|IMAGE CREDIT: WWE.com|
This is a make or break pay-per-view for Ryback, in my opinion. WWE have to put the WWE Championship on him. And it would seem, evidenced by the fact that WWE have played up John Cena's ankle injury to the last minute, that the company are setting things up that way. Cena can never just lose. There has to be an asterisk attached somewhere. Not that that matters much, as long as Ryback leaves with the WWE Championship. His character needs that to justify the heel turn, and the amount of attention he's had.
Moreover, he needs it to revive his character. He's not exactly the hot topic he was back in October, when it would've been more timely to put the Title on him. Extenuating circumstances prevented it then. But they have to do it now. However, even if they do, it needs to be asked whether it's too little, too late. Has the time come and gone for Ryback winning the Title to be most effective? And if so, how does that affect him going forward?
The Shield look set to make a clean sweep of the Titles. At least, they should. It's the next logical progression for the group who has beaten everybody to now have a bit of gold around their waists. But we must remember that we are talking about the United States and Tag Team Titles, and it's still the case that neither means much.
Team Hell No have been fantastic together, but they've eclipsed the fact that they wear the big pennies. Your first thought isn't “champions”, it's “entertaining and at times completely adoreable pairing which should never have worked but did and it's amazing”. And even though Team Hell No were the best choice to start building a division around, there's still no division to speak of, which is how and why they eclipsed the titles. What good is being champion of a division filled with wishy washy contenders?
As for the United States Title, it's a joke. A token belt for mid carders, and something for Kofi Kingston to carry around every few months.
Regardless, The Shield should take both Titles. It's only logical, and it can only help those Titles to be associated with three of the most prominent and well protected characters in the entire company.
Brock Lesnar and Triple H have their rubber match inside a Steel Cage. I'm hoping that, like with Cena, the Cage is there to soften the WWE percieved blow of a Triple H loss. The stupid thing about WWE is that they're eager to protect those who don't need it, but fail to protect those who do. In an odd way, Lesnar needs protection. He should be protected from looking too weak and from losing until WWE finds the right guy to beat him.
Obviously, it's too late for Lesnar to be unbeaten. He's already lost to Cena and Triple H. But WWE can still do some kind of damage control by having Lesnar beat Triple H. At least it's some momentum for him, even if his entire WWE run (minus SummerSlam) has been mishandled.
This doesn't even factor in that it's possible these things won't happen. After all, WWE love to have John Cena overcome the odds, and to beat Ryback in a Last Man Standing match with a bad ankle might be too much for WWE to resist. And while The Shield have been protected almost perfectly as a group, WWE are hinting at the fact that they're not so clever divided. As for Lesnar vs Triple H, do I even need to explain to you why it's possible Triple H will win?
What WWE does at and after Extreme Rules decides whether we hit a lull or not. If Cena “overcomes the odds” again, Shield lose because they don't have “the numbers game”, and Triple H wins because he's Triple H, we'll hit that lull. The show will have no steam and nowhere to go. But if Ryback becomes WWE Champion, Shield sweep up the mid-card Titles and Brock Lesnar decimates Triple H inside a Steel Cage, then we're talking about something else entirely.