7 Reasons CM Punk Should Not Face Ryback on WWE Raw
CM Punk will defend the WWE Championship against Ryback in a TLC match on tonight's episode of Monday Night Raw.
But he shouldn't.
As we draw closer to one of the WWE's biggest pay-per-views of the year, Royal Rumble, the company is risking quite a lot by having this match take place on tonight's show.
Punk certainly doesn't need it. Ryback doesn't need it. And neither do we.
Well, let's take a look at seven reasons why Punk should not defend his WWE title against Ryback on the first Raw of 2013.
7. Punk vs. Ryback Overdone?
You could easily make a case that the feud between CM Punk and Ryback has already become played out and overdone.
The rivalry between the two has been going on since John Cena underwent elbow surgery back in September, and yet it still hasn't had a whole lot of progress.
Punk beat Ryback at Hell in a Cell, he beat him once again at Survivor Series and if it weren't for Punk's knee surgery, odds are that Punk would have beat him again at WWE TLC.
At what point does the WWE realize that this feud has gone on for far too long without really accomplishing anything?
It's almost beginning to feel like the Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio feud, where ADR kept getting title shot after title shot without ever actually winning it.
The WWE doesn't want to have a major rivalry between its two top stars seem never-ending, especially if it's not in a good way.
But the longer that Punk vs. Ryback goes on, the more it feels like that's exactly what's happening.
6. It's Put the WWE in an Awkward Booking Situation Yet Again
Once again, the WWE has put itself in another awkward booking situation.
The creative team did this with CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in a Cell and the Triple Threat match that also involved John Cena at Survivor Series.
Since the WWE seemingly wants Punk to retain his WWE Championship but also keep Ryback looking strong, it puts the company in quite the pickle yet again.
How do you prevent Ryback from looking weak while still having him lose? How do you make the outcome of the match unpredictable? Do you make Punk look like a coward again?
These are all questions that creative will have to ponder before Ryback vs. Punk takes place, but they are questions that wouldn't matter if the match simply didn't happen.
The WWE spent the latter portion of 2012 booking itself into a corner when it came to Punk, Ryback and the WWE title, and lo and behold, it has done it again.
5. Ryback 's Losing Streak Needs to End
For the first six months after Ryback's debut, the WWE portrayed him as an unbeatable and unstoppable monster.
But once he stepped up to the WWE Championship scene, all he's done is lose. He lost at Hell in a Cell, then at Survivor Series and once again at WWE TLC.
It doesn't matter that he lost by a low blow, after having three men attack him and without getting pinned. He still lost.
So, suddenly, Ryback has gone from a beast who can't lose to someone who couldn't win any of the three biggest matches of his career.
Ryback is obviously still majorly over with the crowd, but there could come a point when he's lost so much that he's no longer viewed as a viable main event threat.
With the widespread expectation being that Ryback will lose to Punk tonight, that figures to be his fourth straight loss in a major match.
He needs a big win now more than ever, but the odds of him getting that win by beating Punk tonight are slim to none.
4. Ryback Doesn't Deserve Another Title Shot
This doesn't mean that the man behind the Ryback character doesn't deserve another WWE title shot.
Rather, it means that, at least in a storyline sense, Ryback should not be getting another opportunity to win the WWE Championship.
Yes, you could say that he was "screwed" out of the WWE title at both Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. But was he really?
After all, both Hell in a Cell and Triple Threat matches come with a "no disqualification" stipulation. Anything goes during those matches.
So, we must ask the question: Why does Ryback deserve another WWE title match when he, technically speaking, lost his last two title matches fair and square?
Had Ryback been screwed out of the title in standard wrestling matches, it might make a bit more sense. But he wasn't.
He lost his two WWE Championship matches and then followed those losses up with another one at WWE TLC.
By giving Ryback yet another WWE title opportunity, the WWE is just proving once again that wins and losses don't matter nearly as much as they should.
3. It's Time for Punk to Move on to the Rock
In less than four weeks, the WWE is expected to hold one of its biggest matches in history: CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble.
With Punk figuring to head into the match with a 400-plus-day title reign and The Rock wrestling just his third match since 2004, it's undoubtedly going to be a match of monumental proportions.
Yet instead of focusing on the match that we all know is going to happen, the WWE has sort of put it on the back burner because of this Punk/Ryback feud and match.
While it's likely that the WWE will kick off the feud between The Rock and Punk tonight, it should be the primary focus of the show because we're just 27 days away from Royal Rumble.
The Rock vs. Punk is going to be what draws people into that pay-per-view. Royal Rumble is probably going to be the WWE's second-most watched PPV of the year because of that match.
But for some reason or another, the WWE seems hellbent on continuing this Punk/Ryback feud when the spotlight should be on Punk vs. Rock.
A big part of the appeal of Punk/Rock is the buildup, with two of the best talkers ever expecting to drop pipe bombs on one another, and that buildup needs to start ASAP.
Ryback vs. Punk can happen at any point after WrestleMania 29. Punk vs. Rock likely only happens once.
2. It Puts Punk at Risk of Getting Reinjured
If CM Punk wasn't healthy enough to compete on tonight's Raw, then he wouldn't have been medically cleared to do so.
At the same time, though, knee injuries can be pretty tricky, and there's no guarantee that Punk is indeed 100 percent ready to go.
After all, Punk's a tough dude, and there's always the chance that he's going to gut it out through the knee injury because he knows the WWE wants his match with Ryback to take place.
Is it worth the risk, though? Probably not.
It hasn't been all that long since Punk underwent knee surgery, and when he steps into the ring with Ryback tonight, he is undoubtedly risking re-injury.
At any other time of the year, that would be OK. But with less than four weeks until the biggest match of Punk's career, wouldn't it make sense to keep him out of the ring until the Rumble just in case?
While Punk will be risking getting injured again no matter when he steps into the ring, an extra three or four weeks of rest might do him a world of good and prevent the worse from happening.
But with the WWE remaining insistent on having Punk vs. Ryback tonight, the WWE is tasking a big risk that may ultimately backfire.
1. The Outcome Is Too Predictable
Predictable storylines or match outcomes are certainly not always a bad thing.
But tonight's WWE Championship match between CM Punk and Ryback is so predictable that it almost seems completely pointless.
Everyone knows that the WWE's money match at The Royal Rumble is Punk vs. The Rock, and nothing or no one, not even Ryback, is going to prevent that dream match from happening.
That's why no one expects Ryback to have any real shot of winning the WWE title tonight.
Punk will head into his Royal Rumble match with The Rock having held the WWE Championship for more than 400 days, and it will be one of the biggest matches in WWE history.
If that's indeed the case, like most expect to it to be, then giving Ryback another title match tonight seems to serve very little purpose.
Ryback will likely lose in cheap fashion again, and Punk will likely luck out with another victory, which accomplishes little to nothing for either guy.
The WWE has booked itself into a corner one more time, and we all know what's going to happen: Punk will weasel his way to another win, and Ryback will lose...again.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!