The first edition of Extreme Rules under the creative control of Triple H has been building nicely, despite the event not featuring Undisputed Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.
The show will play out from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday, 11am AEDT on the WWE Network.
All matches have a stipulation attached, which is how the show should be structured each year, unlike how the previous administration booked it. As of this writing, six matches have been announced and without Reigns, it is unclear what the main event of Extreme Rules will be.
However, the card looks intriguing and with the varying stipulations, it should shape up to be an incredible show.
The event could also feature a possible reveal of the ‘white rabbit’ teases that have been showcased on weekly television, which the WWE Universe and superstars have speculated could be the return of Bray Wyatt.
Below is The Inner Sanctum‘s preview and predictions for each match at Extreme Rules.
The Brawling Brutes vs. Imperium
In what will be an absolute must-watch, six of Smackdown’s hardest hitters in The Brawling Brutes and Imperium will collide in a good old fashioned donnybrook match.
The two stables have feuded since Gunther defeated Sheamus for the Intercontinental Championship at Clash at the Castle, going back and fourth for a number of weeks on the blue brand.
They have already competed against each other in a six-man tag team match, where Imperium secured the win on the September 10 edition of Smackdown.
Butch and Ridge Holland of The Brawling Brutes shortly after got their revenge, besting a number of teams, including Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci of Imperium in a match to secure a shot at the Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
However, Imperium cost Butch and Holland their title opportunity, thus causing a supposed final battle between the two groups at Extreme Rules.
Gunther and Sheamus will also be having a rematch for the former’s Intercontinental Championship the day before on Smackdown, so the two warriors will not be entering this contest at 100 per cent.
The donnybrook match operates under no disqualification rules, but the weapons that will be featured are not typically seen in a standard no holds barred match. Sheamus and Drew McIntyre competed in a donnybrook match on the July 30 edition of Smackdown, using weapons like barrels and bar stools.
Nonetheless, the Ring General will more than definitely retain his title against the Celtic Warrior the day prior to Extreme Rules.
While The Brawling Brutes could win this match as a consolation, Imperium under Triple H’s creative control will continue to be booked strong and this contest should be no exception.
Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey – Smackdown Women’s Championship
In a rematch from SummerSlam and what is the least interesting bout of the show, Liv Morgan will defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey in an extreme rules match.
It will be Rousey’s first opportunity at the gold since her suspension after assaulting Morgan and a referee at SummerSlam, following the controversial outcome of their match. This clash originally did not have the stipulation, but the champion opted for it to prove she can go extreme.
While people have doubted Morgan and her chances of defeating Rousey, she has strengthened her credentials in recent weeks by overcoming Shayna Baszler at Clash at the Castle and laying a vicious assault on Lacey Evans on the September 24 edition of Smackdown.
Despite her soft and light-hearted personality, the Smackdown Women’s Champion attacked Evans with a kendo stick before delivering a senton bomb through a table in an attempt to show her Extreme Rules opponent that she can go beyond limits.
The October 1 edition of Smackdown saw Morgan approach Rousey with a baseball bat following the latter’s match against Natalya, but the challenger fended off the champion with ease and showed she is not afraid of Morgan.
Although Rousey has had the better of Morgan in the build-up to Extreme Rules and was unconvincingly beaten at SummerSlam, WWE needs to continue to portray the Smackdown Women’s Champion as a top threat of the company and should allow her to win this match.
Charlotte Flair’s potential return could also be on the horizon, and a fresh program with Morgan would be much preferred over another feud with Rousey if WWE wish to use the Queen in the title picture post-Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Liv Morgan
Drew McIntyre vs Karrion Kross
Ever since Karrion Kross made his return to WWE in August, he has continuously antagonised Drew McIntyre. At Extreme Rules, the two fierce competitors will meet in a match proposed by the Scottish Warrior; a strap match.
It will be Kross’ first Premium Live Event clash since reuniting with the company, and he has been built strongly in the lead-up to this match. He has always bested McIntyre in their brawls, although he has always caught his rival from behind, which was the catalyst to Drew wanting the stipulation.
Kross has also been playing mind games with the Scottish Warrior, as he was in attendance for McIntyre’s match at Clash at the Castle and even threw a water bottle at him to catch him off guard.
On the October 1 edition of Smackdown, Kross said that he also wants the Undisputed Universal Championship and will beat Drew at Extreme Rules to claim his chance.
Although it can be said McIntyre needs a strong win following his loss to Roman Reigns after looking very vulnerable in recent weeks, it is hard seeing Kross losing this match, especially when he needs to keep up his momentum and has Scarlett Bordeaux by his side.
His wife looms as a wildcard, and has previously involved herself in her husband and Drew’s altercations, including launching a fireball in the eyes of McIntyre on the September 24 edition of Smackdown.
Prediction: Karrion Kross
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Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley – Raw Women’s Championship
In Bayley’s first title shot since making her return at SummerSlam, she will challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship in a ladder match.
