Welcome to another edition of Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on Extreme Rules 2019 coming this Sunday night.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how WWE is setting up the program, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Winners Take All Mixed Tag Team Extreme Rules Match for the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans = Lukewarm
This is a mouthful of a description for this match, isn’t it?
Am I sick of seeing the same matches over and over again? Of course. Is slapping “Extreme Rules” onto this a lame method of making it a hardcore style match? Sure. But hey, it’s still a “weird stipulation” and I have to give them credit for doing something different that doesn’t happen all that often, as well as something that makes quite a bit of sense… minus the fact that Lacey Evans clearly lost to Becky Lynch twice with no wiggle room to say she is owed a rematch.
So I’m splitting the difference. This isn’t a Hot, but it isn’t a Cold. It’s in the middle range, where I’m willing to give WWE the benefit of the doubt that this might be interesting.
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch win.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe = Hot
I used to be more nervous that Kofi Kingston would drop the title here to Brock Lesnar, who would cash in his Money in the Bank contract after a grueling hardcore match of sorts, in order to set up an appearance at SummerSlam.
Instead, now that it’s Samoa Joe who will face Kofi Kingston, I don’t think that will happen. I imagine Brock Lesnar will show up at SummerSlam to win the title, instead, and this match will be able to just be what it can be without factoring in that cash-in.
And that’s great! I’m a big fan of both Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston, and I’m excited to see what they can do together. This is a fresh match with two guys who normally aren’t given this sort of spotlight and are still not boring to me, so I’m 100% down.
Prediction: Kofi Kingston wins.
No Holds Barred Match: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre = Lukewarm/Cold
I have been sick of this Shane McMahon storyline for months now, I haven’t wanted to see Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns do anything together at WrestleMania or past that point (as I feel they’re wasting what could have been a solid program for the Universal Championship down the line and this isn’t doing anything for me) and as much as The Undertaker is one of my favorites of all time, he isn’t the same guy he used to be.
On paper, and from the bubble perspective of “how WWE views everything right now”, this match is supposed to be monumental, but I just can’t bring myself to really care as much as they want me to.
Side note: It’s funny how WWE thinks having Extreme Rules and No Holds Barred and Triple Threat and all should be different style matches, as if we’re fooled by that phrasing into thinking it’s anything but all No Disqualification. Whatever. At least that stipulation will help this match with its flexibility.
Prediction: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker win.
SmackDown Women’s Championship 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross = Cold
I’m less interested in the match and more interested in where they go afterward, which means I just want to hit the fast forward button.
There are only three possible places this goes.
1) Alexa Bliss wins the title and continues to have Nikki Cross at her side and they drag out the inevitable split.
2) Alexa Bliss wins the title and drops Nikki Cross, and we have either Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss or Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss/Bayley at SummerSlam.
3) Bayley retains the title and the plan is to have Sasha Banks return and do something.
I really hope we don’t just see Alexa Bliss lose, only for Nikki Cross to try to win her back again and repeat exactly what happened at Stomping Grounds. That will just show that WWE keeps stalling and doesn’t have a plan of what to do next.
In any scenario, I’m just not feeling it. That’s a shame, as this story was one of the better ones for WWE Stomping Grounds. I get that the purpose of the feud is that we should be asking why Alexa Bliss gets the title shot, but that shouldn’t translate to “and I don’t really want to see a repeat of what we saw before, so can we just skip this and get to the next part of the story instead of dragging it out?” WWE wants me to be angry at Alexa Bliss for taking the title shot, and I’m just unenthusiastic toward WWE for having written this onto the card, instead.
Prediction: Bayley retains the title.
United States Championship Match: Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles = Hot
These two are great athletes. There’s no reason to think they will have anything but a great match.
Do they give the title to AJ Styles and go with the heat, despite how Ricochet could use a stronger title reign to make sure people know he’s someone to get invested in? Or do they go with Ricochet coming out on top to prove himself, despite how that makes it harder to continue this feud going forward?
Curious. But I’ll be checking out the match along the way, that’s for sure, and hoping they don’t cop out with a disqualification to stall things like they have done a lot over the past few years in these sorts of scenarios.
Prediction: Ricochet wins.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (c) vs. The Usos = Hot /Lukewarm
I know these two teams are insanely talented and will put on a great show, if given the time and flexibility to work with. There’s no doubt in my mind about their performance levels.
I do have my doubts about how much wiggle room they will have on the card though, and whether or not WWE will overbook this in some fashion that kind of ruins it, like using it as a means to put over Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon some more or something. That’s what I’m worried about, and what prevents me from going full-on Hot with this.
Also, I assume Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder win, because if they have another lackluster title reign, it’s going to look really bad on WWE for the people who have contract negotiations. They will be able to say “Well, you keep screwing with The Revival, so why should I think I’m setting myself up for anything different?”
Prediction: The Revival wins.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. The New Day vs. Heavy Machinery = Lukewarm
My first thought for this, originally, was “well, I guess Heavy Machinery are back to doing nothing. That’s a shame.” Then, I was proven wrong with their addition to the match, and I’m happy about that.
I still think they’re mostly there to take the pin, though, in order to preserve a New Day vs. Bryan/Rowan match possibly for SummerSlam or further down the line without having Big E or Xavier Woods take the fall.
In any fashion, this should be a fun match, even though it won’t be anywhere near one of the most important or anything that, at the end of the year, will be something particularly memorable. Sometimes, good is good enough.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan and Rowan win.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese = Hot /Lukewarm
Despite my problems with Tony Nese as a babyface and his title reign, I’m oddly feeling like this will be an even better match than the Triple Threat that involved Akira Tozawa. I have no idea why I feel that way, as there’s no reason for me to think this rematch will be more enthralling in any fashion, but somehow, I do.
Drew Gulak will retain the title, by hook or by crook, and I’ll be happy about that. Here’s hoping they have a great match that sends Tony Nese off with some momentum to do something else in the future, rather than just being swept under the rug.
Prediction: Drew Gulak wins.
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro = Hot
Two super talented wrestlers setting out to have an intense fight in the ring, in an environment where things are being shaken up and they will surely want to prove that they need to have more focus on themselves by stealing the show?
I’m 100% sold. This is going to be good, and it could be the best match of the night and the start of something awesome.
As far as who will win, I think it has to be AleisterBlack. They can’t have him ask people to pick a fight with him, as if he’s unbeatable, and then have him come up short. It will make him look like he’s all bark and no bite.
Prediction: Aleister Black wins.
Last Man Standing Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman = Hot
The angle between these two with the stage had more people talking than a lot of more grandiose stuff in the past few months. That’s already a good start to this. Plus, supposedly, Paul Heyman sees Braun Strowman as someone to really utilize in a better way going forward, so this could be the resurgence of his career.
Then again, maybe this is the means to position Bobby Lashley as the next challenger for Seth Rollins, so they’ll give him the victory and do something crazy to protect Braun Strowman along the way? In either scenario, I’m intrigued, and I think this will be one of the most heavy matches in terms of hardcore stuff, so that should be fun, too.
Prediction: Braun Strowman wins.