WWE will take matters to the extreme for the tenth time with the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, one of the company's few shows where most match stipulations will involve 'hardcore rules.' A couple of co-branded events in and now storylines have had enough time to gain momentum.
One big glaring hole is that it's another PPV where the Universal title will not be defended. Even without Brock Lesnar, WWE has worked hard to build interest in other feuds and titles. (Fear not, if you miss Brock he made an appearance at UFC 226 and cut a promo all on his own.) Extreme Rules should set the field for an exciting Summerslam, let’s check out the card.
Preshow: Sanity vs The New Day (Tables Match)
Just announced on Tuesday’s Smackdown Live by general manager Paige, these two will face off under the tables stipulation. Sanity finally debuted a few weeks back and have been picking feuds with anyone in sight. They interrupted The New Day’s 4th of July pancake eating contest which prompted the rivalry. The New Day are at a point in their run where nothing can dim their shine. Meanwhile, Sanity being new to the blue brand could use the rub to establish themselves with those not familiar with NXT. Sanity's loss to the Usos and Jeff Hardy on Smackdown Live a couple weeks back, but on Sunday night, they'll be victorious.
Prediction: Sanity defeats The New Day
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
This match was thrown together with a war of words on Twitter and a couple of tag matches. It seems Balor cannot catch break with a decent push toward a title. Corbin, on the other hand got a haircut and a demotion, in my opinion. 'Constable Corbin' is the equivalent of Corporate Kane and does nothing to garner interest or crowd reaction. The angle of this match is like Big Cass (whom was legitimately fired) vs Daniel Bryan in the classic 'big man vs little man' trope. Expect the little man to win again, but next time can we get the 'The Demon King' back please
Prediction: Finn Balor wins
Raw Women's Championship -- Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax (Extreme Rules)
Alexa Bliss shocked us all winning the Money in the Bank contract and cashing in the same night. Nia Jax demanded her mandatory rematch for the women’s title immediately. I’m interested to see how much gas this feud has. The two put on a great match at Wrestlemania, but it’s clear the styles of both wrestlers don’t mesh all that well.
This match is no disqualification, so that gives Alexa a chance to have the upper hand. Ronda Rousey will be sitting ringside although she’s still (kayfabe) suspended. I expect her to play a role in this match while the self-proclaimed Goddess barely escapes.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss retains
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Carmella (c) vs. Asuka
Can WWE misuse Asuka anymore than they’ve already done? Going from a remarkable undefeated streak and respectably losing to Charlotte Flair to taking a L from Carmella and having matches with James Ellsworth. Asuka doesn’t deserve to be diminished any more than she has, but I don’t see an end in sight. At the same time, I am of the belief that “Mella is Money” and this is her time to shine. Ellsworth will be suspended in a shark cage for this match, though somehow Mella leaves Sunday as champion.
Prediction: Carmella retains
United States Championship -- Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Jeff Hardy and Nakamura have traded promos back and forth for the past month. Nakamura will be back in action after being on the wrong end of a police dog encounter. It seems WWE has relegated Shinsuke to mid-card hell, but he and Jeff should be fun. I expect some close falls and for this feud to continue another month due to Shinsuke’s injury getting in the way of a proper build up.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy retains
SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. Team Hell No
A nostalgia act for the ages. I attended Smackdown Live when Kane returned, and I was extremely shocked. This is a perfect way to hold off the eventual Daniel Bryan vs Miz feud or world title push. The Bludgeon Brothers have been champs since 'Mania and are undefeated in action, but while I love how they’ve been repackaged, the title run has been stale. If there’s ever a time to reestablish their dominance it would be now with a loss.
Prediction: Team Hell No become Smackdown champs
Raw Tag Team Championship -- Deleters of Worlds vs. B-Team
Who would have ever known Curtiss Axel and Bo Dallas could be entertaining after years of bad gimmicks? For weeks, the B-Team has mocked Hardy and Wyatt in hilarious segments. That same B-Team is undefeated in tag team action. The Raw tag team division is clearly lacking in credible options to their champions and I can’t imagine the Hardy/Wyatt pairing losing their push to the B-Team.
Prediction: Deleters of Worlds retain titles
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
This has been the main feud on Raw for the past few weeks. A few tag team losses to the revival and passionate stare downs and now the yard isn’t big enough for the two. Both men want a shot at Brock Lesnar. I want to be a professional e-sports athlete. Sadly we don't always get what we want.
WWE initially announced a multi-man match for No. 1 contendership before Raw general manager Kurt Angle rescinded it citing a botch in Lesnar’s contract. I couldn’t be more uninterested than I already am and hope they surprise me with the action Sunday. I have a feeling the company wants both guys to look like strong contenders to the Universal title. I don’t see a winner coming out of this match:
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Steel Cage)
The bullying angle that everyone seems to enjoy. This feud started with Kevin trying to be friends with Braun Strowman. For weeks Strowman has terrorized Kevin and made him scared to come to work. We know that Strowman will be your eventual Universal champion (likely via cash in), but I cannot see why it would be good to continue burying Kevin Owens when he is possibly your best heel on the red brand. In steel cage rules, you can win by hook or by crook, which is what Owens does exactly.
Prediction: Owens wins via cage escape
Intercontinental Championship -- Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins (30-Minute Iron Man)
Thirty minutes for two of the best in ring performers in the business. There is no doubt in my mind this will be the best match of the night. As for the outcome, Dolph has had help against Seth in his previous battles. Seth just loss a match against Drew Mcintyre, so Drew will still be ringside. This is one of the better Raw storylines since the big title isn’t being featured, no reason to stop that now. Besides rumors have swirled that Ziggler had an expiring contract coming up which could have recently changed. (Among other rumors, could Dean Ambrose be ready for an appearance?)
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler retains
WWE Championship -- AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev
Rusev gained the honor winning a #1 contenders' gauntlet on Smackdown Live. This is the big push Rusev fans have been waiting for since the birth of the 'Rusev Day' gimmick. AJ has been riding the wave of champion for a long time and fans grew tired of the Nakamura feud. It’s easy to see why AJ comes out victorious with him being the WWE 2K19 cover boy, but I recall a shocker just last year when Jinder Mahal went over Randy Orton. I expect WWE to ride whatever wave is left of 'Rusev Day' trend and capitalize on one of its under-used talents until SummerSlam. This will be the greatest 'Rusev Day' in history.
Prediction: Rusev becomes WWE Champion
Cedric Welton is an aspiring journalist. In addition to creating content for TSFJ, he works part time at the NFL in Next Gen Stats and is a Reporter/Host for Torrance CitiCable's Sports Desk. He is a proud Arizona State Alum and enthusiast of all things WWE and combat sports.
"Character is not determined by what it takes to motivate you, but by what it takes to stop you."
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