Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage
Tonight the WWE holds Extreme Rules, the now annual ‘extreme’ PPV headlined this year by Roman Reigns defending his title against AJ Styles. Elsewhere, Charlotte takes on Natalya, the New Day face The Vaudevillains, The Miz puts his gold on the line against Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens and more. Ahead of tonight’s show we share our thoughts and predictions.
Pre-show No Disqualification match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Craig: Jeez, Corbin stuck in pre-show already. The no-dq should, and hopefully will, allow for a complete destruction of Ziggler at the hands of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner. Frankly, that’s the best outcome for all involved. Hopefully will be what happens.
Jamie: So much for this being a short feud that Corbin would quickly advance from. Even worse is that it is slipping further down the card. Corbin – as the new guy – is the obvious choice to win this, but he should have already moved on so anything could happen.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Brian: Call me crazy, but I really like this feud between Dolph and Corbin. Maybe because Ziggler sells Corbin’s moves so well…it makes Corbin look really strong. I expect the same here…
Winner: Baron Corbin
Tag team match for the WWE tag team titles
The New Day (c) vs The Vaudevillains
Craig: two hugely entertaining acts thrown together should result in a stellar match here. By all accounts Vince McMahon is high on The Vaudevillains so don’t be too surprised if we still a title change here or a bit further down the line. I have a sneaky feeling one of the New Day will win MITB this year so would they have to drop the gold before then? Them playing a bit of chase wouldn’t be end of the world. Part of me thinks we might just get new tag champs here…
Winners: and new WWE tag team champions The Vaudevillains
Jamie: I doubt this will be a wrestling classic – not that these guys are slouches of course – but I fully expect it to be thoroughly entertaining either way. The really good thing about this match is that I genuinely cannot pick a winner. New Day have been champions for ages which adds weight to a Vaudvillains win. There’s also the fact that English and Gotch have been booked far stronger than I thought they would be. On the flip side, New Day are so damn popular that WWE might be reluctant to fix something that isn’t broken.
Winners, and new WWE Tag Team Champions: The Vaudvillains
Brian: This is a toss up match for me, but I think New Day successfully retains the titles against the Vaudevillians. Should be a decent match either way.
Winners: New Day
Submission match for WWE Women’s Title (Ric Flair banned from ringside)
Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya
Craig: The removal of Ric Flair from the equation has to be welcomed. Means he no longer overshadows the work of his daughter. These two put together some really good matches and this will continue on Sunday. With my fondness for the Harts I am hopeful of a Natalya win but just don’t see there being too many title changes.
Jamie: A submission match? I Like it, logical too. Hopefully Ric actually stays out of it and we get a proper one-on-one contest. I am 100% picking Charlotte to retain here. It would be a little contradictory to start a ‘New Era’ by taking a major title off a rising star and putting it on a veteran.
Brian: Another match that should be really good. Nattie and Charlotte work really well together. I expect this match to be under the radar, but really good.
Singles Match for the US Title
Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev (w/ Lana)
Craig: it’s looking like Rusev is back on track now, after the waste of time that was The League of Nations. I see him dominating proceedings here but Kalisto stealing a win and prolonging this programme. Should be alright but out of two, I think it’s Rusev we can expect bigger and better things from.
Jamie: Has there been any build to this? If there has I couldn’t give a monkeys. Having said that, this could be a good match. Rusev is far superior to Ryback, so should prove to be a more capable big man to work with Kalisto. I figure Kalisto continues his giant killing ways, only in a good match this time.
Brian: I would’ve picked Rusev to win here, but I get the sense that the WWE really wants to continue to push Kalisto as a “giant killer.” Rusev needs to get back on track after a rather weak 2015 and 2016.
Fatal 4-way for the IC title
The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn
Craig: This will be ace, won’t it? Miz is wrestler I like least but is probably hottest act out of four at the moment. Lots of good things coming together here. Given the right amount of time and this will be very good indeed. This could really go any way, couldn’t it? I think The Miz has lots left in the tank as IC champion and the title benefits from a period of stability.
Winner: The Miz
Jamie: Dare I say it, I’m a little bored with the storyline heading into this. On the bright side, all I want these guys to do is wrestle and in a fatal four way the action rarely stops. Match of the night? There’s every chance. Title change? There’s every chance too because losing the title without being pinned would be a goldmine for Miz to bitch about
Winner, and new IC Champion: Cesaro
Brian: I have really enjoyed Miz’s work as the arrogant heel champion. Miz doesn’t nearly get the credit that he should as a top heel wrestler. With that said, look for Cesaro to get the rub and the title he so richly deserves.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Craig: I’m so ambivalent about this feud now. It seems to be about talk show segment envy, potted plants and jackets. None of which have been really significant parts of memorable feuds in the past and won’t be now. Ambrose needs the win more than Y2J which doesn’t necessarily mean he will get it. But he should. In terms of the match itself, it should be fine. You know you’ll always get that between these two.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Jamie: Seriously, I’m not interested and won’t apologise for that
Winner: Dean Ambrose, I guess
Brian: This could be really entertaining or a flat out train wreck. Jericho has really stepped up his game as a villain and Dean Ambrose is as good as he always is.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Extreme Rules match for the WWE title
Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles
Craig: Regardless of the stipulation, there was always going to be interference and outside tomfoolery. Will we see Rollins? What will the Bullet Club do? Is Finn Balor likely to make an appearance? Problem is we asked these questions ahead of their last tussle. The expectation of outside action takes a lot away from the two. And can we really see Reigns dropping the gold? I can’t, not for a very long while.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Jamie: They’ve basically advertised outside interference from The Club and The Usos in this match, so tick that off the list. I just can’t help but feel that while loads of fans are getting excited about AJ Styles main eventing PPVs and this whole ‘New Era’ stuff, WWE just see this as an opportunity to push Roman Reigns upon us. Remember when Ryback and Rusev were hot until they lost three in a row to John Cena? It happened to Kevin Owens too. I just can’t get excited for this and hypothesise about outside interference and what it could mean because I don’t think it means anything other than WWE telling us that we should like Roman Reigns and not who we actually like.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Brian: Aj Styles is reportedly working hurt…Roman Reigns is still getting pushed as a top guy. I see lots of interference from the Usos and the “Club.” Reigns will retain here…
Winner: Roman Reigns
Craig: I am not a fan of Extreme Rules or these shows that are stipulation heavy as it’s gimmick matches for the sake of it rather than for something meaningful – like ending a feud. That said, on paper this is a decent enough card. We’re left asking a lot of ‘what if?’ type questions which is motivation enough, if nothing else, to watch it.
Jamie: I feel like I’m in 1998. There’s rumblings of a ‘new era’ or new direction, but that final destination has not been arrived at yet. Another comparison is the card; it’s so similar to last month that I had to double take. This is not unlike 1998’s PPVs. Save for Mick Foley jumping off a cage, April – October just blended into one. I feel like Payback and now Extreme Rules may be the start of something similar, unless something more significant than Roman Reigns standing tall, again, happens.
Brian: While I am not a fan of this type of “Extreme Rules” cards…this one seems to be half way decent on paper. I think it will be pretty much predictable, but I think it’ll still be good.