WWE creative is faced with a fascinating decision. Ryback vs. CM Punk will take center stage at Hell in a Cell 2012 and creative will have a choice of continuing one streak and ending another. The answer has become one of the hottest wrestling debates since Money in the Bank 2011.
The easy answer is to give Punk the win. The WWE appear to have all of their storylines in place through WrestleMania. Punk vs. The Rock at the Royal Rumble and Cena vs. Rock at WrestleMania 29 for the title have been penciled in for awhile. An easy out here would be a screw job finish but we are talking Hell in a Cell. Putting Punk over seems simple but is it really the right way to go?
If you are a Punk fan, you probably don’t like Ryback at all. Rooting for Ryback goes against almost every reason you are a Punk fan. So you probably aren’t going to like my answer. All I ask is that you look at it objectively and take off your Punk colored glasses. I know that is asking a lot but this is much bigger than CM Punk.
I think the WWE must put Ryback over for the title. Ryback has caught fire and while he certainly isn’t my favorite wrestler to watch, casual fans are buying into him. Ryback is something of a throwback to the 1980s WWF age in that he is more of a character than just about anyone on the full time roster. His muscled up look while humorous to some of you, makes him a larger than life character than almost anyone on the roster. Vince McMahon hasn’t had this kind of guy in this position in a long time. If he doesn’t pull the trigger now, he may not get this opportunity again for a long time.
Believe me when I tell you that this is no creative stroke of genius from McMahon. Take a look at how they groomed future champions over the last couple of years and you will notice two things. One, Ryback was not being groomed for a title run now. Two, those new champions never caught on because they were jobbed on the way up consistently. Ryback is the first new WWE superstar that Vince has the chance to elevate that people actually believe can hang with the big boys. That puts him at a tremendous edge over anyone else that the WWE tried to elevate in recent years.
As much as some of you like CM Punk, he is not a game changer. He doesn’t move numbers. Ryback has the potential to do just that. Ryback is the kind of character that kids and casual fans could eat up. He is the kind of character that gives the WWE great opportunity to market outside of pro wrestling. He is different and the WWE haven’t had different at the top in a long time. Business is down so what does the WWE have to lose here? Maybe, just maybe they get some new fans and some old fans back.
One major criticism I have heard about Ryback is that he can’t wrestle. What does that mean anyway? We are talking about a worked sport. Could Hulk Hogan wrestle? Could the Ultimate Warrior wrestle? Is The Undertaker a phenomenal wrestler? These are three of the biggest draws in the history of the business yet none of them are guys I’d put in Daniel Bryan’s league of “wrestler.” Maybe (again just maybe), some fans don’t want to see that at the top. You do and I do, but maybe the kids and casual fans want a tough guy that goes in there, destroys his opponents, and moves on?
What about that Punk vs. Rock? Why do they have to stick with Punk vs. Rock? What if Ryback gets super hot as champion? In order for Ryback to get hot he’d have to increase business and if he does, wouldn’t Ryback vs. Rock be the better match for business? If Ryback works as champion, that match could be even bigger than Punk vs. Rock. For fans like you and I, it would be a huge letdown. But the casual fans may eat that up if everything falls into place.
The WWE must put Ryback over, give him the title, and see what happens. The timing will never be better.
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