May 1st is likely to be the only night of the year where WWE celebrates hardcore wrestling, producing the Extreme Rules pay per view tonight. Each of the matches feature some sort of stipulation which allows the competitors to run wild and break the rules. Let’s look at the card to see how things shaped up and how they should shake out. I’ve included the Squared-Circle Jerk in on the conversation to spice things up.

Last Man Standing Match
CM Punk vs Randy Orton

This feud dates back a couple of years, and if you’ve been watching WWE the past couple months, you know the basic story. A couple years ago, CM Punk was forced to relinquish the World Heavyweight Championship because Randy Orton and his Legacy group injured him in a backstage attack. CM Punk tried to return the favor leading up to Wrestlemania, but Orton took out all the members of New Nexus and defeated Punk at the yearly flagship event.

Prediction for tonight: CM Punk deserves this win, but the imbalance of power between RAW and Smackdown created by the draft makes me think that WWE will likely want to give Smackdown an advantage with the win here. If I go with the premise that they could have one final battle, then it’s not crazy to think that Punk could tonight, probably with some help from the New Nexus, and let him get at least a small victory in this feud.

Winner: CM Punk

Squared-Circle Jerk: Come on, you cant make Randy the NewEdge (on Smackdown) and have him lose in the PPV.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio

The reason Cody Rhodes wears his protective facemask (which doubles as a weapon) is because of “damage” Rey Mysterio supposedly caused, and it’s Rhodes’ aim to inflict as much damage on Mysterio as he’s currently suffering (emotional trauma from no longer being “dashing”). In the past few months, Cody has been attacking Rey Mysterio, most recently following it up by putting a paper bag over Rey’s head to force him to wear a different kind of mask.

Prediction for tonight: Since Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio are no longer on the same show, I expect this to be the final match in the series between them, especially because Cody Rhodes already scored a huge victory over Mysterio back at Wrestlemania. Ending the feud tonight with a Mysterio win would still give both guys a positive outcome from the feud, and that’s the route I’ll predict they go, as I haven’t heard any rumblings about a possible hiatus for Rey.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

SCJ: Mysterio will defeat Rhodes and I have NO reason to care.

Loser Leaves WWE Match
Layla El vs Michelle McCool

There has been tension between LayCool for the better part of the past two months, and they finally pulled the trigger on the break-up, with McCool being the bitchier of the diva duo. Layla made the challenge for tonight’s match, but Michelle McCool added the stipulation that the loser has to leave WWE.

Prediction for tonight: It would be hard to believe that the real-life wife of The Undertaker would leave WWE, but that’s what I’m predicting – because I think it’s more likely that Michelle McCool takes a hiatus and because that’s my preferred outcome. McCool has said on camera that she’s the better wrestler of the two, and better looking, and while she’s certainly no slouch, I don’t agree with her on either statement. In fact, Layla has made tremendous strides on her in-ring performance abilities. I’d say she’s one of the better female competitors on the roster at this point. It would be a real shame to see her go, so I’ll put my heart into this one.

Winner: Layla

SCJ: Layla will win. One of them has a husband who is jealous that SCJ wants his wife. So, he’s pulling her as far away from the program as possible.

Probable Tag Team Championship Match
Big Show & Kane (c) vs The Corre

I mention “The Corre” as the opponents because I think it’s somewhat likely that WWE will put some sort of handicap match into this spot or at least shuffle the deck on who they pick as the two members of the group to get a tag title shot. Big Show has been at odds with The Corre since prior to Wrestlemania, and he has vexed them at each turn in regards to the Tag Team Championships. Wade Barrett and company seem fixated and determined, and with only 6 matches currently on the card, I think this will get added.

Prediction for tonight: They’ve been teasing a break-up of The Corre for a few weeks now, and although I’m not convinced it will happen, I do think tonight could be used to add more tension to the story. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict that a title switch happens tonight to shake things up… but it won’t be Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel who come away as the victor duo.

Winner: The Corre

SCJ: I’m betting that the added match would be Sheamus and Kofi fighting for the United States Championship. WWE needs a mid-card belt on Raw. Prediction: Kofi wins it.

