Shore's WWE Extreme Rules preview and predictions: John Cena vs. Ryback in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar in a cage, will The Shield sweep their title matches?
By Chris Shore
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John Cena vs. Ryback in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship: What a mess this program has become. I had high hopes for this when it started, but Ryback quickly went from badass tweener to mediocre heel, and then John Cena stopped taking him seriously. To add insult to injury, Cena mocked Ryback while suffering from an announced injury. Can you think of a more efficient way to minimalize someone than by mocking them while you are hurt? Even though I don't hate John Cena with the passion of some, there can be no question that his act continues to do damage to opponent after opponent.
As to the match itself, I can't imagine this is the end of the program, which is what a Cena win would signify. Nor am I ready to believe Cena will drop the title after just winning it back from the Rock (a match that seems eons ago). All of that points to shenanigans of some sort, though in a Last Man Standing match, that's hard to do. My guess is they either knock each other out, or the Shield interferes and knocks them both out, leaving both men unable to answer the count and the referee declaring a draw.
Prediction: Neither man can answer the count for a called draw.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar in a Steel Cage match: I'm looking forward to this match, though it also worries me. When Hunter and Lesnar have been able to brawl, they have fallen somewhere between good and very good. When they have had to wrestle, however, they have fallen somewhere south of "stinks." There will be plenty of cage spots, to be sure, but cage matches are still primarily wrestling matches, and that is where my nervousness comes from.
The easy pick here is Lesnar, and even though that is what I am going with, and what should happen, I cannot rule out a Triple H victory. Hunter winning would all but bury Lesnar for good. Sure, he could kill Heath Slater again, but the loss here would make him 1-3, and you can't get anything out of a feature act that constantly loses. The one thing I want to see even less than a Triple H loss, however, is Hunter injured by Lesnar again so we can have yet another comeback. Let Brock go over clean. Let Triple H go back to being Paul Levesque. All will be right with the world.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar wins.
Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio in an I Quit match to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship.
Before Dolph Ziggler's concussion and subsequent benching, his match with Del Rio and Swagger was the one I was most looking forward to. Now he's out, and we are left with a matchup that we have seen many times before. It has, generally, been a good matchup in-ring, and I don't expect a bad match here. What I do expect is for Swagger to be further marginalized by being forced to say "I quit." There's always the Ricardo Rodriguez throws in the towel gimmick, but other than that scenario, babyfaces just don't lose I quit matches. Especially when the winner of said match gets a shot at a heel champion.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio makes Jack Swagger say "I quit."
Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship: Picking the Shield to sweep is an easy pick in my opinion, so what I want to see here more than anything is a reason to care about Kofi again. A loss doesn't do him any more harm (kicking a dead horse, if you will), but a good loss that gives his character something he can sink his teeth into would do wonders for the guy. I'm not entirely sure what that looks like, but I want to see something with Kofi's character while Ambrose goes on to restore some prestige to the United States Championship.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins the United States Championship.
Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in a Tornado tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Do not sleep on this match folks. This has all the potential in the world of being the show stealer, which is good, because while the build for this match has been long and well done, I don't have a good feeling with where they go no matter who wins. Actually, I do have an idea of where they go, but I know where they aren't going, back to a tag division that has been devastated despite proclamations that WWE has a "renewed interest" in tag teams. The Shield win here, and go on to face random teams of singles wrestlers thrown together while legitimate tag teams steal each other's personal hygiene products on the WWE app.
Prediction: The Shield win the Tag Team Championships.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry in a strap match: It's sad that with all the other good and worthwhile matches on this card, WWE has two "Who cares?" matches involving major stars. It's not that the build for these matches has been bad, they just haven't set me on fire due to various reasons. This match suffered the most because Sheamus has acted like the heel while Mark Henry has done babyface things like break world records in truck pulls. If this ends up being a double turn, that at least that makes sense, but it still wouldn't be compelling. That said, I do no expect the double turn. I do expect Sheamus to look like hell after his skin shows off the welts from the strap, but I also expect him to win here.
Prediction: Sheamus wins.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show in an Extreme Rules match: In the second of the "Who cares?" matches, look for Randy Orton to be victorious in his hometown. As a rule, WWE loves to bury guys in their hometown, but Orton seems to be immune from that, and there's no reason to expect anything different here. I have no idea where they go with these guys from here, but I do hope this is the blow-off to what has been a mediocre feud at best.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: Fandango got the win at WrestleMania and got the best of Chris Jericho on Raw. Jericho got a little revenge on Smackdown, but Booking 101 says Jericho gets his win back here. Not going to happen. Chris Jericho gains nothing from the win and I think he wants to put the artist formerly known as Johnny Curtis over. So he does.
Prediction: Fandango wins:
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes (Pre-show match): Babyfaces win pre-show matches to entice you to buy, and Cody Rhodes doesn't win anything. Well, other than "Best Moustache" contests.
Prediction: The Miz wins.
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