Powell's WWE Extreme Rules Preview and Predictions: Will Brock Lesnar or Triple H win the third match of their series? Will The Shield bring home gold? Will John Cena or Ryback be the last man standing?
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By Jason Powell
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in a cage match: This seemed to replace the DOCOHM (Dead Once Cena Opened His Mouth) match between John Cena and Ryback as the featured match of the event. I have a hard time believing Lesnar will pack the box office punch that he did when he and Cena drew 263,000 buys for this event last year. It's not his fault, though, as WWE has had him lose two of his first three matches and this will be the third time in a row that he's faced Triple H. No one was demanding a rematch between these two let alone a rubber match, but at least the build was solid enough to win me over to seeing their cage match. Triple H laid it on pretty heavy on Monday while talking about Lesnar's mystique dying and Paul Heyman losing his meal ticket if Brock lost this match. This led me to believe that the only way Brock would lose this match is if he's secretly leaving the company, and there's no indication that he's going anywhere.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar wins.
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship: It was at least six months too early to turn Ryback heel, yet this should still feel like a bigger match than it does. Cena clowned around throughout the build and drove home the message that Ryback is just another challenger. Sure, he sold the Last Man Standing stipulation, but only after he told everyone that Ryback is not in the same league as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Orton. Now that's how you sell a pay-per-view match! Ugh. It feels too early for Cena to go over strong and I would be surprised by a title change. Thus, I like Chris Shore's idea with a double ten count. It won't be a popular finish, but it keeps the young feud going without either man losing.
Prediction: John Cena retains the WWE Championship.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a tornado match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The Shield are finally going after the gold on television and it helped make this show look strong on paper. I care more about some of the undercard matches more than most of the top part of the card. I don't have a strong feeling regarding how much gold The Shield takes home on this show. I'd like to see a clean sweep.
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose for the U.S. Championship: I'm torn. I would like to see Ambrose capture the title, but only if WWE creative is going to take care of him and the U.S. Title in the process. I have no desire to watch Ambrose win the belt and then lose countless non-title matches like every other secondary champion. Here's hoping that's what they have in mind.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins the U.S. Championship.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry in a strap match: Sheamus might welt better than anyone in the history of pro wrestling. The guy can take a pounding, but no man should ever encourage Henry to lay it in. Henry went from badass to the bullied back to badass during the build to the match, while Sheamus has been consistently quirky. I suspect Henry wins the match since it's a loss that Sheamus can take without being pinned. Plus, Sheamus can whip the hell out of Henry afterward to get back anything he loses.
Prediction: Mark Henry wins.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show in an Extreme Rules match: I have a lot of heels going over on this show, so why not have the hometown hero win this one?
Prediction: Orton wins.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: Jericho never seems to win on pay-per-view. I could actually see that changing here just to keep the feud going. However, I've seen Jericho lose too many times on pay-per-view lately to officially make the gutsy call.
Prediction: Fandango wins.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in an "I Quit" match to become No. 1 contender to the World Hvt. Championship: Remove Dolph Ziggler and the ladder and we're right back to the tired Del Rio vs. Swagger program we had leading up to WrestleMania. The good news is that there's no title involved, which makes it easier to stomach Del Rio's bad politician gimmick. Swagger has looked like a real badass lately, but I fear he's going to be the one yelling the two magic words. I could definitely see WWE turning Ziggler and playing off his concussion problem if he ends up being out long enough that there's a need for him to drop the title, but I don't think creative is working with that idea in mind. Rather, I think they are setting up a singles match for heel Dolph against the babyface opponent. That said, did Del Rio ever exercise his rematch clause? They could always have Swagger win (but it would have to be creative since they wouldn't have the babyface simply give up) and then have Del Rio use his rematch clause to get right back to where this started as a triple threat ladder match once Dolph returns. I'm still taking the basic option.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio wins and becomes No. 1 contender.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes in the free preview match: Couldn't whomever the Intercontinental Champion is defend his title? Oh, that's right, it's Wade Barrett and he's a heel, and WWE doesn't like having heels go over on the free preview. So why do they have two heels in this match? Wait, Miz is a babyface? Really?
Prediction: The Miz wins.
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