Explore Three Stages of Hell

Explore Three Stages of Hell

WWE Champion John Cena vs. Ryback

John Cena vs. Curtis Axel - No Disqualification Match: Raw, June 3, 2013

John Cena looks to get some revenge on Curtis Axel in a No Disqualification Match.

On Sunday, June 16, at the first-ever WWE Payback pay-per-view event, the destructive rivalry between WWE Champion John Cena and powerhouse challenger Ryback will be settled in a dreaded Three Stages of Hell Match.

Watch Triple H, “Stone Cold,” Randy Orton and more battle through Three Stages of Hell

Merely the fourth such contest in WWE history, the intense nature and brutal rules of a Three Stages of Hell Match promise to turn Cena and Ryback’s already fiery conflict into a full-fledged conflagration with WWE’s greatest prize hanging in the balance.

WWE.com explores the extreme stipulations of Three Stages of Hell Matches – complete with videos, photos and past results – in addition to the rules of the three treacherous contests that the Cenation leader and the “Human Wrecking Ball” will test each other in on June 16.

What is a Three Stages of Hell Match?

A Three Stages of Hell Match is similar to a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match in that they are both best-of-three competitions, with the first Superstar to two wins emerging the victor. What makes a Three Stages of Hell Match much more extreme and dangerous, however, is that each of the falls —or stages —is contested under a different match stipulation.

This devilish contest has been featured at No Way Out 2001, Armageddon 2002 and The Bash 2009, with this WWE Payback 2013 battle being the first Three Stages of Hell Match not to feature The King of Kings, Triple H.

Assemble your own Three Stages of Hell Match

Whereas past “stages of hell” included standard singles matches, Steel Cage Matches and even a Stretcher Match, the hellish confrontation between Cena and Ryback has its own three unique, intense stipulations, which WWE.com explores on the following pages.

Lumberjack Match

Sheamus vs. CM Punk - Champion vs. Champion Lumberjack Match: Raw, Oct. 22, 2012

Sheamus & CM Punk compete in the biggest Lumberjack Match in Raw history.

A Lumberjack Match is a standard contest except for one fairly significant difference: The ring is surrounded by other WWE Superstars, who are tasked with keeping the action inside the ring, although they often affect the match in much more significant and forceful ways.

Watch Bret Hart & Mr. McMahon's WrestleMania XXVI Lumberjack Match

The presence of so many personalities and motivations ringside leaves a lot up in the air. For Superstars as divisive and controversial as Cena and Ryback, there are many potential allies or enemies who will have a window of opportunity to possibly affect a WWE Title Match.

Tables Match

John Cena vs. Randy Orton - Tables Match: Raw, Sept. 13, 2010

The Raw Roulette Wheel spun a Tables Match stipulation for John Cena and Randy Orton.

The objective of a Tables Match —as opposed to securing a pinfall or submission —is to toss, drop, push or otherwise propel your opponent through a table. As seen through the years at various Extreme Rules Matches or WWE TLC events, Superstars have devised countless creative and brutal methods of projecting their adversaries through a table.

Watch some of WWE’s classic table-crushing action

The one thing most Tables Matches have in common is that they all but guarantee intense action and a painful, bone-crushing conclusion. With Superstars as incredibly strong and powerful as Cena and Ryback, there’s no doubt that one of them will be going through a table with extreme force. The only question is: which one will it be?

Ambulance Match

Shane McMahon vs. Kane - Ambulance Match: Survivor Series, November 16, 2003

Shane McMahon takes on Kane in a devastating Ambulance Match at Survivor Series 2003.

Should the explosive rivalry between John Cena and Ryback necessitate a third “stage of hell,” after a brutal Tables Match and precarious Lumberjack Match, to determine a winner, they will lock horns in a match that lives up to its intimidating and sinister name … an Ambulance Match. In this hardcore contest, there are no pinfalls, disqualifications or submissions. The only way for a Superstar to win is to force his opponent in an ambulance and close the door.

Check out photos from Cena’s only prior Ambulance Match

It’s only a fitting match stipulation, as Ryback has made an ambulance his personal chariot in recent weeks. Ever since the indecisive conclusion to their Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules, Ryback has further promised to not only take Cena’s precious WWE Title, but to also send The Champ to the hospital.

Can the titleholder overcome his intimidating, ravenous foe at WWE Payback? Or will The Champ bend to Ryback’s “rules”? Find out on Sunday, June 16, only on pay-per-view!

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