BY BRETT MURDOCK (AND MATT VINSKO), Couchsideshow.com blogger
As the first pay-per-view event post-WrestleMania, Extreme Rules has the unfavorable task of putting on a quality show after professional wrestling’s biggest extravaganza. Last year, it was actually able to step up to the plate and it was the best PPV event of the year, in my opinion. That’s not just a “wrestling hipster” opinion to go against the mainstream calling ‘Mania the top show of 2012, I legitimately believed it.
This year, the potential to rise above WrestleMania is once again there, especially after a predictable and lackluster (because of the hype) Show of Shows. While many fans see a card that is lacking, I see a line-up with a lot of capability and the chance to do something memorable. In total, there are nine scheduled match-up and all but two of them will employ an “extreme” stipulation, hence the show’s title. Now, along with my co-conspirator Matt Vinsko (making predictions at the willy-nilly like I did on his NBA first-round playoffs piece), let’s get ready to get extreeeeeeeme…
Pre-Show: The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Honestly, I have no idea where this match came from. For the past couple of years, The Miz and Cody Rhodes have been two of WWE’s best midcard guys but unfortunately, they have been brick walled by an inability to develop solid feuds for them in singles action. The Miz has had his chances with both the Intercontinental and United States Championships, but failed to make an impact with the belts. Rhodes was part of a great tag team with Damien Sandow but for some reason, the creative staff broke them up to focus them on singles competition. Meanwhile, getting back to present day, these two are probably just there to get the crowd warmed up for the night’s events and to bring at least a shred of credibility to the pre-show. With that being said, the preshow is usually for the fans and the WWE “knows” that fans like the faces, so congrats Miz.
BRETT: The Miz
MATT: The Miz (more…)
BY BRETT MURDOCK AND MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com bloggers
No Way Out. Three words that when grouped together create an idea of fear, panic and the unknown. That is what the WWE is aiming for this Sunday when the company puts on the pay-per-view live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. However, only two of the matches on the card create that sense of paranoia and helplessness, and even then, it is a risk even calling them big time main events. WWE’s last PPV, Over the Limit, was pretty good but the transition to this month’s show has been sloppy, unorganized and for lack of a better word, facepalm-esque. Ok, so that’s not a word. Sue us.
So, after failing to ingratiate you with our presence with Over the Limit predictions, we are back to hit you with some in-depth knowledge and full-scale awesomeness. So sit back and enjoy while we tell you what we think will happen this Sunday in a world dominated by a fake reality, guys in tights and Speedos, and terrible announcing.
This blog wasn’t able to be uploaded before the event on Sunday night. In addition to Brett’s and Matt’s predictions, Couch Side has also provided the results in the headline of each match.
Brodus Clay defeated David Otunga
Brett: Thank goodness that this match will be the pre-show display, because I have no interest in witnessing a dancing fat guy facing off against a muscular version of Carlton Banks. Ever since returning as a guy who was infected with disco fever, Brodus Clay has been squashing jobbers left and right and has never really been given any true direction with his character. The closest he came was a couple of weeks ago when he challenged Big Show, but nothing came of that. He was entertaining when he came back after having a reputation as a monster heel, but has become stale since. Otunga has developed a nice role as the coffee-sipping right-hand man to General Manager John Laurinaitis. His gimmick has drawn comparisons to that of former WWE superstar Chris Masters, due to his physique and entrance displays. As far as the match itself, I’m going to go with Clay due to the fact that the crowd will enjoy it and hopefully set the tone for a night that on paper, seems destined to be very underwhelming.
Winner: Brodus Clay (more…)
BY BRETT MURDOCK AND MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com writers
After Wrestlemania, it’s hard to imagine the WWE topping itself. After all, this year saw four hours of grappling headlined by John Cena versus “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment,” The Rock. It was The Rock’s first match in eight years, which garnered much hype. But let’s be honest for a second; the event, though an instant classic, failed to live up to the buildup (and our predictions).
