Dream and Nightmare Scenarios for Top Feuds on WWE Extreme Rules 2020 Match Card
Every major WWE pay-per-view has a chance to be a dream or a nightmare for those involved, but this feels particularly true for The Horror Show at Extreme Rules.
This event has been built on the idea of frightening moments, including the promise of a man ripping another man's eye out and a brawl with no rules in a swamp.
The nightmare can go beyond just these unusual matches. Every star walking into this flashy event can walk out better or worse for it. The booking will define the night.
Will Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman elevate the concept of the cinematic match like the Firefly Fun House match did, or will this be a difficult-to-follow slog like the House of Horrors match?
Is WWE turning a potential great match between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio into a sideshow by making it an Eye for an Eye match, or will this stipulation elevate the personal focus of the rivalry?
Can the stipulation Dolph Ziggler chooses for his match with Drew McIntyre add to the carnage, or will it just be a one-sided option that barely constitutes a real fight?
These are just a few of the questions lingering for Extreme Rules. No one knows what to expect from an event WWE has intentionally labelled The Horror Show.
What WWE decides could make or break the talent involved. The dream is a show that elevates everyone and shines a spotlight on WWE's creativity. The nightmare is a night that everyone wants to forget while it is still airing.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
Dream: Nikki Cross redefines her career with a performance that solidifies her status as a main event star in a losing effort.
Cross is a talented performer who deserves an opportunity as champion. It is not the right time. Alexa Bliss' best friend is stuck in The Goddess' shadow. Bayley is on an all-time roll as SmackDown women's champion. The right story needs to be told for The Role Model to lose.
This matchup was thrown together in order to delay the eventual Bayley vs. Sasha Banks showdown. Cross cannot stop that contest from happening. However, she can showcase her talent on a major stage, setting her up for future success.
If Cross does manage to turn a few heads with her performance, it would change the way some perceive her. She can come out of this strong and confident, potentially moving past the role of Bliss' sidekick.
Nightmare: Overbooking and a lack of time lead to a shock title change that forces a multi-woman match at SummerSlam over a clear building story that can be one of the show's biggest matches.
The most common problem the women face in WWE even now is a lack of time. Often, the first matches to get cut for time are the women's title fights. It is not a fair use of the talent, but it is often inevitable.
Bayley vs. Cross is the underdog of the women's matches on the card, making it more likely to get less focus. If it doesn't get the time it needs, it is more likely a rushed shock result is in order. If Cross wins, she likely faces Bayley, Banks and Bliss at SummerSlam in a contest that doesn't let the women shine.
SummerSlam 2020 will be an interesting show, but the focus should be on big matches that highlight the talent. Bayley vs. Banks is the perfect match for the show that can highlight what those two have been doing to elevate the division.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
Dream: Asuka and Banks steal the show at Extreme Rules and tell a story that outshines the flashier matches on the card.
When pairing two of the best women in the business, the expectation is greatness. Asuka and Banks are among the top five female wrestlers in the company. They have fought before but never on a stage like this.
The Empress of Tomorrow puts everything into every performance. She understands the business in the ring better than just about anyone. She is smooth and consistent. Banks is more chaotic but always brings energy to her matches.
This should be an absolute showstopper. Even on a night with flashy stipulation matches, The Legit Boss and Asuka can make a lasting impression. This has such a high ceiling that fans could be talking about it as a match-of-the-year contender.
Nightmare: Despite their best effort, the women get no time and this contest is largely forgotten.
Much like Bayley vs. Nikki Cross, this contest could be limited by time. Asuka vs. Banks is a money match that has been kept short or been given limited spotlight on Monday Night Raw. This could be the same situation.
If the two do not get enough time, they will be engulfed in a night that is more flash than substance. Two of the best in the business will rush through the big spots to get to a finish that is ultimately just a side note in the journey of Asuka.
Eye for an Eye: Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio
Dream: Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio put everything into an incredible match that only gets weird with the finish.
