Predictions for Seth Rollins, Undertaker and Top Stars at WWE Extreme Rules 2019
WWE Extreme Rules 2019 is scheduled for Sunday, with a start time of 6 p.m. EST.
For the first time in months, it finally feels as though WWE is committed to making some changes, and Extreme Rules may be the first big step in that direction. After all, new executive director Paul Heyman is set to have more control over Raw, and who is more synonymous with the word "extreme" than the brains behind ECW?
One look at the card suggests it's equal parts wrapping up previous storylines, such as Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch against Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans, and new feuds to spice things up, like Samoa Joe challenging Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship.
It may not be "equal to or bigger than WrestleMania" like Super ShowDown was—at least, in WWE's eyes—but with Superstars like The Undertaker on the card, there is potential for it to be something special.
How is this all going to play out, and who will walk out victorious on Sunday? Let's break down the event and make some predictions.
Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese
Drew Gulak made good on his promise to capture the Cruiserweight Championship at Stomping Grounds, but he pinned Akira Tozawa in that match rather than Tony Nese.
Now, Nese will have an opportunity to prove he is still the better wrestler by winning back the title without Tozawa in the mix. However, that isn't going to happen.
Gulak has been too good for too long and could have been champion several titleholders ago, dating back to when the belt was around Enzo Amore's waist. Now he's finally in possession of it, it would be a travesty if he were to drop it so soon.
The Philadelphia-born Gulak will also have the hometown advantage in Wells Fargo Center, so Nese coming up short is an inevitability.
Prediction: Gulak retains
Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival vs. The Usos
It's taken a while to get here from The Usos pulling pranks on The Revival and a multitude of other feuds crossing over into this one, but these two teams will finally clash for the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Sadly, not much has been put into this being a noteworthy match, though.
Not only does it have no stipulation, but it was also unceremoniously tossed on to the card with The Usos casually mentioning it before their match on Raw. It then took WWE until the next day to even confirm it was officially on the lineup.
This may mean the company doesn't look at this as a big part of the night—which isn't surprising, given the treatment the tag team division frequently gets—so fans shouldn't expect anything beyond the norm.
The Usos and The Revival are extremely talented and could put on a great match in their sleep, but this will likely be just 10 minutes long, with The Revival retaining through some sort of shenanigans. Expect a disqualification if WWE wishes to drag this feud out even longer and give The Usos grounds for a rematch.
Prediction: The Revival wins
Last Man Standing Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
WWE doesn't always stick to the same patterns, but one booking tactic that happens a lot is the person who looks strong on the go-home show losing at the pay-per-view.
Monday's Raw featured Bobby Lashley cruising to victory over the returning Rey Mysterio in what could be viewed as a statement to Strowman, who was sidelined by injuries suffered in his brawl with The All Mighty the previous week.
The Monster Among Men was hurt as he fell through the titantron screen after slamming Lashley through it, and that show of strength likely signals Strowman will prevail when the two meet again on Sunday.
Lashley will still be booked quite strong, but it will ultimately be won by Strowman in some grand display of power.
Prediction: Braun Strowman wins
United States Champion Ricochet vs. AJ Styles
The odds are stacked against Ricochet now AJ Styles has turned heel and realigned himself with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, which has positioned the United States champion in a 3-on-1 scenario.
But the titleholder is a star in the making, a fresh champion and popular enough that WWE can't afford to have him drop the belt this fast and build him back up. Instead, this should be more about him overcoming the odds and proving his worth.
Styles has a win over Ricochet, who retained his title in return, albeit by a hair, as his foot was under the ropes and the decision had to be reevaluated. That means The One and Only has more to prove against a multiple titleholder such as The Phenomenal One.
If this were a gimmick match, it would be easier to paint a picture of The Club's numbers game and outside interference causing a title change, but there's room for a disqualification to keep the belt on Ricochet.
Prediction: Ricochet retains
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Heavy Machinery nearly had Daniel Bryan and Rowan beaten for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, and they'll have another shot at those titles at Extreme Rules.
This time, though, Big E and Xavier Woods of The New Day will also be vying for the belts. This will be a Triple Threat match, which also means it will be No Disqualification by default.
That means there is no champion's advantage for retaining by disqualification or count-outs, and Bryan and Rowan can lose the belts without being pinned or made to submit.
There is a good chance this is WWE's plan to set up something for SummerSlam by having someone from The New Day pin Otis or Tucker so Bryan and Rowan can complain that they deserve a rematch.
On the flip side, if Heavy Machinery take another loss and The New Day aren't the ones who directly lose, that may also be grounds to set up a one-on-one with Woods and Big E getting another shot at the belts on their own.
Without knowing WWE's plans for SummerSlam, it's hard to tell, so you might as well flip a coin here. In some fashion, Bryan will be on the card for the August 11 pay-per-view, but whether he's going in as champion or challenger is anyone's guess.
