Ryback’s recent encounters with CM Punk are simply smoke and mirrors.
He made his surprising inclusion in the WWE Championship storyline last week after CM Punk assaulted Mick Foley backstage. Nothing was said between the two. In fact, the interaction, or lack thereof, only lasted for about five seconds.
Last Monday’s edition of Raw featured Jim Ross appreciation night which CM Punk and Paul Heyman later interrupted. It is only fitting that Ryback once again stepped in CM Punk's way to defend the WWE great. Much like the previous week, no words were exchanged and the champion walked away as he bragged about his title.
WWE creative can take the interaction between the two in any direction, but their journeys are simply crossing paths rather than being intertwined.
Ryback is undeniably replacing John Cena’s role in the CM Punk feud as the former WWE Champion recovers from elbow surgery. There is a slight chance that John Cena may not be ready to face CM Punk at Hell in a Cell given his recent elbow surgery. However, Cena's four to six weeks of recovery time coincides perfectly with the upcoming pay per view.
Instead, Ryback will take the spotlight from the CM Punk stare downs into other feuds. It is possible that there may be an upcoming rematch with The Miz considering how Ryback effectively squashed the current Intercontinental Champion, which should garner more attention now that Ryback is being teased as a top superstar.
Implementing Ryback in the WWE Championship picture also highlights, and effectively patches up, any concerns that WWE may have regarding their future.
Creative is fully aware that John Cena’s age may get the best of him especially considering that he has already gone through a few surgeries. John Cena can’t carry the WWE forever, so WWE must find a wrestler who can potentially be the next John Cena.
But Ryback is by no means guaranteed that spot after Cena’s departure. Having him interact with WWE Champion CM Punk, however, does beg the viewer to picture him as one of WWE’s top stars.