WWE Raw vs. SmackDown: Which Brand Has the Better Extreme Rules Lineup?

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

AJ Styles will defend the WWE Championship against Rusev at Extreme Rules.
AJ Styles will defend the WWE Championship against Rusev at Extreme Rules.Credit: WWE.com

Every WWE pay-per-view since WrestleMania 34 has featured Superstars from both Raw and SmackDown Live, so the perception of any competition between the brands has all but died out.

Even though there is no fight for supremacy, it's fun to compare which show has the better lineup at each PPV to see which would win a theoretical battle for brand superiority.

WWE.com lists nine matches for Extreme Rules on July 15. Raw has five, and SmackDown has four. 

Both sets of tag team, midcard and women's titles will be on the line, in addition to the WWE Championship match. Raw's top title is once again absent, but WWE has booked a main event-caliber bout in its place.

The odd match out is Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin, which doesn't have a blue brand equivalent.

Let's go through each comparable match from Raw and SmackDown to see which show comes out on top. 

                              

Tag Team Championships

  • Raw: The Deleters of Worlds vs. The B-Team
  • SmackDown: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No

The two top feuds in WWE's tag team division have both relied on comedic elements to push their stories forward, and they have been better as a result.

Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas have been impersonating Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt in recent weeks. The best part about these segments has been Dallas' impression of Wyatt, his brother.

Over on SmackDown, Team Hell No reunited to challenger Harper and Rowan for the tag titles. Even though Dr. Shelby is over on Raw, trying to help Bayley and Sasha Banks, Team Hell No is the same dysfunctional team we remember and love.

Daniel Bryan and Kane have always been funny together, and they fell right back into their old pattern as soon as they were in the ring together.

Both matches have the potential to be entertaining, but The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Bryan and Kane will likely be a higher-quality contest.

This is not a knock against any of the four men in the Raw tag team match. They are all talented, but Bryan is one of the best wrestlers in the world, and Harper is probably the most underrated worker on the roster. 

Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No

                     

Midcard Championships

  • Raw: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins (Iron Man)
  • SmackDown: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins have already shown the world what they are capable of, and with a 30-minute Iron Man stipulation for their Intercontinental Championship match, they have the opportunity to steal the show.

Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura don't have as much experience as opponents, but what they lack in chemistry is countered by their skill and charisma.

Hardy and Rollins are both known as risk-takers. Ziggler and Nakamura are willing to take a few chances, but their striking and mat wrestling ability are what make them dangerous.

Had WWE given Hardy and Nakamura a gimmick, this might have been a harder comparison to make, but the Iron Man stipulation gives The Showoff and The Architect the advantage.

Winner: Ziggler vs. Rollins

                 

Women's Championship Matches

  • Raw: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (Extreme Rules)
  • SmackDown: Carmella vs. Asuka

Unlike the midcard title bouts, having a stipulation doesn't do much to make another encounter between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax any more intriguing.

They had a good feud leading up to WrestleMania, but it just feels like WWE is rehashing the same story when it has several other worthy contenders to put into the hunt for gold.

Carmella and Asuka are still going strong with their feud on SmackDown. Whether James Ellsworth's return is a positive or negative depends on whether you find his shtick entertaining.

Having a nuisance in her corner will even the playing field for Carmella against The Empress of Tomorrow, but Asuka has already shown Ellsworth is no match for her, so we might see a new champion crowned at Extreme Rules.

Even though Jax and Bliss can use anything they want as a weapon, Carmella and Asuka will likely have the better match with a more satisfying conclusion.

Winner: Carmella vs. Asuka

                          

Main Event Matches

  • Raw: Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns
  • SmackDown: AJ Styles vs. Rusev (WWE Championship)

While Raw doesn't have a Universal Championship match on the card, Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley is worthy of being considered the brand's main event.

This bout should feel like a huge deal, but it doesn't. Lashley's return in April was handled so poorly that it's hard to think WWE has found a way to right the ship yet.

Their power and physicality will lead to a great match, but will it be better than AJ Styles vs. Rusev? Probably not.

The Phenomenal One and The Bulgarian Brute's feud is fresh with the possibility of being a long-term storyline. This is Rusev's first real shot at the WWE title, so you know he is going to make the most of his time in the spotlight.

Lashley and Reigns will be good, but Styles and Rusev will be the better match. 

Winner: Styles vs. Rusev

                   

Raw has a slight advantage with one extra match, but when comparing the four main sets of bouts, SmackDown comes out ahead.

The red brand has a better midcard title bout, but SmackDown's main event, women's and tag title matches will outperform Raw's.

             


Which brand do you think has the better lineup heading into Extreme Rules?

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