WWE Extreme Rules 2018 Match Card, Preview and Picks for Each Championship Match

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Sunday night, WWE presents Extreme Rules live from Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena, a show synonymous with gimmick bouts, but in 2018 it will be as recognizable for its wealth of championship clashes.

Seven of the 10 matches on the main card are title bouts, headlined by the WWE Championship battle from SmackDown Live.

Ahead of Sunday's pay-per-view extravaganza, let's take a look at the match card, the championship matches that make it up and offer picks for each of the high-stakes contests.

          

Card

  • WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Rusev (Pick: Styles)
  • Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley (Pick: Reigns)
  • Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Pick: Owens)
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Team Hell No vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Pick: Team Hell No)
  • 30-Minute Iron Man Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (Pick: Ziggler)
  • United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Pick: Nakamura)
  • Extreme Rules Match for the Raw Women's Championship: Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss (Pick: Bliss)
  • SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Asuka vs. Carmella (Pick: Carmella)
  • Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The B-Team (Pick: Hardy and Wyatt)
  • Finn Balor vs. Constable Corbin (Pick: Balor)
  • Tables Match: The New Day vs. Sanity (Pick: Sanity)

     

Rusev's Championship Opportunity

For years, Rusev has been held up by fans as one of the more underrated and undervalued Superstars in WWE. He has repeatedly proved his worth, delivering strong performances in big spots, but he has not necessarily received the push that reflects the quality of his work.

After getting over with audiences thanks to his Rusev Day shtick, The Bulgarian Brute finally has the chance to show management and doubters exactly what makes him a hidden gem on today's roster as he challenges AJ Styles for the WWE Championship in one of the Extreme Rules main events.

Rusev has worked with everyone from John Cena to The Undertaker over the course of his four-year run as part of WWE's main roster. He has been part of high-profile main events and also endured the frustration of life in the deep, dark abyss that is the company's midcard.

While he is unlikely to leave Pittsburgh with the title around his waist, delivering a show-stealing performance against a Superstar many consider the best wrestler on the planet will help elevate his stock and hopefully earn him a more permanent spot in the championship picture on Tuesday nights.

         

Ronda Rousey and the Raw Women's Championship Match

Nia Jax and Raw women's champion Alexa Bliss will seek to settle their differences once and for all Sunday when they meet in an Extreme Rules match for their division's top prize.

While that rivalry has been a strong one, complete with a memorable WrestleMania 34 victory for Jax and an even more unforgettable Money in the Bank cash-in by Bliss just a month ago, all eyes will be on Ronda Rousey, who will be in attendance for the show.

The former UFC star was suspended for 30 days after putting Bliss through a table, the rowdy one's response to the NXT export cashing in at her expense.

All signs point to a feud between Rousey and Bliss for the title, suggesting Jax will leave Pittsburgh disappointed. The question is whether WWE opts to go the more traditional one-on-one route with Bliss and Rousey or opts to keep Jax in the mix, resulting in a three-way program.

Either way, Rousey almost certainly will be involved in some form while the Extreme Rules stipulation lends itself to a wilder, more chaotic match as Bliss and Jax settle their differences in a high-profile title match.

         

Seth Rollins. Dolph Ziggler. 30 Minutes.

Two of the best wrestlers in the world will square off for the coveted Intercontinental Championship in a 30-Minute Iron Man match Sunday night as Dolph Ziggler defends against the man he defeated for the title, Seth Rollins.

Rollins is in the midst of his greatest year from an in-ring perspective, thanks to stellar performances against The Miz, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and pretty much everyone else he has shared the squared circle with since January.

Ziggler is undergoing a career renaissance, thanks to a new partnership with Drew McIntyre and renewed emphasis from WWE Creative.

With two televised matches under their belts, Ziggler and Rollins will look to captivate fans for one half-hour while navigating pacing and drama in hopes of putting forth another extraordinary bout.

Both men are capable of doing just that. They have earned the reputations they have for a reason. The question is whether they can get the timing and storytelling right, because with 30 minutes to toy with, one misstep in either of those fields could doom the entire match.

Ziggler should retain, Rollins should wow and the finished product should be the match of the night.

At least on paper.

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