Sunday Sermon: Will Ryback win the WWE title at Hell In A Cell?

Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and James Giles
Craig: I’ve enjoyed the Ryback push to date and would be very surprised if he didn’t win the title at HIAC. While I think he’d have benefited from being in and around the main event scene longer, it would be illogical booking to not have him win next Sunday. On top of that Punk doesn’t need the title belt to main event now. One question, will it be a squash match?
Jamie: I agree with all of that, even to the point of enjoying his push. I’m almost over the fact that he’s a Goldberg knock off and I’m enjoying the massive crowd noise for him over the last couple of months. And yes, in the current climate in WWE Ryback must surely win. He’s the company’s hottest babyface for ages taking on the hottest heel for ages. Surely he becomes the most popular champion for ages by dethroning the hated champion?!
This is so cut and dry, that is until I start thinking about the big picture. This is a Wrestlemania calibre match, are they really going to present it at Hell in a Cell? Then you have to remember that the WWE Champion will face The Rock at the Royal Rumble, is it really going to be Ryback? If it is then surely he should win, because as it stands that is all Ryback is; a winning machine. Without more to his character then the moment he loses he becomes just another supertsar. But he’ll be facing The Rock, who is also scheduled to fight at Wrestlemania. If The Rock loses he will look weak heading to the big event, which will surely affect buy rates.

I would have thought that Ryback would have continued to squash people before having a feud with someone like Kane or Big Show en route to winning The Rumble and eventually lifting the title at Wrestlemania. But hey, the match is booked now and surely the only logical outcome is a Ryback win. Where this leaves Punk, Cena and The Rock a few months down the line I have no idea.

Craig: That’s the issue. As soon as Ryback loses then the gimmick is done, no? He needs to not lose to remain looking invincible. I do like the gimmick, but do feel his rise to main event has come a bit soon. Can’t really go back now huh? Is there any way he doesn’t win the belt? Or is that too illogical?
James: It depends how he loses really. Some sort of no contest ending wouldn’t damage his character, but that would be pretty difficult in HIAC. If he was screwed over some way, then he would probably be OK, in fact it could end up being a heat builder for a re- match. If Punk then did everything he could to avoid the re-match, fans would go nuts when it actually happened, preferably at ‘Mania. Not sure exactly how you’d book the finish though, maybe have a whole bunch of heels pile onto him? Would also set up some interim feuds that way too.
Jamie: For wrestling logic Ryback must win, but why build up a Cena/Rock/Punk title scenario if Ryback will be carrying the belt? My gut says he won’t win the title, but how do you win a Hell in a Cell match without also winning the title? Referee stoppage? Non finish? Either of those scenarios would be a slap in the face to paying customers, although the latter would draw huge heat for Punk.
The feud behind this match is Punk vs Vince, which is why I see one of them being the focus at the end of the show, not Ryback. There is one Raw left, and Vince effectively one upped Punk last week, so maybe Punk wins this coming week’s battle? I see a stipulation being added, it’s the only way that WWE can dig themselves out of this hole.
Craig: So are you thinking Ryback might not actually make the match? I’m totally thrown by this one in general. As Jamie says, Ryback’ s gotta win but where does that leave things going forward? Be pointless building Ryback up and having him dropping the title soon after winning it. WCW dropped.the ball by ending Goldberg’s streak too soon. Surely even WWE in its present state isn’t daft enough to make the same mistake, is it?
Jamie: In fairness there hasn’t actually been too much attention paid to Ryback’s winning streak, of late at least. This may be an indicator of Punk claiming a tainted win, perhaps with Cena as the special guest referee? Although, Michael Cole may not actually use the words “winning streak” but we all know that Ryback is a monster that always wins, that’s all there is to him. The more I look at it the more I feel WWE has dug themselves into a hole with this match. Whether it happens next Sunday or in a couple of months WWE is surely going to drop the ball with Ryback. Had they not already booked The Rock for The Rumble and Wrestlemania then WWE would be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a new headliner in Ryback. The problem is the man of the moment doesn’t fit into the bigger picture of Punk/Rock/Cena. The outcome of this match has got me fascinated, do WWE stick or twist?
James: We should also remember that Lesnar is booked for Rumble and ‘Mania and he has to fit with all those guys somewhere too. At least one if his matches will be against HHH, so who knows who his other opponent will be. Inserting Ryback into the title picture now seems like a very last minute decision. Either he wins it now and loses it back to Cena or Punk before The Royal Rumble, which would derail his momentum, or they come up with a bloody clever creative finish where he loses but is set up as a returning challenger, without him actually being pinned.
I don’t envy WWE’s position, they have really booked themselves into a corner.

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