April 25, 2015 by Joey Keogh
Although my RAW recaps and PPV ring reports often border on, er, snarky, I’d usually defend WWE to the death. I will argue it’s worth until I lose my voice and I’ll probably never, ever be put off tuning in every week. But I really cannot sell the upcoming Extreme Rules PPV to you. It just can’t be done. It’s been booked like shit, the match stipulations are lame, Fall Out Boy did the theme tune and, I mean, just look at that goddamn poster – what is that? Is Cena auditioning to be in FOB? Is this his way of announcing his upcoming electoral campaign? It’s madness; utter, utter madness. There’s a strong sense, particularly online, that the powers that be tried really hard prior to Wrestlemania and then dropped the ball immediately after. I’d like to stay hopeful because we could still be shocked on Sunday (stranger things have happened) but as it stands, I’m not pushed on ER. In fact, I’m kind of a little mad at it. So take the following predictions with a spoonful of sugar, if you will:
Tag Team Championship Match: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (c) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston)
The New Day cheated their way into this match, but, let’s face it, the Lucha Dragons were never getting a PPV, or indeed a title, shot that easily (although it was well deserved, given their already stellar performance on RAW over the past few weeks). It’s sad to see one of the better built and more enticing matches of the night relegated to the pre-show, but if nothing else this should at least start us off on a high. Kidd and Cesaro will probably retain here, unless The New Day cheat their way to victory, solidifying themselves as the heel tag team of the moment in the space left by the absent Usos. What’s that? The Usos meant to be faces? That’s news to me.
Predicted winners: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro to retain
Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Randy Orton
The stipulations for this match are dumb as fuck but, all things considered, this should still be one of the highlights of the night. Orton and Rollins have great in-ring chemistry, there should be some diverting interference from the security team and “gatekeeper” Kane and although the steel cage obscures the view somewhat, it also suggests we might be in for some gnarly spots. Having said that, Rollins had an amazing cage match with Ambrose just last October so he and Orton are going to have to work pretty hard to outdo it. It’s unlikely the golden boy of The Authority won’t retain here, because he’s the biggest heel in the company right now and seeing him lose immediately after Wrestlemania makes no sense for his character, even if he is a bit of a worm.
Predicted winner: Seth Rollins to retain
Russian Chain match for the WWE United States Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Rusev
Next! I jest, of course, but seriously this match fills me with dread. For the past few weeks, we’ve watched Cena have the exact same match over and over again with Superstars of varying levels, beating everyone from Stardust to Kane easier than one could readily recall the lyrics to his hilariously terrible entrance theme (BRUSH YO MOUF LIKE COLGATE, homies). Those of us who wanted to see the Superman lose on the grandest stage of them all were left bitterly disappointed, but this could be our chance for redemption. Nobody knows his way around a Russian chain like a fake Russian and Rusev is majorly pissed at losing his title to some stupid American. Maybe, just maybe, Cena will get his ass beat on Sunday, leaving the path wide open for someone more deserving to feud with the new champ.
Predicted winner: Rusev
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Bad News Barrett
There’s some top secret shit going down with Bryan at the moment; nobody seems sure whether he’s injured in Kayfabe, or real life, or both and his presence on Sunday, although contractually guaranteed, may not be exactly what we’ve come to expect from the underdog hero. There’s a sense that poor Bryan is on his way out and as a result he may not even really be in the running for the title anymore. I, like everyone else on the planet, am a fan of Daniel Bryan, but it’s kind of annoying to see him getting an IC title shot while dudes like Harper and Ambrose are left to indefinitely kick the ball back and forth between them. There’s nothing really at stake here, because there’s sadly no longer any prestige to this title. Barrett and Bryan will no doubt do a great job in the ring together, but as for who comes out of it the champ, well, does anyone actually care?
Predicted winner: Daniel Bryan
Kiss Me Arse Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
Sheamo has been killing it as an obnoxious heel ever since his highly-anticipated (by his mammy at least) return and Ziggler more than deserves this chance to shine at the PPV. However, this is still the dumbest stipulation of them all because it’s outdated, unnecessary and senselessly weird. If you want to see lads kissing each other’s butts, get on Tumblr and go through the shield tag. Or the Orton tag. Or, in fact, any WWE-related tag. It’s all readily available, we don’t need to watch it on a PPV. Regardless of how dumb the stipulation, and the use of Oirish slang is (although it’s hilarious how Cole just cannot say “me” instead of “my” no matter how hard he tries), these two are both great and the defined line between the hero face and asshole heel gives this bout a good, old-fashioned edge.
Predicted winner: Dolph Ziggler
WWE Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Naomi
Everyone is super pissed that Paige won’t be kicking some Bella butt on Sunday, but Naomi is getting a big push right now and she totally deserves it (besides, those Christmas tie-in DTV movies aren’t going to make themselves, you know). The ladies have been enjoying lengthier matches lately, and rightly so, so here’s hoping these two are given some room to breathe so they can show off what they’re made of. As for the title, well, since AJ’s departure there’s nobody to really root for here aside from Paige so it most likely won’t change hands on Sunday, or at all, until she returns. Even so, there’s no reason this should suck.
Predicted winner: Nikki Bella to retain
Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
Man, I sure hope there’s a London taxi involved in this match because I can’t get enough of that shit – even after seeing it replayed fifty thousand times last week on RAW! In all seriousness, I am sick to death of the Reigns/Show feud. I don’t care about either of these guys; Reigns is insufferable because they have no idea how to sell him and Show is just going through the motions. Yet, they get more airtime than almost everyone else. Just let it die already and give someone else a chance. All that’s going to happen here is Reigns hits his two, boring as fuck, moves, Show hits his one move and everyone goes to sleep which, coincidentally, is itself a move that is more exciting than all of their stupid moves put together. MOVES. Whoever wins, we lose.
Predicted winner: Roman Reigns
Chicago Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper
These two had a rad match on RAW last week and it was the perfect appetiser for what’s to come on Sunday as, unlike Reigns/Show, it wasn’t rammed down our throats. This may well be the highlight of the night, particularly since Kidd/Cesaro are stuck on the pre-show and the Orton/Rollins bout will be at least partly obscured by the structure in which it’s contained. Of all the ridiculous, Extreme Rules stipulations this is the most logical. These two look rough and they love to brawl, so why not put ’em in a street fight? Whatever happens here, Ambrose and Harper are two of the most exciting talents on the roster and they deserve a bigger slice of the limelight. Hopefully they annihilate each other on Sunday and we get to see a lot more of them as a result (to see a lot more of them in a slightly different way, again, please refer to Tumblr).
Predicted winner: Dean Ambrose
Catch Extreme Rules LIVE this Sunday on the WWE Network at 5PT/8ET