Her stable with Women’s Tag Team Champions, Dakota Kai and IYO SKY have run the women’s division on Monday Night Raw since forming and are aiming to hold all the gold. Their mission is to be in control, with Bayley winning the Raw Women’s Title their final quest to fulfil this goal.
This match has been built on the basis of Bayley pinning the E.S.T of WWE at Clash at the Castle to secure the win for Damage CTRL over Belair, Asuka and Alexa Bliss; something that nobody else has been able to accomplish in recent memory.
Bayley suggested last week that Belair has only been successful due to her injury and not being medically cleared to compete, as well as being handed opportunities. However, the Raw Women’s Champion disagreed and said she has earned everything, while also claiming Bayley is unable to beat her by herself.
There are two ways to look at how this contest will unfold; Belair could win to compensate for her defeat at Cardiff, and a Premium Live Event like Extreme Rules might not be the biggest stage for the E.S.T to lose the Raw Women’s Title.
However, Bayley could also win to re-establish herself and increase Damage CTRL’s credentials. After all, their narrative is to be in control, and they absolutely would be if they were to hold every women’s title on Raw.
Apart from Rhea Ripley, Belair has barely any competition left to defend her championship against. Meanwhile, Bayley could have programs with women like Asuka, a returning Candice LeRae, and Becky Lynch when she comes back from injury.
There are more options if the leader of Damage CTRL were to win the Raw Women’s Championship, and it also makes sense to align with the group’s purpose.
Edge vs. Finn Balor
In what should be the culmination of a rivalry that has nearly spanned four months, Edge and Finn Balor will compete against each other in an “I quit match”.
The start of this prolonged feud saw Edge being removed from the Judgment Day in early June for Balor, after the group labelled the Rated-R Superstar as someone who was holding them back.
Despite featuring in a tag team match against each other, it will come full circle when Edge and his replacement in the Judgment Day collide one-on-one for the first time.
Edge has the wood over the Judgment Day in Premium Live Event matches, defeating Balor and Damien Priest with Rey Mysterio at Clash at the Castle. The group also lost at SummerSlam, and are desperate for a big win at a Premium Live Event.
The Judgment Day savagely attacked Edge’s leg with steel chairs on the September 13 edition of Raw, and it was suspected the Rated-R Superstar would be out for the medium-term. However, he made a comeback last week and issued for an “I quit match” against Balor.
Regarding the clash, it is hard seeing someone as prideful and tenacious as Edge utter the words, “I quit”. However, he will not have the numerical advantage on his side, as he would more than likely have to contest against interferences from Priest, Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley.
An unlikely, but still possible prospect is AJ Styles also involving himself in this match in the favour of Finn Balor. The Phenomenal One has been asked by Balor in recent weeks to join the Judgment Day, and could align himself with the group at Extreme Rules.
Regardless, the Judgment Day are due for a Premium Live Event win, and there is no better starting point than for Balor to defeat someone of Edge’s legendary status.
Prediction: Finn Balor
Matt Riddle vs. Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins
In a rematch from Clash at the Castle, Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle will go head-to-head in an environment the latter is all too familiar with; a fight pit, with UFC legend Daniel Cormier serving as special guest referee.
The Visionary and Original Bro have been feuding for multiple months, with the rivalry drawing back to June where Rollins mocked Riddle for being a loser after defeats to Roman Reigns and Omos. It then became personal before Cardiff, where the two insulted each other over their respective marital issues.
Rollins won the first contest and refused to give Riddle a rematch, but instead wanted to pursue championship gold since he hadn’t won a title for over two years.
He collided against Bobby Lashley for the Almighty’s United States Championship on the September 20 edition of Raw, but the Original Bro cost him after not receiving a second chance against the Visionary.
It then boiled over that night, where Rollins retaliated by attacking Riddle in his match before the two agreed to compete in a fight pit during a backstage altercation.
The stipulation has been showcased in NXT and certainly favours the Original Bro, due to his history as a former mixed martial artist.
This match is difficult to predict, because while Riddle should win to score an equaliser against Rollins and has the advantage of having competed in a fight pit before, it was announced on the October 4 edition of Raw that the Visionary would be challenging Bobby Lashley once again for the United States Championship next week.
It would be detrimental for Rollins to walk in that match suffering a loss two days before, as many fans would question why the championship clash was booked to begin with.
However, an option that WWE should explore is to still have Riddle win at Extreme Rules and be inserted into the United States Title match to convert it into a triple threat.
It would also harm Riddle’s credibility if he were to lose in a fight pit, albeit against someone as legitimate as The Visionary.
Rollins would then win the United States Championship if that is the direction WWE wishes to pursue, by pinning The Original Bro. Not only does this allow for Seth to get his revenge from Extreme Rules, but it also prevents Lashley from taking the fall and still looking strong.
Prediction: Matt Riddle
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