Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

WrestleMania is in the books, and now, it’s time to get extreme! One of the most brutal days on the WWE calendar, Extreme Rules, is almost here, which means it’s time for WWE.com’s staff to analyze the hardcore card.

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Will Randy Orton be able to dethrone WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins inside a steel cage without his devastating RKO? Can John Cena survive what is sure to be a vicious Russian Chain Match against Rusev and retain his United States Title? Who will be forced to pucker up in an ultimate act of humiliation after the Kiss Me Arse Match — Dolph Ziggler or Sheamus?

Take a look at these predictions from WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, ECW Original Joey Styles and WWE.com editors, then let us know who you think will stand tall this Sunday in the comments below!

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing Match)

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Any man who can smile at an uncaged Brock Lesnar and draw the beast’s blood, like Roman Reigns did at WrestleMania, obviously has a high tolerance for physical pain. That doesn’t mean he’s prepared for Big Show’s KO Punch, which I am told is like getting smashed in the skull with a steel shot put. Both men have the power to put the other down for a 10-count but only one has the speed to avoid being put down. Reigns can avoid the KO Punch, but Big Show can’t avoid the spear. It will take several rib-cracking spears, perhaps one through the ringside barrier, for Reigns to fell the giant, but he can and he will. Believe that. WINNER: Roman Reigns

Anthony Benigno: The 2014 Superstar of the Year and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner have been circling each other since December, and it’s time to put this endlessly-simmering rivalry to bed with a big bang. It’s only fitting that the stipulation is Last Man Standing, because whoever wins this will literally have to leave the other man in a heap. Big Show’s got the size and the momentum, coming off his WrestleMania win and Roman’s loss, and that seems to have made all the difference in the weeks leading up to this confrontation. Reigns has been fighting from underneath for the first time in his career for a few months now. Expect the growing pains to continue, if only for one more pay-per-view. WINNER: Big Show

Scott Taylor: At first glance, it would appear Big Show has the advantage in this contest due to his 7-foot, 450-pound frame. But those rules don’t apply to Roman Reigns. The Big Dog showed at WrestleMania that he can take a brutal beating and come back for more. This will be beneficial when facing The World’s Largest Athlete. WINNER: Roman Reigns

Matthew Artus: As a former ECW Champion with a resume as long as he is tall, Big Show knows how to handle the hardcore atmosphere of Extreme Rules. However, Roman Reigns’ history at the event includes a WWE Tag Team Title-clinching win and the dismantling of Evolution. Reigns is ready to complete the trifecta. WINNER: Roman Reigns

@HowardFinkel: These two Superstars, pure and simple, just do not like each other. They are each hell bent on putting the other out of commission. There’s an old slogan: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” I think that will hold true here, but eventually it will be Reigns winding up as the last man standing. WINNER: Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns: 4, Big Show: 1

Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: As I write this prediction, I don’t believe that this match will happen because Bryan is undergoing diagnostic testing to see if he can defend his title on Sunday. Daniel Bryan was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship following a neck injury and his long-term health has been questioned since he returned. For his own good, I would like Bryan to realize that forfeiting the Intercontinental Championship and voluntarily taking time off is a better long-term career strategy. However, the star of “Yes!”-tleMania 30 didn’t get to where he is by not fighting every battle, no matter how ill-advised. If Bryan is cleared to compete Sunday and chooses to do so, I expect Bad News Barrett, who was not pinned or submitted to lose the title, to regain the Intercontinental Championship. WINNER: Bad News Barrett

Anthony Benigno: This is the night’s biggest question mark, and not necessarily because Bad News Barrett’s been on a warpath since losing the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. His win-loss record hasn’t exactly been immaculate since Santa Clara, Calif., but he’s beaten the crap out of enough people, Daniel Bryan included, that taking the prize back from The Beard at less than 100 percent should be relatively easy pickings. Knowing Bryan, whose participation hinges entirely on diagnostic testing over a recent injury, WWE officials will have to physically restrain him from competition, and that seems the best chance he has of keeping the Intercontinental Title. If he competes, though, he’ll make like a certain bridge in Barrett’s homeland and fall down, courtesy of a Bull Hammer from the new champ. WINNER: Bad News Barrett

Scott Taylor: Bad News Barrett’s claim that Daniel Bryan is a “paper champion” may sound harsh, but until The Beard can defeat Barrett one-on-one with the title on the line, they aren’t completely unfounded. Unfortunately for Bryan, Bad News is coming his way. WINNER: Bad News Barrett

