John Cena retained his WWE Championship after his Last Man Standing match with Ryback at Extreme Rules was halted when both men went through the stage wall and were deemed unfit to continue by the referee.
The wild finish was the most memorable part of the brutal match, but both men put on a solid show throughout this bout and proved their worth as two of the top dogs in the company.
Due to Cena's Achilles injury, kayfabe or not, there was some thought that Ryback would be able to capitalize and win the Last Man Standing match.
That didn't happen, so Ryback has failed to win at each and every pay-per-view since Hell in a Cell.
The creative team put itself in an interesting conundrum heading into Extreme Rules. Ryback needed a pay-per-view win, but at the same time it wouldn't have made much sense to end Cena's run with the belt after he just beat The Rock for it at WrestleMania XXIX less than two months ago.
Cena was searching for redemption for an entire year, and he got it when he defeated The Rock. Having him lose the title so quickly would have undermined that victory to some degree, so keeping the strap on Cena for now was probably the right decision.
It will be interesting to see where Ryback goes at this point. A rematch against Cena is certainly possible and almost likely since there aren't exactly any other challengers lining up to take a shot at Cena's title.
Ryback is reaching the point where fans are having a hard time taking him seriously as a main-event contender, though.
Ryback is dominant in between pay-per-views, but he always manages to come up short on the big stage. It all started when the WWE gave him too much too soon and had him face CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. Ryback lost that match due to interference from Brad Maddox and was never the same.
The writers even booked Ryback to lose to Mark Henry at WrestleMania, which is a perplexing decision to this day. It can be said that the loss aided his heel turn, but he turned because Cena didn't save him from attacks by The Shield. It had absolutely nothing to do with losing to Henry, so Ryback should have won that match in order to gain some measure of legitimacy.
It seems like Extreme Rules was simply used as a vehicle to keep the status quo intact when it comes to the WWE Championship scene. The WWE is likely loading up for SummerSlam in August, so it will be interesting to see what happens at Payback and Money in the Bank over the next couple months.
Cena is still the champion for now out of necessity, as there isn't really anyone else worthy of wearing the title at the moment. That may change moving forward with Punk returning and others emerging, but the belt is where it belongs right now regardless of how the fans feel about it.
It's tough to say exactly how long Cena's championship reign will last, but he was able to preserve it in his first defense against Ryback. Next time it's possible that Cena won't be so lucky.
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