At the moment, we’re less than three weeks away from the next WWE pay per view: Extreme Rules 2018. There’s a good chunk of the card already set with three matches announced and one which is all but announced. Assuming a ten match card, having thirty percent of the matches announced with this much time to go is a pretty good result for WWE. Two of them are title matches, but, assuming no (more) major changes, you can probably guess which match is going to close the show, which is a rather big problem.

Right now, the major announced match is a WWE Championship match with AJ Styles defending against Rusev. Now in most companies, a World Title match would likely be closing the show, but WWE isn’t most wrestling companies. Instead of that match, there’s a very strong chance that the match which hasn’t been officially announced yet will close the show and that would be the case for two reasons: it involves Roman Reigns and that means it’s a Monday Night Raw match.

Here’s your stat of the week: the last time the SmackDown World Title match main evented a show which also involved Monday Night Raw wrestlers was Hell in a Cell 2010. In between then, pay per views have been main evented by a chairs match, an ambulance match, #1 contenders matches, grudge matches and a JOHN LAURINAITIS match but no SmackDown World Title matches. When you consider that the nearly two years have passed since the introduction of the Universal Title on Monday Night Raw, meaning the WWE Championship is over on SmackDown Live, this is inexcusable.

Yeah, all the way back here, in a big match.

60 Seconds in Hell - The Undertaker vs. Kane - Hell in a Cell 2010

Am I missing something here? What is the point in not allowing the WWE Championship to be defended in the main event of a pay per view? We’re coming up on sixty years of the title’s existence and it’s headlined a good number of pay per views over the years. Why is it so unthinkable to have the title go on after the Universal Championship? I know the titles are both big but…..hang on a second.

The Universal Title isn’t going to be on the line at Extreme Rules (or ever at this point) so there is no other World Title match taking place on the show. That’s right: the match that will be taking the final spot on the show wouldn’t be for the title and might not even be for a future title shot. Assuming the suggested Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley match is made, there’s a very good chance that it will be taking the final spot on the card, despite not having a title on the line and potentially not even having a future title shot on the line. Just…a grudge, which isn’t exactly the hottest in the world just yet.

The worst part is this wouldn’t even be the first time it’s happened this year or even the first time it’s been Reigns. In April, Backlash, a pay per view about REVENGE, the WWE Championship REMATCH, which was No Disqualifications due to Shinsuke Nakamura’s actions at WrestleMania 34, as in it was taking place due to the BACKLASH from those events, didn’t headline the show called BACKLASH.

No, instead the match that headlined the show was Reigns vs. Samoa Joe, in a feud that was restarted less than a month before Backlash took place. There was nothing on the line, there was no stipulation and in addition to the other problems (the match wasn’t very good for one thing), the fans weren’t all that interested in seeing it. Now aside from the fairly obvious reasons why the didn’t want to see it (non-title, non-stipulation, it was Reigns and more), it was at least partially due to the match that came earlier in the night with Styles vs. Nakamura.

I mean, it did give us this great moment.

Shinsuke Nakamura mercilessly slams AJ Styles onto a steel chair: WWE Backlash 2018 (WWE Network)

While Styles vs. Nakamura wasn’t the biggest match in the world, it was still a World Title match and that means something to the fans. It was a sticking point back in 2012 when John Cena was main eventing pay per view after pay per view but WWE Champion CM Punk didn’t get to main event for months and that’s the case again here. Aside from being on SmackDown Live, can someone give me one good reason why Styles vs. Nakamura didn’t main event the show? Maybe if it had, the fans wouldn’t be chanting “BEAT THE TRAFFIC” during the main event.

What would have been hurt by putting the title match on last? It might make the fans go home a little bit happier since they’re already leaving late. Actually hang on a second.

Sidebar: while we’re on the subject of the shows ending late, can we please drop this lie about the shows being scheduled to end at 10:30 EST? You know the shows aren’t ending at that time, I know the shows aren’t ending at that time, and the WWE knows the shows aren’t ending at that time. Money in the Bank ended nearly fifty minutes later than scheduled, and that doesn’t help anyone. How many kids were there with their parents, who were checking their watches because they had to go to work early the next morning? Cut that nonsense out because it’s just annoying and doesn’t help anything.

Anyway, do you think it might make the fans feel a little better if the main event was actually the biggest match on the card? I know Rusev isn’t one of the top stars in the company, but he’s a hot act at the moment and Styles has been WWE Champion for about eight months. I’d think that’s more than enough to carry a B show pay per view main event, yet unfortunately I can’t actually see it taking place, which is really quite a shame indeed.

The main event would make a nice Rusev Day present!

Are The New Day celebrating Rusev Day?: SmackDown LIVE, Oct. 17, 2017

If there’s one big problem with Reigns (and there are a lot of them), it’s that the fans are sick of seeing him on top for months and years at a time. This week on Monday Night Raw, Reigns referenced main eventing WrestleMania four years in a row. That’s more than the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, the Rock, or anyone else not named Hulk Hogan has ever done.

In other words, Reigns is a major star and a certified main event player. Instead of having him off to the side (or in the Monday Night Raw main event that goes second from the top) though, it’s looking like he’ll be headlining the pay per view (again) which will likely just result in him being booed heavily (again). Then we’ll move on to the next pay per view and it starts all over again, all while Styles is cheered to high Heaven because he’s one of the best of all time in the ring and has one of the twenty longest reigns in the title’s history (Kind of sneaks up on you doesn’t it?).

As of Wednesday of this week, Styles will have been WWE Champion for 230 days, or about eight months. Do you know how many pay per views he’s headlined in that amount of time? That would be two, with Styles main eventing Clash of Champions 2017 and Fastlane 2018. Any guesses how many Reigns has headlined? Three, with Elimination Chamber 2018, WrestleMania 34 and Backlash 2018, none of which saw Reigns holding a World Title.

I really don’t get it. Well I do get it but it makes my head hurt so much that I wish I didn’t get it. Reigns and Monday Night Raw right along with him are pushed to the moon and back every chance they can get while Styles and the WWE Championship are lucky to get off the ground. Let Styles, and the title, have a chance. Come on. It’s going to be on Rusev Day!

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his Amazon author page with 27 wrestling books. His latest book is the NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans.

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