CHICAGO — The name Three Stage of Hell began to feel like an understatement by the time WWE Champion John Cena sent Ryback crashing through the roof of an ambulance at the end of their grueling trilogy at WWE Payback. A trip to the underworld would have felt like a weekend at the beach compared to what the Cenation leader and the “Human Wrecking Ball” put their bodies through in Chicago’s Allstate Arena.
n 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.