Most Likely Heel and Face Turns at WWE Extreme Rules 2021
Extreme Rules 2021 is the last pay-per-view of this season for WWE. Once the show has passed, next month's draft will reshuffle the rosters of Raw and SmackDown to set up new storylines.
Sunday's card will feature plenty of opportunities for surprises, including Roman Reigns vs. "The Demon" Finn Balor, Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair, and Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss.
However, it is more likely those who are not on the card could make an impact. Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens and Naomi are among the absentees from this year's event, which could lead to one or two turning babyface or heel come Sunday night.
Heel: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre is waiting for something more. He had been WWE champion for almost a year until he dropped the title to The Miz at Elimination Chamber in February, but he cannot find a spot on the Extreme Rules card.
The Scot wanted a shot at Damian Priest and the United States Championship, but Sheamus ruined his opportunity. And he has not been the same since that loss.
McIntyre could be taking time off before returning in the WWE draft where he can get a refresh on a new roster. However, this could also be a moment to allow him to embrace his more aggressive side.
The Scottish Warrior was adored when he first turned babyface and carried the company through the coronavirus pandemic. However, his popularity has waned a bit after WWE made him too much of a family-friendly face.
Much like Roman Reigns, he could use a reset as a villain to regain the attention of the fans, so that his next run as a top face is all the sweeter.
That could begin by attacking Priest and Jeff Hardy during Sunday's Triple Threat match for the U.S. title. He could even decide to team up with Sheamus again, setting up a dangerous alliance that could dominate the main roster.
Face: Bobby Lashley
After a surprise loss to Big E, Bobby Lashley is no longer WWE champion. He is now adrift without his gold or MVP, who suffered a knee injury at the hands of Randy Orton.
It could be the right time to give The All Mighty a fresh start. He can remain the same character he always has been, but he can simply begin to destroy heels instead.
This could be as simple as continuing his burgeoning rivalry with Roman Reigns after a close loss on Raw. The two would make unique foils to one another, especially if they ended up on the same brand in the WWE draft.
The Bloodline will protect The Head of the Table at all costs, so any small help Finn Balor's Demon character can get on Sunday would make the likely main event more effective.
Lashley needs someone to watch his back, and he has alienated so many. Now may be the right time to make up for it by helping others.
Heel: Kevin Owens
There may not be a more talented star left on the sidelines than Kevin Owens. While this may be because his contract reportedly expires in January 2022, per Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select, it does not excuse his treatment.
If WWE wants to make any play at bringing KO back into the fold, he needs a real story to tell. Sunday's card is short enough to leave time for some interesting segments that could reshape everyone's perception before the draft on October 1 and 4.
Owens could help his friend, Sami Zayn, in dealing with Rey and Dominik Mysterio. He could also go after intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura, who is without a challenger at the moment.
While the Canadian has been a solid face for WWE, the company has rarely relied on him. He needs a fresh start, and he has proved at every turn he can be a great villainous foil to anyone.
Owens has not been on SmackDown much lately and clearly wants something more. Why not see what he can do with a fresh start and a new storyline?
What has become of Naomi? Her last singles match was three months ago, and that was just a quick squash at the hands of Doudrop.
She was quietly traded to SmackDown where she has been stuck in an ongoing story with official Sonya Deville, waiting for the respect she believes she deserves.
Since Deville has refused to book her, it may be time for Naomi to make her own statement. There are multiple ways she could take action at Extreme Rules, including helping her husband and brother-in-law retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
However, it would be more valuable to her future if she looked after herself instead. Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair is an intriguing matchup between top women on SmackDown, and it seems The Man may be scared of facing The EST of WWE in a fair fight.
It would make a lot of sense for someone to get involved who can help Lynch retain. Who better to set up in a rivalry with Belair than Naomi? The EST is unlikely to reclaim the title but deserves a fresh angle. She and The Glow have proved their chemistry in even small interactions.
Naomi could make a huge statement by attacking Belair and costing her the gold. This would set up more storytelling in the women's division outside of the championship and give the WWE veteran the fresh opportunity she needs.
Her desire for respect and the spotlight could be the start of her joining The Bloodline and taking a spot atop the women's division.