Ladies and Gentlemen, it is that time of year again. The time of year where your favorite WWE superstars take things to the extreme! The follow up to WrestleMania this year is again Extreme Rules, and it is a stacked card. It seems as though there are more gimmick matches than in previous years and I am all for it. WrestleMania is a culmination of a years worth of storytelling and the matches should be relatively pure. But after that, after the feuds have been dealt with and the new stories are being told? All bets are off and I simply want to be entertained for three hours on a Sunday night. While it is not and never will be ECW, and soon enough most fans won't even care/remember, Extreme Rules usually delivers.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (c) VS The New Day - Tag Team Championship match
Relegated to the kickoff show, again, Kidd and Cesaro put their belts on the line against the newly sort of heel New Day. Kidd and Cesaro are on a roll as champs and as much as Kofi and Big-E are coming into their own, it's not time yet. They have been building to a full fledged heel turn for a few months and with their cheating ways becoming more prevalent, I expect the full turn to come Sunday. If done right, The New Day could be awesome. The talent is there, they just need a direction. By turning them heel, WWE would give the crowd a reason to cheer Kidd and Cesaro as opposed to them getting cheers simply for being over with smarks. It just makes sense.
Dolph Ziggler VS Sheamus - Kiss Me Arse match
This type of match has been absent from WWE airwaves for quite some time and with good reason. It's dumb. It is not and never has been funny. It does not and never did garner any type of heat. It will and always has made most fans groan. I fully expect Sheamus to go over here. Sheamus has just come back with a new look and a new badass attitude. To have him literally kissing the ass of another competitor would kill any momentum he has built. The match will most likely end with Dolph getting a last second, out of nowhere pinfall, a tease of Sheamus kissing his ass, and the swerve of Sheamus beating him down leading to a blowoff match at the next PPV. Sheamus could get the win clean but with how he is being booked, I don't see it. Either way, don't expect any arses to be kissed.
Dean Ambrose VS Luke Harper - Chicago Street Fight
Both Ambrose and Harper are veterans of some pretty brutal independent promotions, most notably Combat Zone Wrestling, CZW. These guys are no strangers to hard core matches with Ambrose even having wrestled in CZW's Tournament of Death (a series of ever increasingly brutal death matches). That being said, this match will not be altogether that brutal or even have much bloodshed. WWE has really toned down the more violent aspects of their matches over the years in an effort to be an all ages product. There will be some blood and some insane spots involving chairs and ladders and trashcans (George Takei). Predicting the outcome is tricky though as the booking decisions being made with both men have been squirrely to say the least. It really could go either way but I would guess Ambrose gets the win here as the start of a minor push. It should be fun regardless.
Daniel Bryan (c) VS Bad News Barrett - Intercontinental Championship match
Daniel Bryan won the IC belt at WrestleMania making him one of the few Grand Slam champions in company history (WWE World, IC, US, and Tag Team champ). He is poised for a long run as champ and the man who could really elevate the belt to the level it used to have in the 70's-90's. Dropping the belt would kill any momentum it has especially because Barrett is already a five time IC champ and a sixth reign would do nothing for him or the belt. I expect this to be a great match. Both guys are incredibly solid workers and are capable of having the match of the night on any night. My prediction is for Bryan to go over, keep the belt, and eventually move on to Sheamus while Barrett should get a shot in the World title picture.
Nikki Bella (c) VS Naomi - Divas Championship match
Nikki has had the belt for a little while now and I fully expect her to keep the belt against Naomi. As much as WWE may try, I just cannot care about Naomi as a character. Face, heel, doesn't matter. I'm thinking a relatively short "popcorn" match.
John Cena (c) VS Rusev - United States Championship Russian Chain match
A Four Corners match, Texas Bull Rope match, Indian Strap match, drag your opponent behind you as you touch all four corners match. I'm going to be completely honest, this is one of my favorite gimmick matches. It's just so silly. The drama that is inherent in these matches is when the heel gets to that third corner, touches it, and begins slowly making his way, dragging his near lifeless opponent, to the fourth corner and victory only to have the face dig in his heels, and turn the match into a tug of war that ends in some sort of finisher. It's great. Even knowing that is going to happen is great. I'm excited for this match even though I think Cena is going to win. Rusev can lose this match and still look strong. He should be moving on to the WWE title picture soon anyway. This should be a really fun match with some really good spots.
Roman Reigns VS The Big Show - Last Man Standing
Reigns and Show is the last match I expected to care about but here we are. In the weeks after Mania, Reigns and Show have had a nice little feud that has managed to further the Reigns vs Authority storyline while keeping Reigns away from the main title picture. Plus, show has been really good working with Reigns, maybe the best he has been in years. This match should deliver on physical storytelling with both men getting in some big power moves/displays. Ultimately, Reigns takes this after a few superman punches and a spear or two.
Seth Rollins (c) VS Randy Orton - WWE World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage match
First prediction - since the RKO is banned, Orton will tease using the RKO at least three times. Second prediction - Seth Rollins will try to use the RKO against Orton at least twice. Third prediction - Kane will end up attacking Rollins. Fourth prediction - Rollins will win anyway.
This match will have all manner of ridiculous spots. It will be violent. It will be fast paced. It will have an incredible workrate because Rollins and Orton are two of the very best working today. It will definitely be close but ultimately, Rollins will walk out still champ. It would make zero sense for Orton to get the belt after the way Rollins cashed in at Mania. There is still life left in this story and it would make sense to milk another two months out of it if they can.
So there you have it. My predictions for Extreme Rules. I've done really well so far this year. How will I do this time? Join me on twitter, @geekadedan, and let's find out.
WWE Extreme Rules airs Sunday, April 26th at 8pm ET/5pm PT