WWE’s annual hardcore party that is Extreme Rules takes place Sunday, May 22 in Newark, New Jersey. So far, the show has had a decent build and should feature some quality wrestling. We’re starting to see what this “new era” is all about. While it’s possible another match gets added to the pre-show before Sunday (looking at you, Big Cass/Dudleys or Dana Brooke/Becky Lynch), let’s break down what we know is happening so far:
Pre-show No Disqualification Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
This ought to be the end of feud between Corbin and Ziggler. The two have had some pretty decent showdowns, but it’s time for Ziggler to do the job and make Corbin look like a million bucks. This should be a fun contest, likely turned into a no DQ match to help sell the “extreme” environment of the Extreme Rules show to any would-be network subscribers in limbo.
Prediction: Corbin wins with End of Days on some sort of weapon (chair, table, etc.)
By no fault of his own, Kalisto has carried the United States Championship through one of its worst reigns. The WWE doesn’t seem to want to put the same sort of shine on the title as it had when John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Alberto Del Rio held it in 2015. His feud with Del Rio was solid, but the program opposite Ryback was pretty lackluster.
The solution? Get the belt on a proven heel so that Cena can win the belt back upon his return.
Prediction: Rusev wins with The Accolade
WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day (C) vs. The Vaudevillains
It’s nice to see The Vaudevillains get a strong push right off the bat. When their debut was announced for an episode of Smackdown instead of Raw, I feared they might travel the same road as The Ascension. That hasn’t been the case.
If you aren’t familiar with the ability of Aiden English and Simon Gotch yet, you’re in for a treat. This match should be one of the better ones on the card. While I’m sure the Vaudevillains will be booked to long strong, New Day continues their quest for the longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign.
Prediction: New Day wins after Kofi Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise – a tribute to 2009, HIS BEST YEAR!
Texas Tornado Match: The Usos vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
The match these two teams had on Raw Monday was phenomenal, pay-per-view quality. It appeared that all four men were going to be apart of the main event, and that would be the extent of their involvement at Extreme Rules. Nope – we’re going to get another match, this time a Texas Tornado Match. This probably won’t be a bad match, but I don’t know how they top what they did Monday night. I’m afraid this may end up feeling like filler.
Prediction: Anderson & Gallows win, giving some much needed shine to “The Club.”
Asylum Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
This feud should be much, much better than it has been. Instead, it’s been based on a scarf, talk shows, a potted plant, and Jericho’s lighted jacket – sounds so intense only an Asylum Match suits it, right?
I’m a huge fan of Ambrose, too, but his promos have become formulaic in recent weeks. Come out, talk about how crazy you are, call out Jericho, rinse and repeat. Likewise, Jericho is playing the same card week in and week out – act tough, then cower away at the last second.
It’s face vs. heel in its most basic form. That being said, the match should still be pretty good.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins after busting the potted plant over Jericho’s head, ’cause why not?
The work that these four have put in since Wrestlemania has been astounding. The Intercontinental Championship feels incredibly important again, and whatever combination of these four takes to the squared circle, they’re consistently delivering.
The Miz is having a career year, Cesaro is back and looking as strong as ever, and Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn will never grow old. This contest has to be one of the early favorites for ‘match of the night’ honors.
Prediction: Kevin Owens wins, but these four continue the program into the summer. All of this is eventually going to lead to Cesaro capturing his first Intercontinental Championship.
Good for the women’s division – closing out Raw is a huge honor and a real mark of progression. I’m just not a big fan of contract signings in wrestling. I can’t think of a more tired bit off the top of my head.
I wasn’t incredibly high on the match at Payback, as we’ve already seen that exact setup in NXT, but this one feels different. I love submission matches, and the WWE has the two right ladies to pull it off. Plus, Ric Flair will be banned from ringside – so we shouldn’t get some bogus distraction finish.
Prediction: Natalya wins with the Sharpshooter in the shocker of the night. That way, she gets her moment with the Women’s Championship, earned for all of her years of work in making women’s wrestling what it is today.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. AJ Styles
This Bloodline vs. The Club program has been some of the WWE’s best work in quite some time. I still feel like it’s all leading to Finn Balor’s main roster debut. In addition to that, it’s making Reigns look like a hell of a champion, whether that’s intended or not. This will end up being the best match of the show.
Prediction: Reigns leaves Extreme Rules with the WWE title after fighting off all three members of “The Club,” looking super strong, and establishing himself as WWE’s alpha male.
Stoney Keeley covers the WWE for WrestlingNews.co, covers the NFL’s Tennessee Titans for Pro Football Spot, and is the Editor of The SoBros Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @StoneyKeeley and the SPOT’s Tennessee Titans Twitter feed at @spot_titans.