WWE Extreme Rules 2018 is coming up this Sunday at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
While it lacks an appearance from Brock Lesnar and the Universal Championship, as well as any representation from the 205 Live roster, every other title will be on the line.
The card offers a wide range of talent, ranging from what could be some of the best in-ring work we see all year in Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins to two absurd comedic duos fighting for the Raw Tag Team Championship. There's also a little nostalgia from Team Hell No thrown in.
This could be a sleeper hit and one of the most entertaining shows of the year, or it could be another run-of-the-mill pay-per-view that is quickly pushed aside in just a few days on the road to SummerSlam.
- Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
- AJ Styles vs. Rusev (WWE Championship)
- Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women's Championship)
- Carmella vs. Asuka (SmackDown Women's Championship; James Ellsworth suspended above the ring in a shark cage)
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins (30-Minute Iron Man Match; Intercontinental Championship)
- Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Championship)
- The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
- Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The B-Team (Raw Tag Team Championship)
- Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
- Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Steel Cage Match)
- The New Day vs. Sanity (Tables Match)
- Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Sin Cara
- Reigns and Lashley fight to a no-contest.
- Styles retains over Rusev.
- Bliss retains over Jax.
- Asuka defeats Carmella to win the title.
- Ziggler retains over Rollins.
- Nakamura defeats Hardy to win the title.
- The Bludgeon Brothers retain over Team Hell No.
- The Deleters of Worlds retain.
- Balor defeats Corbin.
- Strowman defeats Owens.
- Sanity defeats The New Day.
- Almas defeats Sin Cara.
Will the Miz Make an Appearance?
The Miz has been advertised to play in the 2018 MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game on July 15, which is taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
This should effectively rule him out of Extreme Rules on the very same day, but that might not be the case.
There's always a chance he could hop on a flight to Pittsburgh and make a surprise appearance if given enough time to travel.
If so, he will most likely interfere in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match and cost Team Hell No the win.
Hosting them on Miz TV furthered the story between the two sides, which reignited when The Miz defeated Bryan in the gauntlet match several weeks back after The Bludgeon Brothers went on the attack.
While there's no true affiliation between The Miz and The Bludgeon Brothers, pay attention to that match's placement on the card.
The later into the night it goes on, the more likely The Miz will interfere to screw Bryan over.
Ronda Rousey Ringside
After attacking Alexa Bliss to vent her frustrations after The Goddess cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase to steal the Raw Women's Championship, Ronda Rousey was suspended from Monday Night Raw for 30 days.
However, it's since been revealed that not only does that suspension not apply to Extreme Rules, but Rousey announced that she will be buying a ticket and be sitting front row in the arena.
Since Bliss will face Nia Jax in a No Disqualification match, it's virtually guaranteed that Bliss' buddy Mickie James won't be the only outsider to get her hands dirty, as Rousey could very easily get involved.
The stipulation should help Bliss' chances against the imposing Jax so she can retain the title in order to drop it to Rousey at SummerSlam, so this match should see the continuation of the build toward that confrontation.
Either Rousey will get involved during the match itself, or she will attack Bliss afterward to make a statement and put the champion on notice.
Survivor Series is SmackDown's Endgame
If Rousey wins the Raw Women's Championship at SummerSlam and WWE replicates last year's Survivor Series by having the champions of each brand against each other, it would be key to what happens between Carmella and Asuka.
Whoever the company would rather see fight Rousey in November will take the belt off Carmella, and there are only three plausible options.
Charlotte Flair is a possibility, but she's better saved for WrestleMania. However, Becky Lynch may be a necessary stepping stone.
That would be the only way to have Rousey face Lynch without trading her to Raw. Bayley and Sasha Banks are already on that brand, so they could have matches against Rousey at any point in the year.
Then, she'll have fought all members of the Four Horsewomen of WWE except Flair, setting up their WrestleMania encounter.
If that is something WWE wishes to do, Asuka will have to fail to capture the title from Carmella here, but she shouldn't be counted out.
Asuka vs. Rousey has value, too, and there may not be any need for Lynch to fight Rousey in November—especially if she's still a babyface. A heel turn for Asuka would be a refreshing change for her character.
Putting a babyface Lynch against Rousey could see the former MMA star's popularity wane, but if Asuka were to turn heel before Survivor Series, it would put Rousey in a great position to be cheered when she wins their fight.
If Asuka wins, she's losing to Rousey at Survivor Series. If she doesn't defeat Carmella, Lynch will be the next in line.
One Man's Loss is Another Man's Profit
Bray Wyatt's recent car accident is certainly unfortunate, but it might be the best thing for The B-Team.
Between the injuries he suffered and being cited for reckless driving, this may be a motivator for WWE to put the Raw Tag Team Championships on the challengers.
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas have also been getting more positive reactions from the crowds each Monday night than Wyatt and Matt Hardy, so there's even less of a reason to keep the titles on The Deleters of Worlds.
Be it for a transitional phase, or something more long-term, The B-Team could get a surprise victory by being the right team at the right place at the right time.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.