How do you beat a PPV headlining the returning Rock? Well, the WWE is hoping another man returning after an eight-year absence can bring a spark in former WWE and UFC Champion Brock Lesnar. Though he left the company on bad terms, Lesnar has returned and set his sights on Cena, who once again finds himself the underdog at Extreme Rules, set to air this Sunday, April 29. Read on for insight from two still-closeted wrestling fans and their picks for the one night a year where the WWE goes Extreme:
United States Championship Match: Santino Marella (c) vs. The Miz
Matt: No one thought Santino Marella would be the dominating champ he has been since dethroning Jack Swagger a little over a month ago, myself included. Known more for his comedic relief than his actual in-ring ability, it’s hard to take Marella seriously, especially when he’s a champion. Still, the guy can entertain a crowd like very few can, and it’s been interesting seeing him dominating top-tier talent that he was losing to a few months ago. The Miz, on the other hand, has been buried for the past year since his championship loss to the aforementioned Cena. That is until this past Wrestlemania, where he pinned Zack Ryder and secured the win for Johnny Ace’s team. So what does The Miz get for his hard work? Why a championship match against Teddy Long’s former right-hand-man in Marella. I can see this match going both ways, but I just have a feeling The Miz is going to come out and ride the hot hand he’s been seeing since his Wrestlemania victory.
Winner: The Miz
Brett: Santino Marella is arguably the most “over” wrestler in the WWE today. A goofy gimmick that appeals to a younger audience, he has found a way to generate interest from the older demographic as well. He won the belt in March and has held onto it ever since despite challenges that seemed to put him at a disadvantage. The Miz, on the other hand, has been stale as can be. The once-WWE Champion has been in a downward spiral in terms of being pushed and appearing on television. He has gotten some heat backstage for his antics and personality, thus leading some to believe that his downward trend is because of this. This match will be the “dark” match of the night, meaning it will not be on the pay-per-view broadcast but will be able to viewed online on YouTube. It appears that the WWE is serious about giving Santino some of the spotlight as evidenced by his recent opportunities at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and his captainship of Team Teddy at WrestleMania 28. The Miz has been buried hardcore, minus a few chances and the future does not look too bright for this once high-profile star.
Winner: Santino Marella
BY MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com contributor & BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com writer
Although it remains a sort of cultural taboo, no one can deny the buildup to WrestleMania.
And while it’s not on par with the Super Bowl or any other championship game (or series), WrestleMania one-ups its opponents with sheer star powers. For example, people may not know what the Royal Rumble is, but they’ve definitely heard names like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
It’s only fitting then that The Rock is making his in-ring return to pro-wrestling this Sunday, April 1st for WrestleMania 28, emanating from Miami, Florida. The event is being dubbed as the biggest and best wrestling pay-per-view in history, so read on for a list of WrestleMania 28 predictions from Matthew Vinsko and Brett Murdock, two (sort of ashamed) wrestling fans:
Maria Menounos and Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
• Matt: Now I’m not saying this Divas match is going to open the show, but I figure we should get rid of it early in our predictions. Maria Menounos, host of TV’s Extra, is stepping in the ring for her first real match while teaming up with former Divas Champ, Kelly Kelly. Beth Phoenix has been on a roll lately, and Eve Torres’ recent heel (bad guy) turn makes this match more compelling than it should be, but considering Snooki competed, and won, at last year’s event, it’s hard to imagine the WWE bringing in a celebrity only to have them lose. Phoenix and Torres deserve better than this, but I doubt they’ll get it on “The Grandest Stage of them All.” Expect retribution come Monday Night Raw after a humiliating loss to a Diva with two first names and a current Dancing with the Stars competitor.
Winner: Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounous
• Brett: It’s unfortunate that the WWE is resorting to having the host of Extra step into the squared-circle, especially when it is going to overshadow the Divas champ in Phoenix. This is a fairly easy match to predict because at WrestleMania, celebrities will ALWAYS go over — just look at Snooki‘s appearance at last year‘s event. This will not be a technically-savvy match as those days are long gone with the current Divas division being more about looks and glamour than actual grappling. This match should occur in the middle of the event, so it is an opportunity to relieve your systems more than anything else. My hope is here is that after the match, Kharma — the new dominating force in the Divas division — comes out and destroys them all.
Winner: Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos (more…)