Sunday night is Extreme Rules, the one night a year where WWE gets…well, you get it. This is supposedly the last pay-per-view event before the Paul Heyman/Eric Bischoff era begins in earnest, so look for storylines to wrap up and new rivalries to begin. Speaking of “extreme” and Paul Heyman, though, there’s a certain Beast lurking in the shadows of both World Championship matches Sunday night…
The Revival (c) vs. The Usos for the Raw Tag Team Championship
Ever since Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder aligned themselves with Shane McMahon, The Revival’s stock has been on the rise. However, they still can’t rid themselves of The Usos, who keep earning more championship opportunities. Will The Revival employ the underhanded tactics of their Best in the World bestie to hang onto the red straps?
Jason: Honestly, these are two of the best tag teams in the game today; why does WWE seemingly not want me to care about this match? I hope these guys go out there with the goal of proving that they are better than this booking (note: they absolutely are) because this could easily by match of the night if both teams have their working boots on. Leave the nonsense comedy spots in the past and just tear it up, fellas. My gut is telling me this one goes to Dash and Dawson, leading to the Usos or someone like the Street Profits taking the straps at SummerSlam.
Winner: The Revival
JJ: I didn’t know this match was happening until yesterday. I also have no idea who the Raw Tag Team Champions are. Clearly WWE has done a great job of making sure fans care about the Raw tag division.
Jay: I don’t know. WWE doesn’t care about this, why should I care about this? I agree with Jason in regards to the two teams making us care, but still. I feel like the heels are going to take it.
Winner: The Revival
Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Drew Gulak shocked the world, and especially Tony Nese, when he assumed control of the Cruiserweight Championship at Stomping Grounds in a triple threat match against Nese and Akira Tozawa. Gulak is confident he’ll be sitting atop the 205 Live roster for a long time, but not if The Premier Athlete has anything to say about it.
Jason: I say it every month, but MAN I really need to start watching 205 before it gets cancelled. That being said, only one of these guys actually entertains me on the mic or in the ring, so I’m calling it for my man Gulak. He’s clearly losing to Matt Riddle at Saturday’s Evolve event, so I think he’s stomping Tony Abs when the title is on the line.
Winner: Drew Gulak
JJ: Not a strong start to my contributions of this predictions article. I don’t watch 205 Live and I’m not going to pretend like I’m about to start any time soon. The talent is amazing, but between Raw, SmackDown, NXT, Being the Elite and every other piece of AEW content, I just don’t have the time. Gulak just got the title, and I don’t see him losing it this soon.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Jay: Yes, 205 Live has excellent wrestling. Yes, 205 Live is a hidden gem of WWE programming. Yes, we all know this. But no, none of us has started watching it. Nese and Gulak will put on an incredible bout. Gulak will win to establish his reign. And we will have this exact conversation in a few weeks or so.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley (Last Man Standing)
Braun and Bobby have been trying to one-up each other in a series of strongman contests, including arm wrestling and a tug of war. But it wasn’t until the Monster Among Men speared Bobby Lashley through the LED board at the top of the entrance ramp that this rivalry really kicked into high gear, even eliciting an expletive from commentator Corey Graves. This Sunday’s match is not only anything goes — it will only end when one man is unable to answer the 10 count. What can they do to top last Monday?
Jason: What do you say about the match you don’t care about? Honestly, I want to like either of these guys, but years of bad booking and forgettable promos with Braun — and forgettable booking and bad promos for Bobbo — have left me numb to both. Both guys are in the middle of start/stop pushes, but Braun probably has the bigger upside. Lashley doesn’t win on PPV, anyway, so this one’s Braun’s.
JJ: Who would have thought I’d be excited about a Braun Strowman match, let alone Bobby Lashley? But here we are. The feud has had its silly moments with arm wrestling and tug-of-war contests, but there’s also been a lot of physicality. The program has actually had time to develop and that came to a head last week when much to my surprise and delight, Braun tackled Bobby through the LED board. For this match to succeed these guys have to either meet or exceed the intensity of that spot. Either way, I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be a really good big man match.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Jay: At least they’re trying with this one. Lashley has proven he has the tools to have an entire promotion built around him while the fanbase has shown they are willing to invest in Strowman. Bafflingly though, WWE has botched these two to the point where the audience doesn’t care — until the powers that be had them ram each other through the Raw set. I’m willing to see where things go, but I bet it will be a no-contest type deal to get us to SummerSlam.
Winner: No contest
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro
Aleister has been begging for a fight for weeks, imploring any WWE Superstar to knock on his door to pick one with him. Black finally found his man in Cesaro, who calmly answered the challenge. The new-attitude Swiss Cyborg has a lot to prove since going solo after his time in The Bar, but will he be able to take out one of WWE’s best strikers?
Jason: The story on this one is dumb as hell, but damn if I’m not hype for this match. Black is a great performer and Cesaro is the perfect opponent for a flashy up and comer. Sadly for the Swiss Cyborg, who really should be vying for a midcard title en route to a main event push, this is Black’s re-debut, so there’s no way he’s losing this one. Hopefully this gets Black out of that weird goth broom closet that used to house Stardust for months on end, and brings him back to regular in-ring action.
