We’re just a few weeks removed from Stomping Ground, where a couple titles changed hands and some feuds ended in what was surprisingly a good show.
It seems the good momentum has continued for WWE the last few weeks. Ever since Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff were announced to have a lot of input on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, respectively, WWE has begun a new identity. It seems as if some of the instances in the Attitude Era are returning to today’s television to mix with the PG Era.
So as we head into Sunday, it feels like this could be the first real example of what we could expect from Heyman and Bischoff – especially Heyman, who has already been more hands on than Bischoff.
Extreme Rules is in Philly, baby! Talk about the true home to hardcore. For those who are of similar seasoned aging as myself, you remember what ECW did to the pro wrestling world in the ‘90s right in our backyard of Philadelphia. Heyman was at the forefront of that movement, and his innovation and industry brilliance brought about a renaissance of the likes we will never see again.
But that’s not a bad thing. And with Heyman back in some creative control, we could see more call backs to what made wrestling really, really good 20 years ago.
With that said, let’s break down the Extreme Rules card for this Sunday, which begins 7 p.m. on the WWE Network.
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro
I’m going to say this right now. You’re looking at, what I hope, is the match of the night. And if it isn’t, it’s going to still be very good and hopefully set us up for a few more matches between the two.
Prediction: Black wins.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
This match was added this week after Owens and Ziggler came to blows during Tuesday's episode of SmackDown.
Prediction: K.O.'s face turn will start with a stunner and a win.
Cruiserweight Championship match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese
We have a rematch from Stomping Ground. The first match was really good. I anticipate them to deliver again.
Prediction: Gulak retains.
SmackDown Women’s Championship handicap match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
WWE has two of these weird title matches. This may be the strangest of the two. If Bliss and Cross win, do they share the title? Does the person who pins Bayley win the title? I hope Cross pins Bliss just so we have a cool storyline going forward.
Prediction: I think that’s what happens. Bliss wearing the title despite Cross getting the win could set up a nice push for Cross when she realizes that Bliss actually is a crappy person.
United States Championship match: Ricochet (c) vs. A.J. Styles
I lied earlier… this is going to be the match of the night. The pure athleticism between the two, and the wildcard that is The Club looming will make for a very interesting match.
Prediction: I wouldn’t be surprised if Styles wins. But I think Ricochet finds a way to retain, whether it’s by DQ or some other scenario.
Last Man Standing match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
I’m done with these two. I hope they destroy everything to at least make it interesting.
Prediction: Lashley wins, and I don’t care.
Raw Tag Team Championship match: The Revival (c) vs. The Usos
I kind of forgot this match was happening, which is a shame. That being said, I hope it’s as good as it should be. These two teams are special.
Prediction: Revival retains.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship match: Daniel Bryan & Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery vs. The New Day)
Give me all the great tag team wrestling, please!
Prediction: My planet’s champions will retain.
No Holds Barred match: The Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
I love that this match features two dudes older than 50 with partners in their prime and at the top of the company. It’s a shame the Reigns and McIntyre story has been so lifeless and overdone they have to incorporate Taker and Shane into this. Good news is I think we’re nearing the end of Shane’s little tyranny over SmackDown.
Prediction: If Shane pins Taker, I will riot. That won’t happen though. McIntyre will pin Taker to give himself a much-needed boost and Shane some more stupid bragging rights. It’ll protect Taker’s legacy if Drew eventually becomes a huge heel champ.
WWE Championship match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe
How many times has Joe gotten title opportunities without yet winning a world title? This could be another one of those instances for Joe. But it’s going to be a fun match. The story has been good, too. My only issue is that Joe is a Raw guy going for SmackDown’s top title. Hopefully the wildcard nonsense ends soon, because a lot of fans do not like it.
Prediction: Samoa Joe surprises us and wins the WWE Championship.
Last Chance Winners Take All match: Seth Rollins (c) & Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans
So to get this straight, the winning side walks away the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships held by Rollins and Lynch, respectively. So if Lacey Evans pins Becky Lynch, Baron Corbin becomes Universal Champ? I hate everything about this match. Everything.
Prediction: The Man and her man retain.
WWE Power Rankings
A kayfabe look at the top 10 wrestlers and tag teams on Raw, SmackDown and NXT.
Monday Night Raw
- Seth Rollins (1)
- Becky Lynch (2)
- Samoa Joe (3)
- Ricochet (5)
- A.J. Styles (4)
- Drew McIntyre (6)
- The Revival (7)
- Baron Corbin (8)
- Bobby Lashley (UR)
- Braun Strowman (9)
Out: The IIconics (10)
On the bubble: Brock Lesnar, The Usos, Lacey Evans.
- Kofi Kingston (1)
- Kevin Owens (2)
- Daniel Bryan & Rowan (3)
- Roman Reigns (4)
- Finn Balor (5)
- Bayley (6)
- Shinsuke Nakamura (UR)
- Heavy Machinery (UR)
- Alexa Bliss (7)
- Nikki Cross (UR)
Out: Andrade (8), Charlotte Flair (9), Randy Orton (10)
On the bubble: Aleister Black, Cesaro.
- Adam Cole (1)
- Velveteen Dream (2)
- Shayna Baszler (3)
- Matt Riddle (4)
- Street Profits (6)
- Io Shirai (5)
- Johnny Gargano (7)
- Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly (8)
- Roderick Strong (9)
- Tyler Breeze (10)
On the bubble: KUSHIDA, Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan, Damien Priest