WWE likes to claim it goes Extreme “one night a year,” but we all really know that WWE Extreme Rules is one of about half-a-dozen gimmick Pay Per Views the company cycles through on an annual basis. Still, the sheer number of gimmick matches are enough to make even Vince Russo blush. But who’s going to walk away with more than just bruises? Let’s find out…
WWE EXTREME RULES KICKOFF – WWE Tag Team Championship: Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. New Day
Brian: It’s almost amazing to see the turnaround on The New Day, using the crowd reaction to help get them over. Still, it’s disappointing the way that WWE has utilized all of these guy but they’re finally getting some TV time and used in a better way. This should be a fun match but I can’t see Cesaro and Kidd losing the gold when they are just starting to take off.
Michael: It’s good to see such a terrible gimmick, like New Day, finally get some traction after turning heel. It’s not that I could give two craps about the “New Day” idea. It’s just that I happen to really like Kingston, Woods, and (to a much lesser extent) Big E. Still, there’s no way they’re walking out with the belts – Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are finally getting over with the audience, and it just makes sense to keep the straps where they are.
Josh: I think the WWE has been doing a better job recently with having more meaningful matches on these kickoff shows. I’ve enjoyed this turn for New Day so far it’s unfortunate that it took 5 months for the WWE to make this decision, but I couldn’t be happier for Big E, Xavier and Kofi. Despite a couple losses over the last couple of weeks, I still think there are more legs in this Kidd & Cesaro run as Tag Team Champions, and that’s why I’m going with Kidd & Cesaro to retain and the New Day will have a bad day. FACT!
Justin: New Day. The New Day heel turn goes into full effect with a swiping of the tag titles from Cesaro and Kidd, who have been excellent as team given the nature of their thrown-together alliance. But the New Day are just transitional champions as the Lucha Dragons are getting the big push. Gotta sell some masks.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper in a Chicago Street Fight
Brian: It’s funny that everyone noticed that these two guys were wearing the EXACT SAME CLOTHES at the start of this feud and the WWE finally noticed and made Ambrose start wearing his branded t-shirt rather than a white tank top. And the good thing is they both wear jeans, the appropriate attire for a real street fight in the wrestling business. These two should take the action all over the building and maybe out onto the streets of Chicago. I’ll take the Lunatic Fringe to get the win.
Michael: Let me make the joke one more time: WIFE BEATER ON A POLE MATCH BOOKED BY VINCE RUSSO. Alright, now that I’ve got that out of my system… I mean, this should be a fun brawl. These guys are both physical enough (and Harper has shown plenty of grit in recent months) that I look forward to whatever we get here. Ambrose needs the momentum, so he’s my pick – plus, with a short feud like this, gotta go with the babyface.
Josh: There’s been good Chicago Street Fight’s and there’s been bad Chicago Street Fights in years past. I think this was the perfect match for both Harper and Ambrose instead of having a standard tables match. I don’t think Ambrose and Harper really needed a complicated storyline, the story writes itself when you look at the fact that Harper was the reason why Ambrose lose the Ladder Match at WrestleMania and he laid him out on a table and Ambrose is seeking revenge. I think this will be a fun back and forth brawl that will go all around the arena and I’m going with Dean Ambrose to pick up a much needed victory.
Justin: Dean Ambrose. The battle of tank tops and jeans goes to the guy who went through a ladder at WrestleMania as jeans Ambrose gets his revenge and then some. Meanwhile, we all have to endure CM Punk chants. Please, let it go.
WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs Naomi
Brian: Did you know that the Bellas are babyfaces? Just like that. Boom. No set up, no nothing. Just one day they’re the nicer ones we should get behind. Naomi is a freshly branded heel so we have to root for the Bellas, right? This division still needs some more fresh faces but they should stick with Nikki as champion.
Michael: I. Don’t. Really. Care. Seriously, I don’t get the feud, I don’t understand how WWE is positioning the Divas division at all (other than simply stalling to give NXT time to refill the coffers), and I’m completely indifferent to anything that happens. So who wins? Well… Nikki… or maybe… Naomi. Sure, Naomi. That sounds good. Why not?
