That time of year has arrived once again. The one night where the remnants of an underground wrestling organization known as Extreme Championship Wrestling are placed on Pay-Per-View for a WWE audience to witness with great worry in their hearts.
Extreme Rules adds stipulations to its match card as WWE Superstars perform in what are considered to be unconventional wrestling matches. The spike in violence and potential harm has always added to the excitement of the event.
Why is that exactly? The answer is simple: people enjoy seeing other people in pain and at Extreme Rules, pain is less of a possibility and more of a certainty. And this Sunday, the event is sure to include a number of vicious spots and hardcore moments.
While the thought of crushed bone is worrisome to the casual fan, it is intoxicating to the wrestling fanatic. And with this year’s event set to take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, one can expect a blood-thirsty crowd.
The crazed wrestling fans of the Northeast will assemble upon The Garden State to catch a glimpse of something that has been lost from their lives: the Extreme. While the PG Era will not allow for the event to take things too far, the nostalgia remains.
Long gone are the days of ECW and the Frantic Freak Show that was once on full display in a dark corner of Pennsylvania; where a little hardcore family would gash and gnaw at each other’s flesh in the City of Brotherly Love, all for the sake of entertainment.
Now, let’s review the Extreme Rules card and present our predictions for the upcoming event:
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler (No Disqualification Match)
Dolph Ziggler is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion. Remember? Yeah, it has been one hell of a long, hard fall from glory for Ziggler who is not quite a permanent Jobber but pretty damn close.
Baron Corbin is one of the new Superstars on the scene and WWE are looking to develop Corbin into something big; their favourite word as it pertains to building new talent. Sure, Corbin is better than Braun Strowman, but can “The Lone Wolf” really draw the crowd?
It seems highly unlikely that Baron Corbin will lose to Dolph Ziggler as “The Show Off” has been strategically placed in a position to serve as Corbin’s first stepping-stone. Ziggler will bump and bruise all night for Corbin and is a strong choice for a stone.
Prediction: Baron Corbin goes over on Dolph Ziggler.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho (Asylum Match)
Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho will participate in the first-ever Asylum match which is essentially a Steel Cage bout with hanging weaponry. This concept has a major gimmick-feel coming along with it, but at the end of the day, it’s Ambrose and Jericho in a cage.
Include all the weapons and change the name; it doesn’t really matter, because once you look past the gimmick, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho could tear the house down. The sleeper match made official six days prior to the event could become the most discussed.
So, who wins this bout ? While there is a possibility of Chris Jericho taking this one over Dean Ambrose, such victories are not Jericho’s style. Y2J has enjoyed helping others get over and should do a solid for Ambrose in a losing effort.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose goes over Chris Jericho.
Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev (United States Championship)
There is no proper way to deny what Kalisto represents in this New Era: a modern version of Rey Mysterio. While WWE will simply “compare” Kalisto to Mysterio, they know full-and-well what they are doing. Masks = Money.
Nevertheless, Kalisto is a talented young Superstar who is currently in possession of the most meaningless title in WWE: the United States Championship. Remember when John Cena made that belt matter? What a steep fall for that Patriotic Gold.
Rusev remains the second-most interesting part of his entire act as the fans in New Jersey will show more support for Lana than Rusev. In the end, this match will have no impact on any future WWE angles as the belt stays put with its current holder.
Prediction: Kalisto retains the United States Championship.
The New Day (c) vs. The Vaudevillains (Tag Team Championship)
While many believed that The New Day would be placing their Tag Team Championship on the line against Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, an unfortunate injury at WWE Payback would hand the #1 Contenders’ spot to The Vaudevillains.
The New Day vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady would have made for an interesting match considering how both teams are over with the fans. Who would have received more love on Sunday? However, The Vaudevillains prove worthy adversaries.
The idea behind this bout places an Old School vs. New School dynamic to the angle as The Vaudevillains are meant to represent the colourless past while The New Day represent the kaleidoscope present. And the current champions will shine.
Prediction: The New Day retain the Tag Team Championship.
The Miz (c) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro (Fatal 4-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship)
The Intercontinental Championship looked great on Kevin Owens but it’s about time for the best wrester of the New Era to take the next step. While his inclusion in this match will provide a spark, this should come down to the remaining three participants.
The Miz is currently in the midst of his fifth Intercontinental Championship reign and the addition of Maryse has made this run one of the more interesting title runs for The Miz as the usually self-centred Superstar has actually shared some of the spotlight.
However, there is something brewing with the Montreal Man involved in this match. Would Cesaro make for a good Intercontinental Champion? Absolutely, but the momentum has shifted favour of Sami Zayn.
Prediction: Sami Zayn becomes the new Intercontinental Champion.
Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya (Submission Match for the Women’s Championship)
Charlotte is doing women’s wrestling proud as the current and revamped WWE Women’s Champion. Charlotte has owned her time with the title and has become a bigger and better heel than many of the male Superstars.
Natalya comes from Canadian wrestling royalty and will provide Charlotte with a true test of character this Sunday when the two compete in a Ric Flair-banned Submission match. The question being: can Charlotte win on her own? No doubt.
All roads lead to Sasha Banks; who should be the one to dethrone Charlotte as the Queen of WWE. Sure, Natalya will hold her own as the niece of Bret Hart is not short on wrestling ability. However, the Flair Family will come out on top.
Prediction: Charlotte retains the Women’s Championship.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. A.J. Styles (Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
The lingering presence of The (Bullet) Club has truly made this an intriguing feud. As Roman Reigns struggles to find fan support, A.J. Styles and his boys, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. are constantly on the hunt for that World Heavyweight Championship.
Naturally, pairing Roman Reigns with his family, The Usos makes sense as the contrast between trios has been nice to watch. And while many long-time fans of A.J. Styles head into Sunday with high hopes, they will be left with nothing but complaint.
A.J. Styles as the top-dog in WWE would completely alter the system. However, while this New Era promises change, many things will remain the same; and for now, Roman Reigns is not going anywhere.
Prediction: Roman Reigns retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
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