CM Punk retaining his WWE Championship at Sunday's Hell in a Cell was the right decision. For the long-term health of World Wrestling Entertainment, it needed to stay the course and not do anything radical in the face of recent damning television ratings.
The company has been eying a WWE title match between The Rock and CM Punk since the Raw 1,000 show went off the air, and derailing Punk's momentum with a gap in his nearly year-long title reign would be harmful to the hype of that bout.
Now that we know the actual finish, let us take a look at why Ryback should have left the annual October event as the new WWE champion.
Heading into Sunday's show, Ryback was the hottest star in the company. A performer who, by chance, was thrown into a last-minute showdown with CM Punk at the conclusion of Raw, the sudden backup plan if John Cena was unable to perform at Hell in a Cell, the fans reacted to him in a way they had been hesitant to while he was rolling over jobbers.
The fans saw him as the perfect opponent for the current WWE champion. Punk is a loud-mouth villain who speaks his mind but lately has been hesitant to back it up. Ryback is a destructive beast of a man who cares far more about destroying his opponent in the ring than he does about a championship.
In some ways, he is a return to the Attitude Era, where guys would fight first and talk later.
At a time when enthusiasm about the current product is very low and interest is even lower, freshening things up with a new face, scoring a huge win over a Superstar so good he has held the WWE Championship for nearly a year, would have been a huge boost to Ryback and announced his arrival to fans as the guy.
It did not happen Sunday night, but that does not mean it will not happen.
At the very least, Ryback proved he can handle himself in the main event. While the fan reaction was not quite what it could have been, the fans in Atlanta proved to be disappointing in their reactions for a number of matches, the World Heavyweight Championship match being the exception.
Now with one pay-per-view main event under his belt, Ryback can continue to be the beneficiary of a push that will eventually pay off with a major championship victory.
He can be thrown into matches with other established stars and gain more experience as a top star, giving the fans more time to get behind him and support him. Then, when he finally does capture his first heavyweight championship, the fans will give him the reaction the company is undoubtedly hoping for.