WWE Extreme Rules
April 26, 2015
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, Illinois
Watch: WWENetwork.com (Free) 

I feel like a broken record saying we’re going into a WWE pay-per-view with a less than stellar build so I’m not even going to bother anymore. You know the deal with modern WWE — Raw is disjointed, odd and does little to help anyone, SmackDown exists to exists though it has been featuring some great matches as of late — but when it’s all said and done, most WWE PPVs have been positive. Extreme Rules should be no exception. The patented VOW Buzz-O-Meter 2000 is at an all-time low for Extreme Rules yet the card looks great and Extreme Rules has historically over-delivered thanks to the proliferation of gimmick matches that gives this PPV its name. One thing you can guarantee is the Rosemont (Chicago) crowd will be hot and that seems to inspire the wrestlers to go that extra mile. Let’s get to the preview. -Rich Kraetsch

(Kick Off Show) WWE Tag Team Championship
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro © vs. The New Day

Sean Flynn (@spiffie6123): When two heel forces collide in WWE, it is the general rule that the lighter-skinned one ends up being the face. That seems to be holding true in both cases on this card. Cesaro and Kidd have slid into the face role for this match. And this is, as Wade Barrett once said, Bad News for them. Because the Lucha Dragons are charging up the card, and with the reactions they get, especially Kalisto, I can’t see them not being involved in a title feud for too much longer. With New Day actually starting to get over as heels, winning the tag titles would confirm in their minds that being evil works.

Prediction: New Day

Taylor Mitchell (@MrTCMitchell): While watching Raw I was fully prepared to write about how Kidd/Cesaro vs. Lucha Dragons will be an historic WWE tag match akin to the late 80’s / early 90’s WWE tag team division. Unfortunately that diatribe will have to wait for another PPV. This match will still be exciting and fun to watch. The Chicago crowd will be hot right off the bat with this being the first action they will see. Kidd/Cesaro will be the babyfaces while the New Day get a boost in their search for a heel run.

Prediction: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): This will be Cesaro’s third straight Kick-off show match since winning the tag team championships, so he’s not moving up or down on the cards. Hooray for stagnant! The New Day, who are The New Heels, seemingly pose little challenge to dethroning the tag champs. With the Lucha Dragons a future challenge, I see the former Brass Ring Club members getting the win.

Prediction: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Chicago Street Fight
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper

Sean Flynn: Remember how awesome those Shield vs. Wyatt Family matches were? How they even succeeded in getting the infamous #HijackRaw crowd to quit chanting for CM Punk for a few minutes just by sheer force of glorious violence? A year later and what do we have? Seth Rollins is a champ who may be feuding with Kane. Roman Reigns is feuding with Big Show. Bray Wyatt just rambles weekly with seemingly no purpose. Erick Rowan is no-selling discussions of salad dressing. And this match is taking place. It will be a fun match to watch. They’ll kill themselves in unique ways, and the crowd will get into it because that sort of thing is always able to draw a reaction in the moment. But after their match they will be right where they started. It doesn’t matter who wins, who loses, or how it happens. Harper and Ambrose are in that awful place where nothing they do matters anymore, on a treadmill of mid-card apathy. That’s why I’m saying no one wins!

Prediction: Match stopped, both men unable to compete

Taylor Mitchell: The match between two guys who are floundering in the mid card, but have the ability to be main eventers. Both men are GREAT workers and no doubt will be hungry to prove their worth on this roster. Ambrose is at his best in these gimmick matches.

Prediction: Dean Ambrose

Rob McCarron: I will not, can not, bet against the massive streak held by Dean Ambrose going into this match. Dean hasn’t won a singles Pay-Per-View match since September 2013. Could this be a win, finally, for the Lunatic Fringe? Probably. But probably isn’t enough for me.

Prediction: Luke Harper

Last Man Standing
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show

Sean Flynn: Chicago is likely to crap all over Reigns. Perhaps undeservedly so. Perhaps due to being paired with the heat vacuum that is Big Show. Either way I expect this to be a slightly depressing, albeit well laid out match. The only problem for Roman is that I’m not sure this feud is in a place where it can end. Unless you’re going to pair Roman with Rusev for the summer, he may be stuck in this one for a couple months. This is a perfect match for Reigns to lose through chicanery without having to be pinned/subbed.

Prediction: Big Show

Taylor Mitchell: Don’t sleep on this match. One of my favorite Smackdown matches ever is Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship. On top of that, Roman Reigns has had back to back four stars or higher matches on PPV. As the conductor of the Reigns Train I fully expect him to bring his A-game. Reigns has been handling the hecklers of the WWE Universe in a great way lately, and he will no doubt have a challenge ahead of him in Chicago on Sunday.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Rob McCarron: Keep Roman strong.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

WWE Divas Championship
Nikki Bella © vs. Naomi

Sean Flynn: I expect the most over person in this match to be noted comic book artist and UFC fighter C.M. Punk. The least likable person in the division going against someone who is in the middle of a turn into being a (justifiably) angry black woman character. This is not going to go over well. If it is laid out by someone who has a clue they might be able to have a decent match. Unless some the NXTivas are coming up soon this feud is likely going to continue.

