Okay, it’s time to get extreme, I guess, as we dive into the Extreme Rules card.
But before we do, I’d like to point out that I went 8-1 last month at Stomping Grounds, bringing my percentage up to 67.4% accuracy. But enough about what was and let’s get to what is, WWE Extreme Rules, from Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, PA!
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – DREW GULAK (C) VS. TONY NESE
It’s too soon for Gulak to drop the title right back to Nese, but it will be a busy weekend for the current Cruiserweight champ, as he’ll be facing Matt Riddle the night before Extreme Rules at Evolve 131. I’m somewhat curious to see if WWE will integrate his match with Riddle 24 hours prior into his defense here. Probably not, since this match is basically an afterthought for WWE; something they can just throw onto the pre-show. Anyway, as I said, it’s too soon for Gulak to lose, so I’m picking him.
Winner: Drew Gulak
ALEISTER BLACK VS. CESARO
This match will be good from an in-ring perspective, but the way we got here was both weird and boring. Aleister’s constant promos on SmackDown were so non-sensical and dumb. He never showed up in the ring but was always complaining that no one would fight him. It made no sense. And the payoff of all of this being a random match with Cesaro with absolutely no storyline reason for these two squaring off makes no sense. This match is utterly forgettable in storyline.
What’s worse is the fact that both of these guys need a win. Cesaro has been repackaged, and yes he’s gotten a few wins, but nothing meaningful. His character needs to win a “big” match to avoid becoming irrelevant. At the same time, Aleister can’t lose after droning on and on and on and on and on about wanting someone to come and knock on his door.
Cesaro is obviously going to be the one to lose and will no longer be taken seriously as a credible threat moving forward. He might be booked in the upper-midcard but he won’t really gain anything. Maybe Sheamus could return and The Bar could reform?
Winner: Aleister Black
LAST MAN STANDING – BRAUN STROWMAN VS. BOBBY LASHLEY
After what happened on the July 1stRaw, you’d think this match would be fire for the company. But of course, this company is WWE and they just had to find a way to mess it up. Why in the world did Bobby Lashley randomly show up Monday night, looking completely uninjured after being carted off and feared seriously hurt? For that matter, and unrelated to this match but I have to bring this up, why did WWE have Rey Mysterio return just to get squashed by Lashley? What did that do? I’ll tell you what it did, it managed to screw up two angles that shouldn’t have even been associated with one another.
But as for this match, I feel like WWE’s Last Man Standing matches are over-done and not that interesting. These two guys had a falls count anywhere match that ended in a no contest, which makes no sense seeing as how those matches are anything goes, so what’s keeping WWE from doing another big injury stunt on this show and having this match end in a draw or no-contest?
My guess is Braun wins, since Lashley showed up already and it made Braun look like the underdog since he was “too injured” to show up.
Winner: Braun Strowman
NO HOLDS BARRED – ROMAN REIGNS & THE UNDERTAKER VS. SHANE MCMAHON & DREW MCINTYRE
According to Stephen G. Brush’s 1996 book A History of Modern Planetary Physics: Nebulous Earth [Cambridge University Press], sometime around the year 1 Googol (That’s 10 with 100 zeros) the universe will undergo a process that is referred to as the heat death of the universe. Brush describes this theoretical process as an event “in which the universe would diminish to a state of no thermodynamic free energy, becoming no longer able to sustain directed motion or life” [Brush 1996, p. 77]. Essentially, all molecular activity within the universe will no longer exist, bringing about the end of the entire universe. What science has not explored, in regards to this event, is whether or not, after everything that has ever been stops being, if somehow, someway, THIS FEUD WILL STILL BE HAPPENING!!!
Okay, I got that out of my system, we should be good. The never-ending nature of this Roman/Shane?McIntyre feud aside, I still don’t know why we’re getting this match. Undertaker showed up on SmackDown a couple of weeks ago and rambled for a while but I never got why he showed up to take on Shane and Drew.
Speaking of things I don’t get, I’m still confused by the booking decision we saw this past Monday on Nitro, um, I mean Raw, where Cedric Alexander did a switcheroo to try to get one over on the heels… only to lose clean in the ring. It made absolutely zero sense for that to happen. Cedric should’ve gotten a quick roll-up on Shane or Shane/Drew could’ve taken a countout or DQ loss or something, anything, besides this random cruiserweight showing up for no reason, under a mask, and losing. When they unmasked him, I was unsure why it mattered since they lost. Plus, Cedric was all smiles after getting his head caved in by a Claymore kick and getting beat, which made the whole match seem like a joke. And of course, the next night on Thunder, we got absolutely no explanation for Cedric’s actions.
