The Extreme Rules 2013 card has all the names and faces in place now, but what stipulations will WWE add to the newest matches?
Monday's WWE Raw saw a dance-off deteriorate into a brawl, a pre-show match get tossed in and a member of The Shield get a shot at the United States title. What do the rivalries, or lack thereof, tell us about what kind of gimmick match these fights will have?
Extreme Rules is WWE's night to toy with gimmicks both familiar and obscure, steel cages, hog pens and the like.
Predicting what kinds of matches Miz vs. Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho vs. Fandango and Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston will have requires examining the state of these feuds, what best suits the participants and peeking back at Extreme Rules' history.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes: Lumberjack Match
The pre-show begins with the returning Miz facing one-half of Team Rhodes Scholars. This is a matchup with no buildup, no story and very little bad blood.
One can't expect a clash so early in the process of the escalation of hatred to be something brutal. There will be no Hell in a Cell or Falls Count Anywhere between these guys—it's just too early.
Instead, the oft-used Lumberjack match is a way to make this match feel a touch more special and not just something we'd see on WWE Raw. It offers WWE the chance to throw in everyone who is not on the card. The Prime Time Players and Antonio Cesaro could at least get on camera if they are not going to get a chance to wrestle.
The Lumberjack stipulation is also a way to use Miz and Wade Barrett's lingering feud. Have him be one of the men standing around the ring and eventually get too aggressive while tossing Miz back into the ring.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: Dance-Themed Street Fight
Last year, Jericho fought CM Punk in a Chicago Street Fight. Sheamus and Triple H fought in a Street Fight at Extreme Rules 2010. So there's some history of Street Fights at the event, but the silliness of Fandango's character may have WWE tweak the tone of it.
Fans have already seen Christmas-themed Street Fights in the past. Expect WWE to somehow infuse Fandango's dance gimmick into the name and theme of the match.
The fact that Fandango knocked Jericho in the mouth with a piece of a dance floor only makes it more likely that this match will have a dance motif. Perhaps the weapons strewn about ringside will include dance shoes or stereos playing Fandango’s theme.
The ridiculousness of that idea has it right in line with Fandango's gimmick. The intensity of their rivalry at this point calls for something beyond a standard match; it calls for something where some major punishment can be doled out.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston: Ladder Match
If Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio aren't going to use the ladder match stipulation, why let it go to waste?
Kingston's performances in ladder matches have shown off his athleticism and creativity. His Spiderman-like offense is a perfect fit for this kind of match. As for Ambrose, his WWE debut match was a near-perfect six-man TLC match.
The ladder stipulation adds the possibility of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins interfering on Ambrose's behalf, something one can't put past that opportunistic group.
The United States title has been defended at past Extreme Rules pay-per-views (h/t TheHistoryofWWE.com) in a tables match, a Fatal 4-Way and, last year, a standard match, so there's no precedent for a ladder match here. So far, it's been the World Heavyweight Championship that has been defended at this event with ladders involved.
With Ambrose and his fellow Hounds of Justice being featured on weekly TV so often and so prominently, it feels as if Extreme Rules will be that crew's crowning moment. History will be made, not repeated.
A ladder match adds importance and excitement over a championship that has recently had little of either. The Extreme Rules pay-per-view will be an exercise in novelty and in violence. These newly added matches won't get as much attention as the main event, but they will get some intriguing stipulations.