WWE Extreme Rules 2013 outperformed its otherwise low-profile lineup with a card that delivered from all angles.
Bolstered by a hot St. Louis crowd—probably lobbying to finally get a WrestleMania—WWE shrewdly navigated around growing booking concerns to lay the groundwork for coherent storytelling.
Here are five standout moments from the event.
Given his chronic complaining about his leg, Brock Lesnar's "beast" status would have been structurally damaged had he lost this match.
But Lesnar looked every bit of the beast he is booked as when he brilliantly sold the injury, overcame it and scored the victory over Triple H—albeit in shady fashion.
The WWE will likely use Lesnar's leg injury as a reason to keep him off of TV until his next appearance, which is probably at SummerSlam.
A draw isn't a very popular finish in any light, but it was the right decision in a lose-lose scenario for the WWE.
If Cena won, the thin heel pool would have created the matchup problems for his next opponent, and Ryback may have been permanently damaged.
If Ryback had won, Cena woud have dropped the WWE title just weeks after a meaningful win over The Rock.
The Cena-Ryback draw kept Ryback strong, because he was technically the last man standing, without the WWE title switching hands.
Randy Orton looked like the old Orton for more reasons than one. He was the most over superstar in the building, won a pay-per-view match and used his old punt.
Who knows if this will finally be the beginning of a road back to the top? But with glaring roster issues, the WWE could use Orton at his best regardless of whether he is a babyface or heel.
The finish was a bit surprising, but the hot opening match contributed largely to a well-paced pay-per-view with a strong emphasis on wrestling.
Jericho's much-needed pay-per-view victory will make a Fandango rubber match win mean that much more. It will also give Fandango more time to feud with Jericho, thus continuing to appear major league.
One of the big draws of Extreme Rules was the historic wrestling crowd of St. Louis. The greatest wrestling city never to host WrestleMania was one of the main highlights of Extreme Rules.
If this was a positively received pay-per-view by the masses, the city of St. Louis was what breathed life into the largely unanticipated event.