Ryback demanded a third WWE title match against CM Punk, and this time it's going to be a TLC match at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2012. The stipulation, though, may be Punk's escape route.
Just when it has seemed that Ryback is about to finish off Punk, something unexpected has befallen him. The lack of rules and order at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series has led to Ryback suffering the only two losses of his career.
The TLC match will lead to Ryback losing once more, setting up the Royal Rumble dream match of The Rock vs. Punk.
Punk has the edge in experience in these types of matches. The stipulation allows Ryback to lose while still looking unstoppable. It also invites the possibility of someone turning the match into a two-on-one (or worse) situation.
CM Punk has been in and won two TLC matches already. He was a part of three Money in the Bank ladder matches, two of which he won.
Even in his indy days, Punk was winning ladder matches.
Like Edge before him, Punk can be billed as a ladder veteran. Ryback may thrive in this environment, but Punk brings a wealth of steel-bending experience, which could translate into him outsmarting his foe at some point.
The commentators can help push this aspect of the story.
The TLC stipulation serves as a home-field advantage of sorts for the WWE champ. It will make far more sense if Punk wins this kind of match than a standard match.
Ryback will surely cause some major destruction at the Barclays Center, but Punk's familiarity with the available weapons may be how he retains his championship.
Ryback walks into the match with a significant power advantage. WWE has also done its best to make Ryback look as near to invincible as humanly possible.
Wouldn't Big Hungry just shake off a roundhouse kick from Punk?
Would the Go To Sleep even keep Ryback down for a full three-count? The way he's been able to hop up from moves so far, maybe not.
The TLC stipulation gives Punk plenty of additional weapons to work with.
Maybe a GTS doesn't do the trick, but that finisher done off the top of a ladder, having Ryback then fall through a table certainly would.
Ryback has free reign over the wood and steel weapons of the match as well, but the dangerous and unpredictable environment serves as an equalizer. Punk can’t match punches or clotheslines with Ryback, but putting a steel chair in his hands puts things on an even playing field.
Just like at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, the TLC gimmick allows Ryback to lose without looking weak.
It's going to take some craftiness from the champ, some vile use of the contraptions around them to do Ryback in.
In a standard match, Punk would have nowhere to run. He'd be over-matched.
Insert tables, ladder and chairs into the mix and suddenly, Punk's chances of winning go up dramatically.
Every bout between Punk and Ryback thus far has ended with interference.
The TLC stipulation includes no disqualification. So if Ryback is to win, he must win against Punk and anyone in his corner who chooses to insert themselves into the action.
Paul Heyman could get in a cheap shot with a chair. The Shield could once again disassemble furniture with Ryback's body.
WWE's creative team has the option of having just about anyone assist Punk.
Should they go that direction, Brock Lesnar could help Punk outnumber his challenger.
A standard match would, in theory, keep Punk's allies at bay. The lack of rules in the TLC match opens the door for just about anything to happen.
Ryback hasn't needed or utilized outside assistance yet.
Punk, on the other hand, has done nothing but with Ryback. Their TLC match likely will mirror their previous matches, with Punk escaping with the title, courtesy of outnumbering the beast.
Ryback may very well have chosen the method of his own demise.