Extreme Rules 2013 Predictions (Part Two)

Strap Match:  Sheamus vs. Mark Henry

In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam 2011, The World’s Strongest Man was looking for some new competition.  When a longtime villain accepted his challenge on TV, the fans now had someone to root for.

Sheamus had entered the WWE in 2009 as a vicious bully who could destroy his opponents with one solid Brogue Kick.  Two WWE Championships, a U.S. title and even a King Of The Ring victory later, he was ready for a change in the summer of 2011.  Upon declaring himself ready to fight Mark Henry during an episode of Smackdown, he immediately became a babyface.

Their entertaining match at SummerSlam ended memorably.  Henry scooped up The Celtic Warrior and rammed him back-first through a portion of the protected barricade which led to a count-out victory.  The two never wrestled on pay-per-view again. 

Which brings us to to the build for Extreme Rules 2013.  After failing to secure a title shot against WWE Champion John Cena, Henry started attacking Sheamus during backstage interviews on Raw and Smackdown.  Sheamus would soon return the favour.  Then, they started having these very strange tests of strength:  a tug-of-war and an arm wrestling competition.  Sheamus would humiliate Henry rather than play by the rules which made little sense.

Curiously, their SummerSlam match has never been mentioned once during this renewed rivalry.  In fact, I’m not sure why they’re feuding in the first place.  Henry’s explanation during a backstage interview, before Sheamus tackled him off his feet, was awfully short on specifics.  It looks like the creative team have no idea what to do with either of them so they’ve been suddenly paired for this upcoming pay-per-view.

What makes matters worse is that they have the worst stipulation for their in-ring battle on Sunday:  a strap match.  A strap will be connected to each of their wrists which can be used as a weapon.  The object is to incapacitate your opponent so you can touch each of the four top turnbuckles in succession.  If you get interrupted you have to start over again.  Stupid.

Honestly, if these two top talents had a better framework to work within, this match would, on paper at least, look better.  But it doesn’t and both men are suffering for it.  Henry has been an awesome villain since 2011 and Sheamus is a likeable enough babyface who sometimes tries too hard to be funny.  (He’s much stronger when he’s completely serious.)  They’re a good pairing when they have a good story to tell as they did in 2011.  But this year looks like a misstep.  A different stipulation would’ve been preferable.

At any event, this is another toss-up for me.  I can see either guy winning but something tells me The Celtic Warrior is going to get the three-count and also a severe beatdown from an angry monster which should set up their rematch at next month’s Payback.

Prediction:  Sheamus

U.S. Title Match:  Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose

New dad Kingston recently dethroned the underrated Antonio Cesaro for this B-title during an episode of Raw.  At the time it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense until he was booked to defend it against the leader of The Shield.  Both men have had limited interactions with each other in the last week (a six-man on Raw and a run-in from Kingston on Smackdown) and Ambrose hasn’t really had a lot of single matches on TV.  He actually lost to The Undertaker by submission in his first one.

But since his Shieldmates are going for the tag belts (and the WWE isn’t reviving the Demolition schtick of having three guys alternate in defending the two titles, originally a Fabulous Freebirds gimmick), Ambrose needs a shot at gold, as well, to even things out.  Besides, he’s been outstanding on the microphone as well as in the ring so, based on that criteria alone, he certainly is worthy of challenging for a strap.

This could be the sleeper match of the show.  Althrough it was a late booking, both men are tremendous performers.  They probably won’t get a lot of time but they’ll likely make the most of it.  Kingston is looking like a temporary champion in this situation so expect him to put over the new guy.  But it won’t be a clean victory.

Prediction:  Dean Ambrose wins the U.S. title by pinfall with chicanery.

Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles:  Team Hell No vs. The Shield

Kane and Daniel Bryan’s history with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns goes all the way back to last year’s TLC event.  Because then-WWE Champion CM Punk was legitimately recovering from knee surgery, his ladder match against Ryback was postponed to the first Raw of 2013.  Instead of that title bout happening at the December 2012 pay-per-view, Big Hungry ended up teaming with Kane and Bryan to face Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose in a six-man TLC match where, for the first time ever, pinfalls and submissions could take place.  (Normally, you have to climb a ladder to retrieve a title belt in order to win.)

In their very first WWE match, The Shield came out on top.  With a few exceptions, they’ve been unbeatable ever since.  And it’s no surprise to anyone that Reigns and Rollins are in line for a title push.  They’ve been stellar workers and decent talkers.

This rivalry with Kane and Bryan was renewed in recent weeks when The Shield interrupted The Undertaker’s post-WrestleMania speech on Raw.  Nothing happened to The Dead Man, though, because Team Hell No rushed to the ring before they could attack.  The Hounds Of Justice ultimately retreated.  Both sides battled each other in a six-man tag two weeks later with The Shield inching out a victory.  Later, after submitting to Hell’s Gate in a singles match on Smackdown, Ambrose, along with his teammates, put such a beatdown on The Phenom he hasn’t been seen since.  That angered brother Kane who lost to Ambrose in another singles match on the same show the following week. 

Meanwhile, The Shield has continued to rack up other victories on TV.  They’ve been booked so strongly that when they inevitably put another team over cleanly it will mean something.  Their opponents will get a big rub because of it.

But now is their time to become champions.  A Tornado match (formerly a Texas Tornado match) means there won’t be any tags.  All four men in this match will be in the ring at the same time like a Fatal 4-Way.  And that benefits Rollins and Reigns who can do anything and everything in their arsenal to earn their first championships.  Ambrose will likely give them a big assist by interfering.

Daniel Bryan and Kane are the longest reigning champions in WWE right now having held the tag belts for eight months.  Their year-long storyline has been one of the most unexpected delights of the decade so far.  They have somehow managed to transform from mostly amusing dysfunctional rivals into a mostly serious, seemingly unbeatable tag team.  Who would’ve thought a monster in his mid-40s and a cruiserweight in his early 30s would gel so seamlessly?

But the ride is about to end.  Rollins and Reigns are red hot.  In just half a year, they are already the likely successors to Kane and Bryan.  And on Sunday, they get their first championship push.

Prediction:  Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns win the tag titles by pinfall.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, May 16, 2013
2:17 a.m.

Published in: on May 16, 2013 at 2:17 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] August, I made predictions for every WWE pay-per-view:  Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania 29, Extreme Rules, Payback, Money In The Bank and SummerSlam.  So, why didn’t I continue on with this?  […]

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