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Extreme Rules 2017 is brought to you by the Raw brand, and it takes place at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
Raw has been tough to watch since WrestleMania. My main gripe I have is the absence of the Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar. With no main champion around it creates a lack of importance on Raw. Why should the average fan care if the most important title of that brand isn’t present?
The injury of Braun Strowman has come at a bad time, plus the storylines on Raw just don’t interest me (don’t get me started on that God-awful This is Your Life segment).
It’s an average lineup that probably won’t get people talking as much as a Jinder Mahal WWE Title win. That was a shocking ending to a show. I don’t think the Raw brand knows how to do anything like that anymore. It’s why Raw is so stale and boring right now.
While I can’t say that I’m excited about this show, the main event promises to deliver.
Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar
Absolutely nobody in this match is being used in a way that maximizes their full potential as a character within the narrative universe that is WWE Television. My main take from this is everyone deserves better.
This feud was just done to give Banks something to do without putting her in the Raw Women’s Title picture. The really was no need for three Banks vs. Fox singles match and this tag match feels thrown together in the last two weeks. Also, Dar and Fox have the least amount of chemistry of any on-screen wrestling couple since Rusev and Summer Rae.
Going for a babyface victory.
Winners: Sasha Banks & Rich Swann
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville © vs. Austin Aries
I really feel bad for Aries as he gets absolutely no crowd reaction at all. One of the most talented and charismatic stars of the 205 Live crew and if you watch back his entrance from Raw this past Monday, not one person gets up from their seat or hardly give him applause.
Honestly, the whole Cruiserweight division has been a train wreck and that is no fault of the wrestlers at all. It really is a shame when you consider how awesome the Cruiserweight Classic was. I believe that the Cruiserweights should just be restricted to wrestling other Cruiserweights. Sure you don’t see that happening in other sports but wrestling has never been like that.
It should be a good match as usual, but a Submission Match isn’t good for building drama. Near submissions are not as exciting as near pinfalls especially when fans know neither guy is going to win with a submission move other than their finisher. They’ve worked together enough that it will still be an entertaining match. I just don’t think it’s going to stand out that much.
As for a winner, I’m leaning towards Aries. This is their third match and I feel like they want to get the title on Aries. It might be time to have Neville move on from this division because he’s an excellent heel that knows how to get heat. Maybe WWE wants to get the title off him so that he can feud with others on the roster.
Winner and NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Austin Aries
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Steel Cage Match
The Hardy Boys © vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
This should be a pretty good match that the crowd will be into because the Hardys still have that special connection with the fans. The problem with this match is it’s not fresh in any aside from making it a cage match. Tag team cage matches are pretty rare mainly because it’s tougher for four guys to put together a match in there compared to a singles match. That’s why you don’t see them that often. In this case, they’re doing the tag cage because they probably want Jeff Hardy to do a cage diving spot leading into a finish.
I liked the heel turn of Sheamus and Cesaro. Sheamus is much better as a heel and Cesaro just seems to be lacking something. I’m glad they didn’t go the easy route with another ladder match here.
I’m going with the Hardys because it makes a lot of sense to have them feud with The Revival for the titles next month when Dash Wilder’s jaw injury is all healed up. A Hardys vs. Revival feud would be DELIGHTFUL!
Winners and STILL WWE Raw Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz
WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Kendo Stick on a Pole Match
Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss ©
Remember back in 1999 when Mankind hosted a This Is Your Life show for The Rock and it went on to become one of the greatest segments in WWE history? It worked because both guys are insanely charismatic and the comedy came from Foley believing that he was doing something nice for The Rock, all the while it was just pissing him off.
The one on Raw just gone is on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Holy shit, that was cringe-worthy. I don’t blame Alexa or Bayley at all for that. Alexa is a gifted talker who’s going to get better and better over time. Perhaps if she was given the chance to ad-lib it might have come off better. It wouldn’t be as bad as that shit we saw on Raw!
The other thing that confused the hell out of me was why didn’t they give Bayley a microphone? Surely in that situation she should have had a microphone to defend herself and tell the fans that Alexa was lying.
I feel terrible for the performers because if they were given good material they would do well. Instead, we get whatever the hell this rivalry is. At least WWE has played up the kendo stick as a big weapon in a women’s match. We have seen guys take kendo stick shots and be fine right after, yet one kendo stick to the back leads to Bayley going to the floor to sell it as a big deal.
Alexa has gotten the upper hand so much on Bayley that it seems only right for Bayley to win the title back here and get revenge. I still believe this feud can continue up until SummerSlam.
Winner and NEW WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Bayley
WWE Intercontinental Championship
(If Dean Ambrose gets Disqualified, he will lose the title)
Dean Ambrose © vs. The Miz
This is an incredibly idiotic match to take place at Extreme Rules. The entire event should be embracing the idea of no disqualification, yet we have a match where we the champion losing his “champion’s advantage”. Raw’s creative team, people!
Both guys have lost momentum since going to Raw. The Miz was such a huge star on Smackdown Live right up until WrestleMania and now he’s just a generic mid card wrestler. Those promos he cut on Smackdown were amazing while often times coming off like they were real. Are Raw’s writers incapable of scripting interesting promos? It feels that way to me.
I reckon Miz will win with some move that would disqualify him, but the ref won’t see it and that will lead to a very cheap finish.
Winner and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
Fatal Five Way Extreme Rules Match
Number one contender for the WWE Universal Championship
Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins
With the level of talent on display here there’s no reason why this match shouldn’t deliver. I think any of the four guys in the match not named Roman Reigns have a good chance of winning. Since WWE obviously wants to save Reigns vs. Lesnar for WrestleMania (Didn’t they not learn their lesson from WM32? 100,000+ booing their company poster boy?), it’s time for somebody else to go over. My pick to win is Finn Balor. The story is there because he was the first ever Universal Champion that never got a title rematch because he was injured. It would be a great comeback story to have him win this match, earn a title shot and possibly win the title…until coming up short. Fans would admire him more if he were to win this match and have a classic match with Lesnar.
Samoa Joe is an intriguing choice because it would really elevate him to win one of his first PPV matches on the main roster and to do so in a five-way match with some of Raw’s biggest stars. It would give him a lot of credibility if he were to move on to the Lesnar match.
I’d be cool with either Rollins or Wyatt winning. I can see them as future challengers to Lesnar’s title in the future.
This match should be great. They will get a lot of time and should have some big spots featuring broken tables to pop the crowd as well.
Winner: Finn Balor
Feel free to post your predictions in the comment section below, and I’ll be back again on Monday with my Random Thoughts on Extreme Rules.