"Feed Me More...Feed Me More..." This chant can be heard in arenas across the country these days. The fans, who once showered Ryback in "Goldberg" chants, now for the most part are firmly behind the Big Hungry. But where is Ryback going? Will he end up in the WWE Championship picture anytime soon? Or will he fade back into the midcard? Interestingly, it all depends on CM Punk.
I've predicted before that I truly believe the Rock will defeat CM Punk at the Royal Rumble. If that happens, Ryback will likely not have another opportunity at the WWE Championship for a long time. Even if Ryback is not in the WWE Title picture, he still could make an impact by becoming a contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Ryback has lost three straight pay-per-view matches, and is certain to lose on the January 7 Raw, where he has a booked TLC match against CM Punk. Regardless of how he loses, that will make four WWE Championship matches in a row where he fails to win the title. I believe if Ryback does in fact lose, he will move on from CM Punk to a new feud.
After all, I seriously doubt WWE has spent all this time building up Rock versus CM Punk at the Rumble in social media only to scrap the match at the last second. Unless CM Punk is more injured than we thought. That, to me, seems to be Ryback's only chance of winning on January 7.
If CM Punk can not defeat the Rock at the Royal Rumble, then the Rock will likely hold the title until WrestleMania, where I predict that the Rock will face John Cena for the WWE Championship. Cena will win that match. At that point, late April to early May of 2013, Ryback may be able to step back into the WWE title picture. But you can be certain that CM Punk will be right there as well.
Because CM Punk will likely be at the top of the card for the next few years (and Cena along with him), Ryback may be relegated to competing for the World Heavyweight Championship or in non-title feuds for the foreseeable future.
But, as Elimination Chamber showed, a key injury can change plans in a heartbeat. Should Cena, Punk or any other WWE title contender go down with an injury, Ryback could be right there waiting to take that top spot. Heck, Ryback could remain so well-received by the crowds that he joins Punk and Cena at the top of the card. That all remains to be seen.
But in the near future, Ryback needs to be a CM Punk fan. If Punk beats Rock, or at least retains his title, then all bets are off on who gets title shots at Elimination Chamber, Wrestlemania and beyond. Ryback's future rides on the continued title reign of "the Best in the World."