As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, the WWE Payback main event between Ryback and John Cena was changed from an Ambulance Match to a Three Stages of Hell Match to help protect the loser. However, there's a bit more to it.
We're told Vince McMahon was irate over Ryback's promo that opened the May 20th episode of WWE Monday Night Raw in which he proclaimed to take the entire audience to the morgue with John Cena. Apparently what Ryback delivered wasn't too far off from what was scripted and either something slipped through the cracks or seeing it on screen felt different than what Vince envisioned. Either way, Vince was "flipping out" about his top heel basically saying he was going to murder the fans.
After the Chris Benoit tragedy, WWE has become more sensitive about language or threats being too violent in nature. Vince didn't like the idea of an ambulance gimmick being positioned or associated with the idea of killing your opponent as opposed to the idea that you've injured them and they need medical attention.
So Vince began souring on the Ambulance Match at the top of the 5/20 show. The next day, Vince expressed that he didn't think the gimmick got over and they needed to switch the stipulation for the pay-per-view. We're told the writers warned him it would would be hard to push the ambulance so hard right out of the gate to not deliver on it at all. This is what led to the Three Stages of Hell Match with the ambulance still being part of it (the bout will be an Ambulance Match for the third and final fall, if "necessary").
In fact, the only reason the ambulance stipulation was even thought up was because it protected the loser from not being pinned. It was Triple H that suggested the Three Stages of Hell stipulation.
Below is an excerpt from Ryback's promo from Kendra Bunyon's 5/20 Raw results:
An ambulance is coming into the arena, lights and sirens blaring! Ryback climbs out the back with a new black leather vest that says Ryback Rules on the front in red. He has mic in hand, though they run to still from last night. Now he’s on top of the ambulance. He says last night the official decision for his match with Cena was No Decision. While Cena walked away with the WWE Title, he didn’t walk away, he was carried away. Cut to video of Cena on the stretcher, neck brace on his neck, but got up and refused to go.
Ryback says last night Cena refused to get in an ambulance, but next time he won’t. I’m not on this ambulance to look cool, because I don’t care what you think anymore. I’m here to propose an Ambulance Match at Payback. In an Ambulance Match it doesn’t matter if you can still stand, if your heart is still beating. All that matters is throw the other man in the back of the ambulance, and that man will be Cena. Cena will be taken to a medical facility, where all of you are eventually going. In actuality, most of you will skip the medical facility and head straight for the morgue. Look around at yourselves, pathetic, weak, weak, weak, weak people of society. I have nothing in common with any of you. (Boo) You have no idea what it feels like waking up wanting to be the damn best. You don’t start the day with goals or direction. (Boo) You’re all lost souls of society. Yet you worship Cena. (Pop) You wanna be like Cena. (Pop) Cena is your hero. (Pop) Absolutely pathetic! (Pop) None of you have anything in common with Cena. None of you know what it’s like to bust your ass everyday. You know nothing about nutrition, education, hard work. You have no idea what it takes. I tell you what. At WWE Payback, I take Cena to the medical facility, to the morgue. I take all of you to the morgue with Cena. (Serious heat) There’s only one fact of life and that is, Ryback Rules!