Roman Reigns is at the head of WWE SmackDown’s table, but Drew McIntyre and Karrion Kross are clearly on the blue brand’s second tier and very important to the show. As such, which wayward wrestler needs the win more at the Extreme Rules premium live event? Is it McIntyre who lost to Reigns at Clash At The Castle due to Solo Sikoa’s interference? Or is it Kross who’s back with the company for the second time after Vince McMahon badly botched his initial call-up and debut?
It’s a difficult booking choice for Triple H. Perhaps one of the toughest he’s had on his plate since taking over creative control at the end of July. He’s navigated a few premium live events, and they’ve mostly been met with positive reviews. SummerSlam wasn’t his baby by any means, but the show was still remarkably entertaining. The fans were, indeed, sports entertained. The audience arrives at Extreme Rules, though, and there are several matches with stars at a bit of a crossroads. Not the least of which is McIntyre and Kross.
For McIntyre, the strap match on Saturday night is an opportunity to show that he’s still the top everyday wrestler on SmackDown despite losing to Reigns at Clash At The Castle. He’s been the brand’s workhorse for a long time, and winning over Kross would further cement that idea with viewers. It could also position him to take another shot at The Tribal Cheif once he settles things with Logan Paul at Crown Jewel. This is the kind of stipulation that can establish a wrestler’s toughness, as well. McIntyre picking up that edge would be an interesting quirk in his character development. Sometimes his presentation can come off as a bit cartoonish, with the big two-handed sword ripped straight from Elden Ring and dragons plastered on his shirts. Beating Kross in a strap match would be crucial in his evolution.
Then there is Kross, who is in his first high-profile match since his days in NXT. WWE has released him and McIntyre in the past, but Karrion made his way back to the company much more quickly. Fans still remember how terrible his first call-up was, and a victory over an established top-card wrestler like Drew would be a monster feather in his cap. Kross has been listed internally as SmackDown‘s second heel, behind only Roman Reigns. And at this point, Reigns is more of a tweener due to his popularity and merchandise sales. He’s not a bad guy. At least not like Kross is.
Only one man can win at Extreme Rules, though, and at this stage of the game, a victory for Kross makes more sense than a win for McIntyre. It’d be a setback for the Scottish Warrior, but not one that he couldn’t recover from. If anything, it could set him up for a redemption arc that would resonate with fans even more. Given the new-found importance of the Intercontinental Championship, perhaps feuding with Gunther over that title would be a great fit moving forward. For Kross, there’d be no bouncing back from a marquee loss so soon after finding his footing on WWE’s main roster. Karrion needs to appear like a real danger during this match, and Drew McIntyre is the perfect guy to make that happen. Both can come out looking tougher than nails if booked properly, and given Triple H’s recent track record, the odds of that happening seem reasonable.
Next: Who Could Bray Wyatt Start Feuding With At Extreme Rules?