This Sunday night, Ryback will receive his second shot at the WWE Championship in a major pay-per-view main event. This time standing across the ring from him will not only be current titleholder CM Punk but, also, the top star in the industry, John Cena.
The match is another step in what has been a meteoric rise for Ryback over the last two months. It is a sign that Vince McMahon and his advisers were impressed enough with Ryback's showing at last month's Hell in a Cell and the fan reaction for the former Nexus member that they will continue his main event push.
As impressive as his climb up the ladder has been, especially since it has occurred in such short order, one must wonder what happens if he once again fails to capture the WWE Championship.
WWE must walk a very fine line with their new-found main event star. It has been nice to see a fresh face in the title picture, and, with a roster depleted of legitimate draws, watching the company put effort into grooming their next big thing is refreshing.
With that said, the last thing WWE can afford is for Ryback to lose his luster by losing in too many big match situations. The more he competes in main event title matches, and the more he fails to leave without the WWE Championship, the more luster he loses.
If Ryback loses at Survivor Series, all indications point towards some sort of major match at December's TLC pay-per-view. His image dominates the event poster and recent fan reaction and merchandise sales would seem to indicate that he is far too valuable to let fall back into the midcard. Perhaps a Survivor Series rematch, with added stipulations, will await the Superstar with the unsatisfied appetite. Perhaps a contest with another high-profile competitor, such as Alberto Del Rio or Wade Barrett, will tide him over until January's Royal Rumble.
Either way, it is of the utmost importance that the company take a very cautious, careful approach to booking their newest star.
There are those that will make the argument that losing to someone such as CM Punk or John Cena does no damage to Ryback but that would be wrong. At some point, the company needs to allow someone to break through the glass ceiling and reach the level of a Punk or a Cena by decisively defeating them, leaving no question as to who the better man was. The more they hesitate in pulling the proverbial trigger, the more they risk ruining a potential money-maker.
With Wrestlemania 29 rapidly approaching and hopes that it can exceed the success of Wrestlemania 28, the company could use all of the money-makers it can get.