WWE isn't doing much to take the foot off the gas ahead of the upcoming 2020 Extreme Rules pay-per-view event.
While some of the card for Sunday remains a mystery (not unusual lately), the known matches boast one of the company's top titles, both of the top women's titles and fun stipulations fitting the theme dubbed "The Horror Show at Extreme Rules."
Based on some of the monumental storylines involved, the PPV should be anything but horrific. What plays out Sunday night is a critical stepping stone as WWE heads toward its second-biggest event of the year, SummerSlam.
- Apollo Crews vs. MVP (WWE United States Championship match)
- Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus (Bar Fight match)
- Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins (Eye for an Eye match)
- Bayley vs. Nikki Cross (SmackDown Women's Championship match)
- Asuka vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women's Championship match)
- Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship match)
- Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt (Wyatt Swamp Fight, non-title match)
All Eyes on an Eye for an Eye match
Leave it to two Superstars like Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins to just make something work.
Rollins is away from the main event scene right now while working with his stable and superb heel gimmick so WWE threw him in a slow-burning feud with Mysterio. Not that it didn't escalate quickly, as The Monday Night Messiah kicked things off by piercing the veteran's eye with a set of steel stairs before sparring with his rival's son, Dominik.
There are multiple must-know factors to consider for this feud and what could be a big payoff. One, Mysterio has been reportedly working without a new deal, according to Wrestling Observer Radio's Dave Meltzer (h/t Robert Gunier of Wrestling Inc), so this could be the last fans see of The Master of the 619.
And besides this simply being a contest between two of the best talents in the company, it's important to remember this is one of those new cinematic pre-taped matches that has been propping up WWE pay-per-views while they work without live audiences, according to Meltzer (h/t Gunier).
So not only is this a serious feud, it also has a chance to steal the show in a memorable way like prior recent cinematic matches if it's done well. Knowing the two involved and the stakes at play, it will be.
The Wyatt Family Showdown
The layers between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman are impossible to ignore.
Wyatt, the challenger, is on a warpath to take down a monster he says he created. Technically it's true given the history between these two, though it's Wyatt framed as the bad guy here while The Monster Among Men has been riding high.
Strowman eventually getting a shot at Wyatt has been one of the most anticipated matches of modern WWE. It's a shame his universal title run started with a dud (beating Goldberg at WrestleMania 36) and then a prior match with Wyatt was more building than delivering.
However, the two have a chance to make something unforgettable happen at Extreme Rules in their Wyatt Swamp Fight. While it stinks there's no title on the line as of this writing, if it's another cinematic pre-taped affair, it could end up stealing the show anyway while laying important groundwork for a later date.
Presumably, WWE would like to prolong this feud with so many top stars like Roman Reigns out and live audiences still an impossibility.
Down in the swamp, fans could see The Fiend itself entering this feud, which makes for gripping storytelling as these two continue to play out their complex histories.
Sasha Banks' Ascent
To say Sasha Banks is one of the best things going in WWE right now would be an understatement.
The Legit Boss, using the tag team titles as a show-hopping device alongside partner Bayley, has been putting on epic performances on all three weekly shows. She's had great tag team matches taking down the likes of The IIconics and also put on must-see encounters with names such as Io Shirai.
It's not hard to see why WWE is all-in on Banks right now, as she has effortlessly stepped into the void left by a heavyweight like Becky Lynch, performing like one of the top talents in WWE as a whole.
And the reward is a match against Asuka for the Raw women's title Sunday.
Besides Banks herself simply being must-see material for ring, mic and character work, there's the potential for anything to happen Sunday.
Bayley has a top women's individual title right now, the two have a long history together, and WWE needs a must-see SummerSlam build.
It has intrigue written all over it, as Banks winning a title or some form of Bayley interference that might hint at a split of the tag champs and friends could lead to the two outright headlining SummerSlam on August 23 together.
Even if things go the ho-hum route, a Banks-Asuka match has the potential to easily be the best thing on Sunday's card.