Matthew Artus: Both Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett netted their first respective Extreme Rules victories at last year’s event, but the former’s traveled a longer road in the year that’s passed. Bryan has more to prove, and the “Yes!” Movement simply will not be denied this time. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

@HowardFinkel: Being the challenger in this match does not suit Barrett’s fancy one iota. Bryan has done a very good job of representing himself as champion, yet I feel as if “BNB” on this night will be three seconds better than his opponent, and in the process will regain the Intercontinental Title. WINNER: Bad News Barrett

Bad News Barrett 4, Daniel Bryan 1

Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs. Naomi

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Naomi says she has waited long enough for an opportunity to compete for the Divas Championship and she’s right. If I were Naomi, I would have been attacking people long before now. On Sunday, Nikki Bella is going to bear the brunt of Naomi’s five years of frustration. I expect to see Naomi, wife of former WWE Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso, add more gold to the Anoa’i family dynasty. WINNER: Naomi

Anthony Benigno: Who knew Naomi had it in her? The Diva known for her dance moves flipped the script pretty severely when she took out Paige a couple weeks ago, effectively cementing herself as next in line for the Divas Title. That’s a dance we’ve done with Naomi before — she nearly stripped AJ Lee of the title at WrestleMania 30 — but perhaps the new attitude was really what the former Funkadactyl really needed to reach new heights. Expect a new beat from Naomi, and a new champion for the Divas division. WINNER: Naomi

Scott Taylor: Despite her unpopular path to this Divas Championship Match, Naomi’s recent victories over Nikki Bella ultimately make her a deserving No. 1 contender. The athletic Diva has the ability to one day carry the butterfly-emblazoned title, but I think Brie Bella will prove to be the x-factor in this contest. WINNER: Nikki Bella

Matthew Artus: Nikki Bella’s only Extreme Rules bout to date ended in tragedy, specifically in her first Divas Title reign coming to an end in 2012. History will repeat itself at this year’s edition, both because Naomi proved she can beat Nikki last month on WWE Main Event and because she’ll stop at nothing to do it again. WINNER: Naomi

@HowardFinkel: Having the right attitude can get you everywhere in WWE. You can ask Naomi about that. Whether or not you agree with how she tweaked her approach is secondary to the fact that she finally has what she wants: a Divas Championship Match. However, Nikki Bella has proven her mettle as champion, and to me, she will prove it again by retaining. WINNER: Nikki Bella

Naomi: 3, Nikki Bella: 2

WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The New Day

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: I hate to say it, but The New Day is actually going to have a reason to clap. Now that Big E and Kofi Kingston have made it evident that they are more than willing to have Xavier Woods help them win matches, I predict that the copper-colored WWE Tag Team Titles will make the fluorescent New Day an even greater eyesore on WWE TV. WINNERS: The New Day

Anthony Benigno: The New Day sucks? Sure doesn’t look like it. Ever since the positivity-preachers started peeling back the happy-go-lucky veneer of their public personas, exposing just a smidge of resentment against the WWE Universe for rejecting their mantra, they’ve discovered a much-needed edge in the ring. The reality is, Kofi Kingston and Big E are pretty much tailor-made opponents for Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, with the difference being that the champs have been leaning more toward their unmatched skill set than swinging the bout with Natalya on the outside as they did early in their reign. The New Day has no such squabbles, deploying Xavier Woods as needed to stack the deck in their favor. Look for the “Professionals’” honor to fail them, and our first Freebird Rule tag titleholders in forever. How’s that for a fact? WINNERS: The New Day

Scott Taylor: The New Day’s newfound attitude may not be helping them win over the WWE Universe, but it looks to be helping their in-ring game. A New Day is upon WWE’s tag team division. WINNERS: The New Day

Matthew Artus: You may not clap for how The New Day clinched this WWE Tag Team Championship Match, though you shouldn’t dismiss their chances, either. The key to this match is the performance of Kofi Kingston, a former three-time tag titleholder with an Extreme Rules resume that includes a U.S. Title win in 2011. WINNERS: The New Day

@HowardFinkel: Crisp in their execution and fluid in their moves, the current tag champs are impressive, as their synergy is amazing. The same can be said for The New Day, although it appears that many in the WWE Universe are not enamored with the trio. With Natalya and Xavier Woods jockeying for position on the outside, I look for a closely contested contest, with Kidd and Cesaro retaining their titles. WINNERS: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