Prediction: Nikki Bella

Taylor Mitchell: Booker T’s statement of Naomi being the “greatest Diva of all-time” is obviously absurd. She is, however, a Diva that can become a really good performer. I’ve always thought that Naomi would be better suited against the NXT Divas with her athleticism. This match won’t be great or memorable. Naomi should win this one and continue to work on developing her heel persona which could either turn into Trish Stratus circa 2004 or quickly become Alicia Fox circa 2013.

Prediction: Naomi

Rob McCarron: They made the change to Naomi’s character leading up to this match, and as poorly done as it was, it does give us a fresh Divas championship match. Naomi is finally getting her shot, and while the title really doesn’t matter, this could be a larger stepping stone to Naomi showing off her athleticism against some of the newer talents coming from NXT.

Prediction: Naomi

Kiss Me Arse Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

Sean Flynn: I don’t think the Bryan vs. Barrett match is going to happen. So I’m calling the UK/Ireland alliance to be solidified at the end of this match. Barrett and Sheamus can talk about how they beat one little nerd so bad he can’t wrestle anymore, and made the other little nerd kiss their arses. In my dreams this leads to Sami Zayn coming up to answer the challenge.

Prediction: Sheamus

Taylor Mitchell: With this awful stipulation there is no good outcome for either guy. Sheamus is one of the best talents in WWE and should just be billed as a monster ass kicker, but instead WWE saddles him with goofy nonsense. His return was great, but since he has been back to making lame jokes in his promo and now will most likely be forced to do just what so many smarky smarks have been doing for so many years, kiss Dolph Ziggler’s arse. The most exciting thing that can come out of this match is that we might finally get to see if that zipper on Ziggler’s trunks actually works.

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

Rob McCarron: I expect the 214th matchup between Sheamus and Dolph to be pretty good. It could really be one of the better matches on this entire show. The question, to me, is whether or not Dolph subjects himself to the kissing of Sheamus’s ass, or he is beaten up and forced onto Sheamus’ rear end. Either way, Sheamus isn’t kissing any ass after this one.

Prediction: Sheamus

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Bryan © vs. Bad News Barrett

Sean Flynn: Match does not happen.

Prediction: No contest

Taylor Mitchell: This match is still up in the air on whether it will take place or not. If it does take place it could be a classic. Daniel Bryan is beat up and it looks to be that his career is unfortunately winding down. If this match happens I fully expect that Bad News Barrett will win the Intercontinental Championship for the 6th time tying Jeff Jarrett and Rob Van Dam for second most IC title reigns behind Chris Jericho’s 9.

Prediction: Bad News Barrett

Rob McCarron: Daniel Bryan is going to make the Intercontinental Championship an important title again! Bad News Barrett is going to get fifteen minutes with Bryan to show just how good he really is! This match will rule!!!! Or not.

Prediction: Neville

Russian Chain Match – WWE United States Championship
John Cena © vs. Rusev

Sean Flynn: The good part about the Cena Open Challenge is that every week he’s been putting on the best match on Raw, except for when Kane appears. The bad part is that this pretty much moves Rusev out from the US title picture. This seems to be the blowoff for this feud, and I don’t really know where Rusev goes from here. Crowd will hate it because this can only end one way.


Taylor Mitchell: This is the third match in the series. These two had a great match at Fast Lane and a so-so match at WrestleMania. It only makes sense to move this feud on to a match with a stipulation. These are two great workers and they will no doubt make this a great match barring any silly finishes or shenanigans like we saw at WrestleMania. I’ve been loving the US Title Open Challenges, so unfortunately Rusev loses again here. Fingers crossed that WWE has a plan for him moving forward.

Prediction: John Cena

Rob McCarron: I’ve quite enjoyed Cena since he’s moved on from Rusev. The US Title open challenge series has been quite fun, and is phenomenal use of both Cena and the title, in my opinion. Honestly, as excited as I was for Rusev vs Cena going into Mania, it’s completely the opposite here. The Rusev-Cena train has left the station, and with Lana being the reason for Rusev’s failures lately, I’m not looking forward to where this result goes at all as far as she’s concerned.

Prediction: John Cena

Steel Cage Match – WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins © vs. Randy Orton

Sean Flynn: They didn’t put Rollins over at Wrestlemania just to move the belt a month later. Look for a couple of moments where Orton is about to RKO Rollins but then remembers the stip. J&J will get in the cage and get murdered. Rollins will attempt a curb stomp but miss just to keep people up in the air about whether the move is banned. Kane will get in the cage, chokeslam Rollins, then chokeslam a confused Orton, and finally lay Rollins on top for the pin and storm off muttering and looking angry.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Taylor Mitchell: Last year at Extreme Rules we unfortunately were forced to watch one of the worst matches in WWE history. It was a Steel Cage Match between Cena and Bray Wyatt. This match will be better, but it won’t be great. There hasn’t be a classic WWE match inside of a Steel Cage in over a decade. Rollins wins here because the Gate Keeper, Corporate Kane, will do what’s “best for business”.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Rob McCarron: The RKO is banned. Kane is the gatekeeper. That’s right, Randy Orton chose a steel cage match specifically so the authority couldn’t get involved. Of course, HHH immediately made an authority figure the keeper of the steel cage door, thus negating Orton’s reasons. LOLrton. There’s no way Orton wins the title, and because its a steel cage match, he can’t win the match, either. Right? No DQ, no count out. Rollins all the way, however they decide to do it.

Prediction: Seth Rollins