The WWE championship match between CM Punk and Ryback at Hell in a Cell is a booker’s nightmare.
It’s lose-lose situation, where either outcome—whether that be Punk winning or Ryback winning—has huge drawbacks that could drastically alter the direction of future WWE storylines.
But the WWE might have an ace up its sleeve to actually turn what seems sure to be a negative into a positive.
That ace is Brock Lesnar.
It’s pretty widely accepted that Ryback beating Punk and winning the WWE title would be a bad creative decision that would prematurely end Punk’s title reign, put the title on a guy who probably isn’t ready and throw a wrench into future creative plans.
Conversely, having Punk beat Ryback probably has more cons than pros as well. It would end Ryback’s undefeated streak, make him look more human and, in large part, destroy the main appeal of his gimmick.
That’s why Lesnar could and should be used as the WWE’s “out” in this situation.
If Ryback wins, it’s going to be a monumental mistake. If Punk wins, it’s going to be a smaller mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.
The WWE could have easily avoided this mess by putting someone other than Ryback in this match or by making it a standard wrestling match, but because the creative team dug this grave itself, it’s now going to have to claw its way out of it.
In reality, the Hell in a Cell stipulation shouldn’t allow that to happen. Either Punk or Ryback should win, and the WWE will have to go ahead with killing the momentum of Punk or Ryback.
But we know that the creative team can change the rules as it goes, so a crazy finish to Punk vs. Ryback certainly isn’t out of the question. And if it happens, Lesnar is going to have to be involved.
The popular rumor, or fantasy booking, that’s floating around the Internet right now is that Lesnar will return to the WWE and cost Ryback the match to set up a feud between the two, leading to a match at Survivor Series or perhaps even WrestleMania 29.
This scenario has been talked about so much recently that it almost guarantees that it won’t happen, but as obvious as this outcome may seem, it just might be the one way that this booking nightmare doesn’t turn out so bad.
You could have Lesnar return toward the end of the HIAC match, and one of two things could happen: Either Lesnar could help Punk win the match, or he could destroy Ryback and cause some sort of “no contest” finish.
I like the former scenario more because the latter one cheapens the HIAC stipulation and doesn’t make very much sense, but in a WWE where things often don’t make sense, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if that’s exactly what happened.
No matter how you’re viewing this Punk/Ryback match, though, it’s hard to picture this match ending with Ryback winning clean or with Punk winning at all, so the question then becomes: How can the WWE get around either of those outcomes?
Brock Lesnar, that’s how.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!