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WWE Extreme Rules 2014 predictions & preview: Evolution vs. The Shield, Bryan vs. Kane, more!

Let's predict the card.

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., May 4, 2014) live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with its Extreme Rules event starting at 7:30 p.m. ET with the pre-show featuring the El Torito vs. Hornswoggle leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

It's a decent enough line-up.

For starters, we've got the reformed Evolution getting down and dirty with The Shield while Bray Wyatt and John Cena will tango one more time inside a steel cage. Elsewhere, Daniel Bryan defends the WWE world heavyweight title against Kane, Big E puts the Intercontinental strap up for grabs against Bad News Barrett and more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.



Evolution vs. The Shield

The General: This is the first match in the feud, so it's likely the heels are going over in some cheap fashion to set up a return bout. I'm not sure if the crowds are to blame or what, but they haven't been getting the best reactions for this program so far. Let's hope they tear the house down in Jersey and put some gas on the flames. Pick: Evolution

Sean Rueter: My trepidation has to do with Batista's status. The Hounds have to come out of this program as winners, both because they're the future and because they're the faces. I could see that being down the road a bit, though, but if Big Dave is really off for the next few months, there might not be a down the road for these teams as they're currently constituted. I'd be shocked if we see Flair - his performance from Monday night had to scare WWE off from featuring him too prominently - but I suppose other shenanigans on the part of The Autho-lution are just as likely. So, yeah, let's go with that. The Batista rumors are a smokescreen, non-Nature Boy outside interference costs The Shield the match...leading to a rematch in some kind of structure and an eventual "let's settle this, leader vs leader" showdown between Aitch and Roman. Pick: Evolution

Hulk Holland: I'm pretty sure the heels go over here because they just reformed not too long ago and it would be pretty pointless to have this big, bad faction come up lame before it even rounded first base. I think that's true with a lot of new programs at this event, since much of the roster is in a rebuilding phase after WrestleMania. In addition, The Shield doesn't need the win and Evolution could get some tasty heat by beating down the faces, who will undoubtedly get to hit all their big spots and look good in defeat. Pick: Evolution

Keith Harris: The reformation of Evolution could turn out to be a one time deal, between Batista taking off for a bit after Extreme Rules and Triple H wrestling only a handful of matches a year. Their reunion has been slightly uneasy, given The Animal and The Viper both still have their eyes on Daniel Bryan's WWE World Heavyweight crown. There's always the possibility that Ric Flair, Evolution's old running buddy, who strangely sided with The Shield on Raw will turn on them at the pay-per-view, but given that he came off looking like such a potential train wreck in the process, I don't think WWE will trust him with a regular spot on the show as Evolution's manager. Flair's verbal passing of the torch looks set to be completed when The Shield become the first faction to ever out evolve and slay Triple H's crew. Pick: The Shield.

Cain A. Knight: This is the most intriguing match on the card as well as one of the toughest to predict. Will the members of Evolution remain united at the end of the night? Will there be a betrayal within The Shield? Will Ric Flair screw The Shield over, leading to the continuation of this war? The go-home episode of Raw set up some kind of Flair involvement at Extreme Rules, so my best guess is that Flair will aid Evolution in picking up the win here. I do hope that Triple H at least falls victim to a triple powerbomb before the end of the show. Pick: Evolution

Nick Bond: Much in the same way that Mel Kiper and Todd McShay can't incorporate trades into their mock drafts, I'll refrain from making assumptions with/regards/to possible turns in this match and say while I think the Shield will be made to look very good, they lose this match with Evolution getting some help from Ric Flair. Yes, I know, that's a "turn", but if you think it's EVER a good idea to trust Flair, I have Sting on line one. He sounds really sad.


Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

The General: Kane is not winning the title here. He's a transitional feud, and if we're to believe the rumors, that might be Batista's fault. My fear is they try to stretch this out too long -- really, it's already gone long enough -- and book something silly like a mixed tag at Payback featuring Bryan and Brie Bella vs. Kane and Stephanie McMahon. ..... Actually, I might like that. Either way, the champ wins here. Pick: Bryan

Sean Rueter: Haven't felt this confident in a prediction since I picked Taker over Lesnar last month! Heh. No, seriously, Bryan wins. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Hulk Holland: This is probably the easiest pick on the card because there is no way they are putting the title on Kane, who is suddenly the terminator because he donned a plastic mask with a fake wig. Then again, I said there was no way Brock Lesnar would defeat The Undertaker and we all saw how that turned out. No matter. Kane is a cool-down feud until they get Bryan into a program that builds and ultimately pays off at SummerSlam. That said, it will be interesting to see if it gets started at the end of Extreme Rules, following what should be 15 minutes of Kane squashing the champ until Bryan beards up, hits the flying knee and puts us all out of our misery. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Keith Harris: The time has come, the time is now, just no, no, no! I don't care how, you can hit Tombstones on hard floors or on wooden doors, corporate Kane it will still be no, no, no! You can hit Tombstones on steel steps or broken specs, you can hit a Tombstone in your old red mask and bask, but please go, please. I don't care, you can hit Tombstones on a rusty old bike or a metal spike, if you like. If you like, you can hit a Tombstone on a Spanish announcing table, if you're feeling particularly unstable. Just no, no, no! Please go, go, go! Corporate Kane I don't care how, but will you please lay down now. Pick: Daniel Bryan.

Cain A. Knight: With the members of Evolution all having better things to do on this show than deal with the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan finds himself stuck in a lackluster 1980's horror movie storyline with Kane. The initial angle they ran with Kane tombstoning Bryan 3 times was masterfully executed. However the follow-up angle with Kane emerging from under the ring and trying to drag Brie to hell provided an instant reminder that Bryan deserves a better story. Bryan is being presented as the massive underdog against an invincible demon, but we all just saw Bryan conquer three far superior adversaries on the same night a few weeks ago at WrestleMania 30. So there's just no way to believe that Bryan is the gallant underdog who must overcome insurmountable odds here. Kane simply isn't a believable championship contender right now. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Nick Bond: There's literally no way that Daniel Bryan loses this match. If Daniel Bryan loses this match, I will eat a hat.


John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

The General: I hate this match. I love the feud, despite its many wrong turns and story killing interviews backstage with goofball Cena, but I just don't understand what they hope to accomplish here. They've started pushing it harder that Wyatt doesn't need to win because that kind of thing doesn't matter to him but that's nonsense. Why even have the match then? The man himself said his message will be complete when he climbs out of the cage. That means he does care about winning, or he should. If he doesn't, just don't go to the ring and make Cena look like an idiot just hanging out in a cage. You know, the way he made the Wyatt clan look silly with the lame photoshop gag. Wyatt should win but nothing has happened to make me think he will. Pick: Cena

Sean Rueter: I really hope I'm wrong, but nothing has changed since last month in this program. The powers-that-be believe that young heels are elevated just by working with Cena, and provide moments like putting him a sheep mask or scaring him with children's choirs as the "victories" that those challengers acheive over him. Then, when the PPV/special event matches come, John wins for the Make-a-Wish kids and cereal sponsors. Maybe they'll surprise me, and validate the hopes and dreams of a million smarks. But until they do, I'm expecting the same formula we've gotten for the last ten years. Pick: John Cena

Hulk Holland: I think it says a lot about Bray Wyatt that he can keep losing to John Cena and still build a credible program against him for Extreme Rules. I understand the concept, as every time Wyatt loses he makes the next "test" for Cena a little harder, which is why we have possessed children and steel cages. Unfortunately, the fact that Wyatt should go over is probably why he won't, because Cena has to rescue the woe-begotten tots and save the day, as there are still plenty of wishes to be fulfilled and a lot of cereal boxes to sell. Pick: John Cena

Keith Harris: With WWE attempting to sell fans on the idea that the once loyal Chain Gang kids are starting to turn away from the Cenation leader and are siding with The Eater of Worlds instead, John Cena needs to be placed in jeopardy for once. He needs to show that Bray Wyatt's mind games are finally getting to him and that his position as WWE's top dog is at great risk, that the sheep mask is the symbolic kryptonite to his Superman act. It's thus time for Mr. Cena to lose for once. Pick: Bray Wyatt.

