WWE Extreme Rules 2012: Predictions for First Pay-Per-View After WrestleMania
Tonight, the fourth annual WWE Extreme Rules will emanate from the home of the Chicago Wolves, the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill. Other historic events such as the second ever WrestleMania, WrestleMania 13, WrestleMania 22 and last year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view have taken place in this arena, and as expected in Chicago, the crowd was off-the-hook electric and participative in the event.
Tonight, not only are we looking forward to what should be a wrestling clinic by Daniel Bryan and Sheamus or CM Punk's return to his hometown where he won his first WWE Championship last year, but we should also look forward to what the crowd in attendance has in store for us.
Without further ado, I will now predict the seven matches that are advertised for this year's WWE Extreme Rules event.
The Miz vs. Santino Marella
Six days before WrestleMania XXVIII, The Miz would perform the Skull-Crushing Finale on Santino. Courtesy: WWE.com.
Before WWE Extreme Rules, we will be treated to a WWE United States Championship match between The Miz and defending champion Santino Marella. This match will be streamed in high quality at WWE's official YouTube channel at 7:30PM Eastern time or 4:30PM Pacific time.
The Miz is a two-time United States Champion, having held the title a combined 321 days. Last year at WWE Extreme Rules, The Miz was in the main event, defending his WWE Championship against John Cena and John Morrison, and he lost his title to John Cena.
On the other hand, Santino Marella has had an extremely successful reign as United States Champion thus far, defeating the likes of Jack Swagger, David Otunga and Dolph Ziggler.
Now, will Santino's reign end at the hands of "The Awesome One" or will Santino pull out another miracle?
In my opinion, The Miz winning the United States Championship would knock him back down to the midcard. Although he isn't being booked as one, lots of fans still perceive Miz as a main event player because of the way he was booked in late 2010 and half of 2011.
I think Miz has a lot of talent, both in-ring (see his match against Alex Riley on WWE Superstars) and on the microphone, but his act has gotten stale. I know that you can't solve everything with a face/heel turn, but turning The Miz face and moving him over to SmackDown would do a lot for his character, in my opinion.
Santino hasn't even reached 60 days in his title reign and is very popular with the fans, so him retaining here should be a no-brainer.
Winner and still United States Champion: Santino Marella
The Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes
Will Cody Rhodes be able to regain his Intercontinental Championship? Courtesy: WWE.com.
At the top of this month, Cody Rhodes' 200-plus-day reign as the Intercontinental Champion came to an end at the hands of a massive WMD by The Big Show. Now, it's Big Show who has been embarrassing Cody Rhodes on a weekly basis as opposed to Cody Rhodes showing Big Show's most embarrassing WrestleMania moments.
Over the last few weeks, Cody Rhodes has been knocked out by The Big Show, chopped and chokeslammed by The Great Khali and whipped with his own leather belt by the gargantuan Intercontinental Champion.
Now, this has to be for a reason, right? I don't think so. Cody Rhodes losing his Intercontinental Championship only to gain it back less than a month later to give Big Show his WrestleMania moment makes no sense in my eyes.
This is just a small slump for Cody Rhodes, as he will eventually get over this program and rise onto bigger and better things like a feud with Sheamus or CM Punk.
Tonight, Big Show will once again stand over the fallen carcass of Rhodes.
As for the stipulation? I predict it will just be an Extreme Rules match (no disqualifications or count-outs, but the pinfall has to be inside the ring) or a strap match. An interesting possibility would be a Texas Bullrope match, but I doubt we will see that happen.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: The Big Show
Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix
This match was the last match announced for this pay-per-view's match card. For the first time since February at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event, the Divas Championship will be defended at a pay-per-view.
This time, it'll be Nikki Bella, the reigning and defending champion, going one-on-one with "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix. About a week away from breaking Maryse's record as longest-reigning Divas Champion, Phoenix lost her championship against Nikki Bella on Raw after Nikki rolled her up once Phoenix injured her ankle earlier in the bout.
Since then, Nikki Bella has defended the Divas Championship successfully against Alicia Fox, with the help of a little twin magic.
As I wrote on Thursday, Phoenix was diagnosed with a storyline severe left ankle sprain, as revealed on the WWE website. With reports that Kharma is returning soon, I wouldn't be surprised if Nikki Bella retained here by disqualification or count-out and then Kharma returned on Monday to beat Nikki Bella for the title and write The Bellas out of television.
