There were winners all around at WWE Extreme Rules 2013, the company's first pay-per-view card since WrestleMania 29 and the culmination of the events following that card earlier this year.
There were nine matches in St. Louis on Sunday night, and from top to bottom, Extreme Rules served as more than just a filler card for the company to help push the bigger events of the season—a role Extreme Rules has played in the past.
Sunday, it was an impressive card all in itself. At the very least it was worth the money to see how the events of Monday Night Raw and the carryover from WrestleMania would play out at the Scottrade Center.
The biggest surprise of the night was John Cena and Ryback's match not being in the spotlight. The WWE chose to give that designation to Triple H and Brock Lesnar in the main event, and it made for an excitement in the next-to-last match that might not have been there with a normal card.
All in all, the company has some major storylines to develop in the next few weeks. It has also given way to the idea of winners emerging from the action, and here's a look at three winners that emerged from the remains of the nine-fight card on Sunday night.
Extreme Rules Results
Note: (c) denotes champion heading into match
- Pre-show: The Miz defeats Cody Rhodes via submission (figure-four)
- Chris Jericho defeats Fandango via pinfall
- United States Championship: Dean Ambrose defeats Kofi Kingston (c) via pinfall
- Strap Match: Sheamus defeats Mark Henry
- No. 1 Contender "I Quit" Match: Alberto Del Rio defeats Jack Swagger via submission
- Tag Team Championship: Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins defeat Team Hell No (c)
- Extreme Rules Match: Randy Orton defeats Big Show via pinfall
- WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match: John Cena (c) and Ryback ends in no contest
- Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H via pinfall
Biggest Winners from Sunday Night's Action
From start to finish, Extreme Rules featured The Shield in a prominent role. In fact, if the WWE changed Sunday's entire card to the 2013 Shield Takeover, there were very few that would bat an eye to argue.
Dean Ambrose got things started with a United States Championship win over Kofi Kingston, in which he captured the belt and got things started on what turned out to be a memorable night for a group who has quietly started taking WWE fans by storm over the past few months.
Mick Foley, for one, feels Ambrose is just getting started on what could be a long run:
Ambrose then watched as teammates Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns managed to take down team Hell No for the tag team championship, capping a huge night for the trio and one that could be the start of a long run atop the WWE world.
Wrestling Capshuns had a look at the team's gold belts on Twitter:
In terms of entertainment value, talent and trust from the company, there isn't a threesome that can or should be able to take this group down anytime soon. The Shield are just getting started, and no matter your take on that assertion—it makes them winners on Sunday.
We've been waiting for an Orton heel turn for quite some time. It wasn't coming against Big Show, but it doesn't change the fact that Orton brought back the Punt Kick to finish off his opponent in what turned out to be the loudest match of the night in St. Louis.
Justin Roberts had this post on Twitter before the match began:
After it got underway, Orton and Show gave us a solid match, considering the build up for the fight was consistent and many have been dissatisfied with Show's place in the company's bigger fights for the last few years.
However, it was Orton who reigned supreme, and as noted by Bleacher Report's Sharon Glenross, it proves that Orton is a valuable member of the WWE who is going to have to step up over the next few weeks.
With CM Punk and The Rock both away into other ventures right now, Orton is arguably a star that needs to shine while the big names are gone, and he started that process with a solid match in an environment that suited him well.
It will be interesting to see where the story goes next, but for now, Orton is a huge winner and figures to reap the benefits of being a star that fans are going to see a lot more of over the next few weeks.
After WrestleMania, not everyone was satisfied with the events of the show.
Rock/Cena wasn't the biggest success and it wasn't the biggest failure, either, but it did serve to prove that some fans were tired of seeing the same old matches getting publicized to help recreate the "good old days" of the company.
Extreme Rules 2013 was anything but that.
The Cena-Ryback match was thrilling, and was the first time we've seen this storyline play out in front of a national, paying audience. HHH and Lesnar managed to also throw together a solid storyline that paves the way for a traditional third bout—something many will likely pay to see after a 1-1 draw so far.
Throw in Sheamus knocking off Mark Henry in a strap match and the other matches we've mentioned throughout the piece, and the WWE came out looking creative, motivated and excited to bring you—the fan—a spectacular show on Sunday night.
WrestlingZone.com was among those who celebrated the PPV:
The numbers likely won't come in for a couple of days, but the excitement in the crowd, the events in the ring and the aftermath should all bode well for the WWE. Setting things up for Payback in June, the WWE has to be happy with this card overall.
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