Cain A. Knight: WWE has shown time and again that they really have no idea where they are going with this feud. The idea that Cena winning this match somehow keeps Bray Wyatt's message from spreading doesn't make sense. The notion that Bray Wyatt escaping the cage somehow increases the spread of his message doesn't really make sense either. They already showed at WrestleMania 30 that Bray Wyatt winning or losing has no bearing on any of these matters. So instead of trying to guess where they are going with this story, I'll stick with the basics of parity booking and assume that it is simply Bray Wyatt's turn to win. John Cena doesn't lose often, but when he does lose it is usually in a gimmick match like this that allows for plenty of shenanigans. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Nick Bond: It doesn't matter who wins, because there's pretty much nothing that could be done to either of these guys that would have any real effect on their standing in the company or amongst fans. Bray Wyatt will be fine even without a win -- him repeatedly mentioning that it isn't important to him is a narrative device, folks -- and as such, he'll likely lose. But Cena probably won't "kick his ass" or bring a donkey to the ring, and will likely instead escape only after metaphorically sacrificing a pound of flesh.


Big E vs. Bad News Barrett

The General: There was a time when it looked like Big E would be a main event level talent by the end of 2014. Now, it sure looks like he could be back down in NXT with Brodus Clay within the next couple months. I'm not sure where things went wrong but he may be the victim of the dreaded "stop-start" push. Barrett is a darling right now, and Vince McMahon wants him featured. So he wins. Pick: Barrett

Sean Rueter: All signs point to a title change, and when that happens, I get nervous. The reigning champ definitely needs a jolt to restart his push, and I don't know if he'll get a chance to build his character through things like his recent sit down interview with Renee Young if he doesn't have the belt as a selling point. Basically, E's character is the belt, while Barrett has his whole other schtick. But, no, I'll stick with the obvious booking, and probably a summer long feud between these two that might feature a few title changes. It's been a while since they've done that, and with the US belt going nowhere, it might be worth a shot to try to make the IC title scene a little more volatile. Pick: Bad News Barrett

Hulk Holland: Welp, Bad News Barrett has been turning in quality matches -- two of which earned "this is awesome" chants -- while Big E. has been lurking backstage and nodding at the video monitors. What WWE has done, or perhaps more importantly hasn't done, with the champion after teasing a big push is unfortunate. I don't know why they bothered giving him the Intercontinental strap, only to let him wither and die. Now Barrett knows what he has to look forward to as the next flavor of the month. My only hope is that Big E turns in the kind of performance that makes WWE second-guess its decision. Pick: Bad News Barrett

Keith Harris: The long streak of the IC title being WWE's version of a booby prize that drags you back down to Earth rather than rise you to the heavens has sadly continued with Big E. He looked on the cusp of breaking through as a headliner when he won the title six months ago, but now he seems like he'll never get there, after one dull feud after another with going through the motions, treading water opponents. Meanwhile, Barrett has been on a tear the past month, laying out everyone who has been in his path with the Bull Hammer elbow. He's looked so unstoppable I think Big E has finally met his match. Pick: Bad News Barrett.

