You have the WWE champion, the longest reigning one since forever at that, defending his championship against the undefeated (on TV) powerhouse...in a match where there's no DQ. No Countout. A Steel cage with a roof on it.
For the first time in forever, we are pretty much promised and insured that someone is going to win and someone is going to lose, but there are pluses and minuses to each scenario.
Beating Punk could kill his momentum and throw a monkey wrench into the obvious plans leading into the Royal Rumble and his showdown with the Rock.
Beating Ryback could kill his momentum and the WWE Creative Team's best effort to build someone up as a killer force in forever.
There's no cheap way out of this. A belt shot to the face isn't a DQ. Punk cannot walk out. Paul Heyman can't trip Ryback to force an ending.
Champion vs. Challenger. Babyface vs. Heel. Who knows what the hell is going to happen? That's what makes this so interesting and so intriguing - WWE stumbled into the old school pro wrestling elements that made fans live and die by what happened inside the squared circle. Fans believe something is going to go down. Something historic.
It's the same scenario that makes fans care about the big boxing or UFC fight. They know someone is going into the ring and leaving a winner and the other guy is leaving a loser. Whether it happens in 30 seconds or five rounds, at the end of the day, in most cases, fans know they are getting a positive victor.
That's what fans are looking for here, and WWE has an extra element in their favor - and that's the fact that they can tailor their environment and take people on a true roller coaster ride before they give them that finish.
But, should they give them a finish at all?
I submit to you the most insane, audacious thing that WWE could do.
CM Punk vs. Ryback. 60 Minutes inside Hell in A Cell. A Time Limit Draw.
It sounds completely insane but if it was me, it's exactly what I'd want to see happen.
CM Punk, in his already beloved DVD documentary, goes into great detail discussing his series of matches with Samoa Joe and his obsession at the time with old school World champions. For the uninitiated, Punk and Joe fought in two excellent 60 minute draws that still stand up today almost a decade later, pretty much saving Ring of Honor and standing tall as "the" feud for the ROH championship.
Punk is obviously not as young as he was then, but he's no longer trying to emulate those old school champions - he is THE CHAMPION. If anyone could create and work through a 60 minute match with Ryback, it's the guy who decided with two days notice he was going to run the Chicago marathon - and finished it. Cardio is not an issue here for Punk.
This could be Punk's chance to really put the exclamation point on his WWE career. He's had the titles and the excellent mic work, but he's never had the chance to be "the man" and make someone the way he did in the past with ROH and the way Jeff Hardy did for Punk several years back.
Taking Ryback and the audience through a 60 minute journey with Punk as the World champion in peril, in the same vein as Ric Flair in the 1980s, is a hell of a way to make Hell in A Cell his own as well as helping to make Ryback the next great monster. After all, no one. Not Undertaker, Mick Foley or Triple H can lay claim to working a 60 minute Cell match.
Working a 60 minute bout would also do a hell of a lot for Ryback. We've only seen him in short spurts as a performer and hell, he may be out of his element and the entire thing could fall on its face, but all signs are he's willing to work and learn and do what's asked of him.
Ryback is obviously in incredible shape and if the match is crafted right - Punk on the run, Punk trying to take him to the mat, Ryback finally fighting out, a big power spot that shattered the Cell door, some scrambling up and down the cage, a brawl to the stage and back and finally a series of "sooooooooo close Punk has to lose right?" near falls that gets everyone losing their mind and finally the bell ringing as Ryback's explosive last power moves obviously have Punk done for...but just a few seconds too late - it could cement Ryback as THE guy for the future.
Punk walks out with the title, brash and arrogant, as Paul Heyman schemes to keep Ryback the hell away from him (for now). Ryback comes out as the monster who almost had the belt...and one day, it's going to be his. Just not tonight.
And, we have a classic that no one expected, shocking the world.
Sure, it sounds like the most unlikely of scenarios and there are a lot of arguments against it...but remember that old saying? "Anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation?" Well, it may be WWE now, but perhaps it's time that Anything can and will happen...even over the course of 60 minutes when no one sees it coming.
Mike Johnson can be reached at Mike@PWInsider.com. He highly, highly, highly suggests "The Untold Story of Marvel Comics" by Sean Howe for your reading pleasure. It's awesome.
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