WWE Survivor Series 2012: Why Ryback Should Topple Cena and Punk
From fumbled beginnings, WWE has thrown together one of the most intriguing main events of any pay-per-view we have seen in 2012.
What started as a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag-match is now a triple threat of the three top men in the company right now.
364-day WWE Champion CM Punk defends his title at the event his magnificent run began. Last year he was facing the damp squib that was and still is Alberto Del Rio, and he was the fans' favorite and likely winner.
This time it's all a whole lot different. Punk is the dastardly heel, desperate to protect his precious title run and screaming on about respect.
But his character is not all that's changed. His quality of opponent cannot even be compared to the task of last year.
John Cena and Ryback will face the champion this evening in a triple threat match that many see to be his biggest obstacle in this title run, and the one main event standing in front of CM Punk vs. The Rock at Royal Rumble.
Cena seems the most likely contender to be the man that takes the crown from Punk, but the biggest sensation of 2012 will have a huge say in how this match ends.
The "Big Hungry" fears no one, and he has huge momentum in the ring and with the crowd.
So why do I think Ryback should be victorious come the end of the night?
Momentum in wrestling is a funny thing. It's not so much based on form like football or tennis, it's about the reaction a character gets and how each win or loss affects that.
WWE must be praised for how they dropped Ryback's undefeated streak without the monster losing any momentum, keeping him as fierce and powerful as he was before Hell in a Cell.
However, two defeats in a row on the grand stage could be a problem.
When you push a new force this quickly you cannot afford to have them pushed aside straight away just because the big names are in town.
If Ryback is to break through as a full-time main event star then he needs victories over the likes of Cena and Punk.
Not every time, I grant you that, but having been screwed once already in a title match, another loss, and his value as a threat to the belt loses all impact.
Also, both Punk and Cena can recover from a defeat with ease. In fact, it might result in more interesting work for both parties if they were to be losers.
Ryback is meant to be a bulldozer, and now he has been built that way he cannot stumble at repeated obstacles.
With the crowd still behind him the win would be bigger now than it would be whenever he is next built up to the top level. And defeat could see them turn back to their usual heroes.
Ryback One-on-One with the Great One
Royal Rumble 2013 will see The Rock face the WWE Champion. A little guesswork suggests Rocky is going to win that match and hold the belt going in WrestleMania 29 in April.
The Rock will be facing one of the three men in tonight's Survivor Series main event, of that there is no doubt.
We have seen Cena vs. The Rock before, which has lead most people to bank on this being a meeting of CM Punk and The Rock at the Rumble.
That to me sounds like a main event at WrestleMania. F4WOnline.com reported WWE's plans to give CM Punk the main event in April, and this match would be more than fitting.
It does not seem like a WWE move to put the main event of WrestleMania on at Royal Rumble, where it will be before the Rumble itself on the card.
The Rock proved himself still up there with the best with his in-ring work with Cena at WrestleMania 28, and you just know that he would sell the threat of Ryback as good as any man in the business.
The destructive Ryback would have been given that backing of the belt by WWE and be a legitimate threat to The Rock.
Rocky would look back to his absolute peak by beating such a monster.
Ryback would get such a rub just from being in such a high profile match, and would certainly not lose any of his aura with his first clean defeat at the hands of one of the greats.
It catapults him into the big time, and The Rock could certainly carry the feud on the mic too, easing Ryback's transition into such a huge feud.
From there on there are so many options on the road to WrestleMania.
Freshening Up the Main Event Scene
Face it, even with Ryback pushing himself into the title scene, most people still only look at CM Punk and Cena as men who could hold the WWE title at the minute.
It's been all about the two biggest names in the company for months now, since John Cena won Money in the Bank in July. Throw in Big Show to keep it interesting (or so they thought) but it was still the two big guns going at it.
Even The Rock's announcement at Raw 1000, declaring his title shot at Royal Rumble, still only posed one question: Will The Rock face Punk or Cena?
Only injury forced Ryback into the main event, and what a blessing that ended up being.
For a company that loves to shock it's audience, there's been no swerve to the WWE title scene for a long time.
Ryback wins, the shock is definitely there, but legitimately. A swerve that makes sense, the foundation Vince McMahon loves to build his success on.
It freshens up the roles of Punk and Cena in the title chase too. Now Punk has no title to cling to, and can be a desperate man chasing the prize he feels he and he alone deserves.
Cena is no longer protecting the honor of the WWE Championship, and has to drop the knight in shining armor act, instead becoming the warrior and the tough guy that wants his belt back for his own desires.
That's the Cena the fans really like, and the Cena he needs to be.
Ryback stays strong whilst invigorating the title scene and two of the companies biggest players.
If you give Ryback the title he is elevated further into the big time of WWE.
In that area, feuds with the biggest names can begin, once a wrestler has status and prominence.
Ending CM Punk's title run, in a match that will also see him defeat Cena, would give Ryback all of that.
The title run can last until Royal Rumble, it can even last until TLC, Ryback will have shown himself as a big deal in the title scene.
Then you can justify big name feuds.
At WrestleMania the likes of The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and, probably, Triple H are the big names that will top the bill.
With a title run and a victory in such a high profile match it would make Ryback worthy of a match against one of the big guns on the grandest stage of them all.
He'd be a worthy threat to "The Streak"; he'd be a legitimate match for Lesnar too. The possibilities would at least be open to him and the WWE.
Even below those huge names, a feud with Randy Orton at WrestleMania would be massive for both stars, and as enticing as many of the matchups between the icons above.
The card for WrestleMania 29 could be the strongest ever with figures like Ryback built up as high profile stars too.
Hope for the Future
One thing the success of Ryback is doing is showcasing WWE's desire to build new main eventers.
It desperately needs to.
Many have tried and failed to burst onto the big time, crushed by the dominance of the current incumbents.
And it is hard for them to carry on their progress ones the part-timers and legends come flooding back.
Just look how long it took for CM Punk to be the main event at PPVs even with the title around his waist. His matches were below Cena vs. Laurinaitis on the card.
If WWE can build Ryback up to the huge level it would give us the belief they can still create huge stars, and it may give WWE the confidence to build some more and rely less on the stars of days gone by.
This obviously is a huge positive. Ryback can be a figure to follow for these wrestlers who would be confident that they can get over and stay over.
It also keeps fans interested because you can believe in a guy and the momentum he is building. To see WWE put someone over Cena and Punk now gives you belief they will do it again one day, and those feuds with upper-mid carders will immediately be more exciting.
With Ziggler and Rhodes two names who could be set for big time, but yet to crack the ceiling, Ryback's progress should be very interesting indeed.
So much can happen in the WWE that it's consistently hard to predict the action and stories in the upcoming days.
This is not me saying Ryback must win, but I will certainly be cheering him on tonight at Survivor Series.
Of course, whilst a loss could end up damaging, it could end up of little detriment at all.
Equally, WWE could push him to the moon, only to ruin the ride once he gets to the highest heights.
But there are certainly reasons for Ryback to be given the title this evening. Each man has his claims at victory here, Ryback just as validly as Punk and Cena.
This could be the best swerve WWE has pulled off in years. A legitimate wrestling angle, a real swerve with forethought and planning.
He may not be out there cutting promo after promo, but that's not what the character needs, and the few words and fearsome intensity work to build the man up.
For me, this is now a perfect main event. There could be any winner, and opinion is wonderfully split. Every man has his supporters, and the reasons behind that are as compelling as the story involved.
Let me know what you think ahead of Survivor Series.