Ever since Ryback was granted the WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell inside the demonic structure, fans have been trying to wrap their heads around the fact that one of the two major streaks in the company today will come to an end. On Sunday, fans will either see CM Punk's reign as WWE Champion come to an end at 343 days or the first loss for Ryback since his return to WWE action back in April.
It's a Hell in a Cell match, so there is no way to be counted out of the match. It's also not going to enable disqualifications because using the cage itself as a weapon is completely allowed.
There's literally no way out of this one for WWE.
One of these two things needs to end on Sunday night and, while it is simple to just end Punk's reign and give him the title back later, it may be better for Ryback to lose and get that first loss out of the way. Since it wouldn't help Punk much to win this match alone, why not use Brock Lesnar, a fellow "Paul Heyman guy," to have Ryback fall?
WrestleMania is six months away and Lesnar still has some dates to satisfy in his one-year deal with WWE. In a poster released by WWE in their magazine, Lesnar's face is in the center of it all, alongside The Rock and John Cena.
Lesnar will be wrestling in MetLife Stadium in April, but ticket sales for WrestleMania begin in early November, meaning that there is not a lot of time left to hype the event before tickets are available. Yes, WrestleMania is one of those events that doesn't need hype to sell out, especially in the top market of New York. This won't stop Lesnar from being teased prior to tickets going out on sale.
Punk has certainly lost support over the last few months and Ryback has gotten a sharp rise in popularity, making a whole load of people Ryback fans this weekend. There still is a very real issue with Ryback being an undefeated world champion who was literally handed a world title shot.
Ryback has not earned anything to this point, and he could be set up for a very difficult fall from grace if he becomes a world champion and business suffers as a result. It would be damaging to Ryback's character going forward by being pushed on a whim and not truly earning it. The fans are on his side now, but that can change quickly.
As great as some undefeated streaks have been, almost every superstar with a significant winning streak to begin their careers or gimmicks has not really hit a good place in their careers until after that first loss.
Just like how an unstoppable sports team needs a rough patch to take some pressure off come playoff time, Ryback needs to be humbled with a loss, even in an underhanded way, to help the remainder of his career.
Goldberg is the only true exception to this and, ironically, is the superstar most closely associated with Ryback.
The fact that Ryback is challenging for the world title as an undefeated and unstoppable force going into Atlanta doesn't help matters. That's exactly what happened for Golberg, who defeated Hulk Hogan in Atlanta while still being undefeated. How did Goldberg lose his title and undefeated streak, you may wonder? It involved a taser. Seriously.
Interference aside, who wins this Sunday at Hell in a Cell?
Simply have Lesnar either break into the cell or hide underneath the ring, where he can destroy Ryback and gain the momentous heat while Punk retreats to the back still the champion.
If you want the buzz for Survivor Series and the boost to WrestleMania ticket sales, Lesnar is your man. If Punk is given a Survivor Series team this year, he and Lesnar already make up two parts of that team.
Unless Ryback is supposed to never lose in the entirety of his WWE career, that first loss is going to eventually happen. Why not have that loss happen on pay-per-view in an intimidating structure like Hell in a Cell?
There's no shame in losing inside Hell in a Cell. The match itself is often associated with The Undertaker, but The Deadman has won as many matches inside the cage (six) as he has lost in the same type of match. Has The Undertaker's legacy been tarnished from these losses?
The Rock has only been in a Hell in a Cell match once. He lost.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was in there twice. He lost both times.
CM Punk will be in his fourth Hell in a Cell match on Sunday, and he has yet to win one of them.
This outcome satisfies a bunch of holes in this entire storyline. It gives Punk yet another way to get himself out of a title match on pay-per-view. It gives Brock Lesnar a reason to get back into WWE and gives him a feud to jump into. It gives Ryback a loss without making him seem weak while also giving him a great storyline with Lesnar that could go into Royal Rumble and fall shy of WrestleMania time. It even gives John Cena a way back into the title picture since Ryback will be too occupied for a rematch until later on, when he will be better prepared for it.
In a world title match with little answers as to what could happen, Lesnar's inclusion in this match helps to make sense of things and gives some guidance to all people involved. There are other ways, but this one makes more sense to me than other possible outcomes.
Whether you agree or not, it's time to put your wrestling booker hat on. If you had to create an outcome to this match, with as much realism as possible, how should Sunday's main event end? Let me know in your comments or by contacting me on Twitter to talk about it.