Rob: After what I saw on Smackdown, they definitely setup to have the match, so I wouldn’t be surprised to have it happen. It would free up Sheamus to fight for the World Championship instead of having to be down in the mid-card fighting guys he has dominated in the past.

Tag Team Country Whipping Match
Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole & Jack Swagger

Anyone who has watched an episode of RAW in the past couple months knows all about the tensions between Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. You’ve likely even heard Jim Ross desperaged by Cole out of jealousy. Now the two voices of old school Monday Night RAW are going to team up in hopes of shutting Cole up for good. On his side, Cole will have the services of Jack Swagger, who was his trainer going into Wrestlemania.

Prediction for tonight: Although they seem to be on good terms now, there’s definitely some underlying tension between Michael Cole and Jack Swagger. First there was the slap, then there was the yelling from this past week on RAW after Cole got whipped with a belt by Jim Ross. Tonight, things will boil over and Swagger will leave ringside to let Cole get what’s coming tot him once and for all due to some spat that occurs between the partners mid-match.

Winner: Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross

SCJ: Agreed, and this is another match I don’t care about.

Steel Cage Three-Way World Title Match
The Miz (c) vs John Morrison vs John Cena

I expect this to be the first televised World Championship match of the evening, as the outcome of this contest doesn’t effect whether Smackdown has a World champion on its roster. If you haven’t seen RAW since Wrestlemania, you might not be aware of how this match came to happen. There was a gauntlet match on RAW to determine the number one contender to the World title currently held by The Miz. It was John Cena and R-Truth who made it to the final position in the match, but The Miz involved himself in the hopes of not having a #1 contender named. Much to his chagrin, it was announed that The Miz would have to face John Cena and R-Truth at Extreme Rules. John Morrison stepped up the next week and goaded R-Truth into a match with the pay per view title shot spot on the line… and Morrison won the match. R-Truth flipped out and beat the hell out of Morrison, though J-Mo is apparently still going to be able to compete.

Prediction for tonight: There’s no way R-Truth lets John Morrison win, and those two will pick up their feud in a one-on-one format in future months. There was some thought in my mind that with Alex Riley moving to Smackdown, John Morrison would help The Miz retain the belt and turn heel in the process, but that would nullify any potential feud between Morrison and Truth, as they’d both be heels. I think it’s time for WWE to put the belt back on Cena and give him a run against thew newbies of RAW, and the reign is going to start tonight.

Winner: John Cena regains the World Title

SCJ: The Miz will retain the title, though Morrison will look the most amazing in the match, but Vinnie Mac thinks Morrison isn’t headline material.

World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio

A few months ago, Alberto Del Rio used his cross arm breaker submission to “injure” Christian, and then when Captain Charisma returned, he helped Edge battle ADR and Brodus Clay heading into Wrestlemania. Along the way, Christian beat Alberto Del Rio one-on-one two or three times on the weekly shows. Alberto Del Rio won the right to fight for the World Title by beating Christian on Smackdown right after Wrestlemania, but with Edge’s injury-caused retirement, the other challenger spot for a now-vacant title needed to be filled, and a Battle Royal was setup. Christian defied the odds and kept himself in the picture by winning the Battle Royal, and now he gets what could possibly be his first World Championship match on pay per view in WWE history.

Prediction for tonight: WWE has a history of not wanting to bank on Christian in any sort of significant position. The closest he has come to a World title reign was his time as ECW Champion, but that was clearly a second-tier championship. Alberto Del Rio does seem destined to become World Champion, but if he were to take home the belt tonight, that would put both belts on RAW and leave Smackdown without a top-tier title, which could seriously doom the show to ratings failure. For that reason and because Christian is no longer actively in Edge’s shadow, I’m predicting the former NWA World Champion gets his first run in WWE.

Winner: Christian

SCJ: Christian will win the belt because one of the titles has to stay on Smackdown.

You can check out the opinionated rantings of the Squared-Circle Jerk each Friday on GuysNation (possibly every Tuesday as well if he feels so inclined), and the history of his articles here.