Allies and authority figures promise to change the course of the proceedings at WWE Extreme Rules 2016.
Maryse‘s allegiance to The Miz and the intercontinental champion’s cowardice guarantee some underhanded tactics at the upcoming pay-per-view. WWE has made it clear that Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson will play a major role in the Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles storyline. And the cloud of the McMahons hangs over everything.
It’s these members of the supporting cast who will help decide who leaves New Jersey with championships in hand or injustices to gripe about. WWE has foreshadowed as much.
From Maryse protecting her man to a new version of The Bullet Club emerging, let’s dive into the subplots and surprise factors that could shape Extreme Rules.
Maryse at ringside.
While it’s not yet official, it appears that the Intercontinental Championship will be decided via a Fatal 4-Way match. Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and The Miz started colliding at Payback and continued on into the following Raw. Their rivalries have merged, setting up The Miz for a daunting challenge.
That’s where Maryse comes in. By way of distraction or outright interference, count on the former Divas champ impacting this title bout.
We have already seen Maryse yank her husband out of danger several times over. On Monday’s Raw, for example, Zayn lined up The Miz for a Helluva Kick, but Maryse pulled him out of the ring.
Having his woman save him only plays up to the cowardly element of The Miz‘s character. Expect WWE to exploit that more and to use her as a means to stretch out The Miz‘s title reign.
Getting a hand from the outside is The Miz‘s best bet to retain. Maryse will at least be attempting to help him do just that at Extreme Rules.
As of Payback, Stephanie and Shane both control the company. They didn’t even wait until the end of that PPV before exercising that. Shane restarted the main event after it ended in a count-out; Stephanie restarted it again after it ended in a disqualification.
That dynamic will be at play up to and during Extreme Rules, too. The storyline threatens to dominate WWE programming for the near future.
After all, WWE has leaned on the narrative crutch of an all-powerful authority figure for a long while now. And as ProWrestling.net writer Will Pruett wrote, “They still believe people would rather see McMahons argue about who is in charge than wrestlers wrestling for championships that matter.”
The McMahon siblings have already put their fingerprints on Extreme Rules.
They decided that Styles will get a rematch for the world title at the event. Stephanie made the call to ban Ric Flair from the Women’s Championship match between Charlotte and Natalya.
BREAKING: @MsCharlotteWWE vs. @NatbyNature in an #ExtremeRules Submission Match with @RicFlairNatrBoy banned! #Raw https://t.co/Gevw4YQimD
— WWE (@WWE) May 3, 2016
At the PPV, there’s a major chance Stephanie and Shane move around more pawns on the board as they battle for control. Stephanie could rule that Xavier Woods can remain at ringside for the tag title match. And as long as she and Triple H have had it in for Dolph Ziggler, there’s a good chance she makes things unfavorable for him should he face Baron Corbin.
WWE likely won’t let the whole night go by without the McMahons pulling some strings in the audience’s view.
Former Bullet Club Allies
Fans can see the wheels turning. Gallows and Anderson’s relationship with Styles looks ready to implode.
WWE acknowledged their past history in New Japan Pro Wrestling and had the two incoming bruisers align with The Phenomenal One. The trouble is that Styles seems resistant to their merciless approach.
On Monday’s Raw, Gallows and Anderson held down Reigns and urged Styles to beat the champion with a steel chair. He hesitated.
That’s not how @AJStylesOrg likes to play it… #RAW #6ManTag pic.twitter.com/UnYVHFJQAl
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) May 3, 2016
That has many foreseeing Styles’ comrades turning on him. He may prove too weak for the two predators.
Kevin Berge of Questionable Critics believes there are two ways this story could go:
2 endgames to story that I can see: 1. Styles turns heel out of frustration w/ Reigns. 2. Anderson & Gallows give up on AJ & screw him. #Raw
— Kevin Berge (@TheBerge_) May 3, 2016
The second is absolutely the most likely particularly with the two then siding with Finn Balor. #Raw
— Kevin Berge (@TheBerge_) May 3, 2016
It makes sense to go in the Finn Balor-centric direction. The former NXT champ would get a compelling entry point into the main roster. Styles could remain babyface while Gallows and Anderson turned full-on heel, which is a better fit for them. WWE could continue to build on narratives that began in NJPW.
The Extreme Rules stipulation opens the door for anything to happen, too.
But will Balor emerge as expected? So many have speculated about that possibility that Cageside Seats has made a running joke out of it.
Even so, all eyes will be on the entrance ramp at Extreme Rules. Be it Balor or just Gallows and Anderson, someone is going to share the stage with Styles and Reigns during the PPV‘s main event. Just how WWE handles that story will be the talk of the show.