Prediction: The New Day win the titles
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro
After spending so many weeks acting like a tough guy and begging someone to pick a fight with him, Aleister Black cannot be booked to lose against Cesaro on Sunday. That would paint a picture of someone who can't back up his words.
Cesaro is no slouch, though, and he would be the priority to get another victory in many other situations, but that isn't the case here. This is Black's match to lose, and it will give off the impression he's not worth investing in if he comes up short.
Both men need to have a hard-fought contest to showcase their in-ring ability, but Black has to nail a Black Mass and score a pinfall to finish it.
Prediction: Aleister Black wins
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
WWE loves stretching things out, and up until it was announced that this would be a 2-on-1 handicap gimmick, the SmackDown Women's Championship felt like it was nothing but a copy of its Stomping Grounds title match.
Now that Nikki Cross will actively participate in the match alongside Alexa Bliss, though, it introduces a whole new aspect.
The odds are against Bayley, but Bliss will not do anywhere near as much work during the match as Cross. Whether the Scot notices could dictate who wins and who loses.
There's a scenario in which Bayley drops the title, Bliss takes all the credit and drops Cross as she no longer needs her anymore. Or maybe The Twisted Sister starts to see the error of her ways and turns on The Goddess, costing her the match in the process.
Or maybe Cross is really so naive she helps Bliss win the title and remains at her side to drag this out even further until the inevitable split between the two, possibly with a Triple Threat at SummerSlam between all three Superstars, with Bliss as champion.
Then again, Cross teased that Bayley should get a friend to be by her side, which may foreshadow the return of Sasha Banks to help even the odds. Even that raises a question of whether The Boss will turn on Bayley to set up a match between the two at SummerSlam.
That stipulation is the real intrigue here, and it's tough to place all the eggs in the basket of The Boss being the savior. But it would create the most buzz, so let's give the slight advantage to Bayley because of that.
Prediction: Bayley retains
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe bounced back fast from his United States Championship loss to Ricochet by interjecting himself into the WWE Championship hunt and getting a title shot out of attacking Kofi Kingston.
An opportunity to become champion isn't the same as actually winning the gold, though, and Joe will have a harder time with Kingston than it may seem, despite his size advantage.
This is because The New Day man has been booked as a strong champion since capturing the title at WrestleMania 35.
Defeating Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler has put Kingston in a place where he's confident but not cocky. Joe is intimidating, but the champion's story has been to overcome those odds and to stand tall despite any shortcomings that would make him the underdog.
This could well be the best match of the night, if not also the best of Kingston's title reign.
But one thing to take note of is that even if Kingston manages to retain the title, he could be so beaten down from Joe that he is vulnerable to be picked off by Brock Lesnar, who could cash in and steal the championship to set up a match for SummerSlam.
That looming threat of two heavyweights possibly taking Kingston's belt is daunting, but let's hope he can prevail through the power of positivity.
Prediction: Kingston retains
The Undertaker and Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre
While all logic in the seemingly never-ending story of Shane McMahon's "Best in the World" delusions pointed to Roman Reigns and The Miz teaming up against him and his heavy, Drew McIntyre, WWE threw out a random curveball.
Out of nowhere, The A-Lister was pushed aside and replaced by The Undertaker, who chose to help The Big Dog for reasons which may never be explained.
Obviously, the real reason is that while Miz is great, The Phenom is the bigger name for this event and someone who could help boost ratings.
This may also help wash away some of the stink from The Deadman's match against Goldberg at Super ShowDown, since this will be No Holds Barred and allow for much more flexibility in execution.
In fact, it could be the best match of the night, with Reigns and McIntyre doing the heavy lifting while Undertaker and McMahon pop in for some big spots here and there.
Since this feud has been going on forever, we can only hope this is the end of Reigns against McMahon and McIntyre, with the babyfaces coming out on top and moving on from here.
Prediction: Reigns and The Undertaker win
Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans
Both the Universal and Raw Women's Championships will be on the line as Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch team up to face Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans in a "Winners Take All Extreme Rules Mixed Tag Team Match."
That is a mouthful of a gimmick, but it essentially boils down to a scenario where if either Rollins or Lynch takes a pinfall or is forced to submit, they both lose their titles to The Lone Wolf and The Sassy Southern Belle.
While Evans and Corbin are only working together for a common goal, The Man and The Architect have their romantic relationship to think about, too, and that could be the key to everything.
A win would show they are strong as boyfriend and girlfriend, with their chemistry together helping them overcome their opponents. However, a loss would likely be crippling to their status, with their partnership waiting to implode.
Given their popularity and the next event being SummerSlam, it's doubtful WWE would have them drop the titles, though, especially after making such a big fuss over them being a power couple and not having much time to milk that.
More so, this feels like this was done to easily stretch out these two feuds for one more event and to end them in a different way than just having two separate No Disqualification matches.
Assuming Brock Lesnar doesn't make a surprise appearance, Lynch and Rollins should be left standing tall with their titles.
Prediction: Rollins and Lynch retain
What do you think will happen at Extreme Rules 2019? Tell us your predictions in the comments below.
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.