WWE returns to pay-per-view this weekend with the 2021 Extreme Rules event. But whereas last year's show had insane stipulations like the "Eye for an Eye" Match and a cinematic swamp fight, this year's pay-per-view is rather light on the "extreme" stipulations. The biggest one is for the Universal Championship, where Roman Reigns will look to keep his yearlong title reign rolling against "The Demon" Finn Balor in an Extreme Rules match. This is the first time Balor has used his painted alter-ego in more than two years, but he's still undefeated on the main roster whenever he brings the Demon out.
Elsewhere on the card, Bianca Belair will try to get revenge on Becky Lynch for what happened at SummerSlam, the Usos will take on The Street Profits for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships and Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair will face the demonic Alexa Bliss.
We've once again brought together ComicBook's team of wrestling writers to break down the biggest questions heading into the show, as well as predict who will win each match. Check out the full predictions below!
Does Finn Balor Dethrone Roman Reigns?
Connor Casey: I can definitely see the argument for it happening. Balor has never lost on the main roster once he puts the paint on, they can spin it as Reigns was overlooking Balor knowing that the Lesnar match was coming up and it could further the issues between Reigns and Paul Heyman if Lesnar suddenly decides he wants to pursue Balor's title rather than have another match with "The Tribal Chief." That all being said, I think they just keep Reigns' title reign rolling.
Matt Aguilar: I call a shenanigans ending that protects Finn from "losing" but keeps the title on Reigns. That said, Connor kind of convinced me that there's a chance Balor wins the title because Reigns is distracted, which I am all for.
Nick Valdez: Nope. After that Lashley and Big E Triple Threat on Raw, Balor's nowhere near the top of the card in my mind anymore. The Demon coming back does throw a wrench into things, so protecting the character in the loss will be an issue that only shenanigans can resolve. It'll be a shenanigans loss, but a loss nonetheless.
Evan Valentine: Not a chance. There's just no ending this train until The Rock returns, or maybe Brock Lesnar taking Reigns down and starting a lengthy rivalry.prevnext
Why Does This Show Have So Few Stipulations?
Connor: It feels like this show might've snuck up on WWE. The Draft is a week away, the next Saudi Arabia show is soon and lately they've seemed more focussed on beefing up Raw in order to stop Monday Night Football from shrinking the Red Brand's ratings.
Matt: I think by the end of SmackDown or via those random social media posts we'll at least have 3 stipulation matches, which seems about right. Don't think we'll have less than two, but I'm also okay with every match not being a stipulation.
Nick: Extreme Rules in recent years has been a show where there are just more rules! It's just become a name these days, so if it doesn't matter to WWE it doesn't matter to me.
Evan: I'm kind of stumped on this one to be honest. I've always felt that with a PPV event happening each month, each spectacle needs to have its own identity that sets it apart and Extreme Rules missing out on "Extreme Rules" is something of a head-scratcher. If they were going to leave out the Extreme Rules, I would have much rather this been pushed as a "Halloween Havoc" to shake things up.prevnext
How Do You Feel About Becky Lynch's Heel Run So Far?
Connor: I always had my gripes with Lynch's run as "The Man," and I like how they've taken the obnoxious side of that character and turned it up to 11. That being said I hope they add in a bit more beyond her wearing big fur coats and having goofy hairdos.
Matt: No surprise, but FREAKING LOVE IT! She's entertaining and embracing the role, and feel she's already proven most who said she couldn't pull it off quite wrong. I dig it, and I need more Elmo coats.
Nick: It's fine! Not great, but not terrible! I've never really bought into her heel run before all of the Nia face-punching anyway, but her back and forth with Bianca already proves she just needs a good dance partner to balance her schtick out. More drip would do the trick probably.
Evan: I think it's fine, I don't think it's breaking the wheel and I can definitely see the arguments that The Man's return might not live up to the build-up that many fans put behind it, especially when it comes to her surprising, nearly instantaneous, victory over Bianca Belair originally.prevnext
The 2021 Draft is Coming Up — Who Needs a Change of Scenery The Most?
Connor: Drew McIntyre. Back when WWE announced it was going back on the road it felt like him winning back the WWE Championship was going to be the signature moment of the year for Monday Night Raw. Now it feels like McIntyre is nowhere near the world title and nothing short of a heel turn would make a program between him and Big E make sense. If he moves to SmackDown he can immediately get paired up with Roman and I loved that Survivor Series feud they had last year.
Matt: For me, it's Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins on the men's side, and I'd be cool if they just swapped brands. On the Women's side, Alexa Bliss moving to SD and Sasha Banks to Raw would be a good shake-up. As much as I hate to lose her, having Bayley show up on Raw when she's back would also be great for the red brand.
Nick: There's a lot who could benefit from a change of scenery! Happy Corbin should be heading to Raw so he could finally do something legitimate with this fun new character, but the main thing I'd want to see is New Day actually getting to stick together this time around. Also, maybe Keith Lee to SD?
Evan: I'd really like to see the Women's Roster get a serious shake-up for Raw and Smackdown for one, especially with the likes of Asuka, Rhea Ripley, Charlotte Flair, and Bianca Belair just off the top of my head. On the men's side, reuniting the New Day might be a good fit considering how well received they are as a team, while Big E could still boost his solo career as Kofi Kingston had in the past.prevnext
What's Your Pick for the Main Event of Crown Jewel Next Month?
Connor: I'll shake it up and say Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Balor. That crowd seems to love "The Demon."
Matt: Yeah, Agree with Evan, Reigns vs Lesnar all the way.
Nick: Reigns and Lesnar! It's hard to think of anything else getting as big of a push as that story for now.
Evan: Reigns and Lesnar will be pushed as the main event for sure, but I could definitely see Big E getting his dream match of battling Goldberg this time around. Bill has been a good brawler for pushing superstars "over the top" and this seems like a prime place to do it.prevnext
Does This Show Need a Big E Title Defense?
Connor: I'll say no. He just won the title and a one-on-one rematch between E and Lashley feels like it deserves a bit more build-up. Plus it means a shorter pay-per-view!
Matt: Nah. There's already several Championship matches on the card, and they haven't really set him up with his next opponent yet. That said, a random match would still be fun because, you know, Big E.
Nick: I honestly didn't even notice! Anything after that Lashley and Roman Triple Threat would feel like filler anyway, so I'm fine and that's assuming he'll pop up anyway with something.
Evan: For sure, but I don't know who they could go with to battle E at this late stage in the game. Honestly, I'd love to see Big E make his grand championship debut in this latest PPV.prevnext
- WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor (Extreme Rules)
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. The Street Profits
- Raw Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss
- United States Championship: Damian Priest vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy
- Liv Morgan vs. Carmella