What you need to know
3MB (and Hornswoggle) and Los Matadores (with El Torito) know how to put on a hella-fun opener. They know how to make a comedy match not feel pointless, and are willing to go all out with some painful looking spots to get the crowd warmed up. Too bad WWE is largely interested in making fun of everyone involved. At least they didn't do racial stereotypes in addition to little people "humor" (R.I.P. Little Tokyo).
Cesaro looks to still have the proverbial rocket strapped to him, as Paul Heyman has incorporated him more and more into his monologues about Brock Lesnar. Plus, he continues to get the best of former tag partner Jack Swagger at every turn, and even took out former Heyman guy RVD last night.
Rusev CRUSH, Truth and Woods JOB. Lana WALK, TALK, TWIRL.
Can we have some decorum for the new Intercontintental champion, Bad News Barrett? May your fourth run with the white & gold belt be better than the first three. Can we have a moment of silence for the old Intercontinental champion, Big E? May whatever you get next be better than "strong guy in singlet"?
The Shield's run of great trios matches now includes a very impressive win over the reunited Evolution. Triple H has been on the losing side at two straight pay-per-view/special events. Batista has taken clean losses at those shows. This is not your 2003 - 2004 Evolution.
Bray Wyatt has recruited a child, Little Johnny, to his family. When WWE Production can be bothered to remember, LJ speaks and sings in a creepy, demonic voice. John Cena, or Big John, or BJ, as he will henceforth be known in this preview, doesn't like it when LJ talks. It scares BJ so much that he loses matches, and that is not something he is usually willing to do around Bray and his boys Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
Paige is still Divas champ. Daniel Bryan is still WWE World Heavyweight Champ. No word on if either of the previous holders of those titles will ever get their rematches.
What to look out for
WWE heads to the capital of New York for tonight's fallout show from Extreme Rules. If you don't happen to be in Albany, you can catch it at 8PM Eastern on USA Network.
Not much in the way of official hype for this show yet, as of this late night writing. I'll update this with any pertinent details from the company's official preview later, but we have been told that The Adam Rose Experience will debit on Raw tonight. If you haven't been watching NXT, expect a really fun entrance. Assuming you've been watching the WWE main shows for a while - you know he'll probably squash nobodies for a month before anything else of substance happens.
BJ will have to address Bray Wyatt's win in their steel cage match last night, along with a bunch of word about battling for the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe that everyone else will forget about later. Stephanie McMahon and whatever is left of Evolution will have to formulate their response to the continued success of D-Bry and The Hounds of Justice against The Authority. Creative will have to figure out if they're keeping Barrett and Cesaro as heels, and if so, how.
I'm hoping that Damien Sandow will dress as another Marvel super-villain.
What they should do
I've already lost track of where the dirt screens conversation about Batista's status with the company is right now. Is he staying? Is he going? Regardless, I imagine that when they wrote him a big, fat check last fall, they didn't think that the conversation surrounding their returning "Legend" after WrestleMania would be about how quickly he'd be leaving again.
But he's done good work (at least outside of matches, and even that has gotten better since they wisely decided to limit him to multi-man affairs) since his heel turn, and hopefully he'll continue to rant against "smarks" on his Twitter account once he's on his movie promoting break.
Whenever the time comes to write him off again, they should keep in mind how successful they've been with those elements of his character. This is the Reality Era, after all. So it's probably about time for movie star Dave to walk out in a huff over not getting enough respect from the WWE Universe. The fans are smart enough to separate that from any desire they'll have to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and his 'Mania presser showed that he's quite capable of being charming while putting himself over and still winking at kayfabe.
Rather than run a bogus injury write-off that he can't sell while on the talk show circuit, let him do something that will add to the heat he'll get when "Hollywood Dave" rolls back into our lives later this summer.
If he could spend his time on the road promoting the flick working on his cardio, too, that would be great.
What we're afraid they will do
Roll on with almost every program from Extreme Rules for at least another month. Between another round of Kane vs. Bryan to BJ vs. Bray III: The Battle for LJ's Soul, what little goodwill WWE has left from New Orleans could be used up if Payback plays like a repeat, and special events like Raw Supershows.
Are you more interested in some Reality Era blurred lines, or demonically possessed children as WWE winds its way into the summer starting with tonight's show?
Let's hear your answer in the comments, and don't forget to watch the show with your Cageside pals in the live blog - and listen to our thoughts on the show right after it ends on Cageside Live!