Posted July 18th, 2020 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

A bad nightmare, a really bad wrestling show, an eclectic mix of good action and cinematic experimentation – you be the judge. Interpret the “Horror Show” name however you want, but WWE Extreme Rules is upon this coming Sunday night. For me, the actual in-ring matches are fine, but don’t necessarily jump off the page. The cinematic gimmick matches? I can forgive the “Wyatt Swamp Fight” to a degree, as it fits the Bray Wyatt character and is part of a larger story, likely leading to the Fiend challenging Braun Strowman at SummerSlam next month. And although the match has been moved to next Friday’s Smackdown, I can forgive the Sheamus-Jeff Hardy “Bar Fight,” as those two will make the best of the situation. But, we had a great build between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio and they’ve completely derailed it with this nonsensical stipulation that the loser will lose an eye. The last time wrestling came close to making me believe that someone might lose an eye was when the Road Warriors tried to blind Dusty Rhodes with one of their spikes on national television (NWA World Championship Wrestling – 12/3/88 for those of you searching on YouTube). In 2020, when the curtain has been pulled all the way back, the premise of this match is ridiculous. The only “hook” here is to see what creativity they will employ to simulate the eye extraction. I suppose you could also argue that there’s some intrigue around Dominic Mysterio and if he’ll actually end up Rollins’ group of apostles. But, that’s a longshot. In any event, let’s run down the card.

Main Event: Drew McIntyre retains the WWE Championship over Dolph Ziggler: As much as they tried to build this match around the mystery of the match stipulation, which Ziggler will announce at match-time, there’s no reason to believe that Ziggler has a chance here. It will be a fine match, as both can deliver in the ring, but it loses its intrigue when the result is highly evident. It also doesn’t help when there are gaping holes in booking logic. Despite the past association with McIntyre, there’s no rationale for Ziggler to have earned a title match. So, this should be a “one and done” and we’ll see what McIntyre’s next chapter holds.

Bray Wyatt defeats Braun Strowman in a non-title “Swamp Fight”: Expect a lot of special effects and cinematic parlor tricks here. The non-title stipulation cues a Strowman loss, creating a hook for the inevitable title match at SummerSlam against the Fiend and for the perception that Wyatt poses a threat to Strowman’s reign. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Fiend cameo to play a role in the outcome.

Asuka retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship over Sasha Banks: This is the match I am most looking forward to. Unfortunately, given the storyline and the build to the Sasha-Bayley breakup, there’s no reason for me to believe that Sasha has a shot. Rather, I expect Bayley to inadvertently cost Sasha the match, further creating tension that will lead to the team’s demise.

Bayley retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship over Nikki Cross: This is another match where I have no reason to believe that the challenger has a shot. That being said, I like Cross’ promo this past Friday night on Smackdown where she said she had to win and this was her only shot. This leads me to believe that we’ll see one of two scenarios. First, we could see Alexa Bliss will intentionally or unintentionally cost Cross the match, leading to their breakup and a Bliss heel turn. Alternatively, Cross can lose clean, become dejected and turn on Bliss. Either way, expect a shakeup in the women’s tag team division.

Rey Mysterio defeats Seth Rollins in an “Eye for an Eye” match: Any interest I had her was taken away with this stipulation. Yes, I am a bit curious to see how they pull this off, but unfortunately, unless there’s something earth shattering here, we’ve likely seen the end of the program, which is a shame, given the build.

MVP defeats Apollo Crews to win the WWE United States Championship: I’m liking MVP as a manager and think he can give the title some credibility as a heel champion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cedric Alexander turn heel here and cost Crews the match, ultimately joining MVP’s “Hurt Business’ stable.

The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship over Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Tables Match: This was a recent add and I wish I could believe that they’re planning on elevating Cesaro and Nakamura here, but I don’t expect much except for a good effort from both teams.

Bonus Prediction: Jeff Hardy defeats Sheamus in a “Bar Fight”: This match was moved to next Friday night on Smackdown, but since it was originally supposed to take place on this show, I’ve added it in. Of all the gimmick matches, I am the most optimistic that it will be the best it can be, given the players. We may get more from the program, but I expect Hardy to win this round.

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