If their Extreme Rules match is not derailed by injury, Ryback and John Cena's battle for the WWE title should be a Last Man Standing match.
In fact, Cena's Achilles injury, whether it is worked, real or somewhere in between, plays perfectly into the stipulation. It's a slow, violent match that suits both Ryback and Cena.
It may be a bit early in their feud to go to a match this intense, but the Extreme Rules pay-per-view calls for gimmick matches and this one is WWE's best option for this power vs. power battle.
Cena has already shown off the kind of compelling and brutal action he can deliver in a Last Man Standing match.
One of the best matches of his career was against Umaga at Royal Rumble 2007. It's hard to shake the image of him choking the monster with the ring ropes. Cena also had excellent Last Man Standing matches with Edge, who he fought at Backlash 2009, and Batista, who he defeated at Extreme Rules 2010.
Some may have thought that the ending of the Batista match, where Cena duct-taped his foe's legs to the ropes, was too contrived, but it's hard to deny the intensity of their fight leading up to that.
Though he's a newcomer to the stipulation, this match choice should help Ryback as well.
His style has been all about aggression and explosive power. The Last Man Standing match allows him to use those skills with the added bonus of having steel steps, steel chairs and announce tables at his disposal. The slower pace of the match also provides both men opportunities to catch their breath, to grind their story along.
The match allows Ryback to prowl slowly around his prey, to follow bursts of violence with mini rest periods.
Cena's injury has some questioning whether the match will even take place, but the fact that he performed on Monday's WWE Raw, even if it was in limited action, is a sign that Cena will be healthy enough to compete come May 19.
It's an injury that adds to the suspense of the match.
If it's more difficult for Cena to stand, a Last Man Standing stipulation forces him to dig deep into his store of resiliency.
If it's a mostly storyline injury, Ryback can attack the foot, trying to ground the champ. If it's legit, the gimmick allows Cena periods of rest. All the counting and lying down that comes with a Last Man Standing match is a way to stretch this match out.
The WWE title match at Extreme Rules should be filled with broken furniture and devastating power moves. It should be a slow-churning violent display that highlights both men's strengths.
Cena may add to his impressive resume in these kinds of matches. Ryback may have his breakthrough moment.
To maximize this clash, fans must see Cena struggling to his feet as the referee's count nears 10 while Ryback waits to attack, trembling with the excitement of potential destruction.
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