Extreme Rules is almost here, so that means it’s time for me to make some predictions. Last month at Money in the Bank, I went 50% with 5 correct picks and 5 incorrect picks. My average since Mania is at 58.5%. That’s a failing grade, so hopefully I can pull my percentage up to a passing grade.
This is always a frustrating PPV for me, since the gimmick and promotional copy for this show says this is “The one night a year that WWE throws out the rulebook.” But, the majority of these matches could end in a disqualification so I’m not sure how that’s the case.
Anyway, it looks like it could be a fun night of rasslin’ nonetheless, so let’s overlook the taglines and get to some picks!
Tables Match – The New Day vs. Sanity (KickOff Show)
This feud has felt somewhat rushed, thanks in part to Sanity taking forever to actually debut. It’s strange that the first meeting between the two trios will be a tables match, but WWE probably felt the need to add another stipulation match to the card, since this show is supposed to be about WWE “throwing out the rulebook” for one night.
That being said, I don’t think WWE will go one and done with this feud so I think the result of this match will have to provide an opportunity for the feud to continue. I could see the finish of this match being a little fluky since the table match gimmick can provide for those sorts of finishes (see Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes). So…
I’m picking New Day to win here. I think after the match we could see a beat down from the heel crew to get their heat back to continue the feud. I don’t like that, but since WWE booked the table match as their first meeting it’s the only finish I can see extending the feud. But then again, maybe this is a one and done deal.
Winners: The New Day
Finn Bálor vs. Baron Corbin
Here’s a match that neither man really should lose, but one of them has to. Finn hasn’t won a match on PPV since last year’s TLC PPV in October, where he beat AJ Styles in an excellent match that was a last minute change to the card. Finn has kept his popularity among fans and hasn’t slipped down the card much since that win, but another loss might be critical to his momentum moving forward. There’s only so many times a guy can lose before fans stop believing in him. He needs this win.
As for Corbin, he had an up and down 2017; failing to cash in his Money in the Bank contract successfully, winning the US Title, losing it to little fanfare, etc. 2018 wasn’t too kind to him until he was shookup to the Raw brand and given a makeover (both literally and figuratively) into the Constable Corbin character. This is Corbin’s first PPV match as Raw’s Constable and a loss here would immediately make fans revery to treating Corbin as an afterthought and a loser. He needs this win.
So, you see the delima, yeah? One of these guys has to win yet neither guy can afford to win. Or is that really the case? This match has zero stipulations attached to it, so it’s possible that this match could end in some non-finish that sees neither guy take a loss. The problem with that is that the feud will still have to end and eventually someone will take the L. It would be delaying the inevitable.
My pick is Finn Balor. I know, I just talked about the non-finish but I doubt it happens. I think Finn will get the win here and Corbin will retaliate on Monday Night in some form or fashion either physically or via his power/influence on Raw. I don’t think it will do the Corbin character any favors, but hey, I’m not the one who booked the match.
Winner: Finn Balor
Steel Cage Match – Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
After winning the Money in the Bank ladder match last month, I don’t see any scenario where Braun loses this match, unless something whacky happens. And seeing how something whacky happened in the last cagematch we saw on PPV at the Greatest Royal Rumble, I doubt WWE goes back to that well here. So, nothing to further explicate here…
My pick is Braun. I’m unsure what the point of this feud is, unless it’s going to eventually turn KO face (which could be fun for a bit). He’s looked quite sympathetic with the giant of a man stalking him and assaulting him for no reason other than KO attempting to be his friend after Money in the Bank. Maybe Braun warms up to Owens following this match.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Raw Tag Team Title Championships – The Deleters of Worlds (c) vs. The B-Team
This is a tough match to predict, mostly because of how terrible the tag division is on both brands. They’re not terrible due to lack of talent, mind you, but due to poor booking and a lack of focus by creative. Seriously, if you’re not part of the title scene, then you rarely exist on WWE television if you’re a tag team. New Day manages to survive mostly because they are a group of 3, but even the Usos are being used sparingly on the blue brand, and they’re one of the best teams in WWE history.
