Power Ranking Every Stipulation on WWE Extreme Rules 2018 Match CardJuly 13, 2018
Power Ranking Every Stipulation on WWE Extreme Rules 2018 Match Card
In the past, Extreme Rules used to be a pay-per-view where every single match had some kind of stipulation attached to it.
Some were more on the hardcore and dangerous side, while others were silly or had implications for after the event with someone's career on the line—basically, anything WWE could think of to spice up the card.
Over time, WWE has become more relaxed on this event, with this year having just a few gimmicks on the lineup.
They may not be the most bombastic of all time, but there's still fun to be had with all of them, as well as a certain level of potential.
Looking at this year's five gimmick matches and how they'll likely be booked to enhance the feuds built around them, how does each one stack up compared to the rest?
Let's go ahead and rank them in order from bottom to top.
5. James Ellsworth in a Shark Cage: SmackDown Women's Championship Match
Easily the worst gimmick of the night will be having James Ellsworth suspended above the ring in a shark cage.
These matches are never special, as they're just a regular fight with a random distraction dangling above the true action.
If Ellsworth manages to escape, he can't do anything without causing a disqualification, which would render this SmackDown Women's Championship match unnecessary as it would be a repeat of what happened at Money in the Bank.
Stretching something out can only be beneficial if a different result happens, so Asuka needs to win this title, and having Ellsworth out of the mix points in that direction.
However, simply not having him in the arena or ringside would do just as much to fulfill that purpose as this shark cage, which will just draw attention away from what Carmella and Asuka are doing.
There isn't much to be excited about when you know you'll get the camera cutting away to show Ellsworth's scared face whimpering and trying to escape multiple times and not much else.
4. Tables Match: The New Day vs. SAnitY
In terms of pure fun, the match between SAnitY and The New Day could well be one of the most entertaining throughout the night.
Tables matches will pretty much always finish with an interesting spot with someone crashing through a table in a sickening way.
However, that isn't always the case, as there have been matches in the past that ended with something underwhelming.
Also working against it is how the rest of the time is spent with performers trying to avoid crashing through tables, teasing the crowd and coming up short over and over, similar to a Last Man Standing match's count of nine.
Since there is an Extreme Rules match later on, there won't likely be too many—if any—other spots involving weapons, as that energy will be saved for Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss, while this is just on the kickoff that many people will skip.
At least there's a reason for it to be happening, with Eric Young hitting an elbow drop on to Xavier Woods through a table during the pancake eating contest on SmackDown, which gives some semblance of a motivation to book this particular gimmick.
The teams are solid and should put on a good match, but compared to the rest of the stipulations, this falls short of making it further than fourth place.
3. Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
Over the past few weeks, Kevin Owens has drawn the ire of Braun Strowman, leading to multiple instances of The Monster Among Men going on the hunt and chasing Owens through arenas.
In the process, Owens has had his car flipped over and been tossed around in a portable toilet, which would cause any man to want to bolt when he'd see his attacker.
Kurt Angle hasn't been too sympathetic to his cause, specifically booking Owens vs. Strowman in a steel cage so there would be no means for Owens to run away without him winning the match.
Logically, this makes sense, so it's hard to argue against picking this type of match for the card.
Extreme Rules has had a steel cage match every single year save for 2012, so it's become a staple for this pay-per-view.
Since it has a different environment, it's a change of pace from the other matches to help break up the monotony.
However, the gimmick isn't always the most thrilling once you get past the visual aesthetic.
Usually, it's a normal match with a few spots where someone is trying to escape, rather than having any change of the in-ring style.
At best, it is tense when someone is climbing the cage and attempting their escape, but more often than not, it's simply boring.
While Strowman and Owens are more than capable of putting on a great match here, they're not working with the most versatile gimmick, which could be more of a hindrance than an aid.
2. Extreme Rules Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
While a steel cage can often limit what performers are able to do, a standard Extreme Rules match is the company's sign that anything goes.
WWE has a habit of having far too many names for what is always just a regular No Disqualification stipulation.
Whether it's classified No Holds Barred, Street Fight, Unsanctioned Match or any other title, an Extreme Rules situation is just an allowance of weapons with no count-outs or disqualifications.
This means Nia Jax will not only have the ability to unleash her full frustrations on Alexa Bliss, she'll also have access to anything ringside to help her vent.
Likewise, though, Bliss will be able to use foreign objects as equalizers to give her more of a fighting chance and offset Jax's size and strength advantage, as seen with her attack with a kendo stick on Monday Night Raw.
This match can be as good or as bad as WWE wishes it to be, as it holds many chances for wild spots but can easily be an unimaginative snooze if the Superstars are only allowed to hit each other in the back with steel chairs.
What will make this interesting, though, will be the use of outside interference, as Mickie James will surely get involved but will most likely not be the only person to do so.
Ronda Rousey will be ringside for this match and has issues with how Bliss cashed in her Money in the Bank contract during Rousey's title shot against Jax, so there's virtually no way she doesn't get her hands dirty.
The possibilities of how any of these four women can use any weapons ringside with no safety net gives it much more potential than the Owens and Strowman affair.
1. 30-Minute Iron Man Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins
Oddly enough, the one match stipulation with no hardcore elements to it will probably end up being the most thoroughly entertaining of the bunch, as Dolph Ziggler defends the Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins in an Iron Man match.
For 30 minutes, they will attempt to score as many pinfalls, submissions, count-outs or disqualification victories over their opponent and have at least one more point by the time the clock runs out.
This is the type of gimmick that showcases how good someone is in the ring, as they need to balance out the decisions and keep the energy flowing without looking like they're just checking bullet points off an outline.
Luckily, Rollins and Ziggler are two of the best in-ring talents the company has seen in a long while, so they're more than trustworthy enough to pull this off.
There's a good chance this match manages to fulfill all the frenetic fun of the two other gimmicks, but without the need for weapons, as the focus will be on technical wrestling and ring psychology instead of danger spots.
Some of the most entertaining matches of all time were regular singles bouts, rather than hardcore demolition derby wrecks, and with the Iron Man stipulation giving fans a countdown to keep track of, the tension toward the end should be palpable.
Strowman and Owens may have one big stunt, and Jax and Bliss might do something nasty with their weapons and so forth, but Ziggler and Rollins will probably utilize their gimmick the best to put on the most overall compelling segment of the pay-per-view.
How would you rank these matches, and which are you the most excited to see? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below to keep the discussion going!
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.