John Cena Is the Greatest Performer in Extreme Rules History
In its four years of existence, Extreme Rules has been John Cena's playground.
No other WWE star has more victories at the event or has been a part of as many of its main events and greatest matches. Cena's kid-friendly, super-clean image may make him seem like an unlikely candidate to be the Extreme Rules king, but opportunity and star power have led him to that throne.
When Extreme Rules debuted in 2009, Cena was already a major star. Its inception followed his climb to megastar status, allowing him to be a major part of the event every year of its existence.
Had the pay-per-view begun 10 years earlier, perhaps someone more known for their hardcore resume like Mick Foley would have become the event's face. Instead, Cena's unwavering grip on the top spot in the last half-decade led him to be a prominent part of Extreme Rules.
Being given the stage doesn't guarantee success, however. It is how Cena has performed in these matches that has made him the current Mr. Extreme Rules. Aside from his flop against Big Show in 2009, Cena has been a part of one of the best showings at each year of the pay-per-view.
In 2010, Cena beat Batista in a Last Man Standing match. It was an excellent match built on animalistic fury, power, intensity and a generous helping of steel-chair usage.
A year later, Cena, John Morrison and The Miz delivered a superb cage match for the WWE title. Just last year, Cena and Brock Lesnar composed a bloodstained masterpiece together. That's a run of three straight high-quality main events.
This is why Cena is asked to be champ so often. This is why he's placed on top at an annoying rate. Cena has had duds along the way, but he is generally brilliant in the spotlight.
The brutality of Extreme Rules' anarchy has aided Cena in telling stories of the compelling kind.
Steel chairs played a big part in his match against Batista. Flesh rattling against cage aided the 2011 WWE title match. Ring steps, a chain and bloodied faces had major roles in making Lesnar vs. Cena an instant classic. The goody two-shoes apparently knows his way around a street fight.
CM Punk has had an impressive run at Extreme Rules as well, but his very good matches against Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio don't stack up to Cena's performances.
Had Edge not been forced to retire early, he may have ruled Extreme Rules. Someone like Sheamus may eventually surpass Cena in the future, but for now, he is the event's most consistent, most decorated and most impactful performer.
Four wins, two WWE title matches, three main events and three great matches all add up to supremacy. In another Extreme Rules WWE title match, this time against Ryback, Cena has an excellent chance to extend his winning streak at the pay-per-view to five.
Cena is often criticized for the sterility of his character, for his cloying silliness and for his repetitive ring work. Those are all valid criticisms. It's his ability to be such a big part of successful shows like Extreme Rules that keep affording him title opportunities and that have WWE management seeing past his flaws.
At Extreme Rules 2013 and beyond, expect Cena to be asked to main event again and again. Judging by his success rate so far, we can also expect him to deliver each time out.
In an event that sells itself as extreme and as barbaric, it's a man who wears cargo shorts and a goofy smile who is the most dominant gladiator.
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