Ever since WWE acquired the assets to ECW, back in 2001, they have made the use of weapons and hardcore rules a jewel in their crown. They briefly used the One Night Stand and December to Dismember names for a handful of PPVs, and there was also the resurgence of ECW as a third brand that kick-started the careers of important wrestlers, including Bobby Lashley and John Morrison. While almost all traces of ECW have since vanished, but Extreme Rules remains, often billed as “The one night of the year that WWE goes Extreme”.
In a way, Extreme Rules this Sunday could be viewed as a season finale. Now we know that the annual WWE Draft will be held on the October 1st edition of SmackDown and the October 4th episode of RAW. That means it’s time to shake things up again, and the next week provides a chance to tie up any loose ends before any current rivals are separated from each other. That means there’s no guarantee that Roman Reigns will be on the same brand as his cousins, the next time WWE comes to PPV. Maybe this is Bianca Belair’s last chance at vindication over Becky Lynch, as the two foes could be about to be separated. So the pressure is on at Extreme Rules, there are no second chances.
At the time of writing, there are six matches announced for the show, five of which are Championship matches and only one is Extreme. Although, it seems we won’t be seeing the WWE Champion. The oldest and richest prize in all of Sport’s Entertainment was recently captured by Big E, who cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to dethrone the All-Mighty Bobby Lashley. The good news, for fans of the New Day, is that the terrific trio is back together again. But the downside is we’ll have to wait a little longer for Big E’s first Championship defence.
Note: Predictions purely are that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard of anything ahead of time, we promise.
Liv Morgan vs Carmella
It’s been a challenging couple of years for Liv Morgan, from the split of the initial Riott Squad, a brief solo stint including a feud with Lana, before she was re-paired with Ruby Riott. The duo of Ruby and Liv were insanely popular and came close to capturing the Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania. But fate had other plans and Ruby was subsequently released, leaving Morgan to fly solo once again. Liv has since clashed, on numerous occasions with WWE Official, Sonya Deville, as she has been overlooking Liv in favour of names like Carmella and Zelina Vega.
Likewise, Carmella is also someone looking for a second break. A former SmackDown Women’s Champion and first-ever winner of the Women’s Money in the Bank contract. However, Carmella may have taken her eyes off the prize as of late, and has focused more on her self-proclaimed title of “The Most Beautiful Woman in all of WWE”. Her vanity has allowed Morgan to score victories over her and Zelina Vega over recent weeks. But can Liv Morgan do it once again at Extreme Rules?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Liv Morgan – With most of the biggest names in the women’s roster all heels right now: Lynch, Flair, Banks, Bayley. The WWE are ready for their next breakout star of the division. Morgan could be that star.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Liv Morgan – Her time is now.
Triple-Threat Match for the WWE United States Championship
Damian Priest (c) vs Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
On the August 30 edition of RAW, Priest overcame The Celtic Warrior and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat Match after McIntyre knocked Sheamus out of the ring with an earth-shattering Claymore Kick. The following week, Sheamus was out for payback when he once again took on and bested his former friend for the right to challenge The Archer of Infamy at WWE Extreme Rules.
With Priest and Sheamus set for a one-on-one rematch, a further caveat was added when Hardy managed to defeat The Celtic Warrior on the final Raw before Extreme Rules, resulting in The Charismatic Enigma being added to the match. Three very different competitors, with very different styles.
Champion’s advantage pretty much goes out the window in these circumstances, which won’t please Damian Priest one little bit, but he’ll just have to deal with it. We can see this one stealing the whole night from some “bigger” matches on the card, given the level and variety of talent. After years and years of flattering to deceive, it’s time for the US Championship to get as important as John Cena made it during his Open Challenge era. Top-quality PPV matches and a champion with a big name and massive charisma are the way to do that.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Damien Priest – WWE has invested quite a bit in Priest since his promotion to the main roster, which includes a pinfall victory over Drew McIntyre. Because of that, I think he holds onto the title for a little longer.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Jeff Hardy.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (c) vs Street Profits
The Usos have seen a lot of Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford as of late, starting when The Bloodline initiated an attack on Finn Bálor during the SmackDown after SummerSlam. The Profits were quick to rush to the aid of The Prince and even the odds against Roman Reigns and the champions, leading to a tag team showdown the following week.
After some intensely competitive action, The Usos managed to get themselves disqualified, but the Profits were not going to let it end that way, as Ford took to the skies to wipe out both brothers and make a major statement. then, in their rematch the following week, Reigns stepped in before a clear winner could be decided and locked Ford in the Guillotine.
Backing up the Head of the Table Roman Reigns, the Usos are maybe in their strongest and most powerful moment ever as a team in WWE right now. For their part, The Street Profits have been consistently excellent since they arrived in WWE, and showed that they weren’t afraid of anything when they backed up Finn Bálor following an attack by the Bloodline.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: The Usos
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Street Profits
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch (c) vs Bianca Belair
Since emerging victorious in the 2021 Royal Rumble Match, Belair has been on an absolute tear, not only headlining WrestleMania against Sasha Banks but also emerging victorious over The Boss to lay claim to the SmackDown Women’s Title in a historic showdown.
