WWE's Extreme Rules 2013 pay-per-view is just about here, and that means it's time to start breaking down the matches and throwing out our predictions.
The card seems to be pretty much set in stone after a twist was thrown into the mix with Dolph Ziggler's concussion. Is the pay-per-view itself just as much a foregone conclusion?
Anything can happen in WWE, but what are some of the things that we can flat out expect to happen at the event?
Whether it's a title change, a heel turn or even just a match turning out to be disappointing, let's take a look at what might be coming our way with Extreme Rules 2013.
The Shield have been virtually unstoppable since joining the WWE roster at Survivor Series in November of last year.
Still, in that time period, they haven't won any championships. That is, until now.
Team Hell No will defend their WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tornado Tag Team Match against Shield members Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
Although Kane and Daniel Bryan have held the belts for quite some time, the duo has run its course and it is time for them to relinquish the titles in favor of one of the hottest entities in WWE today.
If I were to bet my house on the outcomes of this pay-per-view, my prediction of The Shield being victorious and obtaining the WWE Tag Team Championship would be one of those bets that I would be willing to take.
The feud between Randy Orton and Big Show has been running on fumes going into Extreme Rules.
WWE decided to merely let it fade into the background and be more of a continuation on its own accord rather than put a lot of time and effort into building it up to be more than it already was.
Nothing illustrates this point more than the generic stipulation attached to the match.
With that being said, they run the risk of having this match end up being pointless if they don't have somewhere to go from here.
The most logical step in my mind would be to capitalize on Orton's previous promo about wanting to focus on getting a championship belt around his waist and have Orton come out of this match on top.
Once the feud between Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler is done, Orton can step up to be the next challenger.
In comparison, who does Big Show have to feud with after this program? What would be the benefit of Big Show winning this match?
I can't see that happening unless there is more to WWE's plans than what has been showcased so far.
There is perhaps no better transitional champion in WWE right now than Kofi Kingston.
The man has held numerous United States, Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships with the entire purpose, in retrospect, of just dropping it to somebody else.
It appears as though that will be the case with his current reign as United States Champion, because he is facing Shield member Dean Ambrose.
As previously mentioned, the Shield have been on a roll and are showing no signs of stopping any time soon, so it can be assumed that things won't be different for this match.
Dean Ambrose is a popular and talented member of the roster who seems to have been given a bit of a pat on the back by the Undertaker himself. The next thing for him to do is to win a championship and prove his value when it comes to a title reign.
Sorry, Kofi, but it looks like your title victory over Antonio Cesaro wasn't as much of a positive for you, but rather a negative for Cesaro.
Fandango won his match with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX in a bit of an upset, but will he be able to do it again at Extreme Rules?
I fully expect him to do just that.
Even though Jericho's schedule with the company isn't fully disclosed to the public, we still have been made aware that he plans on taking time off and cannot be assumed to stay on the roster for much longer.
On top of this, Fandango is supposedly one of Vince McMahon's pet projects, one he sees a lot of potential money and success in.
With both of those factors weighed in, I would assume that Y2J is going to take the loss in this match in order to give way to the superstar who not only needs the win more but who will also be a more regularly featured member of the roster for the time being.
Out of all of the matches on the card, this is the one that I feel the least confident in predicting the outcome for.
Sheamus is being protected in a lot of ways from looking bad, but Mark Henry was given the victory over Ryback at WrestleMania in order to maintain his credibility as well.
The portrait that WWE has painted for this feud tends to showcase Sheamus as being a bit more intelligent yet outclassed in terms of strength in comparison to Henry.
If I were to forced to choose, I would say Sheamus more than likely wins this match by outsmarting Henry and pulling a sly maneuver that allows him to touch all of the corners.
The prediction that I'm more confident in saying, however, is that no matter who wins this match, Henry will not be forced to look like he is jobbing out to Sheamus in the process.
Expect to see Henry dominate Sheamus and then lose to a quick Brogue Kick or something along those lines rather than being beaten down by the Celtic Warrior.
There is no storyline going into this match, nor have either of these two men really been treated as incredibly important as of late in WWE.