So, who’s going to win this match? Undertaker of course. But hopefully it ends here. I would assume Shane moves on to feud with Kevin Owens and I hope beyond hopes that that feud will lead to Shane going away for a while or forever.
Winners: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker
RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS- THE REVIVAL (C) VS. THE USOS
I don’t even remember this match being made. Who cares? I’m going with a title change because why not? Maybe Usos can feud with The Club?
Winners: The Usos
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS- DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN (C) VS. THE NEW DAY VS. HEAVY MACHINERY
The storyline for the SmackDown tag division has improved greatly since Bryan and Rowan became champions. I really enjoyed the title match from Stomping Grounds and found Heavy Machinery’s in-ring work to be quite good. I still hate the silliness of the gimmick, but it’s WWE. It’s weird that The New Day seem like the odd team out in the match, which is not the norm for them. But perhaps they could win the titles without beating Bryan or Rowan?
Or maybe that’s what they want me to think (I may be getting too paranoid…). Regardless, I don’t want Bryan and Rowan’s reign to end just yet so I’m picking them to retain.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP- RICOCHET (C) VS. AJ STYLES
I’m really interested to see how this match plays out following AJ Styles’ recent heel turn. I’m sure this match will be excellent in the ring, but I’m hoping it doesn’t get messed up, creatively. I don’t know how Ricochet could retain here and it not make The Club reunion seem flat. So, I guess I’m tipping my hand here and picking AJ Styles to win.
What I’m unsure about it what The Club does moving forward. In New Japan, these guys’ “Club” had quite a few members. I’m wondering if perhaps we’ll start to see new faces in the club as we progress with this storyline.
Winner: AJ Styles
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP | HANDICAP MATCH – BAYLEY (C) VS. ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS
WWE couldn’t do the creative thing last time and have Bayley switch heel in this feud. So what were left with is redundancy that has turned what was my favorite current feud into a somewhat bland angle.
It looks like WWE is going to go the predictable route and have Alexa turn on Nikki down the road. It’ll be interesting to see how far down the road that turn happens. I think it’ll be sooner rather than later for two reasons. One, WWE creative can’t wait for a slow burn to save their lives, and two, it seems too soon for Bayley to drop the title. Also, I feel like Sasha is coming back very soon with all the talk from Nikki about Bayley having no friends. Perhaps we’ll get a brief feud between the two teams before the Bliss/Cross split.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP – KOFI KINGSTON (C) VS. SAMOA JOE
It’s the summer, so that means Samoa Joe must get his shot at the WWE title. I’ve been a fan of Joe since his ROH days and I think he’s an incredible in-ring performer, but I don’t like his current character. He hated people with families but never really explains why. He hates Kofi for being “fake” in front of the fans, but Joe doesn’t care about the fans so why does that matter? He loves being ruthless and choking people out, but we’ve gotten no explanation.
I’ve compared/contrasted him before in my predictions with Kevin Owens. Owens was a low down dirty heel who would be just as ruthless and terrible as Joe, but he always explained his motive that he did everything and anything to provide for his family. Joe just does it “cause that’s Joe.” And that isn’t entertaining and that’s not how you tell a good story. He’s terribly one dimensional and I find it impossible to invest in his storylines.
And it’s because of all that which leads me to picking Kofi to win. It doesn’t make sense to have him drop it to a challenger that seems to just be randomly thrown into the mix. I think Kofi will have a different challenger at SummerSlam, and yowie wowie do I think it could be a doozie of a match.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
RAW WOMEN’S AND UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP | MIXED TAG EXTREME RULES WINNERS TAKE ALL MATCH – SETH ROLLINS (C) & BECKY LYNCH (C) VS. BARON CORBIN & LACEY EVANS
I hate this on-screen relationship of Seth and Becky. They’re annoying together and I hate them because of it. Lynch has lost every last drop of her momentum she had prior to Mania. She’s just another person on the roster, and that’s sad. If WWE wanted to really piss people off, they’d have Corbin pin Lynch to win the Universal Title for himself and the Women’s title for Lacey. It’d be entertaining for a change and Seth could win it back at SummerSlam and rid us of Corbin for good.
But that won’t happen. The Man and The Man’s Man will win and hopefully get something new to work with.
Winners: Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins
Well, that’s it for me. I’m out of here and until next time, make good decisions.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @THExWilliam. Thanks for reading!