Last Man Standing Match
for the WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Ryback
Will Ryback be able to kick the ass of a one legged man in a contest where the whole aim is to be the last man standing and finally fulfill his several month long quest to procure the WWE title? Or will Superman Cena reign supreme once again?
The Road to Extreme Rules
Maybe John Cena is now regretting his benevolent decision to willingly back out of the running for a WWE title shot against CM Punk at Hell In A Cell on the Oct. 15th, 2012 episode of Raw and instead allow Ryback to take his place?
Despite tremendous momentum and a lengthy undefeated streak, Ryback's luck started turning sour in the cell when he had a certain victory over Punk snatched away from him by a low blow and fast count from paid off referee Brad Maddox.
With both John Cena and Ryback still chasing after CM Punk's WWE Championship, all three men locked horns in a Triple Threat match at Survivor Series on Nov. 18th, 2012. Ryback got screwed again, as after he had hit the Shell Shock on both men, NXT wrestlers Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns made their shocking debut as The Shield by triple powerbombing Big Hungry through the announcers table, allowing Punk to unfairly escape with his title once again.
The Shield would continue being a thorn in Ryback's foot. On the Nov. 19th, 2012 Raw, he was powerbombed through a table by them again when he tried to ruin Punk's celebration for passing the one year mark as WWE Champion.
Though Ryback got a little morsel of revenge at the WWE TLC pay-per-view (PPV) on Dec. 16th, 2012 in his Tables, Ladders and Chairs match with Team Hell No against The Shield by throwing Seth Rollins off the top of a large ladder through a table, this allowed Ambrose and Reigns to double team and pin Daniel Bryan in the ring, meaning that Ryback still lost for the third major show in a row.
Still not being able to catch a break, Ryback came unstuck by The Shield again when he faced CM Punk for the WWE Championship in a TLC match on the Jan. 7th, 2013. This time it was a triple powerbomb through a table on top of the ring steps that laid out Ryback and allowed Punk to climb the ladder and reclaim his gold strap.
John Cena and Ryback banged heads again as the final two competitors of the 2013 Royal Rumble match. It wasn't to be Ryback's night either as although he eliminated the most men, Cena tossed him out to win a WWE title shot at WrestleMania 29 in a predictable result to set up his rematch with The Rock.
Letting bygones be bygones, at least for now, Cena and Ryback, together with willing ally Sheamus, set their sights on their common enemy The Shield, instead of squabbling over what happened at the Rumble. However, when the two trios faced off at Elimination Chamber on Feb. 17th, it was Ryback that was staring at the lights again when illegal man Roman Reigns speared him allowing Seth Rollins to pick up the victory after being Shell Shocked. Teasing his growing frustration, Ryback walked out on his partners after he had shaken off the cobwebs.
That was put on the back burner the next night on Raw, as Chris Jericho managed to patch things up between Ryback and Sheamus, and shortly thereafter, the musclebound behemoth got distracted by the returning Mark Henry.
The contrasting fortunes of Ryback and John Cena continued at WrestleMania 29. Cena was on top of the world, having overcome his mental demons to finally avenge last year's loss to The Rock and hold the WWE Championship for the first time in almost 18 months. Meanwhile, it was another mixed bag for Ryback. Ryback lost by pinfall to "The World's Strongest Man" when Henry grabbed the ropes and collapsed on top of him as he went for his Shell Shock finisher. He did land that move to end a post match brawl between the two, but that brought little joy having now strung together a run of six pay-per-view defeats.
Ryback's latent rage finally erupted to the surface on the following night's Monday Night Raw. After John Cena had defeated Mark Henry via count out, Ryback came out to brawl with Henry and sent him packing with a spinebuster. With the crowd egging Ryback on to attack Cena, he initially disappointed them by shaking his hand, but finally turned on The Champ by nailing him with a clothesline and posing with his belt.
On the Apr. 15th Raw, Ryback revealed why he had double crossed The Cenanation Leader. He was fed up of John never having his back when The Shield ambushed him, whilst he had always done so. He realised now that being Cena's friend would mean forever living in his shadow.
In the main event segment of the show, Cena called Ryback out and trashed him to his face. Ryback didn't take his bait, instead taking it all in, backing off when Cena stared him down and just stood by and watched while The Shield beat down Cena to a pulp.
On the following week's Raw, it was time for WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley to try to talk some sense into him. However, Ryback was already beyond help, calling the hardcore legend "a fat, pathetic, lazy bastard" and looked set to attack him when John Cena and The Shield came out. The mercenary stable surprisingly chose to target Ryback, but Cena made the save for his nemesis with a chair before nailing him with the Attitude Adjustment.
Real life then caused the storyline to be tweaked, as John Cena suffered a bruised Achilles heel during a tables match with Ryback on WWE's April European tour. Thankfully the injury wasn't serious enough to scrap their Extreme Rules match, but it was acknowledged on television to make the WWE Champion seem more vulnerable to defeat at the hands of The Ryback.
This led to the scheduled match between John Cena & Ryback vs. The Shield on the Apr. 29th Raw being cancelled as Ryback got cold feet about teaming with a wounded partner. Instead Cena tagged with Team Hell No to face their mutual enemies, which didn't end well for the babyfaces as Cena's leg gave out and he was pinned after a spear by Roman Reigns. This was the perfect time for Ryback to make his return and cackle on the ramp way at his foe's demise.
On May 6th, Vickie Guerrero got the two to discuss the stipulation for their Extreme Rules bout. After some bad stand up by the always jocular John, Ryback asked for a last man standing match, which Cena inevitably agreed to. At the close of the show, Ryback teased helping John Cena, Daniel Bryan & Kane in another brawl with The Shield, but instead he laid out Cena with a series of chair shots.
Superman Cena was back for awhile on the go home show main event of Raw this past Monday night, which was an elimination match between John Cena & Team Hell No and The Shield, as Cena overcame the odds to win after being left alone against all three heels, eliminating Seth Rollins by pinfall with the Attitude Adjustment, Roman Reigns by disqualification when he was hit with a spear by the illegal man when he went for the AA on Dean Ambrose and the Shield's leader by DQ too when Rollins & Reigns interfered whilst he had Ambrose locked in the STFU. After The Shield had triple power bombed Cena, Ryback opportunistically aggravated Cena's right ankle injury by hitting that body part with a steel chair.
What's at stake?
Thus, the odds seem to be against John Cena retaining his WWE title on Sunday night, but you can never count him out, can you Cagesiders?
Can Big Hungry take another PPV loss, even to the WWE champ? Can a character that we've been told is a machine but who we've only see lose on the big stage continue to be taken seriously?
How injured is Cena? If he can continue to go for 70-80% of his usual duties, would WWE dream of taking the belt off him after his latest coronation at WrestleMania 29?
Find out tomorrow night at CagesideSeats.com with our live Extreme Rules coverage.