Cody Rhodes has been overlooked and barely used on recently shows while the Miz has been away filming a movie after dropping his Intercontinental Championship immediately back to Wade Barrett, who is also being underutilized at the moment.
This match means nothing, and it's pretty safe to say the people not tuning into YouTube to watch this won't be missing a thing.
To go even further, I would say this isn't just a prediction but a guarantee. Go ahead and skip it. You won't be penalized in any way.
The steel cage match at Extreme Rules will be the rubber match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar, seeing as how their first encounter resulted in a Lesnar victory while Triple H evened up the score at WrestleMania XXIX.
I've illustrated several points as to why Lesnar absolutely needs to win this match in a previous article, and it seems even more likely to happen after watching this week's episode of Raw.
As Triple H pointed out in his promo (and as mentioned in the linked article above), Lesnar loses some of his mystique if he loses this match.
What, in comparison, does Triple H stand to gain out of winning it?
This should be a pretty decent match but probably not as entertaining as a lot of people are hoping it will be.
When it's all said and done, Lesnar should be the one either escaping the cage or hitting an F5 on the Cerebral Assassin and standing tall, gearing up for his next opponent.
Will that next challenger be CM Punk, Undertaker or Randy Orton? I'm not quite confident in predicting that at the moment, but what I am banking on is that Triple H will not be leaving the steel cage with his hand held high.
Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger have been feuding with each other for several months now, and the time is here to end this program.
When this was originally a Triple Threat ladder match that included Dolph Ziggler, I had been thinking that the most obvious end of the match would be Ziggler retaining the championship and Del Rio looking strong enough to warrant a singles match between the two at Payback for the World Heavyweight title.
Now that Ziggler has been removed and the stipulations of this match have been changed, it is even more of a lock that Swagger is going to come out on the losing end.
This could be a continuation of the punishment that might have started with his loss at WrestleMania, but I don't think so. Instead, this is just the logical way of doing things.
A heel feud between Swagger and Ziggler doesn't make as much sense as a feud between Ziggler and Del Rio, which could be built around the Money in the Bank cash-in to begin with.
Del Rio needs to win this match not only to continue his feud with Ziggler but also to give his babyface push a bit of a boost after losing the title.
Are you surprised to see this as a prediction you can bank on? I doubt it.
John Cena is not going to drop the title to Ryback under any circumstances at Extreme Rules.
It doesn't matter that Cena is injured, because if it were bad enough for him to have to take time off for surgery, WWE would not have risked him wrestling on Raw.
It doesn't matter that Cena is being booked as the underdog. He always is. Does that ever stop him from winning? I don't think so.
It doesn't matter that Ryback is supposed to look strong. He was supposed to look strong for the past seven months, but he has lost every single important match that he's been in since his original push and title match against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell 2012.
What does matter is that WWE wants John Cena to be the champion again. WWE might not be able to force you to cheer for Cena like intended, but at the very least, the powers-that-be can book Cena to continue winning matches in the blind hopes that maybe it will create some new fans in the process.
I'm not the biggest anti-Cena person in the world, but a match like this just screams "typical WWE." Zack Ryder was humiliated in an attempt to transfer his popularity over to Cena. CM Punk has been subject to storylines that are built around the idea of taking some of his momentum and giving it to Cena. The same applies here.
Ryback does not have the same momentum that he used to, and you can blame WWE Creative for that, as his continuous losses have done nothing but hurt him. However, that won't matter. The purpose of this match is to give Cena another victory after defeating the Rock for the title. This whole match revolves around doing the normal "Cena overcomes the odds" in the face of last year's losses.
Sure, WWE will try to figure out a way that Ryback doesn't completely get his ass handed to him by Cena in a squash match, but if they can't think of any good way to accomplish this and have Cena retain the title, the writers will not care and will be more concerned with Cena winning. Afterward, the audience will just be flat out told that Ryback is still a threat to be taken seriously as has happened after every single loss that he's had for the past several months.
This, above all, seems to be the one prediction that you can not only bank on but bet your life savings will happen. The Cena fans who are hoping this will happen will assuredly be happy come Sunday night. The rest of us will sigh with a resounding "I told you so."
What are some of your predictions for Extreme Rules? Let us know in the comments below.