I must admit. Extreme Rules this Sunday is the first WWE pay-per-view (or special event) besides WrestleMania that I've genuinely looked forward to in a long time.
That's because WWE has built the show around three pretty darn good main events and a solid undercard. The lone exception being the "WEELC" match of course, but we'll get to that later on.
Before I get into what think will happen at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., let me quickly run through a couple of things that won't happen.
No, CM Punk will not show up at Extreme Rules. If he does, I will happily be wrong, but he won't, so enough with the fantasy booking him into storylines.
No, John Cena will not turn heel as a result of this Bray Wyatt program. Believe it or not, the WWE can still squeeze money out of him through ticket and merchandise sales after all of this time. No need to turn him when there's still money to be made.
With that rigamaroo out of the way, let's get to what I think will actually come to fruition Sunday night:
Six-man warfare - The Shield vs. Evolution
This match is a true toss up for me. One part of me believes The Shield will win mainly because the group is clearly on the ascension as babyfaces. Evolution's prime was 10 years ago, so there's definitely no ascent on the horizon for any member.
Another part of is thinking that if WWE wants to get at least one more match out of this feud, it would make more sense for Evolution to win.
With all of that being said, I think I'm going to have to pick The Shield to win here. The last major program The Shield had was against The Wyatt Family and they lost both encounters.
It's possible for The Shield to win this match and for the feud to continue one more month. It's been done before. A prime example was when Batista beat Triple H three pay-per-views in a row. Not to mention he did so decisively. There were no shenanigans with any of those finishes.
The Shield could win and Triple H, being as though that he is the COO of the company, could flex his power into giving Evolution a rematch. Why — simply because he can.
Prediction: The Shield def. Evolution
Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kane
As far as an actual prediction, it's pretty clear to me that Bryan will retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I mean, come on. It is his first title defense and there's no way Kane will be walking around as the sole top champion. At least he shouldn't anyway.
The only real question is how does the WWE get to Bryan walking out still champion?
It could be simple. You could have a straight up match and have Bryan pin Kane in the middle of the ring like a credible champion.
But if you're going to stretch this feud for at least one more month, which I believe they will, I'm not so sure you to just pin the big bad demon you've spent the last month building up as this uncontrollable, unstoppable force.
What it all boils down to is what's more important: Making your champion look strong and credible or keeping the big bad heel a big bad heel?
While I understand both sides, I'm going to with keeping the champion strong. If the WWE is firmly behind Bryan to carry the promotion as champion right now, which if they're not then they wasted a lot of money at WrestleMania, then you make him look as good as possible. What that means is that Bryan should pin Kane in the middle of the ring.
Kane is always going to be Kane. The real aura of Kane being a monster wore off years ago. I mean the last time he was relevant under that mask he was yelling "I am the tag team champions!"
But kudos must go to WWE for making him remotely threatening again as a character. That's called heating up a character at its finest and it presents and even greater challenge for lovable underdog Bryan.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan RETAINS the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Steel Cage match – John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
As much as I believe Wyatt is going to win this match to even up the series between the two, There's always that creep of doubt because Cena could just win like he always does. Like he did at WrestleMania.
I'm pretty confident in my Wyatt pick, but you can never be too sure when it comes to a Cena match.
Another side prediction, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will find a way to get involved in this match. I don't think it makes sense to have outside interference in cage matches because the whole point is so that no one can get in.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt def. John Cena
Intercontinental Championship – Big E (c) vs. Bad News Barrett
Here's another match that looks like a forgone conclusion on paper.
Barrett defeated three former world champions on his way to winning the No. 1 contender's tournament. So, you'll have him do all of that just to have him lose to the champion that hasn't wrestled on television for weeks? That would be a waste of the tournament, and tournaments in wrestling are awesome. They shouldn't be wasted.
Plus, Big E hasn't been the most stellar champion. It's hard to believe that he's held that title since November. But for whatever reason he hasn't quite clicked with the fans yet, which has made his title reign uneventful.
Barrett, on the other hand, has somehow gotten over despite delivering nothing but bad news to people. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that he is over and that he should get a fair run with the belt. It couldn't mean any less.
Prediction: Bad News Barrett WINS the Intercontinental Championship
Triple threat match – Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
A triple threat with nothing at stake just feels so weird. Despite that weirdness, I expect this match to be quite entertaining nonetheless.
As far as a winner, I think obvious choice would have to be Cesaro. That's whom I'm going with. It seems clear that WWE has got plans for Cesaro down the road, so there would be no reason for him to lose here.
Prediction: Cesaro def. Jack Swagger & Rob Van Dam
Divas Championship – Paige vs. Tamina
This match is another good edition to the card, in my opinion, but yet again the outcome seems pretty obvious. Like Bryan, this is Paige's first title defense, so there's no reason for her to lose.
By the way, where in the world has Tamina been on Raw? She's has a title match, but hasn't been seen on Raw in a month.
Prediction: Paige RETAINS the Divas Championship
2-on-1 handicap match – R-Truth & Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev
Simply put, Rusev will dominate the two and pick up his first pay-per-view (or special event) victory of his career.
Not much more needs to be said.
Prediction: Alexander Rusev def. R-Truth and Xavier Woods.
Pre show match: "WEELC" match – El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
Apparently, the WWE thought this would be a good match to put on in order to get those last few pay-per-view buys and WWE Network subscriptions.
I have nothing against dwarfs. It's just that this feud does not belong on this card. There's nothing to it besides the fact that there are two little people that hate each other for some unexplained reason.
Because I have to make a prediction, I'll go with El Torito. He's pretty amazing in the ring.
Prediction: El Torito def. Hornswoggle