Generally speaking, things get a bit quieter in the WWE following WrestleMania, but that certainly hasn't been the case this year. WrestleMania XXVIII was the most-watched WrestleMania ever and one of the best in recent memories, but the company has put plenty of effort into creating an enticing card for Extreme Rules as well.
Not only will we see rematches for both world title matches—Chris Jericho will once again challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship, and Daniel Bryan will look to recapture the World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus—but Brock Lesnar will make his in-ring return against John Cena.
With those three main-event-level matches and a decent undercard as well, Extreme Rules is looking like the perfect extension of WrestleMania. Here are my predictions for the card's three main-event matches, all of which have the potential to go either way, making for a highly-exciting pay-per-view.
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
Which Extreme Rules match are you most looking forward to?
In what came as a bit of a surprise, it was announced last week that Lesnar and Cena would lock horns at Extreme Rules. Lesnar has made a major impact since his return, as he has gotten the better of Cena on a few occasions already.
Their match, not surprisingly, will be of the Extreme Rules variety, so there are a lot of scenarios that could play out. No matter how you slice it, though, it is very difficult to see Lesnar losing this match. A no-contest of some kind is possible, but the WWE has invested too much money and too many resources into Lesnar to allow him to fail.
At the same time, you could say that it would be silly for the company to have its top guy lose again. But there seems to be some sort of storyline progression taking place with Cena. Not only did he lose to The Rock at WrestleMania, but he lost to Lord Tensai on Raw as well, so it appears as though the chips are being stacked against him in a big way. A pessimist might say that it will lead to Cena overcoming the odds to beat Lesnar. But in order for Lesnar to remain viable, he needs a convincing win over Cena, and he will get just that at Extreme Rules.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
There was some question about whether or not Chris Jericho would stick around after WrestleMania, but those questions were answered when he attacked CM Punk the night after and doused him in whiskey. He and Punk have since engaged in an intriguing and personal feud that has seen Jericho play off Punk's status as a straight-edge superstar. Jericho has continually gotten the better of Punk on their exchanges over the past few weeks, but when it comes to their in-ring encounters, Punk is essentially unblemished.
I wouldn't completely rule out Jericho losing his rematch and taking a bit of a hiatus, but it seems to me like Jericho is in it for the long haul. At Extreme Rules, they will partake in a Chicago Street Fight, and that would seem to favor Jericho. I anticipated an "I Quit" Match, which would have helped Punk since faces rarely tap out, but with so many variables in a street fight, it usually helps the heel. Punk made reference to his family being in the crowd, so I fully expect an angle where Jericho somehow distracts Punk by messing with his family, leading to Jericho winning the WWE Championship.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
There was a lot of anger after Sheamus beat Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds at WrestleMania. But those fans who were looking forward to a well-wrestled match will now get their fill at Extreme Rules. Sheamus will defend the title against Bryan in a two-out-of-three falls match, so it figures to last somewhere in the vicinity of 20 minutes. While Bryan's popularity has soared since WrestleMania by virtue of the "yes" chants, it is very hard to see the creative team taking the title off of Sheamus after less than a month.
With Bryan and AJ continuing to have interaction despite Bryan dumping her, there is no question that she will somehow get involved in the match. Sheamus is likely to get the first fall in fairly easy fashion, and that will prompt AJ to come to ringside. At some point, she'll distract Sheamus and that will lead to Bryan getting the second fall. AJ will ultimately decide the match, as Bryan will go in for a kiss after having a change of heart only to have AJ slap him in revenge, allowing Sheamus to hit him with a Brogue Kick.