WWE Extreme Rules 2013: Ryback, John Cena and the Story Told in the Ring

David LevinSenior Writer IIMay 14, 2013


When CM Punk created an uproar with his “pipe bomb” shoot interview, he did something other wrestlers in the business (or at least some of them) were doing when it came to the business—he was telling a story and putting other wrestlers over with fans.

Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, R-Truth and yes, John Cena all benefited from working with Punk. In his absence from the WWE in the last month, we have truly seen the value in his work, both in the ring and with his voice.

Right now, the WWE could use another CM Punk or someone in his likeness.

When Cena and Ryback get in the ring Sunday night at Extreme Rules, the Last Man Standing match must have more meaning than a robotic, muscle-bound behemoth beating the WWE champion for his shortcomings of late in the ring.

The WWE has worked to build this match as a revenge scenario, making Ryback look like the man who is ready to take over the WWE and Cena the one carrying the plotlines—and looking tougher than usual in doing so.

That is a win-win for the WWE. My concerns, however, lie with what happens after the match, not so much the winner (who should be Ryback) and loser (who could also be Ryback because Cena has been hurt, and another title win would build on Cena’s resume).

Professional wrestling used to be about telling a story. The heel was the storyteller and the face was the one who was thought of as the invincible hero who took on all challenges. Ric Flair was the greatest at doing this over the years, creating a persona that he was loved even when he was hated, and he made every wrestler he got in the ring with look like a million bucks.

Ryback needs to be more rounded—he must tell the story in the ring. He must lead (but he won’t) and Cena needs to follow (but he won’t).

Although he has lost the last six pay-per-view matches, I personally think Ryback losing is better because he is still raw and should be chasing the mid-card titles instead of the brass ring. Losing makes him hungrier. He doesn’t have to win, just look good in losing, which Cena can help him with. He isn’t Punk, but he knows how to tell a story.

And it’s the only story the WWE is worried about until the real storyteller comes back to the ring.