Everyone I talk to agrees that Extreme Rules on April 29th was a better pay per view event than WrestleMania from earlier this month. Though it won’t likely have the same lofty buy-rate as the flagship event did, Extreme Rules arguably has a bigger impact on the future landscape of the WWE.  Let’s look at where we go from here:

Courtesy WWE.com

John Cena beats Brock Lesnar

Despite getting dominated by Brock Lesnar for a good portion of the match and seriously bloodied in the process, John Cena was able to score a pinfall victory. After the match with a mic in hand, Cena mentioned taking a vacation – likely to film a movie (Marine 3, anyone?).  So where does this leave Brock Lesnar?

CM Punk – although Lesnar is likely to target CM Punk and the WWE Championship, he’s not in a strong position following a loss to Cena, and so a title shot would be awkward at this point

Undertaker – Lesnar has some history with The Deadman from his previous run in WWE, and the two did jaw a bit at a UFC event, but you can list that match as being “unlikely” for Lesnar’s next pay per view. When ‘Taker returns, again, it will be for a PPV bigger than just “Over The Limit”.

HHH – during the show, The Game did make a phone call to John Laurinaitis, so perhaps he wants to show up and take on Lesnar. Or maybe Hunter has considered his options and intends to announce his retirement, which could draw the ire of Lesnar, bringing him back to the ring for one final match. That would be a good way to lead to an eventual Undertaker feud.

Big Show – when looking for an opponent for Lesnar, you need a high profile fan-favorite who at least seems to pose a threat to the former UFC Champion. Now that he’s no longer the Intercontinental Champion, and likely won’t get a rematch anytime soon (more on that later), I suspect Lesnar is the next opponent for the World’s Largest Athlete.

Return of Layla

How do I go from the biggest angle in WWE to the Diva’s division? Because the hotter half of Lay-Cool has returned and became the new Diva’s champion. This sprouts off into a few angles which could be just as interesting as what WWE is currently doing with the United States Championship:

– return of Lay-Cool… but in what form? Might Michelle McCool return to the ring and expect that her former BFF is still willing to share the championship?

– kHARMa’s a bitch… and Layla could be a very easy target for the mammoth who seems destined to hold the women’s championship.

– Bella vs Bella? I can’t recall seeing Nikki and Brie feud in the past, and with their rumored departure from WWE, this might be a decent opportunity to have it happen.

CM Punk Retains in his Hometown

Chris Jericho was unable to take the WWE Championship from CM Punk in the Chicago-based Chicago Street Fight, so where does that leave two of WWE’s top competitors?

Jericho will likely move on to give Randy Orton an interesting feud, now that The Viper has put down the challenge of Kane. RKO needs the mic skills of Jericho to help him put on something worth watching. Unless Jericho is moving on to a different division (say, tag titles or picking up the United States championship, both of which I doubt), this is the most likely scenario for Jericho because he seems finished with CM Punk for the meantime and I don’t believe that Daniel Bryan is done with Sheamus.

As for CM Punk, his reign needs to continue for at least another month. At that time, Brock Lesnar would get a win under his belt and get to move on to take the title from Punk, but Brock’s not there yet. For the time being, look for someone like Mark Henry, Christian, The Miz, or possibly a long-shot like Lord Tensai to get the title shot. The first time John Laurinaitis gets a chance to speak for more than 2 minutes on RAW, we’ll get our answer, because the opponent is likely to be hand-picked by the GM. God help us if it’s Alberto Del Rio…

Show’s Over

Now that Cody Rhodes has reclaimed the Intercontinental Championship, don’t expect him to “allow” Big Show another shot at it, no matter how “suspect” the end of their tables match was. Big Show did his job by helping give Cody a signature feud and allowing him to be a two-time IC champ, and now they can both move on to other things. For Cody, look for someone like Kofi Kingston, R-Truth or another talented young face to get the opportunity to move into a feud for the title. I’d be surprised if it’s Brodus Clay, because while he could fit the mold, he’s not ready to hold the strap yet, and Cody’s second reign needs at least two feuds in it.

Tag Titles On The Rebound

Sure, Extreme Rules didn’t shed any light on the tag division other than simply showing that WWE didn’t want to defend the belts on the event. But Smackdown has a new tag team in Titus O’Neil & Darren Young, and there’s talk of other competitors coming up from FCW who could use the division to their advantage. Don’t expect the current champs to hold the belts much longer, and without a defense on the pay per view, you can bet that they’ll be defending on a show in the next two weeks – even if it’s on Superstars or NXT.

Yes! Yes! Yes It Will Continue!

Sheamus is still the World Heavyweight Champion, but one of the two falls that The Great White won was by DQ, and you can expect that Daniel Bryan will call it a technicality, finding a way to continue the feud through the next pay per view. Some are even predicting that at Over The Limit, WWE might find a way to do the double switch, putting the fan favorite tag back on Daniel Bryan and letting Sheamus play his more natural heel role.