The New Day: 4, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd: 1

Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper (Chicago Street Fight)

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: There is little doubt that Harper could have pinned Ambrose after powerbombing him through a ladder at WrestleMania or through the announce table on Raw. That being said, as we have documented here on WWE.com, Ambrose has survived much more extreme circumstances. Let’s assume that Harper and Ambrose are equally erratic and the match is a draw on paper. WWE Hall of Famer Gorilla Monsoon used to say “a good big man will always beat a good small man.” However, Monsoon also used to say that fans were “literally hanging off the rafters” and I never believed that either. The better fighter, regardless of size, wins a fight and Ambrose has proven that he is the better fighter. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Anthony Benigno: How long has it been since we had two maniacs of this caliber let loose in the perfect environment for them to do so? Edge-Foley with the flaming table? The original TLC clashes? Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper’s rivalry has been based less of wins and losses than pain and the inflicting thereof, so don’t expect a catch-as-catch can classic. Instead, expect the cumulative chaos of a car crash and a big, redemptive win for The Lunatic Fringe as he battles his way back toward the top, just in time for the late-summer push of Money in the Bank. Oh, and Harper’s going through something. Turnabout is fair play, or so we hear. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Scott Taylor: No matter who’s the winner, both these men will be hurting after this match. Luke Harper can deliver a beating better than most, but Dean Ambrose seems to thrive off the type of unstable environment provided by a Chicago Street Fight. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Matthew Artus:  To date, every Shield alumnus is undefeated at Extreme Rules, which includes Dean Ambrose’s U.S. Title victory in 2013 and his role in the rumble with Evolution one year later. Ambrose will continue his part of the streak, though what he does to make Luke Harper stay down won’t be a pleasant sight to see. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

@HowardFinkel:  I’ve said this before about Dean Ambrose: He is, in my eyes, perpetual motion personified, and he gets the job done. But since he and Luke Harper have gone toe to toe, the burly Harper has proven his worth. I like the idea of the anything-and-everything-goes rules that this Chicago Street Fight brings; it’s suited for these two. Ambrose will have taken the measure of Harper once the dust settles. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Dean Ambrose: 5, Luke Harper: 0

United States Champion John Cena vs. Rusev (Russian Chain Match)

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: This third and presumably final battle in the cold war (I’m sorry – it was too easy) between John Cena and Rusev will be decided when one opponent drags the other around the ring and touches all four turnbuckles. This way of deciding a victor makes Chain Matches, Strap Matches and Rope Matches hard to predict. While I realize that this is a long shot, I am picking Rusev to win this rivalry with Cena and continue his upward momentum, because dragging Cena should be easier for the Russian sympathizer than pinning or submitting him. WINNER: Rusev

Anthony Benigno: This is a tight one to call. Now that Rusev’s taken a pinfall, The Super Athlete’s unbeatable mystique has faded, but the Russian hasn’t exactly wasted time getting back to his winning ways. He’s looking invulnerable enough to render that WrestleMania loss a fluke. Cena has been talking a big game and defending his U.S. Title week in and week out, which is great in restoring some shine to the stars and bars, but four straight weeks of title defenses, plus a steel chain linking him to Rusev, will have worn him down. Rusev crush. WINNER: Rusev

Scott Taylor: The Russian Chain Match stipulation would seem to favor Rusev, but this isn’t John Cena’s first rodeo. The United States Champion has battled in his fair share of contests containing extreme stipulations, and more often than not, The Champ finds a way to win. WINNER: John Cena

Matthew Artus: John Cena should feel at home in the first televised Russian Chain Match in WWE history, right? The former Chain Gang captain’s the winningest Superstar in Extreme Rules history (seven wins and counting), going all the way back to ECW One Night Stand 2006. Yet the thought of a vengeful Rusev with a chain is plain scary. WINNER: Rusev

@HowardFinkel: How does Cena prepare for a match that clearly favors the challenger? He doesn’t. I feel that in order to be successful, Cena will have to be aggressive right out of the gate. And although I expect a yeoman’s effort from the reigning United States Champion, I am of the belief that Rusev will be the first to touch all four corners, win the match, and regain the title. WINNER: Rusev

Rusev: 4, John Cena: 1

Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus (Kiss Me Arse Match)

