Let's get extreme, but not in like a late-90s/early-00s type of way with dirtbikes doing backflips and drinking Mountain Dew while wearing Jnco jeans. WWE is taking things to the extreme in its aptly titled Extreme Rules PPV. It is coming to the WWE Network on Sunday, July 15, and the show will take place at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.
This will be the eighth major WWE event of the year, including the bizarre Greatest Royal Rumble PPV back in April. Last year, WWE produced 16 PPVs, but only four of them were dual-branded--meaning both superstars from Raw and Smackdown appeared on them. Now, in 2018--post-Wrestlemania 34--all WWE PPVs are dual-branded, which will cut down on the amount of events the company holds, which was every two weeks at times. WWE will be holding special events, like the previously mentioned Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia and October's Super Show-Down in Australia. In total, WWE has 14 PPVs planned for 2018.
This PPV may give WWE fans some insight as to what's happening August 19 at Summerslam, which will once again take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A few of the matches that happen here may even happen again next month. One of the newest rivalries that has legs to carry into next month is Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens. While their steel cage match is the first, big, sanctioned match for their rivalry, it won't be their last, regardless of the outcome.
In addition to the Monster Among Men taking on Owens in a cage, the rivalry between former Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and and current title holder Dolph Ziggler continues at Extreme Rules and has a good chance to carry into Summerslam as well. The two wrestlers have put on stellar matches in their previous meetings with each other, and a 30-minute iron man match is the perfect way to showcase both of their talents and build on the stories WWE has been setting up the past couple of months.
Per usual, a Kickoff Show will air on the WWE Network--and most likely YouTube--one hour prior. As of this writing, there are eleven matches on the card for the evening, one of which will be on the Kickoff. Everyone who's getting ready for Extreme Rules has their favorites to win each match, and GameSpot is no different. We've gone through the upcoming card and decided with great certainty who will win each of these matches. There may be a few title changes for the evening, but one thing is for sure: it's going to be a Happy Rusev Day, no matter who wins.
Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, July 17 for live coverage of WWE's Extreme Rules as well as some followup pieces as well. If you're looking for more wrestling, check out some rumors about the PPV and these WWE movie cameos you might have missed.
Kicking off the whole Extreme Rules event is New Day vs. newcomers Sanity in a tables match. The two have been at each other's throats for the past few weeks, so they'll have a chance to put each other through tables in the opening match of the evening. Sanity is still new and could use a good push, so I'm giving the win to them.
Our prediction: Sanity wins
Second prediction: Nikki Cross shows up
For months, I was waiting for Strowman to enter the main event picture and take the title off of Brock Lesnar. Additionally, after Chris Jericho left WWE, I was waiting for a storyline that was worthy of Kevin Owens' talent. The WWE Creative Gods have finally answered my prayers. After being trapped inside a port-a-potty and flipped over--which is Strowman's specialty--Owens found himself on the Extreme Rules card with the Monster Among Men in a steel cage match. This is perfect for this storyline, and it's easily one of the best-built matches on the card. No matter the outcome, the audience will be the winner. However, this is a rivalry I want to see continued into Summerslam, especially since Lesnar isn't going away any time soon, so an Owens win makes sense here to have him continuously taunt Strowman, who will demand a rematch.
Our prediction: Owens wins
In the continuing saga of "Who Does Vince Think The Audience Will Buy As Brock's Next Opponent?" Bobby Lashley has stepped up to the plate. However, he has to get through Roman "I'm Always The #1 Contender Regardless Of My Win/Loss Record" Reigns. As much as I don't care for Lashley, I'd much rather see him in a main event picture over Reigns, if those are our only choices right now. Do we really need to see Lesnar/Reigns again? At least with Lashley, we'll get to see more than just six Superman Punches for 15 minutes. And Lashley has the build, strength, and durability to last against "The Beast."
Our prediction: Lashley wins
Maybe it's just me--I hope not--but Baron Corbin dropping the "Lone Wolf" gimmick and becoming the "Constable" for Stephanie McMahon has reinvigorated his career. This should be a fun match and maybe even one of the surprises of the evening. While I want Balor back in the main event picture, this rivalry has legs, and because of that, I'm giving the win to Corbin in hopes it continues into Summerslam.
Our prediction: Corbin wins
(For the Raw Tag Championship)
Raw's tag team division is a bit of a mess. It feels like it's in this weird holding pattern, and there's just not a lot of hype around it. Something needs to change, and while a win for The B-Team may not be the kick in the butt the division needs, it's a push in the right direction for now.
Our prediction: The B-Team wins
(For the Smackdown Tag Championship)
Smackdown's tag division isn't much better than Raw's. The Bludgeon Brothers have run through the entire division on the Tuesday night show, and it's made all attempts at someone else winning the title futile in the process. Luckily, Team Hell No is back and provided some hope for Smackdown's tag team scene. While I'm hoping this is all another stepping-stone to get Bryan to take on Miz at Summerslam, I think Bryan and Kane have a chance to win the titles.
Our prediction: Team Hell No wins
(For the Smackdown Women's Championship)
After more wacky James Ellsworth antics on the July 10 episode of Smackdown, General Manager Paige decided that his meddling had gone far enough, and during Extreme Rules, he will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage, so Carmella and Asuka can have a fair fight. Originally, I assumed Ellsworth would accidentally help Asuka. However, the stipulation will still affect the finish in some way. My new prediction is that Ellsworth will somehow find a way to cheat--maybe he has brass knuckles he tosses down to Mella--getting her disqualified and giving Asuka the win. However, Asuka won't win the belt, and the two will have a rematch at Summerslam.
New prediction: Asuka wins by DQ
See original prediction below.
Hopefully, I'm not the only person who is excited James Ellsworth is back, even though Carmella doesn't need him around anymore. Obviously, Ellsworth will be involved, even though Carmella and Asuka could easily have a great match on their own. In a perfect world, this would be a great match to showcase Carmella and have her look like a champion who could stand on her own. However, I have a feeling Ellsworth is going to ruin it for her, and Asuka will somehow get the win.
Our prediction: Asuka wins after Ellsworth interference goes wrong
(For the Intercontinental Championship)
Remember when Dolph Ziggler won the United States Championship and abandoned it? Well, now he's the Intercontinental Champion, and I'm surprised he didn't walk away from this one as well. Ziggler and Seth Rollins have been putting on some stellar matches, so an Iron Man bout feels like the perfect fit. This is going to be a close one, but I'm giving Ziggler the win.
Our prediction: Dolph Ziggler wins
(For the Raw Women's Championship)
Nia Jax will get her rematch for the Raw Women's Championship after Alexa Bliss cashed in her Money in the Bank contract last month. Jax, as champion, didn't work exceptionally well the first time, primarily because she was switched from face to heel in order to take on Ronda Rousey, which made no sense. Until her character can get back on track, Bliss should and will remain champion.
Our prediction: Alexa Bliss wins
(For the United States Championship)
After spending the past couple months kicking AJ Styles in the groin, Shinsuke Nakamura has moved on to challenge Jeff Hardy for his United States Championship. This has to be a turning point for Nakamura. His character is working so well as a heel, and he's got to win a title sooner or later. A long-term rivalry between these two would be great, but it needs to start with a Nakamura win.
Our prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura wins
(For the WWE Championship)
Happy Rusev Day! Anyone else feel like this match came out of left field? Sure, Rusev has a huge following behind him as of late, and at some point, he should be back in the title picture, but this feels a little too quick. AJ Styles has been a phenomenal champion for Smackdown, and it's just not time for the title to go to someone else yet.
Our prediction: AJ Styles wins