Extreme Rules 2013 was always going to have a tough time trying to stand out from the crowd.
Living in the shadow of the biggest pay-per-view of the year can often be something of a burden, while the quality of last year’s Extreme Rules show only added to expectation surrounding this year’s event.
And ultimately, in my mind, Extreme Rules didn’t quite live up to its hardcore moniker; the fact that some of the matches weren’t even contested under some form of extreme gimmick was testament to this.
Though Mark Henry and Sheamus’ strap match and the finish to the WWE title match were intriguing, there was little else on show that could be considered truly out of the ordinary.
Nonetheless, we witnessed some excellent storyline developments and now have a number of potential scenarios to look forward to in the coming weeks.
With this in mind, this article rounds up the five biggest talking points to come from Extreme Rules.
This was arguably the most notable revelation of the night, and I daresay it brought back memories of Evolution’s dominance at the Armageddon 2003 PPV.
After Dean Ambrose pinned Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns went on to defeat Team Hell No to see each member of the Shield finish with a belt apiece by the end of the evening.
Sure, they’re not necessarily the most prestigious belts in the company, but it’s another great piece of booking by Creative—and one that further builds on the trios' ever-increasing momentum.
So where will the faction go from here?
While it may be difficult to answer that question precisely, it seems all too likely that the only way is up for Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns.
Perhaps I’m clutching at straws here, but it does seem possible that Team Hell No could be set to implode in the aftermath of Extreme Rules.
Kane inadvertently collided with Bryan during the duo’s tag match with Rollins and Reigns. It was an innocent enough incident, but one that has often been the catalyst for further conflict in the world of professional wrestling.
It may be logical for the pair to continue feuding with the Shield after their enduring history, but both men could have a lot to offer the WWE in singles competition.
This tag team run has made Daniel Bryan a star, and both members could be set for some singles action with Kane’s retirement not looking too far away.
The big question here though is whether the loss of another tag team would signal the end of the already threadbare doubles division?
Once again this may be somewhat farfetched, but there were suggestions of another potential character development at Extreme Rules–this time during Randy Orton’s clash with the Big Show.
Orton struck the giant with the RKO before searching his repertoire for his once-feared punt, unleashing it on Show to score the victory.
Was this merely the WWE trying to be slightly more creative with the finish?
Or could the return of the punt lead to a darker character for Orton, possibly even culminating in a full-fledged heel-turn?
A few months ago I would have been calling for the Orton heel-turn, but in recent weeks I feel he’s looked a little more at ease as a face.
Either way, this one will be interesting storyline to keep an eye on.
Though the WWE Title match has received plenty of criticism for its finish, I personally don’t think it was such a bad call from the WWE.
To have Ryback lose clean in his first challenge as heel would have been catastrophic for the man formerly known as Skip Sheffield. Similarly, it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense to have Cena lose so early into his reign.
But what about the further ramifications of this decision?
For one, it would suggest that the two look set to continue to feud—thus potentially ruling out a return to the title scene for CM Punk anytime soon.
Also, the angle could be used to keep Cena on the sidelines for a few weeks so that he can recover from his alleged Achilles injury—the truthful extent of which is still not entirely clear.
On another note, it was interesting to see Cena not in the main event—especially as he is also the defending WWE Champion.
Perhaps this will quell accusations from critics of favourable treatment by the WWE brass.
Instead, it was Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in the main event—a wholly logical choice given that this was the biggest-drawing clash of the night.
And furthermore, the outcome was booked to perfection.
Lesnar pinned Triple H in the center of the ring, and did so after suffering a (kayfabe) knee injury earlier in the match.
This makes Lesnar look as strong as ever. He will come out of this match looking like the dominant monster-heel that he should have been booked as upon his return to the company just over a year ago.
It may have taken longer to achieve than one would have hoped, but Lesnar now looks as strong as ever.
The only question now is how will he be used in future.
Does the dominance continue? Or will his success be used as a way of putting another more permanent star over?
Unfortunately, I can’t imagine we’ll find out the answer too soon. Expect to see the former UFC champ return to the sidelines, saving his limited appearances for a blockbuster SummerSlam appearance perhaps.
Though it wasn’t the most spectacular of PPVs, Extreme Rules saw some much-needed plot developments that ultimately could see the show considered an overall success.
The Shield now have confirmation of their dominance in the form of championships, Lesnar finally put his feud with Triple H to bed and the WWE title picture remains well and truly wide open.
How will the WWE react in light of these widespread developments?
I for one am keen to find out, but until then please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on the article and any of the recent developments from the Extreme Rules PPV.