Since The Monday Night Messiah and The Master of the 619 first started working together, the focus has been the story. Now, it is time to get to the wrestling. That should not be difficult for two of the best performers in WWE right now.
Mysterio is one of the absolute greatest of all time and is working some of the best matches of his career right now. He is 45 years old and moves like he's 25. Rollins has put on some of the best matches in the last few years, including a showstopper with Drew McIntyre at WWE Money in the Bank 2020.
Together, they can have the match of the year. The stipulation will end up leading to a weird finish, but the content of this contest can elevate the match beyond all concerns.
Nightmare: The awkward computer-generated finish follows an absurd overbooked mess that helps no one.
When WWE first announced the requirements of an Eye for an Eye match, many were rightfully horrified. The only way to win is to rip out the eye of the other man. This will likely lead to a pre-recorded CGI finish that will not impress.
Before that point, the focus should be on the two men in this fight. Instead, it is likely that Dominick Mysterio, Murphy, Aleister Black and potentially Kevin Owens will get involved. Maybe someone else will come to the aid of The Monday Night Messiah.
If this contest devolves into plentiful interference without any real focus, the ending will become a merciful release from the agony of the confusion. That type of contest would certainly make more sense for such a troubling stipulation.
Stipulation TBD: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dream: Dolph Ziggler puts on his best performance in recent years and helps solidify Drew McIntyre's dominant reign as WWE champion.
Ziggler has always been talented, but his in-ring performances vary month to month. When he is on, few can truly match him. He is athletic and strong, able to do just about anything in the ring. When he is unmotivated, he falls into a repetitive trap, using the same offense every match in the same sequence.
He and McIntyre know each other extremely well. They have worked together before. The Showoff should be working motivated, especially with a title on the line. If he comes to play, he will be facing the best version of The Scottish Psychopath.
McIntyre has been on fire as champion. He has looked like an absolute star. He already has memorable matches with Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley in his recent history. He needs to win, and he needs Ziggler to bring his absolute best to solidify this career-defining WWE Championship reign.
Nightmare: A terrible one-sided stipulation turns this title match into a farce.
The conversation surrounding this match has focused on Ziggler's power as the man who chooses the stipulation. He can spring the match type on The Scottish Psychopath right before the bell rings.
If The Showoff wants to win, it would logically make sense for him to choose a stipulation that heavily favors him. Does he force McIntyre to be handcuffed or blindfolded? Could he set up an easy-to-win match that takes no real skill for victory?
These all make sense but lack any excitement for the viewer. No one is tuning in to potentially the main event of the night to watch Ziggler cheat his way to a WWE Championship victory.
Wyatt Swamp Fight: Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt
Dream: The match's unique style and flair elevate Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt, solidifying them as top acts for SmackDown long term.
Few men have been involved in as many cinematic matches as Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds helped bring the concept to WWE after other promotions had run with it for months. The results have been varied. However, WWE has raised its game lately.
The Firefly Fun House was less a match than a complicated breakdown of John Cena's career, and it did not work for everyone. It was certainly memorable. It got people talking. It was a defining moment in the run of Wyatt.
This just needs to keep that same flair while continuing the story of Wyatt and Strowman. The Monster Among Men needs this to be a big moment because his title reign so far has lacked defining moments.
Nightmare: Sloppy editing and poor planning lead to a match that is boring and comical.
The first match that comes to mind when considering the Wyatt Swamp Fight is House of Horrors. This incomprehensible mess nearly ended Wyatt's career. It was an embarrassing and awkward match that was more boring than entertaining and more comical than truly affecting.
It is important that this time around, the producers of the match clearly focus on the talent. Wyatt and Strowman might battle through swampland and strange barns, but the action has to be filmed to be clear.
If no one knows what is happening, this match will be forgotten quickly. Wyatt will likely never return to the role of The Eater of Worlds, and Strowman might drop the title within weeks of the match.