Ah yes, another gimmick PPV is upon us! But this time, it’s the best one! Extreme Rules 2017 could very well be the most promising and exciting Raw-branded PPV in some time. Though there is always potential for some duds when it comes to the Red Brand, a sure-to-be-thrilling main event and some interesting stipulations make for a summer special not to be missed. Most of all, I’m eagerly anticipating this limited card, which should allow for some longer matches and more dedicated storytelling. Let’s have a run through the card and see what to expect from Sunday’s show with our WWE Extreme Rules 2017 preview and predictions.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz
for the Intercontinental Championship
So, if I correctly understand the stipulation, Dean Ambrose will lose the Intercontinental Championship to a wrestler who has a valet if he is disqualified at a PPV entitled Extreme Rules. Thus, the most logical sequence of events would be Maryse kicking her husband directly in the nether regions at the very beginning of the match. I love pro wrestling, and I love watching the actual act of wrestling; but, if anything happens in this match besides the aforementioned, I will be severely annoyed. Even if it doesn’t, the Miz has to walk away as champion. Absolutely HAS to.
PICK: The Miz
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley – Kendo Stick-on-a-Pole match
for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Well…I do not have much to say about this match. I think the stipulation speaks for itself. Other than that, I really hope Bayley loses and Creative can go back to the drawing board with her character. Alexa is riding a hot streak, though the pair are looking worse for wear after that abomination of a segment on this week’s Raw. Undoubtedly the match I am least excited for and the most likely to be an absolute dud.
PICK: Alexa Bliss
The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus – Steel Cage tag team match
for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
Quite possibly the best tag team to pair against the Hardyz upon their return, Dublin-Oh 7 has continued on their incredibly unlikely odd-couple success and leaned into a full heel turn as of late. I wouldn’t have expected a steel cage as the stipulation to go with here, but as TLC is reserved for its own show, I do understand the restrictions. As always, I’m hoping that we get a bit of foreshadowing towards “Broken” Matt Hardy, or even the actual transformation – but I think that may be better suited for a larger scale show down the line. Sheasaro have been just begun on their true heel streak, so I think they should get a little cred before breaking away from the Hardyz feud. The Hardyz don’t really need the titles to be significant, but I don’t think they should drop them until they’re ready for the Broken Saga. I’ll go with the Hardyz here, but expect something to keep the feud going.
PICK: The Hardy Boyz
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries – Submission match
for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Oddly enough only the second least extreme contest of the evening, this marks the third time (I think) Neville and Aries meet at a PPV for the Cruiserweight title. Thus, we have come to a strange crossroads. I would love to see this feud go on forever, but the Cruiserweight scene needs some variety at the upper echelon. Neville has been riding a hot streak to end all hot streaks, but that’s nothing to take away from the undeniable star power and talent of Austin Aries. The King of the Cruiserweights shouldn’t fall at his first major feud, but Aries doesn’t deserve to be dropped down the card unceremoniously. We saw the Last Chancery finally pay off on Raw – is that foreshadowing or the classic show of weakness before a PPV win? Against my desires, I’ve got my money on Neville.
Rich Swann and Sasha Banks vs. Noam Dar and Alicia Fox
If there ever were a match specifically designed for the Pre-Show, it would be this one. I’m very into all the individual competitors, even Dar and Fox as a team, but I’m feeling quite lukewarm on this rushed storyline. Despite that, I’ve never turned away from a Rich Swann match before, and I suggest you do the same. The faces should come away with the win, but a little bit of credibility for Dar and Fox would go a long way.
PICK: Swann and Banks
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor vs.
Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe – Extreme Rules match for the Universal Title #1 Contendership
I feel like the general gist of the discussion in the writers’ room preparing for this PPV was something along the lines of ‘Let’s just throw all our semi-main-eventers into one match while our actual champion is sitting at home.’ Honestly, I have no problem with it. I’m very excited to see some of my favorite stars go head-to-head-to-head-to-head-to-head.
This is even the perfect setting to have Roman not win without him looking weak! I don’t think this could get any better. I like Finn Balor coming away with the win, especially after Heyman put him over in spades on Raw. To add, no one else is a big-money draw for SummerSlam that wouldn’t suffer heavily occupied in a program with Brock. Even though he’ll eventually lose to the Beast Incarnate, I would really enjoy a Balor victory, myself.
PICK: Finn Balor
Sunday evening looks to deliver a heaping helping of action and I, for one, am rather eager to experience Raw’s response to SmackDown’s earth-shattering events at Backlash. Make sure to tune into the Pre-Show at 7 p.m. and the main show at 8 p.m. Meet me back here next week to discuss the fall-out and speculate on the fate of our new #1 Contender.
By ‘Dat Man’ F. Fran
Photo Credit: WWE.com