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   October 25, 2014



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Extreme predictions for Extreme Rules event
By JAN MURPHY and ARDA OCAL - Kingston Whig-Standard





Any wrestling fan knew following WrestleMania that its main event — The Rock vs. John Cena — would be a tough act to follow at Extreme Rules.

Mission accomplished.

In fact, in a lot of ways, the main event this month is as compelling if not moreso than the big one at Mania.

Fans on Sunday night will witness the in-ring return of Brock Lesnar, the amateur-wrestler-turned-pro-wrestler-turned-UFC-star-turned-pro-wrestler again as he begins his second run in WWE.

Lesnar made a surprising return following WrestleMania and has been terrorizing Cena since. They are slated to face off in an Extreme Rules match Sunday night at the WWE pay-per-view.

As has become recent tradition, myself and my colleague and friend Arda Ocal of The Score’s Aftermath program offer our pay-per-view predictions.

So, without further adieu:

The Miz vs. Santino Marella

Arda: The most interesting part of this match is that it will stream live on YouTube. I don’t mind Marella’s comedy and see how it has a spot on the roster, but The Miz in a U.S. title match just further devalues the championship to me. I don’t see why it even exists at this point other than having another title around. I’ll say Santino wins and we continue to not care about The Miz at present time.

Jan: I love Marella. Plain and simple. He is funny, entertaining and worthy of every bit of TV time he earns. The Miz, on the other hand, offers little in the current WWE. I agree with Arda that Miz is just another victim for Marella. The YouTube match is another stroke of genius on WWE’s part, one that will surely draw plenty of hits.

Randy Orton vs. Kane

Arda: On a PPV on which matches have the same stipulations but different names (Chicago Street Fight vs. Extreme Rules match), it’s nice to see one with a twist — naturally with a falls-count-anywhere stipulation, this one lends itself to going all over the arena. In fact, I wouldn’t mind this one going everywhere — through the crowd, into the merch stands, concession stands, the locker room, parking lot, the boiler room (a la Taker/Mankind at Summerslam 1996). This is the competitive advantage this match has in terms of standing out from the rest. I see Orton pinning Kane in some remote part of the arena. I’m hoping that of all the matches that are on the card, this rivalry ends at Extreme Rules.

Jan: This one certainly brings together two very aggressive, mean competitors. Orton has been working his way back up the ladder after some serious injuries last year and seems poised to rejoin the World or WWE title hunts sooner rather than later. Kane, meanwhile, continues to be the solid, versatile opponent he has been for much of his career. The best part of this storyline were the returns of Bob Orton and Paul Bearer. I like Orton to continue his upward push.

Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes

Arda: This is an unfortunate matchup to me because I don’t like either guy as Intercontinental champion. The Big Show and Great Khali seem like a good tag team that should remain a team, especially after dismantling the tag champs Epico and Primo a couple weeks ago on Raw. I think cody Rhodes has outgrown “secondary title” status and, like Dolph Ziggler, can truly begin his slow but steady climb to main event status. Let’s see Show retain and move on, losing the title to someone else soon thereafter.

Jan: To me, the Intercontinental title is not, nor should it be considered a “secondary” title. Yet with The Big Show currently possessing it, it kind of is. The Big Show’s sudden chemistry with Khali could bite him in the backside here, and cost him the title. Rhodes taking it back makes sense as he can bring some credibility to it and it keeps him on TV and relevant as he works his way to the top. I would love to see Rhodes and Ziggler lock up in a lengthy feud for the IC title and really bring some credibility back to the once-cherished belt. Take Rhodes.

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan — World Heavyweight Title

Arda: Who expected the response from the audience that Daniel Bryan has received since WrestleMania? In what could (likely should) have been a career burial, Sheamus beats Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania … but once again, all eyes are on Bryan going into the title rematch with Sheamus. Fans have responded with chants of “Yes!,” making it as popular as “What?” If anyone got hurt by the 18-second match at WrestleMania, it was Sheamus. Bryan has truly carried the lion’s share of interest for me in this program. Unfortunately, for that very reason, I see Sheamus holding onto the gold, even though many fans might feel that Bryan deserves to win. Perhaps the match starts with another quick fall, like at Mania.

Jan: Bryan continues to win over fans, even if he’s not winning over the powers that be. How else but lack of interest from high up to explain that debacle at Mania? Fans’ interest in his every move is forcing WWE brass to keep him in the hunt. I disagree with Arda on this. I see Bryan winning back the title and continuing his improbabe reign, perhaps with Sheamus or even a new opponent, someone like Alberto Del Rio.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jerico — WWE Title

Arda: This should have an electric feel, with Punk returning home and sure to receive a hot hometown reaction. Obviously the “street fight” stipulation and it being on the Extreme Rules show lends itself to being a more brawling-style match. I see Punk getting the win, honour in his family is restored and both men separate to begin new feuds in May.

Jan: I have a hard time imagining that Jericho returned to simply put Punk over. Punk was already fine on his own. These two guys are arguably the best wrestlers on the roster, so I see no reason not to stretch this one out further. I like Jericho stealing it, with Punk hitting rock bottom in his home town.

John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar needs to win strong here, for multiple reasons. First, if Lesnar is in fact on a year-long contract, him losing in his first match back in eight years, with 11 months to go, would hurt his “I’m not a superstar, I’m a fighter” persona. Meanwhile, for Cena, I love the idea of the franchise player going on a slump. In the long term, a loss here would benefit both parties. I envision this match being brash, raw and snug. Look for a Lesnar win clean in the centre of the ring, either by F5 or by ref stoppage.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Lesnar pulled out some MMA moves, including some submissions not seen in WWE as of yet (picture an arm triangle Lesnar used to defeat Shane Carwin in the UFC), with Cena selling the fact that he doesn’t know how to counter. I see a rematch coming out of this match at the next PPV, which Cena loses. I'd be happy to see Cena lose every match until SummerSlam, where he breaks his slump, wins then goes on a near-year winning streak to WrestleMania, including winning the 2013 Rumble and relinquishing his title shot to meet the Undertaker at Mania, Streak vs. Streak.

Jan: While Arda makes this one seem like a no-brainer, I don’t see it that way.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine Lesnar losing. Yes, it would affect his credibility. And yes, it seems more natural for Cena to continue his current downward spiral.

But the absolute destruction of Cena is one thing I don’t see happening. Granted Lesnar is a monster. So much so that the chants of Cena sucks have all but disappeared very recently.

Cena himself is still a very dominant superstar and WWE would be foolish to job him out, to anyone.

Lesnar will make this a fight. Make no mistake. But Cena will match him.

For the sake of the storyline, I’ll take Lesnar. I predict some blood in this one, too.

Follow Arda Ocal on Twitter at @arda_ocal and watch Aftermath on The Score on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 10 p.m. Listen to Aftermath Radio following Monday Night Raw.