The inaugural WWE Payback event set to take place on June 16 is the ideal time for longtime contender Ryback to finally become WWE champion.
Few fans expected to see "The Human Wrecking Ball" triumph in the Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules, but it would appear that the next step in the feud between champion and challenger is for John Cena to drop the title to Ryback at WWE's next pay-per-view event.
Arguably one of the central reasons for Cena retaining the belt in St. Louis is that it was his first title defense since knocking off "The Great One" at WrestleMania 29. It would have looked bad for "The Champ" to defeat one of the greatest of all time in the main event of the company's biggest show of the year, only to drop the strap by failing to make a 10-count at the hands of a relative newcomer.
By the time Payback rolls around, however, Cena will have been WWE champion for more than two months, which is, although a short reign, not an embarrassingly hasty one.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of who wins at Payback is the match type. The fact that Cena will not submit or be pinned in defeat means that his reputation will be left firmly intact, especially as he will likely be booked to look unfortunate rather than weak in defeat. His current booking as a proven fighting champion will also help his cause.
Moreover, for those who believe Creative will once again find a way of keeping the WWE Championship off Ryback without making him look bad, consider why he would be in this feud in the first place if WWE intended to keep the belt on Cena. WWE has put a lot of time and effort into Ryback's character, and his involvement in the title scene would appear futile if he is once again going to somehow be screwed out of the title.
For instance, Mark Henry could arguably have played the heel challenger to John Cena's gold as successfully as Ryback while the latter could have dominated an upper-midcard feud to solidify himself as a main eventer and legitimize himself after multiple pay-per-view losses since Hell in a Cell.
Furthermore, it could be argued that Ryback finally made steps toward silencing his many critics at Extreme Rules, putting on an intense, physical and above all entertaining 20-minute match with the WWE champion. With his performance at Payback, he may have crossed the final hurdle in convincing the higher-ups that he can carry the gold as a top heel.
Ultimately, like it or not, Ryback will win the industry's top prize in three weeks at WWE Payback.