Josh: Despite a perplexing road towards this match I think Naomi has been solid so far in this heel turn. Obviously the Divas Division has been in a beginning of a transitional period with the retirement of AJ Lee. I think the match will far exceed people’s expectations and there’s a lot pressure for Naomi and this match and here’s her opportunity to make a name for herself on the big stage. I got Nikki Bella retaining the Divas Championship.
Justin: Naomi. Gotta kick start that heel turn. (I’m sensing a theme here.) Such a weird dynamic since Nikki and Brie never really turned face other than acting nice on Raw for a change. Can we just reset the whole division, drop the “Divas” name and call up Sasha Banks and Charlotte already?
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match
Brian: Why did the WWE go back to this feud? Why? You can’t find anyone else that Reigns can face? This should be a slobberknocker between the big guys but I just hope it doesn’t…drag…on…and…on. Let Reigns get the win here and move on. And not to Kane. Bo-lieve that!
Michael: Are you ready for Roman Reigns to “take the big fight to the Big Show!”? And dramatic ten-counts, groggy rope grabs, and Michael Cole saying “There’s NO WAY he’s getting up after that one” (with JBL chiming in, “I don’t know, MAGGLE!”). I’m not saying every match has to be super fast-paced… but COME ON. A slow match type with an even slower athletic pace? Reigns needs a win here, and he’s moving on to bigger (and better?) things anyway.
Josh: Contrary to popular belief the Chicago fanbase actually likes Roman Reigns. I was at a house show before the Royal Rumble and he had a massive amount cheers and this house show was packed with fans, so who knows, maybe with a PPV type of crowd you’ll have your smarky fans during this match that will chant CM Punk and Please Retire. This stipulation makes sense. I’m surprised that this match is happening now and it didn’t happen at FastLane, but it is what it is. I think Reigns and Show are heading towards with a major chip on both of their shoulders and I think this match will be solid. Hey Bray Wyatt and John Cena had a Last Man Standing Match at Payback last year that nobody was looking forward to and it ended being one of the best WWE PPV matches of the year. Obviously I’m going with Roman Reigns in this match and there’s going to be a lot of destruction in this match.
Justin: Roman Reigns. I guess we know why Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. I’m sure Reigns will bury Big Show under something heavy rather than a bunch of spears and Superman punches for more of a spectacle. I don’t have high hopes for this. I’m tired of Big Show (and Kane). WWE fans deserve fresh blood.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus in a Kiss Me Arse Match
Brian: I wonder who came up with this gimmick? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. I expect this to be a very good, hard-hitting match with neither guy holding back. WWE finally turned Sheamus heel and he’s doing exactly what he should; being a rough bully. The company needs another top-notch heel and Sheamus is quickly working into that position so he gets the win.
Michael: Should be a fun little brawl. I was still hoping for an Irish Car Bomb match, or maybe a Fiddler on the Roof stipulation (don’t know quite how that one would work), or perhaps a Pin The Tail On Hornswaggle contest… A bunch of good-guys have already won, and I think Sheamus needs something to cement this new Celtic Warrior gimmick. Sheamus to dominate, Ziggler to fall back down the card.
Josh: Despite the name that comes with this stipulation I think this particular match is more symbolic of the fact that Sheamus is tired of being taken for granted for guys who are the flavor of the month via the IWC and he’s saying that hey I’m here to take a stand and if you don’t like it oh well you can kiss his you know what. I think if given time I’m sure this match will open the show. I think that Ziggler and Sheamus can have a really solid back and forth match. I think that Sheamus wins and he makes a major statement.
Justin: Sheamus. This hurts me to write, but the Celtic Warrior shouldn’t be losing his first high-profile match back. Unfortunately, that win comes at the expense of Dolph Ziggler, who, as usual, deserves better. As for the stipulation … nothing like a throwback to the awful Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club.
Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan vs Bad News Barrett
Brian: It’s starting to sound like this match won’t take place because of Bryan’s injury and him probably being sidelined for about a month. Even if it does, would you have Bryan lose to the guy that hasn’t won since 2014 (which may actually be accurate) or have Bryan get an almost useless win against someone who has been made into a loser. I’m almost hoping this doesn’t happen even though they would have a fun match.