This match isn't looking too interesting, but the aftermath should be. Stay tuned for Kharma appearances either tonight or tomorrow night on Raw.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Nikki Bella
Randy Orton vs. Kane
It's one win for Kane, one win for Orton. Who will be victorious in their match at Extreme Rules? Courtesy: WWE.com.
Before and at WrestleMania, no one cared about this feud. It was built on Kane shaking Randy Orton's hand after a match in the summer of 2011. However, now, I'm a bit more invested in the feud, as it has taken a personal twist with Kane assaulting Orton's father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, backstage with a lead pipe.
The extreme stipulation for this match up is a Falls Count Anywhere match. That means no count-outs, no submissions, no rope breaks and that you can pin or submit your opponent anywhere in or outside the building.
Although their match at WrestleMania didn't meet my expectations, it was still a decent match, but with this match having a stipulation to it and a better build, I think this match will top their WrestleMania and SmackDown matches.
As for who will win? I think I'm going to have to go with Randy Orton. Yes, Kane will have lost his two feuds since his resurrection in late 2011, but being a veteran, I don't think this will do much damage to Kane in the long run.
With rumors that Orton will feud with Lesnar in the upcoming months, Orton should be booked as a strong face in the next few months and I wouldn't be surprised if he introduced a couple of new moves in his repertoire to look like he has a legit chance against one of the biggest physical freaks on the planet, "The War Machine" Brock Lesnar.
Winner: Randy Orton
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Daniel Bryan will be getting his rematch tonight in front of a vociferous Chicago crowd. It should be no surprise that Bryan will be getting a louder and perhaps more positive reaction than his opponent, the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
This match comes just 26 days after Bryan's 18-second World Heavyweight Championship loss to "The Great White" at WrestleMaia XXVIII. However, that loss may have been a blessing in disguise for the submission specialist, as he has gotten the biggest crowd reactions since he debuted in WWE in early 2010.
Not only that, but Bryan has consistently been given time on the microphone every week after WrestleMania.
This match is no ordinary match, also, as it is a 2-out-of-3 Falls match. To win this match, you must pin your opponent or make him submit twice in the match, whether it be twice in a row or twice throughout the three stages in this match.
For the first time since I began writing on Bleacher Report, let me say that I heavily dislike Sheamus' current happy-go-lucky Irishman gimmick that he's got going on. Although he gets semi-consistent babyface crowd reactions, he has done nothing spectacular and has been an afterthought since becoming the WWE's Heavyweight Champion of the World.
I don't need any Internet reports to know that WWE is big on Sheamus, since it's pretty obvious, but he has been booked horribly throughout his reign. He has barely gotten any promo time and he hasn't been promoted properly.
I'm not a huge fan of Sheamus, but I do think that he's decent on the stick and pretty good in the ring for a man of his size, so it's a shame to see him be wasted like this.
Although I haven't mentioned her in this slide yet, the A.J. factor will contribute to this match somehow, most likely during the ending moments of the bout. For casual viewers, Daniel Bryan broke up up with A.J. on the SmackDown after WrestleMania and has told her on several occasions that he wants no part of her and that he wishes she had never been born.
As for them getting back together? "No!" Since Bryan's harsh words towards her, AJ has gone on a seemingly psychotic rage, brutally attacking Natalya and slapping her on-screen best friend Kaitlyn. I expect A.J. to try to help Daniel Bryan regain the title, but for it to backfire, costing him the final fall of the match. Either that or A.J. will aid Bryan in regaining the title so they can be a couple again.
The problem with that is that Sheamus' other two main title reigns (his WWE Championship ones) have also been lackluster, so for him to have a third lackluster reign would hurt his credibility.
Nevertheless, it should be an interesting atmosphere and an interesting match. This match could go either way, but I'm going to have to go with...
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: "The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
Days before their encounter at Extreme Rules, CM Punk beats down Chris Jericho. Courtesy: WWE.com.
Last time CM Punk was at a pay-per-view in Chicago, he put John Cena to sleep to capture his very first WWE Championship. CM Punk also has the hometown advantage, being raised in Chicago and receiving wrestling training from Ace Steel. However, Punk is not the only one with history in Chicago. His opponent, the nefarious and malevolent Chris Jericho, made his WWE debut in Chicago.
