Carroll County Times

Chair Shots: WWE Extreme Rules predictions

The night WWE goes Extreme is here. And here are my predictions for tonight's card.

United States Championship

Santino Marella (c) vs. The Miz

This match is part of the pre-show, which can be viewed on YouTube. I actually hope WWE starts doing this regularly, as it's a nice appetizer for the PPV, although I think if you buy the PPV they should air the match instead of the studio show that typically airs the half-hour beforehand. But show that same thing for free on YouTube.

Anyway, for the match itself, I'm over Santino as the United States Champion, but I feel like this would be a bit of a set-back for the Miz at this point in his career. As much of a set-back as losing clean to Santino on the YouTube pre-show to a B-level PPV? Oddly, moreso. The US title just cements him in the midcard, where if he cuts a promo beforehand about how he's being booked like a joke and then loses because he's being overly aggressive, then it's just a means to continuing an angle. And that's what I'm going with.

WINNER: And still U.S. Champion, Santino Marella

Divas Championship

Nikki Bella (c) vs. Beth Phoenix

This one was announced late in the week on No stipulation was immediately announced after the title changed hands in a lumberjill match on Monday. Beth, who did arguably the best selling of an ankle injury the world has ever seen, comes into the match less than 100 percent, in storyline. That gives her an out for losing to the Bellas again. Either that, or she'll be ruled unable to compete before the match can begin, and a suitable replacement will be named. Kharma, perhaps?

WINNER: And still Divas Champion, Nikki Bella

Intercontinental Championship: Stipulation to be determined by a spin of the wheel

Big Show (c) vs. Cody Rhodes

Predicting the winner of this match, in my opinion, is pretty simple. Predicting the stipulation is much more difficult. announced Friday that stipulation will be determined by a spin of the Raw Roulette wheel. I'm going to lean toward ladder match, where Show ends up breaking a few gimmicked ladders trying to reach the title. Remember when he made a heavy duty ladder when he was in Money in the Bank a few years back? By not announcing the stipulation until Sunday, it doesn't allow him to prepare for that possibility. Besides, no championship has a better lineage of ladder match defenses than the IC belt.

WINNER: And new Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes

Falls Count Anywhere

Randy Orton vs. Kane

The build-up to this hasn't been great, but here's guessing that the match actually will be. Will Cowboy Bob and Paul Bearer get involved somehow? I doubt it, but it would be cool if they did. Personally, I'd book Kane to go over here, and move on to challenge Sheamus for the World Championship, but since Alberto Del Rio appears to already be lined up as the next challenger, that doesn't make a lot of sense. This is the third in a series (with Kane winning at WrestleMania and Orton winning the No DQ match on Smackdown) so expect the babyface to win the blow-off match.

WINNER: Randy Orton

2 out of 3 Falls for the World Heavyweight Championship

Sheamus (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

WWE is attempting to make up for the 18-second debacle at WrestleMania by guaranteeing at least two matches (falls) here. Expect them to split the first two falls. Sheamus will get the first one, Bryan will do something underhanded to win the second one. I have a really cool finish in mind where Sheamus powers out of the Yes! Lock and turns it into his White Noise finisher. Instead, I envision a screwball finish where Sheamus either gets counted out or disqualified in the final fall, and the championship is awarded to Bryan. He's getting too much of a reaction right now for them not to put the title back on him and keep him involved in the main event picture for another month or two.

WINNER: And New World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan

Extreme Rules match

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena

Out on a limb prediction: Despite being that match that is selling this show, I don't think it will close the show, only because it's taking place in CM Punk's hometown of Chicago, and he'll get that right. Of course, they could always play up that Lesnar demanded he be in the final match. Regardless, I can't see this going any other way that Lesnar winning. Having him lose in his first match back, even if it's against John Cena, would undo everything that's been put in motion since WrestleMania. Cena's in the midst of a losing streak for the first time in his career. To have him snap it so quickly would be an anti-climactic end to an intriguing storyline. It would also take a lot of the luster off of Lesnar's return. Not only does Lesnar need to win, he needs to hurt Cena. A report earlier this week is that WWE may start doing more kayfabe injuries to write wrestlers off TV. Beth Phoenix may have been a test case. I think Cena might be the real deal. Quite honestly, I'm not sure how you book Cena going forward. He needs some time off, even if only a few weeks, to let some other stories develop, only for him to return and try to reclaim his top spot from Lesnar later in the summer. If WWE truly believes in Punk and Lesnar - or even if they just want to test the waters - this has to be the way to go.

WINNER: Brock Lesnar

Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Championship

CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho

The PPV is in Chicago. Punk is from Chicago. And the match is a Chicago Street Fight. Like I said, Extreme Rules may have been built around the Lesnar-Cena match, but this will be the one the live crowd is paying to see. Expect plenty of brawling - in fact, I'd like to actually see this one spill into the streets of Chicago before they make their way back to the ring - and lots of weapons, which will differentiate it from the Extreme Rules match. For a finish? I'd like to see CM Punk invite his family into the ring and smash a bottle of Jack Daniel's over Jericho's head before hoisting him up in the GTS and pinning him to send the hometown crowd into a frenzy.

WINNER: And still WWE Champion, CM Punk