WWE Extreme Rules 2013: Why John Cena vs. Ryback Is Such a Hard Sell

David LevinSenior Writer IIMay 8, 2013


It has become extremely hard for the WWE to sell something the fans are not buying into.

Week after week, mediocrity rears it ugly head and fans are left disappointed in the product, which leads to the writing of stories like this and the comments made by our faithful readers that myself and other writers are bitter.

If the product were better, more stories would state that fact.

In the case of the WWE champion, John Cena, and his upcoming match with Ryback at Extreme Rules, it is a very hard sell on so many levels. With the stipulation of a “last man standing” match, it is a good thing the WWE is getting back to matches that meant something in the past during the Attitude Era of this company. But going back to the roots of Attitude can only take you so far.

The fact is, this company really does not know what direction it wants to go in. There are many factors that aid in this “revelation.”

Cena and Ryback are such a hard sell because of the raw emotions (no pun intended) that we see in Ryback, a wrestler in a bodybuilder’s physique, and John Cena, who is working harder to sell this match than he should have to. While a more intense and almost “real” Cena is better than the one we saw in the feud with The Rock, trying to carry a big man like Ryback is killing the product. Seeing a more intense Cena is good for his likability level.

The WWE should have had Mark Henry in this spot. He should have been able to continue the feud with Cena right after WrestleMania 29 and put Ryback in a few possible scenarios that could have built him up as a more legit wrestler before he took on “Super Cena” for the title. 

Last Man Standing was ideal in the case of Mark Henry, not Ryback.

Ryback and Sheamus would have worked. Ryback and Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental title would have worked.

Ryback and Antonio Cesaro was entertaining. Had the WWE ever placed the United States title on the line, it could have truly legitimized Ryback as a up-and-coming champion.

One can see the error in judgement of the WWE, can’t they?

While Ryback is getting better at promos and speaking in the ring and becoming the “lone wolf” who needs guidance in the ring, he is not winning us over as a "super" heel. We will leave that to Brock Lesnar.

This looks more like a situation of Ric Flair having to wrestle someone like Florida midcarder Charlie Cook in the early 1980s, when Flair made Cook look like a million bucks. The last time I checked, however, Cena wasn’t in Flair’s ballpark, and at least Cook was a decent technical wrestler.

Back in the early 1980s, Flair did not have JJ Dillon by his side, and now, both Ryback and Cena seem to have The Shield in their business, which must come to a head at some point.

It is still a hard pill to swallow. By default, Cena must be the leader of this “band,” whereas in other recent angles, CM Punk and The Rock could equally give and take with the champ.

Ryback does not have that ability yet. It is an art form learned through experience, and for a wrestler who continues to lose pay-per-view events, you almost figure Ryback wins this match by default. Injuries to Cena have also almost guaranteed a “heel” win, haven’t they?

Ryback will take the title in less than two weeks. We as fans won’t care. The WWE will have a hard time selling it as a rematch at WWE Payback in Chicago, where no doubt we will see CM Punk return from his hiatus to compete or interfere in some capacity in his home town.

The WWE is truly in a tough situation. Cena needs to remain the champ but might not get to be the champ, the WWE Universe will continue to oppose Ryback as a true champion and the world will wait for CM Punk in another month.

It’s a continual problem this company has. The only problem is the WWE continually avoids it without trying to fix it.