Taker is highly doubtful to work the pay-per-view.
Mark Henry: Role stated in Cena vs. Ryback slide.
Jack Swagger: Regardless of his strong push, Swagger should get at least a slap on the wrist for his recent run-in with police. His character is chugging along, but shouldn't suffer that much if he's left off.
Big E. Langston: Until he's built up to warrant another pay-per-view match, Big E. will continue to serve as Ziggler's minion on the outside.
*Matches in descending order from main event to curtain jerker.
(6) WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Ryback
(5) Tag Team Championships: Team Hell No (c) vs. Rollins & Reigns (Tables Match)
(4) World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio (2 Out of 3 Falls)
(3) Big Show vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton (Falls Count Anywhere)
(2) Chris Jericho vs. Fandango (Ballroom Brawl)
(1) Intercontinental & United States Championships: Double Ladder Match
Pre-Show: Four Corners Tag Team Match
Side note: I booked six matches instead of eight. This will give each match the appropriate time to develop, as opposed to throwing in a a couple of two to three minute matches.