Built on the foundations of the pay-per-view once known as Backlash, the typical card for an Extreme Rules event is usually little more than a set of WrestleMania rematches with added stipulations. However, things are a little different this year.
Only one rematch from the biggest show of the year is currently set for the show on May 4, a Steel Cage match that will see Bray Wyatt attempt to avenge his WrestleMania loss against John Cena. The rest of the card has been assembled in the few weeks since WrestleMania—and as a result, a few of the storylines leading into the event seem a little undercooked.
A big focus of WWE television over the past few weeks has been the tournament to decide a new No. 1 contender for Big E's Intercontinental Championship. While it seemed like the tournament was designed to take advantage of Cesaro's momentum following his Battle Royal win at WrestleMania, the Swiss Superman made his exit from the tournament via count-out last week.
Big E will now face the winner of the final match of the tournament scheduled from Raw this Monday, which pits Bad News Barrett against Rob Van Dam.
Neither competitor seemed like a favourite to win when the tournament began, and the fact that Van Dam's win over Cesaro came on a technicality might suggest that Barrett has the advantage going into the final.
While the tournament has produced some great in-ring action, Cesaro's exit after being so heavily featured threatens to make his feud with Jack Swagger, rather than the intercontinental title, the focus. Since it seemed like the tournament was intended to boost the title's prestige, this isn't the ideal outcome.
Whether the tournament as a whole is a success will likely depend on the outcome of the title match at the pay-per-view.
A disappointing match to cap it off will render the tournament as a whole rather pointless. However, given the talent going into the tournament finals and the champion himself, a great pay-per-view title defense could well be on the cards.
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Another major storyline going into Extreme Rules is the faceoff between Evolution and The Shield. Beginning in earnest on the Raw after WrestleMania, the build to the big-name match has been fairly good, but there hasn't really been enough time to do justice to what could be a huge faceoff.
Evolution has a great deal of star power, and it is perhaps the biggest trio The Shield have faced in a big pay-per-view match. The Shield features three of the top stars WWE will have at its disposal over the next few years. This match should seem like a huge deal, but it's all come together a little too quickly.
If this were the start to a feud, it would perhaps make more sense, but with a PWInsider report surfacing, via Wrestling Inc., that Batista will take time off after Extreme Rules, it seems that might not be the case. That being said, the long-term plans for this feud will likely be more clear based on what happens at the pay-per-view itself.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported a spoiler for this Monday's Raw that seems to suggest the feud escalating with a bit more star power, so the build to the six-man match might seem more well-rounded after the go-home show.
The WWE world heavyweight title match set for Extreme Rules between Daniel Bryan and Kane hasn't had the most well-developed build, because of extenuating circumstances both happy and sad in Bryan's personal life. It's difficult to think of two men who work harder for WWE than Bryan and Kane, and their match at the pay-per-view will likely make up for the lack of TV time the two have been given building to the match.
Bryan can't be commended enough for the mettle he showed in his appearance last Monday on Raw after the passing of his father, and his beatdown at the hands of Kane was executed very well. Not many would predict Kane walking away from Extreme Rules with the title, and any amount of build wasn't likely to change that.
What matters in this feud is that the two put on a good show on the night, and both certainly have the talent to pull that off. It will be interesting to see whether this bout or The Shield vs. Evolution goes on last.
Does another storyline seem underdeveloped for you going into Extreme Rules? Would you rather see the more traditional set of 'Mania rematches instead of these hastily assembled bouts? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.