Winner: Aleister Black
JJ: Aleister Black went from wrestling for the tag team titles at WrestleMania 35 to sitting in an empty room cutting horrible promos in a Fred Perry Polo since late April. I can’t express the extent of the relief I experienced when it was revealed that he was finally getting a match, and against Cesaro no less. These two have the potential to steal the show if they’re given the time to do it. Black has to win — his character’s future is teetering on the edge of the abyss.
Winner: Aleister Black
Jay: Aleister Black. It’ll be a good match that will likely help us move on from Aleister screaming to himself. Also, WWE has shown they don’t want to invest in Cesaro, so Black will take it.
Winner: Aleister Black
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. The New Day vs. Heavy Machinery for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
This may not be what Big E had in mind when he heard he was going to be in a three-way, but it should be an excellent tag team matchup nonetheless. Daniel Bryan and his insurance policy, Rowan, have been running down the WWE Universe and locker room for months now, chastising their wasteful and joking ways. New Day and Heavy Machinery both like to have their fair share of fun, but Bryan would be foolish to underestimate either of their abilities.
Jason: I hate tag team triple threats that aren’t tornado tags. The rules just don’t make any sense. Still, I have a lot of faith in these guys to put on a hell of a show. We know the New Day can carry a tag match, and Daniel Bryan could probably wrestle me and bring it to a four star rating. That leaves the super heavyweights, and all of them have proven to be steady hands in the recent past, so there is plenty to be optimistic about. As for who wins? You never bet against the planet. D-Bry and Redwood FTW.
Winner: The Planet’s Tag Team Champions
JJ: I really like every tag team in this match and it doesn’t feel like any of them actually need the titles to continue to be successful. The New Day are one of the greatest tag teams of all time, Daniel Bryan is a wrestling deity (so Rowan is safe by association) and Heavy Machinery are quickly becoming favorites thanks to Otis’ innate charisma and likeability. This match is sure to be a lot of fun and I don’t really care who wins. All that being said, it feels like New Day has the most momentum going into this.
Winner: Tip-Touching Champions
Jay: D-Bry and Rowan have the most momentum and upside as the top dogs in the SDL tag division. Despite the triple threat set up, all three teams can go, and more importantly, are very creative in the ring. This will be a bright spot on the show that will see The Planet’s Tag Team Champions continue their sanctimonious ways.
Winners: D-Bry and Rowan
Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE United States Championship
AJ Styles seems to have found an edge that’s been missing in recent times since re-aligning with his Club buddies, the Good Brothers. This trio terrorized Japan and even had some success in WWE a couple years ago, and now it looks like they’re back on the warpath. First in their sights: United States Champion Ricochet.
Jason: Another one that could be the match of the night if both guys go out there with something to prove, this one actually has the benefit of a good storyline behind it. Sadly for Ricochet, I think that spoils disaster for his first run with the US Title. If the newly reformed Club is to be perceived as any kind of threat, they need to win some matches at the onset. Ric’s new enough that I could see him getting beat by “the damn numbers game!” But also, dude’s in there against AJ Freakin’ Styles. He’s got a ranking of 91. Ric’s still an 89. Sorry, Ricochet — at least it won’t be your last run with the belt.
Winner: AJ Styles
JJ: Leave it to WWE to wait three god damn years to use a gimmick that should have been used from day one. Ricochet is an utterly amazing talent, but The Club needs legitimacy and given the talent in its ranks, this should be easy for the three of them. Yes the three of them. There’s no chance this heel stable lets AJ go at it alone.
Winner: AJ Styles
Jay: All the hearsay notes that WWE is working to build Ricochet, and to do that, he needs adversity. Therefore, I expect AJ to take it to be a dragon that Ricochet has to slay as he works to build himself.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the SmackDown Women’s Championship (Handicap Match)
Nikki Cross refuses to believe Bayley when she says that Alexa Bliss is not really her friend and is only using her to get to the SmackDown Women’s Championship. In fact, she believes in Alexa so much that when she had the chance to pick the stipulation for this matchup, she made it into a 2-on-1 handicap match, allowing Alexa to have a chance at the title during the same match. She’s also vowed to help Alexa walk away with the title. Does Bayley stand any chance without backup?
Jason: The last thing the world needs right now is another Alexa Bliss title run. They’ve kinda been telegraphing a return for Sasha Banks over the last few weeks, so I’m thinking I won’t have to endure another boring run with the Goddess holding a top title. Plus, you know, she’s a Raw star competing for the SmackDown Women’s title. That should mean something, right?…right?
Winner: It’s Bayley!
JJ: I love Alexa. She’s a great talent and has grown immensely during her time on the main roster. But my god am I sick to death of seeing her in the main event picture. Please for the love of god not another Alexa title run. Nikki Cross made a point of pointing out how all of Bayley’s friends have left her, well one of them is rumored to be returning very soon…The Boss.
