After a fierce three stages of hell match at Sunday’s Payback pay-per-view, it was defending WWE champion John Cena that successfully defended his title against Ryback in the brutal main event.
Ryback won the first clean pinfall in the lumberjack match, Cena snagged the victory in the tables match and it was Cena that finally secured the overall win in this 2-out-of-3 falls match by putting his opponent through the roof of the ambulance.
While many fans complained initially about this match and the lackluster stipulations, the brutal nature of the bout and the added nuances from each performer made this a very unique and special matchup.
Cena’s victory likely marks the end of the feud between the champion and Ryback, though, and where the former No. 1 contender goes from here will be interesting.
There is always the chance that the WWE keeps this storyline alive and pushes it through the next month’s PPV—Money in the Bank is July 14—but there are already rumors that the main event of that show will be Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (h/t Wrestling Inc.)
Ryback and Cena deserve immense credit for putting together a solid feud where most believed there wasn’t one, and not only was the match at Extreme Rules exciting, Sunday’s three stages of hell battle gave these men a great moment in history.
If this battle is indeed over, this should be the WWE’s chance to get Ryback in a feud with a main event face and book him like a dominant monster.
Ryback should set his sights on a star like Christian, and while it’s a clear step down, the company could slowly build him back up properly over time.
As for Cena, the idea of fighting Bryan is something interesting to most fans in the WWE Universe, but how it would work is uncertain. Bryan is a face getting over with the crowd, and turning him heel now would hurt his long-term success.
Cena can still play the face role that he always has, but just like CM Punk after his pipe-bomb promo, Bryan would have to play the tweener role that could do heelish things while still getting the crowd response.
No matter what happens next, Ryback and Cena proved to be great in and out of the ring together, and another feud between these men down the line would be interesting.
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