Anyone watching Monday's Raw may have been mistaken for believing that there is some doubt hanging over the CM Punk/John Cena main event of next month's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
After all, John Cena is recovering from elbow surgery, and it looks to be touch and go whether or not he will be able to make the event (the PPV is in six weeks, the exact amount of time Cena has claimed his recuperation will take).
WWE Champion CM Punk also seems to be involved in other things.
On Raw, he had an explosive back-and-forth with WWE legend Mick Foley, which seemed to hint at some sort of match between the pair. The show ended with Punk blind-siding Foley and attacking him backstage, only to have a staredown with Ryback. Punk looked absolutely terrified of the monstrous star.
Yes: WWE are also indicating a Punk/Ryback feud will happen sooner or later.
However, despite these distractions, it seems clear that Punk/Cena will happen at Hell in a Cell, no matter.
First of all, Cena's strong work ethic is well known. A company man through and through, you can be sure that John is doing everything in his power to rehab his elbow and come back early. The timing might be cutting it close, but if Cena is able to work the match, he surely will.
Besides, a passionate Cena promised on Raw that he would show up to the event, no matter what condition he was in. And if years of watching Raw has taught us anything, it's that Cena always keep a promise to the fans.
Secondly, neither of WWE's possible backup options for Punk at the show—Foley and Ryback—can realistically perform at a main-event level right now and deliver a great PPV-quality bout.
The aging, injury-wracked Foley has had some patchy matches here and there, with his last great bout (facing Randy Orton at Backlash 2004) taking place years ago. While the hard-working Foley would probably try his very best in a match with Punk, it seems unlikely he could perform at the level the fans expect.
Up-and-coming star Ryback is also far from ideal for the spot, for a few reasons.
While his Goldberg-like act is getting over massively with the fans, and he has a fair amount of charisma, he's still clumsy and clunky in the ring and seems to struggle in any bout that goes on beyond two minutes. For sure, Ryback needs more time to develop as a wrestler before being thrown into main events.
There is another matter. Ryback's promo skills are also unproven: WWE haven't really given him much mic time, preferring to let his squashes do the talking for him. With this in mind, it is unknown how he would fare in there with Punk, one of the best talkers of his generation.
So to conclude, Punk/Cena is almost a certainty at the Hell in a Cell event. Frankly, WWE don't have any other real options at the moment.