Extreme Rules certainly looked good on paper and it ultimately delivered, as there wasn't a bad match on the entire card. In addition to the match quality, there were plenty of big moments that could very well be remembered by wrestling fans for years to come.
WrestleMania is often viewed as an event that creates long-lasting memories, but it can be argued that Extreme Rules equaled or bettered WrestleMania XXIX in that regard. Fans are still talking about a number of different things related to Extreme Rules, and that is the hallmark of a great pay-per-view.
Keep reading for in-depth analysis on the most important and memorable moments to occur at Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Ryback and John Cena Blast Through Set
It was quite apparent heading into Extreme Rules that the writers would have to figure out a creative way to book the WWE Championship Last Man Standing match between John Cena and Ryback. While Ryback desperately needed a pay-per-view victory, putting the title on him wouldn't have been the smartest move. With that in mind, the WWE was able to protect Ryback and keep the belt around Cena's waist by having the match end in a draw.
Calling the match a draw doesn't really do it justice, though. Both Ryback and Cena emptied the tank and threw everything they had at each other. The bout didn't reach its conclusion until Ryback lifted Cena up for a Spinebuster atop the stage and drove him through the LED set. Ryback and Cena disappeared into the backstage area as sparks flew and the fans were left in shock.
Both men were incapacitated, so the match was ruled a draw. Ryback was able to get to his feet with help from medical personnel, but Cena was immobilized and put in a neck brace. Not only was it a great spot, but definitely helped legitimize Ryback without giving him the victory. He came out of the match in better shape than Cena and was the one who executed the move that ultimately ended the match.
It's difficult to say where Ryback will go from here as he'll have to beat Cena eventually in order to truly break through, but driving Cena through the set could very well be the signature moment of his career when it's all said and done.
The Shield Hoards Championship Gold
The writing was on the wall ahead of Extreme Rules as The Shield was in line to pick up three titles. That is precisely what happened as Dean Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship, while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns beat Team Hell No to capture the Tag Team Championships. Following Rollins and Reigns' victory, Ambrose joined them in the ring and they proceeded to pose with their new titles held high.
Seeing three young, talented performers like Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns win titles at Extreme Rules would have been great no matter what, but the manner in which they were handled was fantastic. Thus far The Shield has been portrayed as an elite group in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Ambrose won his title without help from Rollins and Reigns, however, while Rollins and Reigns didn't need Ambrose to interfere either. That proves that all three members are more than capable of handling themselves if need be.
It was been apparent since their debut at Survivor Series that Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are the future of the WWE. The fact that they have been given victories over some of the biggest stars in the business has buoyed that assessment, but giving them championships takes them to a different level. While the titles may not be as prestigious as they once were, The Shield has the ability to make them matter.
All three members of The Shield have world championship potential, so when one of them inevitably captures the world title down the line, fans will look back to Extreme Rules as the event where it all started.
Randy Orton Punts Big Show
There wasn't a lot of excitement surrounding the Randy Orton vs. Big Show Extreme Rules match, but that changed by the time it came to an end. Orton simply couldn't put Big Show away as he kicked out of two RKOs, so he had to resort to an old trick. With Big Show down on all fours, The Viper backed into a corner, ran at the giant and punted him right in the skull. Orton picked up the victory and gave his fans hope for the future.
Orton hasn't punted an opponent in quite some time, so it's possible that his actions could be the start of a heel turn or a character shift at the very least. To be perfectly honest, Orton hasn't really had much of a character in a while. He gets very little time on the mic, he hasn't been in the world title picture and he essentially just jumps from one pointless midcard feud to another. If the punt is any indication, big changes could be on the horizon.
Orton was at his best as the leader of Legacy. His psychotic persona was entertaining and the fans ate it up. Even after he turned face initially, he was able to remain interesting because he was more of a tweener than anything. Orton is a bland, boring face these days, though, and he needs to make a change of some kind. Maybe the punt was nothing more than a tease, but it could be the start of The Viper's transformation back into a main event player.
Hopefully the WWE realizes how badly the bulk of its fans want to see Orton turn heel or become edgier because he could gain a ton of momentum by doing so.
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