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Putting preoccupation with one’s lips touching another man’s buttocks aside, I’ll just look at the match. Sheamus is proud of stating the fact that he is bigger than Ziggler. Ziggler is quick to point out that height is simply a genetic trait that is not earned. Sheamus is stronger. Ziggler is faster. Sheamus is a better brawler. Ziggler is a better wrestler. Both men have had start, stop and start again climbs toward main event status. They seem even on paper, which makes this match very difficult to predict. In the end, I’m going to pick Sheamus, because he happens to be here at WWE HQ today and I don’t want to get Brogue Kicked. WINNER: Sheamus

Anthony Benigno: A few questions here: If Sheamus loses, does he have to pucker up and smooch Zig-Man’s perpetually-swiveling posterior? Or does he have to make like “Braveheart” and put his head between his knees to kiss hisowncaboose if he eats a Zig Zag and goes down for three? It’s been unclear thus far, but someone’s getting humiliated either way when the bell tolls on this rarely-seen stip. You’d think that would be Ziggler, who’s just beloved enough by the WWE Universe to throw Sheamus into overdrive, but The Celtic Warrior’s due for some comeuppance. The whole world can kiss Sheamus’ arse, for sure, but he’ll have to plant one on Ziggler’s first. It’s about time someone did, anyway. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Scott Taylor: I may be the only one, but I am really digging Sheamus’ new look and attitude. The Celtic Warrior is bigger and badder than most of his opponents and he knows it. And at Extreme Rules, he will prove it. WINNER: Sheamus

Matthew Artus: Of all the matches scheduled for Extreme Rules, this one is the toughest to call. Both Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus are truly proud Superstars, which means they’ll try anything they can to prevent the sight of an embarrassing smooch of their foe’s derrière. But only one of them has the Brogue Kick at his disposal. WINNER: Sheamus

@HowardFinkel: I am very, very impressed with everything that Sheamus has changed about himself, especially his more rugged presence and attitude. Of course, Ziggler’s no slouch inside the squared circle. Look for a highly competitive match, with Ziggler being the one who will have to “pucker up.” WINNER: Sheamus

Sheamus: 4, Dolph Ziggler: 1

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton (Steel Cage Match, with the RKO banned)

Extreme Rules 2015 predictions

@JoeyStyles: In an interesting series of twists, champion Seth Rollins chose to have Randy Orton’s outta nowhere RKO banned and the challenger chose a Steel Cage Match so The Authority could not interfere. Orton can use something else to beat Rollins, but Rollins can’t use somebody else to help him because his new adversary Kane will make sure of it, right? Wrong! I don’t buy that Kane is fed up with being The Authority’s hired muscle. I think Triple H having to keep the peace between Rollins and Kane is a ruse. As WWE’s longest tenured Superstar, Kane knows that you grin and bear whatever position The Authority gives you. When it seems that Orton is about to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from The Authority-installed Rollins, Kane will interject himself into the Steel Cage Match (which has no disqualifications) and personally see that Rollins remains champion. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Anthony Benigno: If this were just a regular Steel Cage Match minus the RKO, I’d go with Orton. The Viper’s got the deeper arsenal, more experience in these sorts of matches, plus, he’s got the dreaded punt in his back pocket. However, this match will hinge on Kane’s status as keeper of the keys for the steel cage. The Director of Operations has been on the outs with Rollins for some time now, and no amount of smoothing-over on the part of Triple H seems to have swayed him from his general disdain for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He’s still an Authority employee, though, so expect this match to go much as Rollins’ Money in the Bank victory did: The Architect will earn the win on the shoulders of The Devil’s Favorite Demon. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Scott Taylor: Despite the uncertainty surrounding Kane’s role as “gatekeeper,” I have no doubt that Seth Rollins has plans B, C and D ready to go. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion didn’t get to where he is without outsmarting the competition along the way. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Matthew Artus: As one of two Extreme Rules grapplers whose experience at this event dates back to its ECW One Night Stand days, Randy Orton feels like an obvious choice. However, the banned RKO and Seth Rollins’ record of escaping cagey confines due to unannounced guests (Bray Wyatt or Brock Lesnar, anyone?) put the odds in favor of The Authority’s golden boy. WINNER: Seth Rollins

@HowardFinkel: Getting the RKO banned was smart strategy from Rollins. But you can’t downgrade Orton’s chances of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just due to that. Orton’s got Rollins exactly where he wants him — in the cage — and you know how that can go. I am also curious as to what frame of mind Kane will be in this Sunday as gatekeeper of the cage. Regardless, I look for Rollins to eke out a victory and retain his championship. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins: 5, Randy Orton: 0

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