Michael: I predict this match doesn’t happen. Is that too much of a cop-out?
Josh: I do hope that this match happens. You have the underdog champion who takes on the former champion who has something to prove. I think Bryan and Barrett have good chemistry in the ring. Is the Intercontinental Championship irrelevant again if the title goes back to Barrett due to Bryan’s continuous injury problems? I think the match happens and Bryan retains the title by making Barrett tap out.
Justin: I’d be shocked if this match actually takes place. I’m not sure what’s going on with Bryan’s health, but it doesn’t sound like he should be wrestling just yet. If this match does take place, I’m guessing WWE gets the IC title off Bryan and onto BNB.
United States Championship: John Cena vs Rusev in a Russian Chain Match
Brian: I’ll admit it — I’m biased towards Rusev and it’s not a “I hate John Cena” thing. The entire presentation for Rusev is different and I like the act. I still think WWE could do a lot more with him as the U.S. Champion but I think Cena keep the title and defending it each week on Raw like he has been since Mania. Will they tangle one more time? Can we get Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago to corner them? Can we still get that video montage to “No Easy Way Out”? There’s still time!
Michael: I’m more excited about John Cena than I’ve been since 2003. No, seriously – he’s a fighting champion, he’s elevating younger talent (despite winning), and giving the US Title some of its prestige back in the process. Rusev and Cena match up well, so I hope there’s at least one more contest between these two men (a boxing contest for ‘Merica!), but I think babyface to retain. And maybe on WWE RAW we *finally* get that redesigned United States championship…
Josh: I’ve enjoyed the Cena Open Challenge it’s been a pleasant addition to the weekly Monday Night Raw format. Cena as US Champion makes a lot of sense and this feud with Rusev has been one of the more enjoyable Cena feuds over the last couple years. I think Rusev is ready for higher level matches and I think this is the final match of this series. I think that this will be one of the more physical John Cena matches that you’ll see. I got John Cena retaining here and I don’t think that either guy is negatively affected by the result of this match.
Justin: John Cena. The United States Championship is on its way to actually meaning something. The U.S Championship Open Challenges have been fun, and this keeps Cena preoccupied while Seth Rollins is WWE Champion. The four-corners stip gives WWE’s creative team a way to give Cena the victory without pinning Rusev.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match where the RKO is banned
Brian: I know what I don’t want to see and that’s Kane showing this was all a ruse and he’s been totally in the bag with Rollins and The Authority all along. A divided Kane would work much better during and even after this match. I just know that these two click and should have a fantastic match with Rollins my pick to keep the title. Maybe an RKO outta nowhere afterwards for good measure?
Michael: I know Seth Rollins is going to win. Which makes sense. And I know… I know, I know I know… that The Authority is going to interfere, or Kane is going to cement his allegiance to the dark side, or any number of other crazy, wonky, things will take place. BUT – that’s okay. This has been a fun feud, and we should at least get *one* RKO in the mix (yes, it’s banned, but that’s the whole point). Expect a Round 2 in May.
Josh: This is the third straight PPV in Chicago where Rollins and Orton have competed against each other in a match. You had the two Payback tag team matches and finally we have the one-on-one collision coming ahead this Sunday. There’s so many different variables you can go with when it comes to this match. You have Kane out there, the RKO is banned. We have a Cage and especially when you know Rollins track record with opponents just about getting their revenge on the guy he always finds a way to come out on top. I think this match will be very good obviously there will be a lot of shenanigans, but I think that the match will be fun and entertaining. I’m going with Rollins to retain, but will this be the last encounter between these two?
Justin: Easy, Seth Rollins. It’s way too early to have Rollins drop the belt. The former Architect of the Shield may be booked as a vulnerable champion, but he’s not losing the strap in his first WWE Network (aka pay-per-view) defense. Unfortunately, I fear we’re headed for a swerve with Kane costing Orton the match, leading to the played-out Orton-Kane feud.
Looking for more wrestling action? Ring of Honor has a pretty big show coming up soon!