The minute the WWE teased a confrontation between Ryback and CM Punk with a show-ending staredown, I cringed just thinking about the ill-timed mess that a Ryback-Punk feud for the WWE Championship would be.
On paper, a new, rising star getting the chance to compete for the WWE Championship is exciting, and it will surely create a lively environment once the main event commences at the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
In any other scenario, there would be no problem in booking a title switch to Ryback. CM Punk has been unbeatable as WWE Champion for close to a year, and a Ryback victory would all but complete the star-making process for the WWE's most promising future main-eventer.
However, on RAW 1000 back in July, the WWE was painted into a corner when the Rock declared he would be taking on the WWE Champion in the Royal Rumble main event.
This is a storyline that has hardly been addressed on WWE TV, and the conspiracy theorist in me thinks it's because the WWE wants fans to somehow forget that such a challenge slipped out of Rocky's mouth, thus painting itself out of said corner.
With one half of the Royal Rumble main event patiently waiting for the WWE Champion come January, the WWE now finds itself in "what do we do" mode?
The most obvious answer to this question should be a DQ finish, right?
If the WWE ever wants to make another dime from the satanic structure that is Hell in a Cell, it would behoove them to veer away from any DQ shenanigans in a match format that demands a victor by pinfall or submission only.
A CM Punk victory, while safe, would be equally as detrimental, as much of the time invested in making Ryback a top star would have been squandered on the precipice of finishing the job.
Ryback winning the WWE Championship would also create problems since a potential Ryback-Rock main event would be leaving lord knows how many pay-per-view buys on the table since the WWE would be opting to virtually cancel a Punk-Rock dream match.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, with panic quickly mounting, WWE officials have reportedly kicked around the idea of breaking the Brock Lesnar emergency glass case and manufacturing a WrestleMania feud between Lesnar and Ryback, starting with a screw job at Hell in a Cell.
Which finish do you want to see between Ryback and CM Punk?
As if this quandary couldn't get any messier.
This could be one of those situations where Ryback wins the WWE Championship, only to have it stripped on a technicality immediately afterward to protect all parties involved.
It wouldn't be perfect, but it may be necessary for the WWE to maximize its investments in a diversified superstar portfolio—featuring CM Punk, Ryback and the Rock—that has the potential to return huge dividends.