No more count-outs. No more disqualifications. No more restarting the match to prevent a technicality from deciding the result. Just Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and whatever is at their disposal in an Extreme Rules Match at WWE Extreme Rules to decide it all.
That's a big jump for Reigns and Styles to make considering their first title match at WWE Payback was predicated on Styles having “the match of his life” in order to unseat Reigns’ self-proclaimed status as “the guy” around these parts. But with the introduction of Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as potential accomplices to an unwitting Styles, it quickly became clear that Reigns’ first title defense of the New Era wasn't exactly going to be first fall to a finish.
Even so, nobody expected quite how out of hand it was going to get. Things got so messy at WWE Payback that it took several restarts of the match by both Shane and Stephanie McMahon to eventually get to a fall at all, and only when the match had mutated into a No Count-out, No Disqualification contest was Reigns able to seize his win. That's hardly a decisive victory, though, and it was almost immediately decided among the McMahons that drastic measures would be taken to protect the return bout, so here we are with an Extreme Rules Match to show for it.
As for the Superstars who'll battle to the extreme? Reigns is still indeed “the guy,” if you consider holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to be a signifier of such a status. Some — including Styles, who really did have the match of his life — would just say he's a guy, and a lucky one at that. Some — again, including Styles — might say that The Phenomenal One is the uncrowned WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and Reigns leaned on a loophole when the chips were down to beat him.
The WWE Universe seems to fall somewhere in the middle on that. Depending where Reigns is, it often seems as though there's two detractors of The Big Dog for every supporter he has, or vice versa. For what it's worth, Reigns has claimed he would rather have the respect the title brings than the affection accompanied by a bare waist. He'll clearly do whatever it takes to keep the prize he clawed for a year to achieve. In an Extreme Rules Match, he'll be free to do so. Then, perhaps, the WWE Universe will finally see if “the guy” is the better man.
Will Roman Reigns remain the WWE World Heavyweight Champion or will The Phenomenal One take his title in style?
|Extreme Rules 2016 previews|
The New Day v The Vaudevillains • Charlotte v Natalya • Roman Reigns v AJ Styles • Dolph Ziggler v Baron Corbin • Dean Ambrose v Chris Jericho • Kalisto v Rusev • Fatal 4-Way match • The Usos v Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows