There were originally four championship matches scheduled for Extreme Rules. A concussion suffered by Dolph Ziggler during the build dropped that number to three. The trio of key bouts is highlighted by John Cena defending the WWE title against Ryback.
The other two feature members of The Shield. Dean Ambrose will attempt to win the United States title away from Kofi Kingston while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns take on Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan and Kane, for the Tag Team belts.
Given how well all three members of The Shield have handled their enormous push, it sets up to become a very big night for the group of rising stars. So let's examine each of the three title matches and make predictions for each.
John Cena vs. Ryback (WWE Championship)
An interesting dilemma is created by making the encounter between Cena and Ryback a Last Man Standing match. Both superstars have been built into unstoppable forces, Cena for years and Ryback since his debut, which means it's tough to imagine either man staying down for a 10 count.
The easiest way to avoid making either main-event talent look weak is interference. The Shield causing chaos to stand tall at the end of the night is the best option. Brock Lesnar or a returning CM Punk (far less likely scenario) taking out both men to set up a triple-threat feud is also possible.
By having Cena and Ryback battle for an extended period without a winner emerging would avoid having to make either one appear weak. All told, it's hard to imagine Cena dropping the belt right away after his WrestleMania win, so he should emerge with the title one way or another.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose (United States Championship)
It's not a random decision to have Ambrose go after individual gold while his Shield partners chase the tag titles. He's illustrated the most potential of the three in recent months and has the look of a future WWE champion.
The story for Kingston remains the same. The company feels comfortable with him as a holdover mid-card champ due to his popularity, especially among the young audience, but he's failed to receive the monster push necessary to become a main-event superstar.
A win over Ambrose could mark the start of that type of run, but it's not in the cards. The Shield has been on a tremendous run in recent months and it's hard to believe it would end at a mid-tier PPV. Expect Ambrose to become the new champion.
Team Hell No vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (Tag Team Championships)
Daniel Bryan and Kane deserve a lot of credit. They helped revitalize a dormant tag team division. But the gimmick has run its course and it's time for both superstars, most prominently Bryan, to return to singles action.
On the other hand, Rollins and Reigns are ready for their first title runs. Giving each member of The Shield a belt is the next step in the group's amazing progression from NXT members to a vital piece of the WWE landscape.
Since it's a Tornado Tag match, you can expect to see a lot of action both inside and outside the ring. The finish will likely see Reigns deliver his patented spear to pick up the win. And when the dust settles at night's end, The Shield will likely be the biggest winner of Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Rollins and Reigns