A lot can change in a year in professional wrestling.
Right now in 2021, WWE has introduced one Extreme rules pay-per-view that didn’t live up to its name. In what should have been a night full of hard-hitting brawls, the vast majority of the card was contested under normal rules. There was only one match with an extreme term. It’s a show that was emblematic of the problems WWE faced in the final years of the Vince McMahon era. While the in-ring product was good, the wrestlers were constantly let down by lazy and uninspired bookings.
Now, under a new regime with Paul “Triple H” Levesque as lead creative, the difference between cards for Extreme rules 2021 and Extreme rules ’22 is night and day. WWE heads to Philadelphia this Saturday for a PPV where each match has a different extreme stipulation. None of these provisions feel out of place or unnecessary. Levesque has amassed intense controversies that are all worthy of the terms given to them.
Embracing the “extreme” within Extreme rules it helped elevate what could have otherwise been a PPV that fell sandwiched between bigger events. The only thing missing from Saturday’s card is an actual main event. With WWE Undisputed World Champion Roman Reigns not appearing on the show, it’s unclear who the title will be Extreme rules. There are two women’s championship matches that could potentially lead to title changes. Ronda Rousey will attempt to regain the SmackDown Women’s Championship as she challenges Liv Morgan to an extreme rules match. The Raw Women’s Championship will be up for grabs in a ladder match between Bianca Belair and Bayley.
The most personal rivalry in WWE right now will come to a head as Matt Riddle takes on Seth Rollins in a Fight Pit match on Saturday. Previously used in NXT, Fight Pit is an MMA-inspired cage match that can only be won by knockout or submission. UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier will be on hand Extreme rules to be the special guest referee for Riddle vs. Rollins.
Some of the intrigue for Extreme rules revolves around whether this will be revealed as the “White Rabbit” of WWE. Mysterious QR codes have been popping up on WWE television for the past few weeks and are linked to cryptic teasers. The latter teased it Extreme rules will be where White Rabbit debuts. It seems almost certain that the angle leads to the return of Bray Wyatt.
Extreme rules will air live on the Peacock/WWE Network beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. Here’s a full recap of the card, along with predictions for each bout:
Extreme Rules Match: Liv Morgan vs. Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Winning or losing isn’t really the most important thing for Morgan here. A gutsy loss to Rousey would mean a lot more to Morgan’s character going forward than another fluke win. Defeating Shayna Baszler at Clash at the Castle helped Morgan gain some credibility and now WWE needs to show that she belongs in the same ring as Rousey. Being able to use weapons in this extreme rules match will help Morgan do that.
Whether it happens on Extreme rules or sometime soon after, Rousey reclaiming the SmackDown Women’s Championship seems inevitable. She shouldn’t lose three straight matches to Morgan.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey wins
Ladder Match: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley for the Raw Women’s Championship
This is one of the most difficult matches to predict Extreme rules. Bayley defeating Belair and adding more gold to Damage CTRL is a logical outcome, but it’s not time to end Belair’s title reign.
There will likely be a lot of outside interference in the race. Alexa Bliss and Asuka will be involved to help counter Bayley’s Damage CTRL stalwarts Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky. If Becky Lynch is ready to return from the separated shoulder she suffered SummerSlamit would be great to have Lynch be the one to stop Bayley from becoming champion.
Prediction: Bianca Belair retains
Fight Pit Match: Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins
After all the personal insults Rollins has thrown at him, it’s time for Riddle to get his revenge. Their story involves Riddle taunting Rollins about his real family issues. Rollins brought up Riddle’s divorce and claimed that Riddle can no longer see his children. The Fight Pit is the perfect place for a former MMA fighter like Riddle to put an end to this feud. If the intensity of Riddle and Rollins’ rivalry carries over to the Fight Pit, this has the potential to be a classic.
One interesting thing to watch is if Daniel Cormier is the special guest referee for Riddle vs. Rollins is set to do more with WWE in the future. He is a professional wrestling fan and would excel in an on-screen role with WWE, even if he never becomes an in-ring competitor.
Prediction: Matt Riddle wins
Strap Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross
McIntyre vs. Kross is the only fight in the Extreme rules which will not benefit from its enactment. With the two wrestlers tied together, strap matches limit what the participants can do instead of giving them more options to work with. Hopefully McIntyre and Kross can overcome this and still find creative ways to use the strap. Cross should have a good showing in his first PPV match since returning to WWE.
McIntyre’s loss to Roman Reigns at Clash at the Castle it’s one that will be hard to bounce back from. While there should be no shame in losing to the most dominant wrestler in the industry, there will never be a better opportunity for WWE to make McIntyre a legitimate top guy. McIntyre needs to turn the page on this loss and start picking up wins soon, but that won’t happen in Extreme rules. With how badly Kross’ first run on the main roster went, he can’t afford a PPV loss so soon after his return.
Prediction: Karrion Kross wins
“I Quit” Match: Edge vs. Finn Bálor
The “I Quit” for this match could be what gives The Judgment Day the high profile win they needed. While it’s usually a bad idea for babyfaces to quit, it would be understandable if Edge quits to protect his family. Doomsday can use their advantage in numbers to threaten Edge’s wife, Beth Phoenix. With Phoenix in danger, Edge will have no choice but to give up and save her.
Prediction: Finn Bálor wins
Good Old Donnybrook Match: Imperium (Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch)
Here comes what might have been the best WWE match of the year Clash at the Castle, Gunther and Sheamus are guaranteed to throw another punch here. This Irish-themed road race between their factions will be fast and furious.
The night before Extreme rulesGunther and Sheamus will face off in an Intercontinental Title rematch on SmackDown. Assuming Gunther stays, this six-man tag will allow Sheamus to regain some momentum. He will have to pin either Kaiser or Vinci to get the win.
Prediction: Brawling Brutes win
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