Cain A. Knight: I think they should skip this match and just put the title on Barrett. Big E has been absent from Raw action for weeks now. They don't even pretend like he is a relevant figure anymore; he just stands backstage and stares at TV monitors. This match feels so unimportant that it should probably swap places with the WeeLC match. Barrett is going to win, and who knows what the hell they have next for Big E. His best bet might be to join the cast of Total Divas so that his personality has a chance to finally shine through. Pick: Bad News Barrett

Nick Bond: Big E. is "winning" this, even if it would be remarkable if he leaves Extreme Rules with the title. There's a small bit of my heart that thinks he's actually going over, but my brain and the rest of my heart (not occupied by thoughts of Big E. and I being best friends) knows that Bad News Barrett will win in the dirtiest way possible. They've invested too much in Big E. -- they don't give just anyone the Renee Young treatment -- and spent too much time building up a contender for him -- especially someone else they've invested nearly as much in with Bad News -- for him to not A) come out of this looking good and B) this feud to not continue. The best way of doing that is by putting the belt on Bad News by hook/crook and have them build towards a blowoff at SummerSlam.


Paige vs. Tamina

The General: Tamina is keeping the number one contender seat warm until AJ Lee returns from hiatus and/or WWE comes up with a fresh new challenge for Paige, who they've done a great job firmly establishing as a credible champion. The outcome here seems obvious. Let's just hope for a good match. Pick: Paige

Sean Rueter: There might not be much suspense about the outcome, but this needs to be good to break the "bathroom break" stigma still held by a lot of fans. Hopefully Tamina is flexible enough to take the Paige Closer. Pick: Paige

Hulk Holland: Putting the Divas title on Tamina Snuka is not as outrageous as putting the heavyweight strap on Kane, but like the "Devil's Favorite Demon," there's just no reason to do it. Paige hasn't been champion very long and she's a fresh face in what was quickly becoming a stale division. In addition, the crowd has been mostly receptive and she is proving to be a great in-ring worker. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't put a pink cobra on it fix it. Pick: Paige

Keith Harris: With Paige being stripped of the NXT Women's title this week, it's clear WWE plans a long reign for her as their main roster female champ. And so they should too, as she's been a breath of fresh air in the stagnant Divas division, which has needed fresh blood for months. Plus, Snuka's a solid performer but lacks the looks and charisma to ever be given the gold. Pick: Paige.

Cain A. Knight: With AJ Lee out of the picture, WWE is suddenly hyping up Tamina Snuka as a dominant diva of her era. Of course that is a ridiculous premise considering that Tamina has never held championship gold or even won a singles PPV match in her WWE career. Paige is the obvious winner of this match. Pick: Paige

Nick Bond: After the Brie Bella scare -- don't act like her screaming BRIEMODE!! doesn't startle you as you check out NBA scores on your iPad during her matches -- Paige should be fine. Especially with Tamina being what could charitably be described as a "tomato can" from a push/performance perspective.


Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

The General: They've done an outstanding job killing all the heat Cesaro got for winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 and pairing him with Paul Heyman the next night. They didn't need to book him as an unstoppable monster necessarily, but I would rather he beat guys clean with little to no issue. They haven't been doing that. Hopefully, that turns around here in a big, big way. Pick: Cesaro

Sean Rueter: Moving this from a one-on-one showdown to three participants gives them a few outs from the predictable path, and some protection from the weird heel vs. heel dynamics of The Real Americans break-up. I see Swagger eating the pin after some confusion with his former tag partner and/or their managers. Cesaro won't look any worse for this one, and Van Dam will be coming off a win when he puts the up-and-comer over down the line. Pick: RVD

Hulk Holland: Cesaro is not going to lose this match, because he already lost the bout that would have given him a shot at the Intercontinental title. So if he loses that, then loses at Extreme Rules, it makes him look weak and Paul Heyman appear inept. In addition, the only reason he was bounced from the championship mini-tournament was to insert him into a big summer angle with higher stakes, and that starts with a win tomorrow night. If there is any justice in this industry, RVD will go for a frog splash on Swagger and get the uppercut from Cesaro mid-flight. Pick: Cesaro

Keith Harris: Like Chris Jericho before him, WWE will only ever give RVD the most minimal amount of victories possible for a star of his level unless he commits long term. His job is to put over the next generation of stars. Meanwhile, Swagger continues to ride Cesaro's coattails, feuding with him despite Cesaro already being long overdue bigger and better things. Paul Heyman's guy simply isn't going to lose on pay-per-view, one month after his other man ended The Undertaker's Streak. Pick: Cesaro.

