Liam Hoofe with his predictions for Extreme Rules…
WWE presents Extreme Rules this Sunday night and frankly, things really don’t look that extreme. Of the 10 advertised matches, only three of them have any sort of stipulation (I refuse to count Ellsworth above the ring as a stipulation), and the build for the event, in general, has been poor. The continued absence of Brock Lesnar (in the WWE, at least) continues to anger fans, and AJ Styles’ title match against Rusev feels very predictable. With SummerSlam around the corner, this is the company’s last chance on PPV to establish some of the show’s biggest storylines. Will the WWE turn things around and deliver a great show on Sunday night? Let’s go through each of the night’s matches and predict how they will turn out.
Pre-Show: Sanity Vs The New Day
This match is actually more appealing that the majority of the rest of the card. Sanity have been chucked straight into the mix on Tuesday nights, and have already wrestled both The New Day and The Usos. Hopefully, the company don’t drop the ball with the act and they can find a nice home on SmackDown. A lot of NXT tag teams have been ruined on the main roster, let’s hope that Sanity can book that trend, starting with a great performance and a victory on Sunday night.
Prediction: Sanity Win
The B-Team Vs The Deleters of Worlds
As amusing as the B Team has been at times, this feud has represented just how far the tag team division on Raw has fallen. With the Authors of Pain waiting in the wings, it seems fairly likely that Hardy and Wyatt will brush aside their opponents before dropping their belts over the summer.
Prediction: The Deleters of Worlds Retain
The Bludgeon Brothers Vs Team Hell No
The SmackDown tag-team division hasn’t faired too much than Raw in recent months, despite having an abundance of talent. The booking of The Bludgeon Brothers has seen every other team on the roster forced out of the title scene and for that reason, Team Hell No should win the tag titles on Sunday. I’ve not been a huge fan of the WWE’s booking of Bryan since his return but I guess they want to protect him somewhat and not give away all of his dream matches straight away. I suspect he will win his first gold since his return on Sunday, though, don’t expect their reign to last too long.
Prediction: Team Hell No Win
Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Jeff Hardy
This match has had next to no build, with both having to take time off TV in recent weeks due to injuries. That being said, it should be a great match and it could help get Naks back on track in the WWE. His program with AJ Styles finally delivered a decent match at Money in the Bank, but it seems unlikely that he will be challenging for the WWE title again anytime soon. His heel character has been great fun though and he should pick up the victory on Sunday night. Vince loves a foreign heel holding the US title belt, and with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas only just having reappeared after a long absence, Shinsuke is likely to take the gold on Sunday night.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura Wins
Alexa Bliss Vs Nia Jax
Alexa Bliss is clearly going to be taking one hell of a beating from Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam and this match exists just to give Nia Jax her obligatory title rematch. The stipulation also means that Bliss can find some sort of way of sneaking the victory. Could we see a Rousey appearance on Sunday night? It would certainly add some drama to a night that really doesn’t appeal all that much on paper.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss Retains
Finn Balor Vs Baron Corbin
Finn Balor had a great month in May in the build to Money in the Bank but he has lost some of his momentum since entering into his feud with Baron Corbin. While there are plenty enjoying Corbin’s new ‘constable’ gimmick, I have found the whole thing to be fairly flat. This feud has basically been built on Baron saying Finn is short, which doesn’t exactly sell me on a match. I don’t think the company has any particular big plans for either man over the summer, so they may just extend this one. Corbin is taking a sneaky win here.
Prediction: Baron Corbin Wins
Seth Rollins Vs Dolph Ziggler – Iron Man Match
This has match of the night written all over it. Ziggler’s victory came out of left-field after Money in the Bank but the feud between the two men has already provided us with some excellent matches and they will no doubt take that up a notch on Sunday night. Ziggler will find a way to pick up a victory, and Drew McIntyre is probably going to have something to do with it.
Dolph will likely hold the title for a while before he and Drew inevitably split up. Drew looked excellent in his match against Rollins on the most recent episode of Raw, and it is only a matter of time before he is tasting gold in the WWE again.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler Wins
Kevin Owens Vs Braun Strowman – Steel Cage Match
The feud between Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman has provided Raw with some fun segments in recent weeks, and their match at Extreme Rules is likely going to have some sort of comedy element to it. Braun is hopefully preparing for a run with the Universal Title, so he needs to pick up the win here on Sunday night. Owens will likely get tossed about like a rag-doll and be made to look a bit daft, but I really don’t see this going any other way.
Hopefully, Owens can get back on track after this, he proved in the build to Money in the Bank that he is one of the company’s most effective heels, and the company just needs to find something interesting to do with him.
Prediction: Braun Strowman Wins
Carmella Vs Asuka
Seeing the way the WWE has booked Asuka since her WrestleMania defeat, it is looking increasingly likely that she will lose once again Sunday night. While her debut got off to a rocky start, Asuka finally felt like something special at the turn of the year but the WWE has monumentally screwed it up and she is quickly beginning to feel like just another superstar.
With Ellsworth literally hanging above the ring, you can expect plenty of shenanigans here on Sunday night, and while it should simply be a case of Asuka destroying Carmella in a matter of minutes, I have a horrible feeling the champion is going to find another way to retain at Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Carmella retains
Bobby Lashley Vs Roman Reigns
With the WWE seemingly none the wiser about what is happening with Brock Lesnar at the moment, this match has been given to us instead of the initially promised Universal Championship number 1 contender match.
Lashley has been a dud since he returned, and Reigns is guaranteed to draw a negative reaction wherever he goes, so it seems fairly likely that the fans will take over this bout as they have done with Reigns’ last few PPV outings. It’s a tough one to call though- if anyone is likely to face Lesnar at SummerSlam, it’s Reigns but the WWE also like pushing the narrative that he just can’t get the big win, under the pretence that it will somehow endear fans to him.
I’m going with Lashley to pick up the win here. Rather naively, I’m hoping he turns heel and refreshes his character, though, that seems incredibly unlikely.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley Wins
AJ Styles Vs Rusev
It was a very happy Rusev Day indeed when Rusev overcame four other men to become the number 1 contender for AJ Styles’ WWE title on a recent episode of SmackDown. Unfortunately for the Bulgarian Brute, he is likely to be nothing more than a flavour of the month style challenger, with few fans expecting him to walk away from Extreme Rules with the title around his waist.
If recent rumours are to be believed, then AJ is set to defend his title against Samoa Joe at SummerSlam, and while Rusev may be one of the most over superstars on the WWE roster, the chances of him headlining SummerSlam are slim to none.
Prediction: AJ Styles Retains
Photo credits: WWE