“I’m going to get in this ring and do my best,” cried Cena, pleading for the approval of yet another disgustingly ungrateful crowd. It didn’t work, though more effective in gaining their favour was his subsequent takedown of Ryback who – let’s be honest – is opening himself up to mockery the minute he steps through that curtain and begins breathing like an asthmatic bull. Amusing as it is to have the jittery neurosis of Ryback fully acknowledged, Cena’s character assassination of his opponent isn’t entirely helpful considering all the work put into building the Ryback character over the last few months.
“Everyone will know,” Ryback replied, “yourself included: Ryback Rules.” Doing that thing where he speaks and shivers as if he’s contracted pneumonia, he revealed the stipulation of the Extreme Rules showdown as a Last Man Standing match. If Cena humbles and humiliates him and then keeps him down for a ten-count, it’d be difficult to see the big man bounce back to his former stature. The belt needs to be placed on Ryback – before he becomes just another disposable “monster”.
The catchphrase “Ryback Rules” popped up elsewhere in this episode. Standing tall over Cena to close the show, Ryback shouted it toward the far camera, although the shape of his mouth made it look like he was saying “Ryback Woooo”, a la Ric Flair.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar mixed things up by reminding us that, yes, there are other places to dismantle aside from the unfortunate ringside wall. They rocked up to WWE HQ in Stamford, Connecticut and went balls out ballistic on an office that definitely, definitely belonged to Triple H. Even with such carnage on show, my favourite part of the segment was at the very beginning when Heyman pointed at the Extreme Rules poster in the lobby and asked, “Why is Sheamus on the poster?” Why indeed, Paul. Why indeed.
Brock Lesnar must be loving life right about now. Let’s forget the fact that, with Heyman at his side, he doesn’t even have to bother to say anything (unlike goofy Ryback). This is a man that gets a humongous paycheque for simply showing up every now and then to do either one of two things: a) kick the snot out of Heath Slater or b) obliterate an office/workplace environment. These are the two things all viewers sitting at home wish they could do themselves. It’s like Austin/McMahon all over again, surely? Still, as much as I enjoyed Brock’s rampage, it does seem strange that WWE would use up one of his few contractual appearances on a segment that doesn’t take place inside the arena.
Del Rio and Ziggler had a decent match, proving once again that given the chance these guys can outshine the vets. No, the PPV has not arrived yet. It’s not even this Sunday. Extreme Rules will, in total, have taken six weeks to build across 12 episodes of Raw and Smackdown. The feuds are settled into place and ready to go, yet still this event is occupying a faraway distance usually reserved for Wrestlemania.
Some feuds, such as Big Show and Randy Orton, have yet to be booked into a PPV match. In the least memorable moment from this week’s Raw, Big Show knocked out Orton on the ramp and, for some reason, expected us to be shocked about it. Pretty sure that’s what you’re paid to do, Show. At least an outraged Michael Cole took the bait.
Orton will face Antonio Cesaro on this week’s WWE Main Event. “I can’t wait for this one!” screamed JBL, in one of the biggest bare-faced lies since Clinton assured us, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Speaking of Cesaro, he’s having a mighty good week in what is possibly an attempt by Vince to get one over on dubious dirtsheet rumours. Cesaro crushed poor Zack Ryder at Raw, and on last week’s Smackdown he pinned Kofi Kingston to the ground and cut off a lock of his hair – presumably with the intention of making a voodoo doll. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Kofi Kingston is undeniably a transitional US Champion by this point. But in addition to Cesaro’s attack, Langston’s defeat last episode and, this week, Ambrose’s victory, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the next US Champion will be. My guess is Langston or Ambrose, ensuring that either the Ziggler faction or The Shield has a clean sweep of the titles.