WWE's Sept. 24 edition of Monday Night Raw went off the air with Ryback standing over the fallen Mick Foley and staring down CM Punk. The WWE Champion looked shocked—perhaps even a little scared—to see Ryback.
Ryback staring down the WWE Champion was certainly a swerve. The tease of a feud between Ryback and Punk piqued the interest of fans, whether or not they thought it would be a good idea.
Is Ryback a legitimate contender for CM Punk's WWE Championship?
Not quite yet.
Ryback has only begun to make his presence felt in the Intercontinental Championship scene. He interrupted the debut edition of MizTV on the Sept. 17 edition of Raw and went on to defeat Miz in a non-title match a week later.
His clean victory over Miz is his most impressive win yet. Not only is this the first time Ryback has targeted a champion, it was also Ryback's first attempt at moving up from squashing enhancement talent and undercard wrestlers.
Because Miz is Ryback's first opponent with any discernible credibility. Moving from a non-title victory over Miz to confronting the WWE Champion is simply too quick a transition for Ryback.
The WWE has been handling Ryback's push well. They're taking their time with him as opposed to pushing him to the top and having him flop.
Even if Ryback is only a fallback opponent for Punk in the event that John Cena can't recover before Hell in a Cell, it's still a bad idea. Rushing to push Ryback to Punk's level will only hurt him in the long run.
If not John Cena, should Ryback be the one to challenge CM Punk?
Since the main event scene is so weak on the babyface side, it's understandable that the WWE would be using this as an opportunity to push Ryback. For the sake of Ryback's push, someone like Randy Orton would be a better choice for Cena's potential replacement.