So, if WWE takes the titles off of Hardy and Wyatt, they’ll disappear from WWE television. Unless, of course, they split them up which would be dumb since they didn’t form until Mania 3 months ago. Of course, being dumb isn’t an exclusionary attribute when it comes to creative’s decisions. B-Team are booked as loveable losers who just happen to be on a winning streak. If they lose here, that kills half their gimmick and they just become loveable losers. That’s good enough to be booked on the house shows, but ask Heath Slater and Rhyno how well loveable losers get put over on television.
I’m picking The Deleters of Worlds to win here, despite the fact that it will kill the B-Team. Axel and Dallas will drift away into the shadows of Raw, being seen whenever a food fight or pull apart brawl takes place. Or to job out to Heavy Machinery or War Raiders or whatever NXT tag team gets called up down the road. Why? Because WWE hasn’t known how to book tag teams in about 15 years or so.
Winners: The Deleters of Worlds
SmackDown Tag Team Championships – Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. Team Hell No
This is such a surreal sight to see. If someone told me just five months ago that the poster for Extreme Rules would be Team Hell No, I would’ve thought they were out of their minds. But, here we are. This match could go three ways, depending on how WWE want to book Bryan going forward (and all those rumors that he still hasn’t signed a new deal with WWE).
Scenario 1: This is the least likely and least fun scenario, Team Hell No lose after Kane turns on Bryan, setting up a Kane vs. Daniel Bryan match for SummerSlam. I don’t want to see that, and I doubt many others do either. But, this scenario would give Kane something to do at SummerSlam and without a match against Bryan, I doubt he’s on the card at all. WWE might want to give him a high profile PPV match since the election will follow about 10 weeks after SummerSlam. But, I doubt this will happen since Glenn Jacobs’ mayoral district is historically always voted for the republican nominee and he doesn’t need the SummerSlam exposure to help (though I doubt something that silly would actually help in a mayoral race) so the decision would be solely for WWE’s desire to have him there. I’d guess Kane is back just for this brief run and will focus on mayor things by the time August rolls around.
Scenario 2: Team Hell No win the tag team championships and defend them in a high profile match at SummerSlam. This will put Daniel Bryan in a title match at their second biggest show of the year, which is something they could push quite well. The problem is that I’m not sure who they could defend against that would seem like a big deal. WWE could throw a couple of singles guys together and make it seem like a big deal, but that just sounds lame. Plus, this ignores my previous thought that Kane won’t be around for SummerSlam (which I could be dead wrong about).
Scenario 3: This is what I’m picking, I think the Bludgeon Brothers will retain the titles here due to interference from The Miz. Miz vs. Daniel Bryan has to take place at SummerSlam. They even gave us the tease by having Miz pin an exhausted and beat up Daniel Bryan in the gauntlet match on the June 19th SmackDown. Miz will cost Hell No their titles and set up the match that has been a few years in the making. It’s very straight-forward booking, and I think it’s the obvious choice to get us the match we all want to see.
Winners: Bludgeon Brothers (to retain)
United States Championship – Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This match has received zero build thanks to the dog that bit Nakamura. The lack of build makes it so incredibly hard to make a pick, but I feel like Nakamura really could use this win after failing multiple times to take the WWE Title from AJ Styles after winning the Rumble.
My pick is Shinsuke Nakamura. I know I don’t have much to say for this match, but what I will say is that Nakamura entering SummerSlam as US Champ seems like a good decision from my vantage point.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Intercontinental Championship | 30-Minute Ironman Match – Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins
This match could easily steal the show given the talent involved and the match parameters surrounding them. I don’t anticipate a title change here, as I predicted Rollins would lose the IC Title last month to Elias because I thought he might move up the card towards the Universal Title. Clearly, I was wrong about that match outcome and I could be wrong about Rollins chasing the Universal Title, but I just have a weird gut feeling that Rollins might get rewarded for all the amazing work he’s put in on the Raw brand in Brock’s excessive absence. Then again, I ate Mexican food last night, so my weird gut feeling could be off…
Regardless, I’m picking Dolph to retain here. They might go with a tie here, but I think Drew McIntyre will get involved to give Dolph the outright win. Rollins might just move into a program with McIntyre following this match.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Raw Women’s Championship | Extreme Rules Match – Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax
No way Bliss loses the title right back to Nia, right? I mean, it’s an Extreme Rules match, so that means all sorts of shenanigans can take place to help give Bliss the win here. Although, Ronda Rousey is at ringside, so anything could happen with her. Regardless, I just can’t see a title change happening here.
