Many superstars have used the Extreme Rules pay-per-view as a springboard to big things over the past several years, and that is likely to be the case on Sunday as well. For every wrestler that is on the ascent, however, there are just as many heading in the opposite direction.
As much as fans would love to see all their favorites pushed at the same time, it simply isn't a realistic expectation. In professional wrestling there has to be a winner and there has to be a loser, and that is why things are so cyclical. Another cycle will begin at Extreme Rules as some superstars are bound to lose and go on a bit of a cold streak.
Here are three wrestlers who will see their stocks drop on Sunday due to losses at the most extreme pay-per-view of the year.
Since returning prior to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Jack Swagger has been among the WWE's hottest commodities. He has lost only a small handful of matches, and while he came up short in his bid to beat Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIX, his push has continued since that defeat. Now that Swagger is scheduled to face Del Rio yet again at Extreme Rules, though, a downturn is inevitable.
Swagger was originally slated to take on Del Rio and World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler in a triple threat ladder match for the title, but that is no longer the case. Ziggler suffered a concussion on SmackDown due to a stiff kick from Swagger and he hasn't been medically cleared to compete. Because of that, Swagger and Del Rio will face off in an "I Quit" match for the No. 1 contendership. As intriguing as a Swagger vs. Ziggler feud would be, it seems quite unlikely at this point.
The WWE tends to shy away from heel vs. heel feuds and it's hard to imagine that a face turn is in store for either Ziggler or Swagger. Having Del Rio beat Swagger is the safe move and that is precisely what the creative team will go with.
Sunday will likely mark the second time that Swagger has succumbed to the Cross Armbreaker in a big match, so his stock will drop in that regard. Also, there won't be a clear path back to the main event picture for him, so Swagger will probably slide back into the midcard.
It can certainly be argued that Kofi Kingston is the most valuable midcard superstar on the WWE roster as he can be used in almost any situation. Over the course of the past several months, Kofi has gone from Intercontinental champion to enhancement talent to United States champion. As the current U.S. title holder, though, it has always been quite apparent that he was little more than placeholder until someone more intriguing came along.
That has already happened in the form of The Shield's Dean Ambrose. Kingston and Ambrose have been at odds for the past couple weeks and it has led to a United States Championship match between them at Extreme Rules. Kofi is a lame-duck champ if there has ever been one as it seems blatantly obvious that the plan is for Ambrose to leave Extreme Rules with the U.S. title as well as Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to depart with the Tag Team Championships.
If and when Ambrose defeats Kingston for the title, he will be sent back to midcard purgatory. Perhaps he'll get one rematch, but after that he'll probably return to putting over some of the upper-midcard heels. That isn't necessarily a bad thing as Kofi is good in that role, but for anyone hoping that he would have a prolonged midcard title run or perhaps even a bump up to the main event, that seems incredibly unlikely at this point.
Cody Rhodes' stock admittedly isn't very high to begin with, but what little value he does have will all but disappear on Sunday. Rhodes is set to face The Miz in the Extreme Rules pre-show match and it's quite clear that Rhodes has no shot at winning. The Miz returned on Raw after missing several weeks while shooting a movie. He scored a win over Heath Slater and it seems as though the WWE is planning on pushing The Miz in the near future.
The WWE is in a difficult position when it comes to heels. There are only a few main event-level heels on the roster right now, but there are a ton of them in the midcard. That forces the creative team to job out talented wrestlers such as Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett on a regular basis. That will once again be the case for Rhodes on Sunday when he fights a losing battle against The Miz.
It seems like the writers have once again moved away from Team Rhodes Scholars, which simply doesn't make much sense. Rhodes and Sandow won't do anything as singles wrestlers right now other than lose on a regular basis. At least as a tag team they can feud with the likes of Team Hell No, Tons of Funk and The Usos, and perhaps be involved in multi-team matches for the tag titles once The Shield captures them at Extreme Rules. Whatever the case, Rhodes' stock as a singles performer has never been lower.
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