That all came to an end when The Man came back around. After Lynch’s surprise return at SummerSlam to utilize what some would characterize as “underhanded” tactics to overcome Belair and once again lay claim to the SmackDown Women’s Title, Lynch returned to SmackDown where she refused The EST’s challenge for a rematch on two separate occasions.
As a result, WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville informed The Man that she in fact will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against former titleholder Belair in a SummerSlam rematch at WWE Extreme Rules. This rematch is highly anticipated, just because of the 26 seconds the SummerSlam bout lasted.
It’s fair to say that having grafted and grafted to win the title in the first place, Bianca Belair wasn’t too pleased with being blindsided like that, so she’ll be eager to make amends. This one will last a lot longer but, given The Man’s swagger and savvy and newfound willingness to twist the rules, this is only going one way.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Becky Lynch
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Becky Lynch
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte Flair (c) vs Alexa Bliss
Considering how long both Flair and Bliss have been on the main roster, it’s incredible that this feels like a fresh match. Then again, they’ve often been kept apart by being on separate brands or both being positioned as heels at the same time. But 2021 is a different time, with Alexa Bliss now a babyface on RAW and insanely popular, if the sale of Lilly dolls and Jack-in-the-boxes are anything to go by. This feud became personal at lightning speed. Bliss wasted little time getting in the head of her opponent, tormenting her with a Charlie doll – a voodoo doll, dressed like Flair, in a similar vein to the Lilly doll.
The recent episode of RAW felt almost like a shoot, at times, with both women taking digs at the other for stealing their respective gimmicks. Bliss accused Charlotte of relying on the entire Ric Flair gimmick, including the Woo’s and the robes (something with an added layer of context following the recent Dark Side of the Ring episode). While Charlotte made a subtly veiled reference to the fact that this Alexa’s Playground version of Bliss isn’t possible without the input of the recently released Bray Wyatt.
As far as we’re aware, Alexa still has the supernatural abilities she inherited from her time in the Firefly Fun House. She used them to great effect against Shayna Baszler, Eva Marie and Doudrop, but the numbers prevented her from doing so in the recent Money in the Bank ladder match. Although this is currently billed as a straight-up singles match, that doesn’t mean that Alexa Bliss can’t find an advantage somewhere. But let’s not forget that Charlotte is a veteran of the division at this point, and she’s not a relative of the Dirtiest Player in the game for nothing.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Alexa Bliss – come on! It’s been way too long that Bliss has been without a single’s Championship. Now is the time.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Charlotte Flair – With an Extreme stipulation, I would have said Alexa Bliss.
Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. The Demon Finn Balor
The Tribal Chief has been ruling SmackDown with an iron fist, in a reign as Universal Champion that will be clocking in at 392 days by the time he walks into the Nationwide Arena. This is the second-longest in the short history of the Championship, behind Brock Lesnar’s first reign at 503 days, so there’s the feeling that it will take something quite incredible to unseat the Head of the Table. Roman’s recent title defences sound like a greatest hits tour, Edge and John Cena even came up short, and they’re two of the greatest of all time. Furthermore, it has since been announced that an old rivalry will be rekindled next month at Crown Jewel when Reigns will face Brock Lesnar. The Universal Championship will be on the line if Roman is successful at Extreme Rules, but he can’t afford to look past Finn Balor.
Finn Balor has been a fresh of breath air since his return to SmackDown in July. He had arguably been a little directionless during his last stint on the main roster, but his recent tenure on the black-and-gold brand and another run as NXT Champion seem to have reinvigorated him. Balor wasted little time in targeting Roman Reigns. Balor was the first-ever Universal Champion, but his reign didn’t even last a day as he was forced to relinquish it through injury. Balor did have a shot for Roman’s title at SummerSlam, but that shot was since taken by John Cena. As Cena has since taken his leave again, it remains to be seen if Balor will get his revenge at a later date.
Balor challenged Roman for the title on a recent episode of SmackDown, but was unsuccessful, thanks to interference from the Usos. WWE Officials have commissioned a re-match, this time under Extreme Rules. While this makes it legal for the Usos to interfere again, on behalf of their cousin, it also gives Balor carte blanche to do whatever he likes. Steel chairs, tables, ladders, kendo sticks, they’ll all be legal on Sunday. Plus, we also know that Balor will be digging deep when he unleashes the Demon, a side of him we’ve not seen since 2019. Then, of course, there’s the other wild card to consider. Will Brock Lesnar make his presence known at Extreme Rules.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – the announcement of the Crown Jewel match has really taken the sting out of this match. But even if hadn’t, nobody feels like a credible threat to Roman and that has made this title reign quite stale, for me, anyway.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – WWE made a huge mistake when they announced Lesnar vs Reigns at Crown Jewel that early, burning down any chance for Balor.
WWE Extreme Rules is streaming this Sunday at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) on the WWE Network. The Kickoff Show begins at 7 PM EST (midnight BST) on WWE Network and WWE social platforms.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE