Braun Strowman will face Bray Wyatt in a Swamp Match at 'Extreme Rules'

Extreme Rules: The Horror Show is a typical mid-summer PPV for WWE.

The card is full of matches that don’t mean much an stories that aren’t going anywhere.

In a normal year, the July PPV is just the primer for SummerSlam. But this isn’t a normal year.

WWE looks to be pulling out some unusual stops for Extreme Rules this year. Between ‘Eye For An Eye’ matches and Wyatt Swamp Fights, it’s difficult to know what to expect.

But we’re gonna try anyway. Here’s our predictions for Extreme Rules.

Dolph Ziggler taunts Drew McIntyre ahead of challenging for McIntyre's WWE Championship at 'Extreme Rules'

WWE Championship – Drew McIntyre (C) Vs. Dolph Ziggler

Oh, Dolph. You made yourself reliable for so long, and this is where you are.

Dolph Ziggler is the epitome of “challenger to-be-determined.” When creative doesn’t know who else to throw at a new champion, Dolph is your guy.

And I can’t even say that’s to the detriment of the match at Extreme Rules. Because Dolph can still go.

As for the champion, Drew McIntyre is on a roll. We’ve mentioned before, he’s basically the recipient of a Roman push right now. But unlike the man for which it’s named, Drew is making the most of it.

Considering the pandemic, conventional wisdom says it’ll be a forgotten title reign. But the champion is doing everything in his power to make it memorable for what it is.

Both guys were on fire in the recent Raw segment that featured a temporarily-returning Heath Slater. And what should be a placeholder feud has actually been fairly decent.

Having said that, Dolph is reliable for a reason. He lays down, puts guys over, and cashes the check. Drew will retain at Extreme Rules.

Winner – Drew McIntyre

Seth Rollins contemplates losing an eye at 'Extreme Rules'

Eye For An Eye Match – Seth Rollins Vs. Rey Mysterio

It’s almost as if WWE knows I haven’t called anything back-breakingly stupid for a while.

Also, I could swear somebody just did this. Or at least followed the general outline this story’s following. Maybe in February? In another, much better company?

In any event, we’re getting a match at Extreme Rules between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio. Where you win by gouging the other guy’s eye out.

My first instinct was to laugh it off, as WWE has a history of plugging stipulations they know they can’t honor. And then I started reading stories about WWE using CGI for Extreme Rules.

Logic says Mysterio should win, as Rollins has had the upper hand in the feud forever. But if they’re gonna use CGI to simulate an eye hanging from someone’s head, it’ll be easier to animate it with a mask to obscure any imperfections. I can’t believe I just typed that.

And let’s please never do this again.

Winner – Seth Rollins

Braun Strowman, ready to fight Bray Wyatt at 'Extreme Rules'

Wyatt Swamp Fight – Braun Strowman Vs. Bray Wyatt

Well, we already know where I think this should go. But it’s not going to.

The July PPV is traditionally the placeholder event for WWE. A show to keep things moving at a snail’s pace so as not to barrel forward to SummerSlam.

Stomping Grounds had that “honor” last year, and Extreme Rules has it this year. And nowhere is that mentality more obvious than in the Strowman vs. Wyatt feud.

Wyatt recently returned as the swamp-dwelling cult leader. Strowman already faced sweater-wearing Bray at Backlash, and now he’ll face the rocker-sitting, lamp-wielding Wyatt. This is obviously just to build to the Fiend returning at SummerSlam.

So in the meantime, we get to sit through another dopey cinematic match. I have no idea what a swamp match is, but I’m sure it’ll be appropriately stupid.

Look for Braun to pick up the win at Extreme Rules so that Wyatt has a “need” to bring back the Fiend next month.

Winner – Braun Strowman

Nikki Cross will challenge for Bayley's SmackDown Women's Championship at 'Extreme Rules'

SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley (C) Vs. Nikki Cross

It’s nice to see Nikki Cross get a bite at the apple at Extreme Rules.

But it’s going to end with Bayley hanging onto the blue brand’s women’s title.

Again, this show is all about keeping things as status quo as possible until SummerSlam. And an out-of-nowhere victory for Nikki would shake up the etch-a-sketch too much for Vince’s liking.

The only way a Nikki victory works is if Bayley’s partner in crime, Sasha Banks, takes the Raw championship.

But SmackDown has the weaker women’s division. The money feud needs to take place there. I’m betting on Bayley to retain at Extreme Rules.

Winner – Bayley

Asuka and Sasha Banks will battle for the Raw Women's Championship at 'Extreme Rules'

Raw Women’s Championship – Asuka (C) Vs. Sasha Banks

I don’t think WWE could handle Asuka’s reign as Raw Women’s Champion worse if they tried. And I haven’t discounted the possibility that they’re trying.

She was awarded the title, and every win she’s gotten since then has been screwy. Or it’s made her look weak.

And I don’t think that changes at Extreme Rules.

The idea here seems to be that Banks wants to be a double-champ just like her partner, Bayley. But, Bayley’s an insane egomaniac – she can’t have that.

Look for Bayley, Champion Of Expired Coupons and Manager Seekers, to “accidentally” cost Banks the match, setting up the long-awaited payoff at SummerSlam.

Then again, I’ve thought they would bring this feud to a boiling point before and been very, very wrong. And as one of the few things WWE is doing well, I wouldn’t mind seeing the tension build well past Extreme Rules and SummerSlam.

But I still think Asuka wins and continues her reign as a paper champion.

Winner – Asuka

Sheamus challenges Jeff Hardy to a bar fight at 'Extreme Rules'

Bar Fight – Sheamus Vs. Jeff Hardy

WWE – the epitome of good taste!

Seriously, this borders on beyond the pale, even for WWE. Sheamus and Jeff Hardy will do battle in a bar fight at Extreme Rules.

Because, without Matt, WWE doesn’t know what else to do with Jeff other than point out that he’s a recovering alcoholic.

Granted, they’re not enabling him as they did Scott Hall back in 2002 in his feud with Steve Austin. They’re presenting it as some kind of redemption angle.

But here’s the thing. Jeff Hardy – and I most sincerely hope he’s back and sober for good this time – has spent the last 10 years in and out of wrestling companies due to substance abuse issues.

So how is he supposed to redeem himself in a feud against the Dolph Ziggler of Ireland?

Fingers crossed that Jeff picks up the win here. Then hopefully we can all move on with our lives and pretend this Extreme Rules match never happened.

Winner – Jeff Hardy

Apollo Crews puts his US title on the line against MVP at 'Extreme Rules'

United States Championship – Apollo Crews (C) Vs. MVP

Wait, why is Apollo taking on a guy we last saw as Bobby Lashley’s manager?

Oh, right. Extreme Rules. Placeholder show.

By WWE logic, if Crews gets the win over MVP, then the next step is to face Lashley for the title at SummerSlam.

Also, the “winner” of this match gets the ugly new United States Championship belt.

I’m picking Apollo to retain at Extreme Rules. Mainly because Apollo Crews is so much better than the crap WWE gives him to work with.

Oh, and I’ll give myself double points if I’m right about this one: It’ll be on the preshow.

Winner – Apollo Crews

The Breakdown

It looks like WWE is going to try to rely heavily on cinematic matches to carry Extreme Rules.

And that’s a problem.

The company’s creative peak was the Boneyard Match and the Firefly Funhouse Match at this year’s two-night WrestleMania.

Since then, they’ve ranged from bad (Money In The Bank) to god-awful (Backlash).

Here’s hoping Extreme Rules gets WWE back on track.

All images courtesy of WWE.