Savagery must follow savagery to make the Randy Orton-Seth Rollins feud work.
After Orton essentially took an ax to Rollins and turned him into a pile of firewood on Monday's Raw, WWE has little choice but to keep escalating the level of violence in this story. The company can't just have these men travel down the typical pre-match path, leading up to a typical contest.
It can't have that assault be the climax; fans need a reason to look forward to their collisions at WrestleMania and beyond.
Orton finally paying back Mr. Money in the Bank on Monday night certainly felt like the end of a story, though.
After recovering from the beatdown Rollins administered in November, The Viper only teased that he would rejoin The Authority. Everyone but Rollins himself knew that Orton snapping was imminent.
Monday's Raw opened with The Authority officially welcoming him back, and The Apex Predator firing back with insults. He mocked Jamie Noble's height and called Kane an office errand boy before taking it all back, claiming to be joking.
It was later in the night that Rollins would realize he was alone with a man intent on exacting vengeance.
During a Handicap match against Roman Reigns, Orton refused to tag in. Instead, he offered Rollins a close-up view of his extended middle fingers. Then came the kind of beating that Brock Lesnar likely daydreams about doling out.
Orton played the part of rabid, berserk predator. Rollins took up the role of sufferer.
The violent song that Orton then played for the Raw audience included the sound of a steel chair smacking flesh, Rollins crashing into a table and Rollins' shoulder drumming against the ring steps. By the end of it, the hero had conquered the villain, and revenge belonged to Orton.
In a traditional tale of babyface revenge, that would mark the end of the final chapter.
WWE has strayed from that typical storytelling path, though. That's fine, but it can't have the rest of the narrative underwhelm from this point. It can't let this rivalry hit its peak three weeks removed from WrestleMania.
The best way to keep fans interested after that explosive moment is to give them more explosions.
For Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker and Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, their WrestleMania showdowns will mark their first collisions. For Orton and Rollins, they have already left each other bruised and out cold. Their feud must differ from those others.
Make this a story saturated with brawls, one where Rollins responds with an even more brutal attack.
Build Orton vs. Rollins around increasing animosity. Make each man look like a dangerous beast capable of tearing its prey apart in its teeth. That should lead to them fighting in the parking lot, trying to run each over with cars or looking to snap the other's bones.
And that has to continue into their actual match.
Their WrestleMania meeting can't be won with headlocks and roll-ups; it must be the event's most violent offering. Make it a Street Fight, Falls Count Anywhere or Last Man Standing match. That's where the current trajectory is heading.
If Orton beats Rollins with an RKO in a standard bout, it won't be able to properly follow what he did to him on Monday's Raw. Going with a gimmick match instead allows for creative use of weapons and for these rivals to reach the fitting levels of violence that this story has taken them so far.
There's potential for this to be what Mick Foley vs. Edge was for WrestleMania 22 or Goldust vs. Roddy Piper was for WrestleMania 12.
The Show of Shows will have its comedy moments, its celebrity cameos and its grand displays of spectacle. Rollins and Orton can provide the grittier, sadistic portion of the program, one chair shot at a time.