BY BRETT MURDOCK AND MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com writers
After Wrestlemania, it’s hard to imagine the WWE topping itself. After all, this year saw four hours of grappling headlined by John Cena versus “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment,” The Rock. It was The Rock’s first match in eight years, which garnered much hype. But let’s be honest for a second; the event, though an instant classic, failed to live up to the buildup (and our predictions).
How do you beat a PPV headlining the returning Rock? Well, the WWE is hoping another man returning after an eight-year absence can bring a spark in former WWE and UFC Champion Brock Lesnar. Though he left the company on bad terms, Lesnar has returned and set his sights on Cena, who once again finds himself the underdog at Extreme Rules, set to air this Sunday, April 29. Read on for insight from two still-closeted wrestling fans and their picks for the one night a year where the WWE goes Extreme:
United States Championship Match: Santino Marella (c) vs. The Miz
Matt: No one thought Santino Marella would be the dominating champ he has been since dethroning Jack Swagger a little over a month ago, myself included. Known more for his comedic relief than his actual in-ring ability, it’s hard to take Marella seriously, especially when he’s a champion. Still, the guy can entertain a crowd like very few can, and it’s been interesting seeing him dominating top-tier talent that he was losing to a few months ago. The Miz, on the other hand, has been buried for the past year since his championship loss to the aforementioned Cena. That is until this past Wrestlemania, where he pinned Zack Ryder and secured the win for Johnny Ace’s team. So what does The Miz get for his hard work? Why a championship match against Teddy Long’s former right-hand-man in Marella. I can see this match going both ways, but I just have a feeling The Miz is going to come out and ride the hot hand he’s been seeing since his Wrestlemania victory.
Winner: The Miz
Brett: Santino Marella is arguably the most “over” wrestler in the WWE today. A goofy gimmick that appeals to a younger audience, he has found a way to generate interest from the older demographic as well. He won the belt in March and has held onto it ever since despite challenges that seemed to put him at a disadvantage. The Miz, on the other hand, has been stale as can be. The once-WWE Champion has been in a downward spiral in terms of being pushed and appearing on television. He has gotten some heat backstage for his antics and personality, thus leading some to believe that his downward trend is because of this. This match will be the “dark” match of the night, meaning it will not be on the pay-per-view broadcast but will be able to viewed online on YouTube. It appears that the WWE is serious about giving Santino some of the spotlight as evidenced by his recent opportunities at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and his captainship of Team Teddy at WrestleMania 28. The Miz has been buried hardcore, minus a few chances and the future does not look too bright for this once high-profile star.
Winner: Santino Marella