Welcome to my WWE Extreme Rules Preview…starring Brock Lesnar. Is that right?
I'm not sure, but I'm here to preview Sunday's WWE pay-per-view extravaganza. There are six announced matches on the PPV portion of the show with a pre-show match also announced.
I think the PPV after WrestleMania, whether it's called Backlash or Extreme Rules, is usually pretty good. Because of the top two matches on this card, I'm more excited about it than I usually would be.
Pre-Show US Title Match: Santino vs. The Miz
There's no build to the match, and it's on YouTube, Facebook and WWE.com for free. I think it's a good match to prep the crowd before the PPV starts because Santino's going to get a strong reaction like he always does.
The US Title has become just another piece of "gold" that doesn't really mean a whole lot in terms of being an important title. I don't see a title switch happening here. I'll go with Santino retaining in some kind of comedy match with a fluke ending for the finish.
I get the sense that it will be a feel-good match to get the crowd excited right off the bat.
Intercontinental Title: The Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes
There's two ways to go about this: 1) They can keep the IC Title on The Big Show for a bit longer with the idea that Cody's long reign as IC Champion helped him, so he's ready to move up the ladder so to speak.
2) Since The Big Show's not really the kind of IC Champ we're used to seeing, they could put it back on Cody so he can continue his awesome run as the IC Champ.
My personal belief is that Cody's outgrown the IC Title, so they might as well keep it on The Big Show until they find somebody else for him to drop it to. Rhodes is my favorite to win the Money in the Bank match in July and win the World Title at some point in 2012. This feud will end here with another win for Big Show.
Winner: The Big Show
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix
John: Nikki won on Raw because Beth hurt her ankle, at least in storyline form. That means Beth will walk into this match as the hobbled former champion. That's almost babyface like. She's up against a heel too. Hopefully, she doesn't get cheered because that would be a bad idea. Beth needs to stay heel.
I'm with all those that think Nikki will retain here and then drop the title on Raw to the returning Kharma as we say goodbye to the Bella Twins. And no, I won't miss them if they do end up leaving.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Kane won at WrestleMania. Orton got his win back in a long match on SmackDown. This is the third match in their series that few people wanted. The fact that Monday's angle involved the Paul Bearer angle that saw Orton put him in a freezer only for Kane to save him and then put him back in the freezer does not make me want to see another match between them.
Kane just turned 45. Orton is 32 and just this past week celebrated 10 years in WWE. He's still a huge part of WWE's future. They need to give him wins to build him up for a potential summer showdown with Brock Lesnar, as rumored.
Sheamus vs. Bryan. Who wins?
I'd expect a decisive Orton win here. It will likely end up with the pinfall happening outside the ring too. Your guess is as good as mine for where in the building that may be. The freezer? Ohhhhh yessss. (Oh no!)
Winner: Randy Orton
World Title 2/3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Will this match go longer than 18 seconds? Yes. Will they potentially have a great match? Yes. Will Daniel Bryan regain the World Title? No. The "yes" streak ends there.
There isn't anything "extreme" about a 2/3 falls match, but I guess Extreme Rules also means "matches with stipulation" so that's why we're getting that stip here. Don't be shocked if Sheamus wins one of the falls in 18 seconds just to tease the WrestleMania finish. Of course, this time, if that happens it's not the end of the match.
Hopefully, they get 15 minutes or more to really show us how good they can be, especially Bryan. As much as I enjoy the work of DBry, he's yet to have that breakthrough match in WWE that really gets people talking. Part of it is the booking. Part of it is the opponents he's had. Perhaps, Sheamus is the right opponent.
I'd expect Sheamus to win this two falls to one. Also don't be surprised if Bryan's scorned ex-girlfriend AJ costs him the final fall. It would be the right fit for the story. Sheamus will move on to a feud with Alberto Del Rio, who was officially moved to Smackdown for it. Bryan will hopefully move on to feud with Orton, which could lead to some incredible matches if they pull the trigger on it.
Punk vs. Jericho. Who wins?
WWE Title Chicago Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
This is likely going to be the match of the night in terms of quality, which it wasn't at WrestleMania due to the Undertaker/Triple H match. Now, the spotlight is on them, and the pressure is there to deliver that potential 5-star match if they are given the opportunity in terms of time and booking.
The "street fight" stipulation allows them to bring more physicality to the match in addition to their excellent technical prowess, so it will be interesting to see what they can deliver.
The Chicago crowd will be VERY loud for this match. While it may not be as raucous as it was for the epic Money in the Bank 2011 PPV, it could be an environment close to that. They love their local hero CM Punk as they should. He deserves all the adulation he receives, and I've been impressed with his title reign for the most part.
I think we can expect a 15- to 20-minute match, or perhaps, even longer than that. If blood was allowed in WWE then Jericho would be busted open at some point, but they can tell that physical story in other ways.
The finish? Punk smashes a bottle of liquor on Jericho's head as retribution for all of the cheap attacks Jericho did against Punk in the last few weeks. Following the bottle smash, Punk will give him the GTS to wrap this feud up, although if Jericho were to win and it were to lead to more matches, then I wouldn't have a problem with that.
I've been clamoring for a series of matches between these two. The more the merrier. My gut feeling is the end of the feud is here.
Winner: CM Punk
Lesnar vs. Cena. Who wins?
Extreme Rules Match: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena
I think the biggest question going into this match is this: Are they going to play that Lesnar video package one more time? OK, that's a joke, but they played it twice on Raw this past week after originally playing it the week before.
The real, and biggest, question going into this match is what's the finish going to be? I think we can pencil in the Lesnar win. Perhaps, we can write it in pen because it feels like a sure thing…or at least as much of a sure thing as there is in WWE.
It's an interesting decision because Cena's coming off a loss against The Rock at WrestleMania, he lost to Lord Tensai on Raw a couple of weeks ago, and if he loses to Lesnar, he would have three major losses in the month of April.
Is that a way to create sympathy for the Cena character, which is something that they've been trying to do since the start of the year with that "Embrace The Hate" feud he had with Kane? It might work. Cena trying to cope with losses could lead to fans feeling sorry for him.
Much like the Punk/Jericho match, the crowd will be a big story here. I'd expect Lesnar to get a lot of fan support even though he's been booked as a heel that has come out and said that he had no interest in being liked by the fans.
He doesn't care about what the fans think about him. I think most fans, like myself, are just glad that he's back in WWE, so they're going to cheer at the sight of him.
The "Extreme Rules" stipulation isn't much different than the Street Fight or Falls Count Anywhere, which basically allows for weapons to be used in all cases and for brawling outside the ring. I'd expect all the finishes to be creative as well, which is another way of saying they'll all be different.
For this one, I think the finish will see Lesnar hit a F5, Cena kick out of it and Lesnar shocked by it, so he hits him with another one or two F5's before finally beating Cena.
In other words, Lesnar goes over, but Cena puts up a hell of a fight before eventually losing the match. I wouldn't be shocked if we get a rematch at the Over the Limit PPV as well. This is likely the early stages of this feud rather than the end.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
I'm looking forward to this event. I'll be recapping it live on TJRWrestling.com on Sunday night starting at 8pmET.