Tonight, these two in-ring technicians will battle in a Chicago Street Fight. In the history of WWE, only one Chicago Street Fight has happened, featuring Ahmed Johnson, The Legion of Doom and The Nation of Domination.
In what should be a very good 20- to 30-minute match, I expect CM Punk's family and friends to be sitting ringside. Yes, I do expect them to get involved in the finish. After all, hasn't the majority of this feud been about Chris Jericho badmouthing CM Punk's family and their unhealthy habits?
While this should be a very good match, Chris Jericho has looked very weak since returning on January 2, losing the Royal Rumble, the Elimination Chamber and to CM Punk at WrestleMania at the beginning of April.
With a fourth major loss, what does this say about Jericho and “the end of the world as we know it”? Is there no end of the world? Heels usually do say things they can’t back up, but in my opinion, this is just too much.
I can’t say much about this match since the result is fairly obvious, but look for Jericho to begin a feud with either Randy Orton or Kofi Kingston next.
Winner and still WWE Champion: CM Punk
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena
Brock Lesnar wth a double leg takedown on John Cena. Courtesy: WWE.com.
Along with the 2-out-of-3 Falls match, this is the hardest match to predict on the Extreme Rules card. On one side, you've got the returning Brock Lesnar, who took the UFC by storm and has repeatedly gotten the upper hand on John Cena.
On the other side, you've got the franchise of WWE, who has lost two big matches against The Rock and Lord Tensai this month and would lose three important matches if he were to lose against "The War Machine."
Both men have also accomplished a lot in their sports careers. Lesnar is a former NCAA Champion, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, a former King of the Ring winner, a Royal Rumble winner and a three-time WWE Champion.
John Cena is a three-time Slammy Award winner, a three-time WWE United States Champion, a two-time World Tag Team Champion, a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, a former Royal Rumble winner and a 10-time WWE Champion.
These two men have faced each other in a big match once before, at Backlash 2003 for Lesnar's WWE Championship. The result was Lesnar pinning Cena after a thunderous F5 on "The Doctor of Thuganomics."
However, both men are extremely different now. Cena is no longer the heel and Lesnar is no longer the face. John Cena has become "the face" of WWE while Lesnar returned—not to create a big moment or because he missed the fans—for himself.
Lesnar, backed up by WWE Raw and SmackDown General Manager John Laurinaitis, is on a quest to "legitimize" WWE. Cena is the guy who backs up the locker room and has always wanted to be a WWE superstar while Lesnar never had that job in mind.
Tonight, these two will do battle in an Extreme Rules match. No count-outs and no disqualifications. These two superstars will pull out no stops and I expect this to be an all-out brawl all over the Allstate Arena. Not only will this help cover up for Brock Lesnar's possible ring rust, but it will make it seem like these two really hate each other.
I doubt this match will end completely clean, so expect interference from guys like Laurinaitis, Otunga, Miz, Swagger, Ziggler and the rest of John Laurinaitis' cronies.
I doubt that Lesnar is going to lose on his first match back, but if he does, I expect WWE to back it up by saying that he also lost his first UFC fight.
However, I don't think that will happen and at the end of the night, Lesnar will be the one whose arm is being raised by the referee. Both men can't lose, but at the same time, one of them has to. I'm not going to be mad if there's a clunky finish, but please don't end it by referee stoppage.
Much like in 2003, I expect Lesnar to be victorious over Cena, who will possibly take some time off and then come back stronger than ever to take on "The Freak" Brock Lesnar.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Extreme Rules Aftermath
In 21 days, WWE Over the Limit will occur in Raleigh, North Carolina. I predict that we will have no Brock Lesnar match at the upcoming pay-per-view. We will also see CM Punk defend his WWE Championship against Lord Tensai, while the World Heavyweight Championship is defended in a fatal four-way match involving Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Alberto Del Rio and a returning Christian.
John Cena will take some well-deserved time off and Randy Orton will be put into a big placeholder feud with someone like Chris Jericho.
Those were my WWE Extreme Rules predictions, guys. Tell me what you thought in the comments and make sure to give your own predictions for the pay-per-view. It should be a good one, headlined by three matches that will range from good to great.
Follow Brett Chandler on Twitter @AmericanDolphin and make sure to "prop" this article, comment and maybe even become a fan of mine. Also, check out another wrestling website with great opinions and stellar writers, WrestleEnigma.com.