The WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell on October 28 was made official on Monday night's Raw, when it was announced that Ryback would challenge the 330+ day reign of CM Punk inside the hellish confines of the Cell.
There are some still surprised by the announcement, arguing that Ryback is not ready to fill the role he has been thrust into thanks to a ill-timed injury to "face of the company" John Cena. The former NXT competitor (under the moniker of Skip Sheffield) has never been faced with a high-pressure situation such as a WWE title match on pay-per-view. He has never been expected to compete in a match longer than 10 minutes. And, most importantly, he has never been matched up with someone the stature of Punk.
At this point, some 12 days away from the annual October event, there are plenty of questions surrounding the new number one contender and whether or not he can succeed at the next level. That is why Ryback could not have drawn a better opponent for his first big opportunity than the self-proclaimed "Best in the World," CM Punk.
There are very few that have delivered in the ring on a more consistent basis than CM Punk over the last two years.. Like him or hate him, everyone that has stepped foot between the ropes with the current WWE Champion has come out looking far better than they did before they faced him. He is extremely smart between the ropes and understands what to do where to elicit the reaction he wants from the crowd.
If any Superstar on the current WWE roster is able to take the inexperienced Ryback and carry him through a major championship bout, in a gimmick match typically reserved only for the guys at the very top of the card, it is Punk.
The fact that he has tapped a nerve and has the majority of the fans booing him and his calls for more respect has only added to the fan support for Ryback. The casual fans want to see the dominant beast-of-a-man dethrone Punk and finally shut him up. It makes for a great dynamic that will undoubtedly have fans wondering what direction the company will take come October 28.
Against any other WWE Superstar, Ryback's inclusion in the WWE title match would have the potential for disaster. But CM Punk has faced numerous challenges throughout the course of his WWE career and has managed to come out on the other side, either unscathed or better.
With an unproven Superstar on the docket and the pressure squarely on his shoulders to deliver, CM Punk will have to reach down in his bag of tricks and once again pull out some performance magic, something he has done on a number of occasions. That magic, and whether or not Punk can conjure it up, will determine Ryback's future as a top star in the industry.
Luckily for him, he could not be in any better hands.