The "special event" era kicks off with Extreme Rules -- the next landmark on the WWE calendar. Set to take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014, at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, it has become the company's annual post WrestleMania show, and features an array of matches with "hardcore" stipulations.
With less than a week until the opening bell, last night's Monday Night Raw added two bouts and cofirmed the competitors for a third, bringing us to a total of eight matches, including the pre-show.
Here's where we stand as of today:
- Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion returned last night after Kane had destroyed him on Raw the week before to explain his absence from television while he dealt with all the things one has to deal with when a parent passes away. With The Devil's Favorite Demon targeting his new wife Brie and Bryan in a neck brace selling the multiple piledrivers he took from Kane, the story is set as an extremely personal issue for an underdog vs. the unstoppable monster.
- Evolution vs. The Shield
The Shield laid waste to all of Triple H's lackeys, got a weird rub from original Evolution member Ric Flair and then weathered a storm to stand tall to close out the last live show before ER. They were denied the opportunity to really deliver justice to The Game when Batista and Randy Orton rescued him from a triple powerbomb, though, so keep that in mind as you read the 'go home show' tea leaves.
- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
First, they scared the pants off of everyone with a truly spectacular opening segment. Bray seemed truly terrifying, and had clearly gotten under John Cena's skin with ability to sway children to his cause. Then the Cenation leader found his courage and made the vow he usually makes before he defeats his opponent. Can Wyatt delight the beleaguered smarks, or will (lol) Cena win?
- Paige vs. Tamina
The new Divas champ is getting over by working good wrestling matches and defeating her opponents. What a concept! Tamina won a battle royal to be the The Anti-Diva's first Sunday night victim.
- Big E vs. Bad News Barrett
The winner of NXT season one defeated RVD (with some shenanigans from the pair formerly known as The Real Americans, but more on them in a moment) for the right to face Big E for the Intercontinental championship. The champ has thoroughly scouted his opponents, but not done much else this month but watch their matches on a monitor from backstage.
- Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods
The song & dance enhancement talent banded together on Raw to push The Bulgarian Brute from the ring and avoid either or both of them taking The Accolade on yet another occasion. But did they really get the upperhand, or is Lana just waiting for Sunday to have Rusev CRUSH?
- Cesaro vs. RVD vs. Jack Swagger
It started as a beef between Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman over who got to be a Cesaro guy. Now it's a muddled heel vs. heel feud between a guy the audience wants to cheer and another guy whose catch phrase the crowd loves to chant, with a veteran who isn't looking terribly motivated thrown in the middle.
- Hornswoggle vs. El Torito
It's a WeeLC match, which is a TLC match for little people. Get it!?!? There will be small furniture. Several members of 3MB will get gored in their nether regions. Fans of lucha libre and comedic wrestling will wish WWE employed a mini with more skill than 'Swoggle.
There you go, Cagesiders. Is it enough to keep you glued to your streaming device this weekend?