It’s time for the latest FATP, which is exclusive to PWMania.com. Due to other commitments, I couldn’t write last week, but rest assured, its back to business as usual, which means it’s that time of the week where I give you my thoughts on something in the crazy world of sports-entertainment! This week, I’ve decided to write about the main-event of WWE’s next pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell, which comes to us live this Sunday. Something’s gotta give as CM Punk’s title reign collides with the one-man wrecking ball, Ryback.
Realistically, there’s only one way that this match can end: with shenanigans. CM Punk’s title reign is too important to be destroyed by Ryback. Let’s be honest, if Cena wasn’t injured, Ryback wouldn’t be involved in the first place. Say the one-man wrecking ball does win on Sunday. Where does that leave Cena? Punk will obviously want his title back, but it leaves Cena out in the cold. With nobody else around, would WWE come up with a lame-ass feud for Cena until the Rock inevitably wins the title and Cena gets his shot at the Great One? Would WWE trust Ryback enough to give him the responsibility of holding the gold? My opinion is no, not yet. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t like the Ryback character much when he debuted. It was a blatant rip-off of the Goldberg gimmick from WCW and it looks like he’s wearing one of RVD’s old singlets. Since then, I can’t say he’s gotten better in the ring, but I don’t mind him as much. Nothing against the guy, I’m just not drawn to him.
All of that means that the only way for WWE to save face is to have a dodgy end to the match that protects Punk’s title reign and Ryback’s undefeated streak. Everyone with a keyboard or smartphone has been blowing up the internet with their own theories, so here’s mine. I think that Punk will retain the title via no contest. Here’s why. You can’t be disqualified in a HIAC match, so that’s ruled out. I doubt that Ryback will submit or be pinned. Similarly, Punk isn’t likely to submit or do the “job”. WWE could book some kind of crazy spot where Ryback “shellshocks” Punk and the ring collapses. We’ve seen that kind of spot before where WWE has done it to protect both men. Both men end up with their shoulders down, unable to answer the referee’s 10-count. Ryback’s streak is protected, as is Punk’s reign.
Perhaps WWE could shock us all and hand the belt to Ryback. It could happen, but I don’t think WWE would sh*t on Punk’s title reign by doing that. The whole development of Punk’s character over the last 18 months looks like it’s been designed to get to this point. Demanding respect, sick of being in Cena’s shadow, proving he’s the best in the world. CM Punk prides himself on being able to outwit his opponents and using his rapier wit to put them down. What better way for Punk to further stake his claim than to outsmart Ryback? His brain helped him to beat Ryback’s brawn. Does that mean the champ has a plan? Only he knows the answer to that.
I’ve said it already that WWE has backed themselves into a corner by choosing Ryback to go against Punk instead of someone else. A match of this magnitude shouldn’t be wasted on a B-level PPV that less than 200,000 people are going to see. It should’ve been saved for one of the big 3, like Royal Rumble, WrestleMania or SummerSlam. (Survivor Series hasn’t been an A-level PPV for at least 10 years). To put someone else in the spot and take a fall for Punk wouldn’t have been hard to do. They could’ve put Ziggler or Randy Orton in there. Both of those guys would’ve been more than capable of having a decent match with Punk and making you believe like they had a chance of winning. As it stands, WWE are now in a position where they’re making the champ look weak when Ryback destroyed him a couple of weeks ago. In my opinion, they should’ve kept that moment until Hell in a Cell. The crowd would’ve went nucking futs if Ryback had lifted up Punk at the PPV and shellshocked him. Now, we’ve already seen the potential end of the match on TV for free, so why should we pay to see it again?
Eventually, CM Punk is going to lose the WWE Title. It’s not like the days of Bruno Sammartino or Bob Backlund where one guy held the belt for years before dropping it. We know that. The problem with WWE thinking about switching the belt away from Punk is this. He’s held the belt now for almost a year and what does he have to show for it? As amazing as most of Punk’s matches have been, he doesn’t have that decisive victory over a top full-time star to solidify his title reign. Punk needs that one moment to say “Yeah, I’ve beaten EVERYBODY that’s been thrown in front of me”. To hold the belt for so long without that win almost makes his reign irrelevant and meaningless, so I genuinely hope that Ryback doesn’t win on Sunday.
Regardless of my opinion or yours, WWE seems hell-bent on pushing Ryback and that’s fine, it’s their prerogative. What they shouldn’t do is put his streak ahead of the value of having a credible champion. At this point, Punk’s reign means more than Ryback’s unbeaten run. It’s that simple. I do think that if WWE book the finish to this match the right way, it can make Ryback a star without doing it at the expense of someone who’s busted his ass for the last 6 years to get to the top on his terms. That’s why I think Sunday’s main-event has shenanigans written all over it.
What do you think? Whether you agree or disagree, leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @george_sltd. We’ll find out what’ll happen between CM Punk and Ryback on Sunday night. If you’re planning to watch the PPV, enjoy it, have some fun and remember, it’s not taking part, it’s the winning that counts! I’ll see you back here with another FATP exclusive to PWMania.com. Until then, thanks for reading.