So it’s that time again. Our monthly time when we give away 4 hours of our lives that WWE will take from us and either destroy forever or entertain us for most with a scattering of boredom. So with a very hit and miss run so far in terms of WWE ppvs in 2018 so far lets see what Extreme Rules gives us. It’s not a bad card, but it’s not a Wrestlemania worthy card either so we shall see. Some matches should be fun, others… well… we’ll see… oh and by the way don’t expect this show to be quick; there are TEN MATCHES on the main show alone. For once I shall not be watching this ppv live, and to be honest I am kind of glad…
PRE SHOW= Tables Match: ‘The New Day’ (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) v ‘Sanity’ (Eric Young, Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe)
‘Why is this match on the pre-show?’ a friend of mine said to me. Well… I’d push Sanity to the moon, so would most people, but they haven’t been on weekly Smackdown tv for too long but nonetheless a gimmick match against one of the most popular tag teams for years isn’t really a bad spot. And there are 3 men in New Day as there are in Sanity so the match is an easy one to make. All 6 guys are great and will match up really well, different to your usual pre show matches I think this will be a lot of fun. And as confident as I am it’ll be fun to watch I am equally as such that the only result is for the newcomers to get one over the established main roster act to give them a big win on a ppv pre-show…. surely….???
Baron Corbin v Finn Balor
Constable Corbin will probably wrestle in his shirt and trousers, whilst maybe the most underutilized superstar in the whole of WWE will do his upmost to make people care during this match. But no matter how hard he tries if this match is above 3 stars I’d be ASTOUNDED. Surely destined for the pre-show it’s yet another sad reminder that approaching TWO YEARS since he had to relinquish the title due to injury, Finn Balor is STILL yet to receive his Universal Championship rematch. And right now I’m not sure he could be any further away.
Prediction: Finn Balor
Raw Tag Team Championship: ‘The Deleteters of Worlds’ (WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) (C) v ‘The B Team’ (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
I honestly have seen nothing from the Matt Hardy singles matches with Axel and Bo in recent weeks to convince me anymore that this will be an exciting wrestling match, but I think we all know this match is all about the weird stuff of The Deleters of Worlds and the comedy of The B Team. Fun, yes. Great wrestling, maybe not. But for what it is it’ll be fine. I would PRESUME that Hardy and Bray will retain, setting them up for a huge tag title defense at Summerslam but they have made a point of not having ‘The B Team’ lose recently, so a shock isn’t completely off the cards.
Prediction: ‘The Deleters of Worlds’ to retain
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella (C) w/ James Ellsworth (trapped above the ring in a shark-cage) v Asuka
Oh boy… right, I will say I ADORE Asuka, I ADORE Carmella. I even don;t mind James Ellsworth, but these 2 women are going to have to work very hard to make this a good match. Asuka has been so terribly written ever since her match with Charlotte at Wrestlemania ended. You have Asuka unbeaten for 2 1/2 years and forever mention her ‘streak’ and yes you had her lose to Charlotte at Mania, totally fine; Charlotte is one of the best female wrestlers in WWE history as well as being a megastar. Fine. But now what is Asuka? She’s just…. another woman. To put it into context for all Asuka’s obvious talents (for those of us lucky to see her in NXT she was about 10 times better than she’s being allowed to be since coming to the main roster), since Wrestlemania 34 in televised matches across Raw and Smackdown and on PPVs Asuka has had 8 matches, winning 6 and losing 2, one to Carmella at MITB and the other in a tag match for absolutely no reason… MOJO RAWLEY in that same time frame has had across Raw, Main Event and network specials has also had 8 matches, he won 5 and lost 3… Not too different a record right (if you discount the GRR it’s pretty much the same for the number of matches they have been in)? That’s MOJO RAWLEY and ASUKA… just putting that out there… Even me as big an Asuka fan as I am/was I’m really not as into her as I was going into Mania. She’s just…. there. Carmella is doing her thing sure. She’s the champion now and I really am entertained by her outside of the ring in her promos and segments, her in-ring work is getting better but not yet good. And with the added gimmick you can bet this will all be centered around Ellsworth. Another match on this show that will be least about the actual wrestling and more about everything else, which on a show as long as this will be might be needed to avoid burnout who knows? I guess that’s “Sports Entertainment” for you… oh and btw I’m calling Becky Lynch vs Carmella for the title at Summerslam.
