To all those Ryback fans out there: Enjoy TLC, because it's the last time Ryback will be close to winning the WWE Championship. I've made this prediction before, so what I'm about to say should come as no surprise to my regular readers. Of course, The Shield has changed the landscape since last month, but the result will be the same: Ryback will not be WWE Champion, and TLC is his last WWE title match for a while.
Ryback exploded onto the WWE main event scene just over a month ago in the run up to WWE Hell in a Cell. Many people believe that Ryback only got his opportunity due to Cena's legitimate elbow injury, and that his push was premature or undeserved. While I won't speculate on any of that, I will say that WWE never has seemed to be fully behind Ryback's meteoric ascension to the top of the card.
In fact, even the most casual of Internet fans seemed to understand that Ryback would not walk out of Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series as WWE Champion.
In case by now you're uncertain where I'm going with this, here it is: Ryback will not leave TLC as WWE Champion. Why? Two reasons: The Rock and The Shield.
As you may know from WWE TV, Twitter and numerous other sources, WWE has already begun its unofficial promotion of the main event match at Royal Rumble. The Rock has already taken shots at Punk on Twitter, pumping up their match in January—meaning Ryback is just a placeholder until the Rock returns.
However WWE makes it happen, Ryback will not be WWE Champion after TLC.
That brings me to The Shield. They have now beaten Ryback down three times, as well as Kane and Daniel Bryan once each. Leaving Team Hell No aside, three beatdowns of the same person in professional wrestling usually foretells an impending feud. Whatever reason The Shield has, they seem to be targeting Ryback. Their assaults on Ryback may be evidence of allegiance to CM Punk or to Paul Heyman, but they have vehemently denied any involvement with Punk.
So where does that leave Ryback? And equally as important, what will happen with The Shield? Can either Ryback or The Shield withstand a protracted feud with each other? My thoughts are that The Shield will move on. I believe WWE has more in store for them than a long and uneventful feud with Ryback.
Whatever may happen going forward, though, one thing is certain: CM Punk will retain his championship until at least the Royal Rumble, setting up his long-anticipated match with the Rock.
Ryback may be over with the fans, but WWE has much bigger plans for the WWE Championship.