The Shield and Evolution are headed for normalcy at an event built on being more destructive and violent than the rest of the WWE calendar.
The tension the company has built between the teams, the unique nature of Extreme Rules and the possibility of elevating the bout's drama via hardcore elements makes giving The Shield vs. Evolution a stipulation the obvious move. It's a move WWE has yet to take.
Evolution reformed for the sole purpose of destroying The Shield.
The trios have since been barking and gnashing at each other ever since. On Monday's Raw, the two groups collided once more.
A match between Roman Reigns and Randy Orton quickly broke out into a fight featuring all six men. Each side took turns beating down the other until The Shield chased Evolution away from the ring, steel chairs in hand.
Their animosity had sufficiently been escalated. The war between the faction that fans had been promised was now several steps closer. There was no added stipulation, though.
This amount of bad blood begs for something other than a standard match.
That's the intended purpose of No Holds Barred or Steel Cage matches. They offer something beyond what fans normally see on WWE programming. They offer a unique battlefield where the weapons available allow one to demonstrate that this is a chapter in a blood feud, not just another wrestling match.
The nature of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view only adds to the need for a stipulation. This is supposed to be WWE's most violent night, an event built on matches that involve leather straps, ladders, kendo sticks and steel chairs.
As of now, none of that is promised in the bout between The Shield and Evolution.
WWE.com describes that clash as "six-man warfare." It's just a standard six-man tag match for now, though.
When Triple H and others tossed out the word "war" during the buildup to this match, fans and media outlets alike dreamed of seeing WCW's War Games matches resurrected.
The Shield say they are prepared for war. Are they preparing for War Games? #MainEvent— WrestlingNewsSource (@WNSource) April 9, 2014
WWE didn't go with that option. That decision is not surprising, as the double-caged bout is a WCW product. The general assumption has been that Vince McMahon didn't want to bring the match back because it wasn't his baby and was born elsewhere.
Still, fans expect some kind of special match between these teams.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt will be facing off inside a steel cage. Kane and Daniel Bryan will fight in an Extreme Rules match. Even El Torito vs. Hornswoggle is getting the benefit of a gimmick match.
Those two will meet in what is being dubbed as a "WeeLC match."
Where is the added danger for The Shield vs. Evolution? Where is their opportunity to crack kendo sticks across torsos or bend chairs with their opponents' bodies?
An elimination tag team match a la Survivor Series would add drama by way of creating three-on-two or two-on-one scenarios. A No Holds Barred stipulation would allow the wrestlers to make full use of their hatred for each other, mixing in chair shots with suplexes as so many hated rivals have done before.
A TLC match would add a wealth of chances to create stunning moments, including The Shield triple-powerbombing an Evolution member through a table.
So far, WWE has bypassed all of these options. The Shield vs. Evolution still feels big, but it's also sending off a tinge of disappointment.
Had The Shield's debut against Ryback and Team Hell No been an ordinary six-man tag, it wouldn't have been nearly as captivating. Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose showed off a viciousness and tenacity that the table smashes and ladder collisions accentuated.
The members of The Shield have since become famous for their affinity for destroying WWE furniture.
To send them into this battle without the ability to bring tables into the fray is a mistake. The same goes for their opponents. Evolution can be made to look so much more vile if they can get their hands on weapons.
Triple H will be without his sledgehammer. This match, which could headline Extreme Rules, will be without extremeness.
There's little doubt that Evolution and The Shield will make this a memorable showdown, but considering where it's happening, it's strange to have it be such a routine one. A hardcore touch would amplify the hatred between these men and make their meeting far more fun.
WWE has been promising a war between these factions and looks to be only delivering a fight instead.