Ryback was unsuccessful in his bid for the WWE Championship against John Cena at Extreme Rules on Sunday night May 19. The end came after Ryback hoisted Cena up and both men plowed through the set at the top of the ramp. Though the WWE title did not change hands, the fact is that Ryback looked the part; which is exactly what needed to happen.
Before Extreme Rules kicked off, I published a piece suggesting that Ryback had to look strong in his match with Cena. The fact is that Ryback has had too much spotlight since turning heel and WWE has done too much for him. He needed to look like a viable threat to the WWE Championship or his renewed spotlight since turning against Cena would have been dead in the water.
I also suggested that Cena may not give Ryback quite as much in the ring as CM Punk had in their previous matches. After all, John has worn the moniker of “Super Cena” for the bulk of his career the past several years. For many of Cena’s critics, this has completely ruined any potential realism that might have existed in John’s matches.
Basically, you could hit John Cena with a bus and he would still kick out at two.
But Punk has never carried himself in that fashion. He has never appeared to be superhuman or ultra resilient in the ring. So when he worked Ryback, he consistently sold for the bigger man every time they were in the ring. He made Ryback look better than he was, which is the No. 1 most desired quality of a good professional wrestler.
So now that the match with Ryback and John Cena is over, what’s the final word?
For me, Ryback looked very competent in the ring on Sunday night. His timing and pacing, everything was very well done. He took his time during the match and did not get in too big of a rush with Cena. He looked as though he fit right in with the WWE champion. He was not the “replacement” Superstar that some fans believed him to be in Punk’s absence. At Extreme Rules, Ryback looked like the No. 1 contender for the WWE title.
He did his part.
And as for John Cena, the fact is that Cena did everything he could to put Ryback over. He allowed Ryback all the room he needed to show what he could do and Ryback did not disappoint.
Ryback actually looked like the cold blooded monster that WWE had been trying to convince us that he was. And that is just what needed to happen.
Of course, he did not go over at the end of the match but honestly, did we really expect him to?
Despite how much he was able to carry his part of the match at Extreme Rules, the truth is that Ryback has a dreadful record when he works pay-per-views. Because of this, there was a world of doubt surrounding his chances long before Extreme Rules ever rolled around.
And we cannot forget that John Cena is still John Cena, which means he is still the No. 1 Superstar in Vince McMahon’s company. He is the standard bearer for WWE and has only had the championship since defeating The Rock at WrestleMania 29 back on April 7.
The chances of fans seeing a new WWE champion crowned at Extreme Rules was slim to none.
But the fact that Ryback came out of the match still looking strong in nearly every way means that he is still a danger to John Cena and the WWE title. And he looks stronger now than he did going in, which is all anyone can really ask for.
No one knows for certain what will happen now but I believe that this feud is far from over. Ryback has the look, the spotlight on his character and now a comfort zone inside the ring with the WWE champion. He and Cena are likely not done and it will interesting to see just how strong of a contender WWE will allow Ryback to be until the moment comes that the last match will be wrestled in the ring.
Perhaps Ryback has what it takes to perform on the main event level after all. Only time will tell.
As seen on WWE's website, John Cena supposedly refused medical treatment by not allowing the ambulance to take him to the hospital. This likely would have had a huge impact had on how good Ryback had actually looked, had it happened on live on pay-per-view. Either way, this perhaps does hurt the challenger in the long run as now Cena has taken every ounce of punishment Ryback could administer, yet still walk away on his own two feet.