THE PREDICTOR PREDICTS: WWE EXTREME RULES 2021
By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)
I’m coming off of attending the big AEW Grand Slam event at Arthur Ashe Stadium and am still coming down from the high of that show. I’ll just say this – no matter what you enjoy or don’t enjoy, it’s a great time to be a wrestling fan. There’s a ton of variety, many different presentations and probably the most depth of talent we’ve seen in quite some time. And for any of you that defend one promotion over the other, no matter what, I’ll say – keep an open mind to different things so that you don’t miss out.
That being said, another night and another show this coming Sunday night when WWE presents Extreme Rules. We say this every year, but I’m not fan of stipulation matches for the sake of the name of the pay-per-view. A stipulation should be put in place when it’s a natural part of the story. And in the case of this year’s show, at this point, there’s only one stipulation match scheduled, so the name of the show really doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps that will change in the next 48 hours. With that out of the way, let’s run down the card!
Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman) retains the WWE Universal Championship over "The Demon" Finn Bálor: This is the one “Extreme Rules” match advertised, so in a way, I guess this is their way to protect Balor in the loss. So, here’s the thing. Could they more with Balor? Yes. I actually think he’s better off in NXT as opposed to the main roster, but that’s neither here nor there. But, for everyone screaming that Balor is being “fed to Roman,” it’s unfortunate and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump ship when his contract is up. But, remember this – one of the biggest issues over the last several years is that the championship never feels important and beating the champion hasn’t been presented as a big deal. That’s not the case here. Roman’s journey of dominance has been one of the best things in WWE right now and if it’s done right (*fingers crossed), whoever beats him becomes a star. I fully expect a showdown between Roman and “Uncle Dwayne” at WrestleMania, which will further cement his legacy and this is the one journey that I’ve fully bought into.
Becky Lynch retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship over Bianca Belair: Like many, I was happy to see Lynch return at SummerSlam. Also like many, I wasn’t thrilled with how that angle was booked and am not a fan of heel Becky thus far. In my opinion, she’s the biggest babyface you have and your biggest merch mover. Why tamper with that? She’ll still move merch, but if this heel turn prevents one shirt from being sold...what’s the point? She’s playing the role well, but she will never be as over as a heel, as she will as a babyface. In terms of the match, I think it will be fine, but if they’re serious about Bianca being a top babyface, it’ll be tricky to continue to establish Becky as a heel without sacrificing the rebuild of Bianca, since any momentum she had was basically destroyed with the SummerSlam angle.
Damian Priest retains the WWE United States Championship over Jeff Hardy and Sheamus: From a workrate standpoint, this will likely be the best match on the show. The Priest/Sheamus match at SummerSlam was a bit flat, but I’ve enjoyed the matches on Raw leading up to this. It’s clear that the company is high on Priest and that’s a good thing for a company that desperately needs current stars and main event caliber performers. Sheamus is always solid and Jeff Hardy doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a shame he’s been so watered down, or this match would have meant that much more. Right now, it’s clear that he’s in the match to take the pin.
Charlotte Flair retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship over Alexa Bliss: Like many, I’m not into the special effects and the possessed dolls that comes with the Bliss character. They’re moving off the shelves so it’s appealing to some, whether I like it or not. I’m hoping that this program is a one and done without too much nonsense. And, maybe – just maybe – the promo we heard Monday night is the beginning of a repackaging or rebooting of the original Bliss persona.
The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship over The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford): These two teams have great chemistry together, so this will be another fun match. Coming out of this, however, I hope they find something compelling for the Street Profits to do, rather than twist in the wind in the non-existent tag team division. There’s too much talent there – particularly with Montez Ford, who can be a star with the right booking machine behind him.
Liv Morgan defeats Carmella: This one doesn’t have a lot of juice behind it – it’s just sort of there. My hope is that is the start of a Liv Morgan build. The division needs fresh matches and she’s definitely someone they can build into a top level title challenger – even a champion down the road.