Prediction: Carmella to retain
Raw Women’s Championship – Extreme Rules Match: Alexa Bliss (C) v Nia Jax
Remember Bayley vs Alexa at Extreme Rules last year and how terrible it was? Remember how… erm… clunky… the first match between these 2 was at Wrestlemania and how terrible their match at Backlash was… yeah I’m not too excited for this match. It’s extreme rules is potential for beatings all round so maybe they can get creative with that, but the result of this one seems like an absolute lock. I’ve always thought that matches suffer when they are not the primary focus, and the main story of this match will be a certain UFC Hall of Fame female sat ringside in the crowd. And that’s the money match isn’t it. Particularly after Money in the Bank and after what led to Rousey getting ‘suspended’. let’s get this rematch for Nia out the way and then go full steam ahead for the mega-match for the Raw Women’s title at Summerslam.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss to retain
United States Championship: Jeff Hardy (C) v Shinsuke Nakamura
On the contrary I am really looking forward to this meeting. Jeff even with all his bumps down the years, added to the fact he is carrying a plethora of injuries as we speak, and Nakamura despite his losing feud to Styles is still one of the best workers in the world… when he’s allowed to! I presume this will open the main show and if they give it enough time it could be an absolute cracker. 2 veterans whose styles I think will mix really well, and you know the crowd will be really hot for this match too. Result wise given that Hardy has so many injuries he’s carrying, and that Shinsuke lost his WWE title feud to AJ not long ago, I really hope Nakamura takes the belt here. Maybe a big rematch at Summerslam before Jeff takes time out to heal up, before maybe an NXT call up or perhaps a Daniel Bryan or a returning Randy Orton can battle Nakamura for the belt in the months afterwards. A lot of ifs, buts and maybes there but if it all works out, or something similar, I’ll be very happy indeed.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura is the new United States Champion
Steel Cage Match: Kevin Owens v Braun Strowman
So the logic with Braun here to make him a megastar and to get him over as a babyface is the Stone Cole philosophy; arrive, raise hell, leave. And well people do cheer Braun, maybe not on the level they did a few months back but he’s still a star behind only Rollins and Ronda in terms of popularity on Raw for me. And Owens is being positioned as the cowardly, yet comical heel. On the outlook you would say that this match is set up as surely Owens to be fed to Strowman, I see it slightly different. In history before a big cash in, Money in the Bank briefcase holders don’t tend to be booked so strong so as to throw people of the scent that they may be a new champion in the future; Carmella was thrown out of the Wrestlemania women’s battle royal first and 2 days later was Champion, Seth Rollins ended Wrestlemania 31 as WWE Champion after a cash-in having earlier fell victim to the best RKO of all time. And whilst I don’t think Braun will be outright beat here, the main spot to me will be something that has been done recently in a similar way between Lesnar and Roman, and historically with Austin and the Big Show… I think Braun is going to throw KO into the cage wall, the wall will break, and Owens will escape. A bit of a stretch but I called the finish of the NXT Women’s Championship match from the last NXT Takeover, so this is my latest big tip for a finish. Braun gets mad, Owens runs away and we continue from there…
Prediction: Kevin Owens (by default)
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: ‘The Bludgeon Brothers’ (Harper & Rowan) (C) v ‘Team Hell No’ (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
TEAM HELL NO ARE BACK TOGETHER!!! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!!! Sadly though of course Kane is going off to be a Mayor soon so I don’t see the most pushed and protected tag team in the company (and rightfully so as Harper and Rowan in this act are awesome) dropping the belts here. These are 4 guys who have their act and their way of performing down to a tee so I expect a really entertaining contest here, of course the crowd will be super behind a certain bearded fella, and he’ll get to sell his ass off to the two monsters he and Kane are up against, but he’ll get to do some great spots where the crowd will go wild thinking he will get the win, sadly though i just can’t see it happening. I still don’t think they are going to give us Miz vs Bryan so soon, I see that being held til Wrestlemania next year, maybe even for the Championship. Don’t be surprised by a Kane heel turn followed by a farewell match for Kane against his friend Daniel Bryan at Summerslam to come. You know it makes sense. And if anyone is taking those titles from The Bludgeon Brothers it should be Sanity; Team Hell No don’t need to win the tag belts, Sanity really do.
Prediction: ‘The Bludgeon Brothers’ to retain
Intercontinental Championship – 30 Minute Iron Man Match: Dolph Ziggler (C) w/Drew McIntyre v Seth Rollins
This is going to be really really really good. I don’t have too much to say about it, two great in-ring performers with guaranteed 30 minutes to be able to tell one hell of a story. Dolph’s career and character has been fully rejuvenated by his alliance with Drew McIntyre (he’s not in this match directly so I wont bang on too much about him, but in short I’ll say Drew is going to be a FUCKING MEGASTAR). Rollins for many months now has been the outstanding performer on the main roster, and I think although he shouldn’t lose and I’ rather him not lose a match where by the nature of it he has to lose multiple times I think he can cope with it and it wont harm him too much if it is told right. And without the IC title it leaves Rollins able to pursue a missing red championship too, and it’s obvious surely that the money match for the future is Dolph doing the job to Drew. This will be fun.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler to retain
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) v Rusev w/Aiden English
Fun match, yes. Crowd noise, yes. 2 great workers, yes. Result obvious, sadly yes. An before you think I’m an idiot I am not against AJ as Champion AT ALL, but we all know there is absolutely no chance at all that Rusev is winning the WWE Championship here. This does feel like a space holder for AJ ahead of Summerslam and probably Samoa Joe, but lets be grateful that RUSEV is in the WWE Championship match, and lets more so PRAY that they don’t break Rusev and Aiden English up as that would make me, you and everyone very sad indeed.
Prediction: AJ Styles to retain
Roman Reigns v Bobby Lashley
Right… I’m just going to say it; I’m looking forward to this match. The pull-apart brawl between the two on the go home edition of Raw was absolutely fantastic, and I legitimately think the actual match will be good. We all would prefer Lashley to win sure, but if this is an unofficial number one contender’s match for the Universally-absent Championship then Roman is winning… right? And then Braun will cash in and win… right? Well… given what happened at the recent UFC event, and the ongoing reports that Lesnar may or may not be working Summerslam it’s as unclear as ever as to when, who or even IF there will be a world title change for Raw anytime soon. Who knows what on earth is going on. I certainly don’t.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
ALL I am going to say here is good luck to everyone watching this show live (staying awake for it all). It’s going to be a LONG show, and some of it might not be too good. I hope I’m very wrong and some of the card will actually I’m sure be great; Rollins v Ziggler in particular. Big night for WWE and they need to have a good one. Very skeptical though that they will do just that. Let’s hope I am wrong.
Ps. As I finish Sin Cara Vs Andrade Almas has just been announced for the kick off show in a rematch from Smackdown this past week. I have no idea why they need to do this again as I’m almost certain Almas will win again. But hey it’ll be great and any reason to see Almas and Zelina Vega is never something I’ll moan about.