Ryback is undefeated and meets with the WWE Champion CM Punk at this year's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. CM Punk has been on a hot-streak since his infamous 'Pipe Bomb' promo. He has held the belt for almost a year, and Paul Heyman recently came into the picture as Punk's manager. Paul Heyman has the power to draw heat from the crowd unlike most character's in professional wrestling. Just like Punk's current character, Heyman is very pretentious and has a tendency to over-achieve at selling this characteristic. Heyman planted a seed a few weeks back by suggesting that he and Vickie Guerrero should team up to take over Monday Night Raw. This week's Raw saw the resignation of AJ Lee as the current GM of the brand, and Vickie step up to that plate. Can Paul Heyman be coming into this picture or will the Cougar just focus on the Show-Off Dolph Ziggler and his success? Regardless of what may come, suspense is back on Monday Night's in multiple ways. I digress,
Ryback's undefeated streak hasn't been stressed or played out like Goldberg's was in WCW. Ryback's character is over with the crowd and he is pushed as a machine. That machine also happens to be undefeated. CM Punk has a current feud with the Rock. Ryback challenging Punk for the belt is a a challenge that can leave more than the Chicago native biting his nails. If you are a fan of CM Punk, you want him to come out victorious. If you aren't, Ryback is an easy favorite for this bout. Regardless, this match is huge. Mick Foley told CM Punk to make his moment that will embed him in the industry's history books forever. Ryback has his first title match in the company. Ryback has refused to come close to losing a match thus far. Sunday will definitely be a make-or-break match for both men.
CM Punk has promised to make it to the Royal Rumble to face the Rock. Ryback winning Sunday can change the whole playing field on that idea. Ryback versus the Rock would be a huge match, but Punk has already thrown the first swing. By giving Dwayne a Go To Sleep live on Raw, the people want the match. We have to have that match. Does Ryback have to have his streak? Plenty wrestler's have bounced back from important loses. Brock Lesnar lost to John Cena on his first match back to WWE. John Cena lost just one main event prior to the last to the Rock. John Cena lost the Wrestlemania main event prior to that to The Miz. He was undefeated at Wrestlemania prior to that match as well. Does Ryback have to beat CM Punk to keep with current momentum at its optimal pace?
CM Punk can easily carry the honor of top heel in the professional wrestling business for a few more months, with dire emphasis on the easily part of that statement. Punk has propelled himself to heights unimaginable in the current landscape that we as fans have dealt with thanks to the current direction of the WWE and its outlets. CM Punk stirred up a fire that needed to have been lit years ago. In the PG world of wrestling, he carries across being a heel like no other. His arrogance reminds me of a perfect blend of past meets present. I see in Punk's moves and can hear in his words so much of the wrestling world as a whole in his art. He strives on determination like Owen Hart and Dolph Ziggler. He can draw heat like The Rock and twist situations to be in his favor just as we see carried out also by Dwayne. Punk is flawless with his execution, just as Randy Savage and Orton. You can relate to him because he's just a fan to the business as Steve Austin or Zack Ryder. Punk isn't looked at as the top guy. He's on his way to being just that though.
WWE finally pulled the trigger and decided to plant one of their most potential cash crops. That cash crop was watered from a pipe bomb and flowered into the CM Punk "Best In the World" dvd. We learn so much about the mysterious man that is CM Punk. It focuses on his early teenage years to his current role as the WWE Champion in a manner that left you still hungry for more. CM Punk has stated in plenty of interviews that his joints are tired and that he might retire sooner than anyone might think. CM Punk travels for a living and wouldn't be the same without that. We learned that from his documentary. The WWE is his home and he is going nowhere. He can compete for years to come. He lives healthy, ambitiously, and still has more youth in him than stars who are still training or trying to make it. I don't see the WWE selling Punk short at all. He's paid his dues as a professional, a wrestler, an entertainer, and as a role-model to fans and co-workers alike.
With that said, it would be admirable for Punk to pass the torch to Ryback at Hell In A Cell. However, in my opinion at least, this might not be the most opportune time to fire away on that idea. Ryback can cut one loss. This can propel into countless other story-lines to come. Ryback can go on a feud with the whole roster wanting a re-match. Ryback could side with Punk after the pay-per-view because the title isn't important. Ryback start a losing streak. Pardon; I believe we all have our Vince Russo moments. Where they go from the outcome of this match cannot compare to the importance of how that outcome is delivered. This Sunday's Hell In A Cell will host what is easily the most anticipated match since The Rock vs John Cena's "Once In A Lifetime" and it will undoubtedly blow the house down. I'll be tuning in on Sunday just like everybody else to see what chaos can, may, and will unfold.
- Michael Shafer can be reached at email@example.com.