WWE Pay Back Pay-Per-View Results 2013
John Cena vs. Ryback (three stages of hell)
In what was only the fourth Three Stages of Hell Match in WWE history, Cena fell to Ryback in the Lumberjack Match that opened their merciless series, but rallied to defeat the monster in a Tables Match and an Ambulance Match to retain his WWE Title. To finally stop his seemingly indestructible foe, Cena delivered an Attitude Adjustment to Ryback atop the ambulance, brutally driving the challenger’s 290-pound frame through the unforgiving steel roof.
It was a shocking visual that perfectly summed up what was one of the most physical rivalries of the WWE Champion’s career. Cena may have grown accustomed to adversaries who were willing to be more depraved than him, but he clearly struggled in the unfamiliar position of a man who was overpowered.
Maybe that’s why the determined Superstar appeared uncharacteristically cautious as he approached Ryback in the early goings of the Lumberjack Match. It’s possible that the 11-time WWE Champion was looking to preserve energy in what would be the sports-entertainment equivalent of a triathlon, but it’s more likely that the big man had Cena’s number from the jump.
With 30 Superstars surrounding the ring — including newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and brutes like Kane and Sheamus — the rivals had no opportunity to roll to the outside for a second of reprieve. This became a serious issue for Cena as Ryback repeatedly hoisted The Champ in the air and tossed him back to the mat as if he were a dumbbell. When the challenger launched Cena to the outside, villains like Antonio Cesaro and Cody Rhodes swarmed on the Superstar like lions on a wounded antelope.
Ryback wasn’t immune to the wrath of the Lumberjacks, but when all 30 Superstars ganged up on the "Human Wrecking Ball," Cena climbed to the top rope and threw his 250-pound frame onto the scrum. The high-risk dive may have been a tactical error on The Champ’s part as Ryback was able to Shell Shock Cena soon after to pin the WWE Champion and claim the first fall.
Now at a disadvantage, the Cenation leader knew he had to win the ensuing Tables Match, but the effects of Ryback’s finishing maneuver left the Superstar reeling. Cena had lost the WWE Title to Sheamus in a Tables Match at WWE TLC in 2009, and he had no interest in repeating that disappointing evening in Chicago. Still, there was little he could do against his hungry opponent.
The Champ’s unbreakable spirit propelled him forward, but Ryback beat Cena like the man owed him money. In a city that’s synonymous with rough-and-tumble competitors like The Road Warriors and One Man Gang, the "Human Wrecking Ball" displayed a brutality that’s uncommon in the current climate of sports-entertainment as he clobbered Cena with meaty clotheslines and even the steel steps.
Just when it looked like Cena’s fate was sealed, the WWE Champion managed to reverse Shell Shocked and send Ryback through the pine with an Attitude Adjustment. The Three Stages of Hell Match was now even, but the Superstar from Sin City still held the upper hand — something he made abundantly clear when he viciously powerbombed Cena through the announce table.
The rules of the Ambulance Match dictated that a Superstar had to place his opponent in the vehicle and close the doors in order to win. These dangerous stakes led Ryback to drag Cena up the entryway of the Allstate Arena into a chaotic environment of sharp steel and unforgiving concrete. Sensing that both his WWE Title and physical wellbeing were now in serious jeopardy, Cena brought the fight to Ryback, blasting him with crutches and throwing him into the side of the ambulance with such force that the door flew off.
The ambulance itself became a weapon as the "Human Wrecking Ball" tore off a piece of paneling and teed off on the champion. The two Superstars then scrambled onto the vehicle's hood, where Cena whacked his destructive opponent with the ambulance’s flashing lights. No matter what The Champ hit Ryback with, the monster continued to come forward — until both men stood atop the ambulance.
As the capacity Chicago crowd hit their feet, the Cenation leader hoisted all 290-pounds of Ryback onto his shoulders and executed an Attitude Adjustment, plunging him right through the steel roof. Not only was it a physically remarkable feat, but it was strategically brilliant — by putting Ryback inside the ambulance, Cena had won the match and successfully defended his WWE Title.
The brutality of Three Stages of Hell had clearly taken its toll on The Champ, but as Cena rose to embrace the WWE Universe with his title in hand, it was apparent that even the devil himself would have second thoughts about testing this man’s resolve.
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