I’m picking Bliss, because she’s a better champion for Rousey to chase. I’d like WWE to hold off until WrestleMania to have Rousey and Bliss meet for the title, but they won’t be able to stop themselves from booking that match for SummerSlam. I kinda can’t blame them, either.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Smackdown Women’s Championship – Carmella (c) vs. Asuka
(James Ellsworth will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage)
This is a tough one to pick, I can’t imagine WWE wanting Asuka to lose again on PPV but I don’t think they want to end Carmella’s reign quite yet either. Ellsworth being in a cage is suspect, since I could see him squirming out like Enzo did at last year’s SummerSlam. I could also see Carmella getting help from someone other than Ellsworth to win the match, but again, do they want Asuka to be pinned again? Does that even matter anymore? Maybe the match ends in a DQ or countout?
My pick is Carmella, even though this is my least confident pick for the whole show. I think WWE will wait until SummerSlam to have Asuka finally win the title.
Winner: Carmella (to retain)
WWE Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Rusev
I think this could be a sleeper match that could be contender for match of the night. Both guys seem to have chips on their shoulders which means they could go all out to steal the show here. Styles as champion has been absolutely outstanding to watch and Rusev has gotten red hot with his Rusev Day gimmick. I’m glad WWE has decided to give us this match.
As much as I love Rusev and the whole Rusev Day gimmick, I just don’t think the booking is leading towards a title win here. I think WWE has plans for AJ to be champ going into SummerSlam and I think that will happen with a Styles win here.
So, obviously, I’m picking Styles to win. I’m unsure where Rusev moves from here, but I’d like to see WWE turn him face and possibly have him challenge Nakamura for the US Title at SummerSlam (provided I’m right about that prediction).
Winner: AJ Styles
Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
Okay, so I’m sure most people will get upset if/when this match is put on as the main event, but I suspect it’ll go on last for a very good reason, but I’ll get to that in a second. I didn’t love this feud at first, but the build has won me over and I’m invested in the whole thing. Lashley seemed to have a rough go out of the gate following his return, but he got his footing under him during this feud and has done some pretty good work the past few weeks. Reigns has made this feud seem believable and I find myself wondering if his comments about Lashley are a shoot or a work, brother.
The whole feud kind of reminds me of something we would have seen during the old WCW days in the late 90s, Specifically the feud Randy Savage and Roddy Piper had leading up to the 1998 Great American Bash show. Both guys were faces but they hated each other. They formed a tag team solely on the premise that if they teamed together at the Bash then they would be given a one on one match afterwards. Maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic, but this whole feud has had a Nitro feel to it in a way that, as I said above, has won me over completely. Too bad I don’t expect a clean finish… which is also very Nitro.
This match, I think, will go on last because I think Brock Lesnar might show up. Yeah, I know, it’s a long shot and I seem to hurt myself in my predictions by getting too caught up in fantasy booking, but how great would it be for WWE to follow up Lesnar’s UFC 226 post-fight antics with some mid-fight antics here. I could see The Beast laying out both men, ending the match in a no-contest (which would save me from getting this pick wrong), and setting up a triple threat at SummerSlam where he would FINALLY lose the Universal Title.
But, my pick is Roman Reigns, just in casies. I don’t really know how this match will go, but when in doubt, pick Roman.
Winner: Roman Reigns (maybe)
Okay, that’s it for these picks. I’m confident about some and completely dreading others. Let me know what you think by yelling at me on twitter.
And until next time, make good decisions!