Emanating live from Chicago, Illinois, this Sunday’s Extreme Rules sees the Superstars of the WWE toss the conventional rule book aside in attempt to either settle old scores or take fresh rivalries to the next level.
With every title on the line and a series of stipulations ranging from the awesome to the absurd, the first big event following this year’s Wrestlemania has all the potential -from an in-ring standpoint at least- to be every bit as enjoyable as the WWE’s marquee event.
Here’s what’s in store when Extreme Rules takes place this Sunday, April 26th.
There are those who’ll bemoan the tag titles once again being relegated to the pre-show, but let’s be honest, with the whole thing being broadcast on the Network anyway, a spot on the pre-show isn’t quite the demotion it once was.
Besides, of all the bouts scheduled to take this place this Sunday, are any better suited to get the crowds pumped up than what is sure to be a fast-paced, high-flying contest between Kidd, Cesaro and the antagonistic New Day?
Regardless of the outcome, this has all the makings of a sure-fire stormer, particularly with the challengers taking their inevitable heel-turn to the next level against the increasingly popular (albeit technically heel) champions.
Still, the title of this piece did promise predictions, so let’s get to that, shall we?
Expect Kidd and Cesaro to retain, with the challengers later blaming the fans’ lack of support for their loss, furthering their ascent to fully-fledged bad guys.
At time of writing, this match was still definitely scheduled to take place, though if the rumour mill is to be believed, we could well see it scrapped from the card before Sunday’s opening bell. The reason? Daniel Bryan’s second post-Wrestlemania injury as many years.
Are things as bad as we’re being told? Only time will tell. Until then, all we’re left with is the speculation over the match itself.
All being well, Bryan vs. Barrett should deliver at Extreme Rules. This writer doubts that it will pick up match of the night honors, but that’s not to say it shouldn’t be a fine match in and of itself.
The result of course, largely depends on Bryan’s health. If he’s good to go, expect a win for the champion. If not, look for Barrett’s umpteenth IC title reign to begin this Sunday.
In terms of a solid prediction, let’s err on the side of caution and pick the man from Preston.
Whilst the aforementioned championship clash may not be our highlight of the night, this one well could be. As two of WWE’s more unhinged characters, Harper and Ambrose have an opportunity to present fans with a completely different kind of match than the one we’re used to seeing, a concept the entire Extreme Rules event is based on.
Forget about either man’s position on the card for a moment. The whole reason we tune into pro wrestling in the first place is to be entertained, and to that end, both men should have no problem succeeding in what is likely to be a wild, chaotic brawl, probably with a few ‘extreme’ stunts thrown in for good measure.
As for the victor? This writer will give the nod to Harper, if only because there’s a lot of mileage left in this story, and a win for the former Wyatt Family member could do much to make erstwhile Shield leader Ambrose look all the better when he does finally get the three count over his latest rival.
The WWE Braintrust have been making great strides towards giving us a women’s division we can actually care about over the last several months. Sadly, it may be a case of too little, too late. Despite the best efforts of all involved, nothing about Nikki vs. Naomi presents much to get excited about.
This is particularly true when you consider the feeling that this is all just to kill some time before Paige returns from her acting duties to pick up feuds with both girls involved.
Prediction wise, Bella #1 seems the only logical choice here.
Let’s get this out of the way first, shall we: The stipulation attached to this match is beyond stupid, Fortunately, all signs point towards neither man’s buttocks being exposed in this age of family-friendly ‘sports’ entertainment.
That out of the way, there’s little doubt in this fan’s mind that this will be an exceptional match, with the big Irishman excelling in his role as the dominant bully and Dolph performing just as strongly when cast as the plucky underdog.
All signs point towards Sheamus picking the win here, only for Dolph to counter any arse kissing with a well-executed low-blow.
Few people have high expectations of this one, though let’s not forget that most people already wrote off Roman Reigns before he went on to hold his own in the main event of Wrestlemania.
Still, that was against a star attraction like Brock Lesnar. This time out, Reigns squares off against a man whose only real upside is that he’s pretty big.
Hopefully, this one doesn’t get the extended length of time afforded to most Last Man Standing matches, and instead ends in short order with an inevitable win for Roman.
For all intents and purposes, this should be the end of what has ultimately been an enjoyable story between these two. The final chapter will be written this Sunday with the champion going all out to prove that he’s still got it -and that his ‘Mania win was no fluke- whilst The Evil Foreigner looks do all he can to re-assert his dominance on US soil.
The strap-match is one of the few gimmicks that doesn’t feel entirely overplayed, and it should lend for a refreshing match at Extreme Rules which will be just as enjoyable, though completely different, from Rusev & Cena’s earlier two contests.
Prediction-wise, expect a win for the champion before both men go their separate ways.
No lie folks, your writer just got goosebumps typing the words ‘WWE Champion Seth Rollins.’
The Authority’s Golden Child has consistently been one of the most enjoyable performers to watch over the course of the past few months, and his ‘Mania clash with Orton delivered on almost every level. So it should come as no surprise to see the cocky, young champion and the wily, cunning veteran produce an outstanding main event.
Of course, with Kane as the Guardian of the Gate (or whatever they called him), with J&J Security hanging around, and with any number of other factors to consider, this could quickly descent from a quality outing to an overbooked mess.
Hopefully, shenanigans will be kept to a minimum, resulting in a thrilling ride en route to Rollins’ first big-time win as champion.
all images via WWE