The first WWE Pay-Per-View since WrestleMania 29 is finally set to take place.
After a six week layoff, Extreme Rules will get underway on Sunday, May 19 in St. Louis. Three different titles will be on the line, with nine total matches, including the pre-show, scheduled for the event.
The PPV won’t have the star power that the WWE showcased in the early part of 2013. Part-time superstars like The Rock and Undertaker won’t wrestle. CM Punk hasn’t been on WWE television in four weeks, and Dolph Ziggler isn’t medically cleared to wrestle after suffering an injury on “SmackDown.” Lesser stars like Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow and Intercontinental Champ Wade Barrett will also be missing from the PPV.
It’s an important event for the WWE, however, as the company looks to avoid the yearly WrestleMania hangover.
Below is the entire match card and predictions for Extreme Rules 2013.
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WWE Champion John Cena vs. Ryback (Last Man Standing Match)
It seemed like Cena could be in for a long title reign when he beat The Rock at WrestleMania 29, but Ryback’s heel turn may have changed that. Ryback went from never losing a match to losing at six straight PPV’s. If he doesn’t beat Cena at Extreme Rules, it’s hard to imagine how the WWE could keep his character interesting. If Ryback does win the title, it could come after an attack from The Shield, who have been involved each week in the current feud.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (Steel Cage Match)
With Lesnar picking up the win at SummerSlam and Triple H leaving WrestleMania 29 victorious, neither wrestler is the clear favorite. At 1-2 since returning to the WWE, though, Lesnar needs the win more than Triple H. It’s not as easy to sell Lesnar as the most dominant force in the WWE if he loses 75 percent of his matches.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger (‘I Quit’ Match)
A concussion suffered by Ziggler forced the WWE to change a ladder match for the World Heavyweight title into a No.1 contenders match. Del Rio is the favorite, if only to avoid Ziggler and Swagger facing off in a heel vs. heel match at Payback in June.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio
United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose appears to be emerging as the first singles star from The Shield, already having matches with the Undertaker and Kane. It’d be surprising if he lost his first PPV match that didn’t include Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. The Shield (Tag Team Tornado Match)
The Shield hasn’t lost as a group since their first match at TLC and that isn’t likely to change on Sunday. Even without Ambrose, look for Rollins and Reigns to take the tag titles from Daniel Bryan and Kane, who have held the belts for eight months. The win could give The Shield possession of two different titles.
Prediction: The Shield
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry (Strap Match)
Following a lengthy World Heavyweight championship reign, Sheamus has, quietly, gone winless at the last six PPV’s. Henry picked up a big win against Ryback at WrestleMania and isn’t in as much need of a victory.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show (Extreme Rules Match)
With Big Show not even appearing on the last edition of “Monday Night Raw,” this is, probably, the least anticipated of all the matches at Extreme Rules. A potential heel turn for Orton would make Big Show the favorite, but those rumors have been around for so long that it’s hard to take them seriously, anymore.
Prediction: Randy Orton
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Since returning in January 2012, Jericho has lost seven of his eight PPV matches. Expect more of the same in his rematch against one of WWE’s bright young talents.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes (Pre-Show)
More often than not, the babyface comes out on top in the pre-show. After a short hiatus, The Miz is likely to go over, as the WWE continues its, seemingly, failing attempt to push him as a face.
Prediction: The Miz