Randy Orton on the hunt for Seth Rollins and WWE gold at ‘Extreme Rules’

wwe-raw-orton-rollins Lori Acken

With Extreme Rules on the horizon, this week’s edition of WWE Raw set the stage for the event, airing live on WWE Network and Pay-Per-View.

In the main event, WWE World Champion Seth Rollins will defend the gold against Randy Orton inside a steel cage. This is a rematch from WrestleMania, which saw the greatest RKO out of nowhere of all time. Stipulations include the RKO, Orton’s exciting finisher, being banned and Kane serving as the guardian of the gate to prevent outside interference. Maybe the “Big Red Machine” should get some tips from WWE alum Dave Bautista on the task, since he knows a thing or two about guarding a galaxy.

Orton was on an RKO rampage, hitting the move on unsuspecting victims such as Heath Slater in catering and on Rollins himself at the close of Raw. The WWE champion defeated Dolph Ziggler with help from Sheamus, but ended up in a cage with Orton to crash his victory celebration.

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Rollins and Orton are no doubt capable of putting on a great match. They have proven it in the past. Given Rollins just won the championship in dramatic fashion at WWE’s biggest event of the year, I don’t see the former Shield member leaving the Allstate Arena without his prized possession. Expect Kane — and maybe even Triple H — to play a role in this one. I wish Kane would finally trade in the suit and tie for his trademark mask and ability to shoot fire from the ring posts.

The undercard for Extreme Rules includes Ziggler and Sheamus facing off in a “Kiss Me Arse” match. As absurd as the stipulation is, this has the makings of a fun and physical contest.  I’ve enjoyed Sheamus’ return as a baddy, complete with ridiculous mohawk and awesome new entrance music. It just works. Sadly, Ziggler’s friend Zack Ryder served as an appetizer for the “Celtic Warrior.” Valuable TV time is always a plus for anyone, even when you lose every time you come out. However, watching Ryder’s decline over the past years has been sad to watch.

Bo Dallas suffered a similar fate at the hands of Roman Reigns, who is set to face the Big Show at Extreme Rules in a Last Man Standing match. This may be a good opportunity for the 2015 Royal Rumble as he tries to move back up the rankings in the eyes of the fans. Show and Reigns will have the challenge of pleasing a Chicago audience, which has historically been very vocal if they don’t like what they are seeing.

John Cena continues his United States Championship run defending against former title holder Rusev in a Russian Chain match. Where is Ivan Koloff when you need him? These two have traded victories the last few months. Cena’s string of open challenges has produced strong outings against the likes of Wade Barrett and Dean Ambrose. Cena also got a big win over Kane heading into Sunday. Say what you want about the leader of the CeNation, but he has elevated the title and helped bring it back to prominence, and the Russian representative may need more than Lana to take down Cena. Perhaps, he brings back that tank we saw at WrestleMania?

Attitude adjustment isn’t just the name of Cena’s finishing move, but two words you could use to describe Naomi as of late. The diva took Paige out of the equation when Raw was in London and was inserted into the Diva’s title match against Nikki Bella. The athletic female competitor has benefited by increasing her intensity with a win over Nikki’s sister Brie on Raw. Now is the perfect time to feature somebody new, meaning Naomi could finally have her time in the spotlight.

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Daniel Bryan’s Intercontinental championship match against Wade Barrett has been in question. The leader of the “Yes Movement” was put on the sidelines for precautionary reasons during the European tour last week. Speculation has run rampant in regard to the physical well-being of Bryan, this coming a few months after he came back from a neck injury.

The card for the big event is rounded out by Dean Ambrose battling Luke Harper in a Chicago street fight. These two have fought for weeks in a series of entertaining brawls, bringing back flashbacks to their days on the independent scene. Raw gave a little preview of what fans can expect at Extreme Rules. This one has the potential to turn heads and entertain.

The pre show will feature a tag team championship bout with champs Cesaro and Tyson Kidd with Natalya putting the gold on the line against the New Day. Xavier Wood helped Big E and Kofi Kingston secure the No. 1 contender slot against the Lucha Dragons. The trio have funneled the “New Day sucks” chants and used them to their advantage with the crowd. They have now become one of the most over tag teams today. It was a similar situation when The Rock was getting “Die Rocky, Die” chants. Look for Cesaro and Kidd to put on a great showcase against the New Day. With the Usos out of the picture due to Jey’s injury, a prime opportunity has been created for a new duo to step up to the plate.

Questions remain of where Bray Wyatt fits in the current landscape. He has his eyes on a new target according to his cryptic promos the last few weeks on WWE TV. Maybe more will be revealed at Extreme Rules, which is part of the WWE Network’s push to gain new subscribers by offering April for free to those who sign up.

Watch Extreme Rules Sunday, April 25 at 8pm ET/PT on WWE Network and Pay-Per-View. Follow me here and on Twitter @smFISHMAN for live tweeting sessions.

Photos/video: WWE