Cain A. Knight: My expectations for this match aren't too high. Swagger has bored me for years and RVD seems very rusty during this latest comeback. If they want me to believe that Cesaro is going to become a top guy sooner rather than later, then they need to move him away from Jack Swagger as soon as possible. Cesaro is most likely winning here, as his star is on the rise. But don't rule out the possibility that RVD picks up the win when Cesaro and Swagger are distracted by their bickering ringside managers. Pick: Cesaro

Nick Bond: This is what I said when the rumor came through on the Round-Up: "This will likely be done to clean a former Paul Heyman guy and Cesaro's former tag team partner off his plate as he prepares for bigger and better things." Two birds will be killed with one stone giant swing in this match.


Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods

The General: I'm far more interested in what Lana will do in this match. Maybe she gets involved in some new and interesting way. You know, something special for the "special event". Either way, the big man goes over. Pick: Rusev

Sean Rueter: Just please let this be the end of this. And while I'm making wishes, maybe something could happen that will lead into a real feud for the Bulgarian Brute? Between NXT and the main shows, I've been watching him squash dudes forever. What's Dolph doing these days? He could bump like crazy while getting CRUSH. Pick: Alexander Rusev

Hulk Holland: This is a silly match up and everybody knows it, but I'm not going to take a digital dump on it because I understand that it's formula and WWE is in the process of pushing Alexander Rusev as a monster heel, Umaga style. Besides, if he clomps around the ring and squashes his opponents, fans can just stare at Lana the entire match. The question is not whether or not X-Truth wins, it's whether or not they actually get in a lick of offense. Considering how much they were afforded on RAW, I'm not liking their chances. Pick: Alexander Rusev

Keith Harris: Wrestling booking 101 here. The heel monster on the rise always convincingly beats a babyface jabroni tag team that's been dormant for months. Pick: Alexander Rusev.

Cain A. Knight: Does anybody really believe that Woods and Truth have a chance here? I wonder why this match made the card instead of a tag team title match or even Magneto versus Dolph Ziggler. Rusev is going to crush these guys in a matter of minutes. Pick: Alexander Rusev

Nick Bond: The question for this match isn't "who will win", it's "how long will it take for Rusev to put both of these guys in Accolade." The over/under is 4:37.


El Torito vs. Hornswoggle

The General: I don't care. Pick: Torito

Sean Rueter: Bad news, haters. One of these guys has a summer movie coming out, and that probably means this will roll on until he has to leave to promote its August release. Throw in the last minute addition of another mini, and I expect some shenanigans that will provide a reason for the feud to continue. Pick: Hornswoggle

Hulk Holland: This match is nothing but dumb fun and should be treated as such. Because this is a comedy angle, designed to get a few laughs and pump up the crowd, the good guy has to go over, so El Torito will gore his way to victory. I will admit I really want to see them come out with those tiny ladders, like the ones you use to get shit down from that shelf in your garage. Or maybe a toddler chair? Hey, if Big Show gets giant props, these guys should get tiny ones. Pick: El Torito

Keith Harris: El Torito is the more spectacular performer of the two, so he'll be put over as the top mini in WWE in this unique midgets gimmick match. Pick: El Torito.

Cain A. Knight: I think it is pretty funny that a Hornswoggle match is getting priority over former upper card mainstays like Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, who are completely absent from the card. This WeeLC match might be a lot of fun to watch if you mute the sound. Unfortunately the commentary will detract from the action that is going on in the ring, and that's too bad. As far as the booking goes, this one is really simple: 3MB always loses. Pick: El Torito

Nick Bond: Hornswoggle will continue his run as the Big Show of mini wrestlers, which of course means that since it's a PPV/special event, he's going to lose.


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

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