Jay: Decent story and it’s gotten over more so than what many people expected. Convention would dictate then that they would put more fuel to the fire to give Bliss the title and build up Bliss vs. Cross more. However, if all the rumors are to believed and The Boss is on her way back, then it would make more sense for Bayley to keep the strap en route to SummerSlam in a Fatal-4-Way type ordeal.
Winner: Alexa Bliss; or if Sasha Banks is coming back, Bayley
The Undertaker and Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre
The Big Dog got backup in the most unlikely place when The Undertaker himself appeared to help level the playing field against Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. The so-called “Best in the World” has been tormenting Roman Reigns for what feels like forever, but with The Phenom in Reigns’s corner, does he stand a chance?
Jason: In my dreams, this ends with Drew pinning the Undertaker after a Claymore kick, but I never get what I want in these things. Instead, I expect Kevin Owens to show up to distract or attack Shane, leaving Drew out there on his own to eat a chokeslam, a spear, and the pin in what is still somehow only the second most overbooked match on this show.
Winner: Roman and Taker
JJ: This feud should be used to elevate Drew McIntyre into a top heel that legitimately threatens Roman Reigns. Instead we’re going to see them do everything possible to make The Undertaker look good, since he completely humiliated himself at Super ShowDown in Sau-, ahem, I mean Parts Unknown — while also setting up his long-term feud with Drew McIntyre. Oh, and Kevin Owens will interfere and inevitably give Shane McMahon a Stunner.
Winners: The Undertaker and Roman Reigns
Jay: They’re building Shane and McIntyre. For what? I’m gravely concerned that it’s a WWE title shot for Shane but regardless, they’re building. Setups like this are always forward-facing and there is no forward should Reigns and Undertaker win. Hence, Reigns and Taker will dominate. Taker will get taken out with a Claymore. And Shane will pin Reigns via shenanigans.
Winners: Shane and McIntyre
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston has taken on all comers since winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, but he has never faced off against someone as ruthless and desperate as Samoa Joe. The Samoan Submission Machine has proven he will do anything it takes to win WWE’s top prize, but a defiant Kofi Kingston isn’t about to back down.
Jason: Again, I never get what I want, and what I want more than anything is Joe to choke out Kofi after a hard fought 15-minute match. Sadly for Joe, that’s pretty unlikely. I think this should be a good match, and I really hope Joe at least looks strong out there, but Kofi’s probably keeping that belt until at least SummerSlam when Roman Reigns helps him defeat a cashing in Brock Lesnar.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
JJ: Samoa Joe is arguably the best heel in the company and is undisputedly one of the best workers in the business. For the love of god give this guy a title run already. I love Kofi and his run has been surprisingly great, but Joe is so overdue for a shot that it’s slowly driving me crazy. Joe has come out on top against Kofi in every match they’ve had thus far, and if it wasn’t for the unforgivable middle finger incident, the champ wouldn’t have any momentum going. Do the right thing WWE.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Jay: The whole angle is about what Kofi can overcome and Joe has become WWE’s favorite mini-boss to get whomever over. Kofi is going to take it before probably facing Shane McMahon at SummerSlam.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans for the WWE Universal and Raw Women’s Championships (Last Chance, Winners Take All, Extreme Rules Mixed Tag Team Match)
This is it: Baron Corbin’s last chance at the Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship. But this time, it won’t be in a singles match, no: it’ll be in a winners take all, Extreme Rules, mixed tag team match alongside Lacey Evans, for both Seth’s Universal Championship and Becky’s Raw Women’s Championship. It’s all on the line this Sunday — which power couple will reign supreme?
Jason: Way to book a stipulation that literally guarantees one side will win. Sure, Vince may think Corbin’s weird werewolf/biker/bartender charisma is worth a run with the Universal title, but there’s no way they put the women’s belt on Lacey Evans over Becky Lynch. The only worthwhile thing about this match is that it is, allegedly, both of these heels’ last chances at the belts with the current champs. I think we’re all ready for the next step in both Seth and Becky’s title reigns.
JJ: I don’t want to be a complete jerk here, but Lacey Evans stinks. A lot. There’s nothing about her work in NXT that said to anyone “Get this woman to the main event of the main roster,” except apparently Vince McMahon. I am so utterly exhausted by this pair of underwhelming heels. Please get them off of my television already and lay this to rest. Also, Seth is borderline uncomfortably awkward in his promos with Becky, and hey I get it. Thank god Becky is here to carry him through it.
Winner: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch
Jay: GAWD. Why!? No one believes Corbin and Evans are going to take it. This is very much a hold-over feud for Lynch and Rollins. There’s no real heat to this match. Lynch and Rollins are holding each other back with their overproduced, cringy, promos together that have taken all the bite out of their characters. And it’s high time both kicked their SummerSlam angles. There’s a real chance Lesnar comes out and takes out Rollins and F-5’s Lynch to kick off the SummerSlam build.
Winner: Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins