WWE.com has confirmed that the bald-headed shredder arguably -- WWE’s most dominate competitor of the last year will receive first crack at the new WWE Champion at the May 19 pay-per-view. As exciting as this first-time singles contest would be under ordinary conditions, the title bout is made all the more intriguing by its personal overtones and Ryback’s claim that he is looking to break out of The Champ’s sizable shadow.
It was only last October that Cena labeled his Extreme Rules opponent as the “change” that the WWE Universe craved. At the time, the Shell-Shocking Superstar was on the verge of unseating then WWE Champion CM Punk, but bizarre circumstances ranging from a crooked ref to outside interference from the likes of The Shield repeatedly prevented him from doing so. Since his last title opportunity in January, Ryback has slowly drifted out of WWE Championship contention, while Cena’s career has taken the opposite path.
Following his shocking ambush of Cena on the April 8 Raw, the new No. 1 contender has stopped just short of outright blaming The Champ for his own stalled momentum, although he has questioned the Cenation leader’s loyalty. Noting that he came to Cena’s rescue during several sneak attacks by The Shield, Ryback says Cena failed to return to the favor when it mattered most first during during Ryback's title match against Punk and then again during the final moments of a losing effort against the black-garbed trio at Elimination Chamber.
Ryback has since portrayed Cena as a self-preservationist who has little regard for those around him. Even though members of the Cenation would likely take exception to that portrayal, given it was Cena who advocated for Ryback’s first title match at WWE Hell in a Cell, one must wonder whether The Champ will suffer the consequences of his perceived missteps when the bell rings on May 19.
With their friendship perhaps irreparably frayed, Cena and Ryback are headed for a collision course at Extreme Rules, and questions about the big fight abound. Will the omnipresent Shield get involved, or was their April 15 assault on Cena part of an agenda that’s wholly unrelated to the WWE Title scene? Will Ryback maintain focus on winning the match and the championship gold, or will he enter St. Louis’ Scottrade Center with a primary objective of punishing Cena? Most importantly, is The Champ’s 11th WWE Title reign destined to end prematurely, or will the Cenation leader stop Ryback in his tracks?
The WWE Universe can witness Cena and Ryback’s WWE Championship clash when Extreme Rules airs on pay-per-view Sunday, May 19, at 8 ET/5 PT.
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