For several weeks, WWE has teased both CM Punk vs. John Cena, as well as CM Punk vs. Ryback as potential headliners for its 2012 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Speculation has circled that this has been done in case John Cena's injury prevents his participation in the match. The decision will be made on the October 15 episode of Monday Night Raw, no doubt stalled to figure out Cena's medical situation.
So while WWE still has time, let's break down some pros and cons for these two decisions.
The single biggest factor that will determine who faces CM Punk at Hell in a Cell will be the severity of John Cena's injuries. If both Ryback and John Cena are fully healed, the obvious advantage would go to Cena, as his veteran status trumps Ryback's main event inexperience.
All of that, however, is thrown out the window if John Cena is not fully cleared to wrestle. If the recent Jerry Lawler heart attack has taught WWE officials anything, it should be that the health and safety of its talent should not be taken lightly.
When someone goes into a match with a medical condition already handicapping them, the likelihood of its worsening is magnified.
John Cena has pulled miracle healing out of nowhere before (circa 2008 Royal Rumble), but it's never wise to place more straws on the camel's back. John Cena is tasked with carrying the company on his shoulders, and with an arm injury, the weight could be too much. The last thing WWE needs is to put its next few months of revenue, as well as WrestleMania XXIX, in jeopardy for this pay-per-view.
+1 to Ryback
One of the things people like to complain about in wrestling is that it gets too repetitive.
"Let's shake things up again" has been a motto for Vince McMahon that people continue to bring up, begging for change.
Whether it's the WWE title belt design or the frequency of competitors in main event matches, a majority of the criticism in regards to the "same old, same old" mentality centers around John Cena himself.
The crowd that has "Cena Nuff" is just as vocal as ever, and considering the number of matches John Cena and CM Punk have had with each other over the past year, it's tough to argue that another match between the two would bring something new to the table.
In comparison, Ryback and CM Punk have yet to feud with each other. Sheer curiosity can sometimes create great interest.
+1 to Ryback
Despite receiving a large growth in popularity over recent weeks, Ryback's feud with CM Punk is still in its infantile stage. It's been hinted at, but there's little to no substance behind it.
John Cena's feud, on the other hand, is the product of months of storyline. I personally know of many people who became rejuvenated fans of wrestling because of the CM Punk vs. John Cena feud in 2011.
For those people, a continuation of that feud will likely be more interesting to watch. While many fans complain about repetitiveness, it's not unheard of for the same viewers to also complain about the lack of a credible championship feud, wanting things to last longer.
My theory is to strike while the John Cena iron is still hot but continue heating up the Ryback iron and prepare that for the future.
+1 to John Cena
CM Punk and John Cena have proven that they have great in-ring chemistry together. Virtually all of their matches have been met with high esteem and even "match of the year" reviews.
Sometimes, the tried and true path is better than diverging away and taking a risk.
Ryback is providing fans with entertainment in a completely different style with his squash matches—something that, for all intents and purposes, cannot be done in a Hell in a Cell WWE Championship match against one of the top men in the company.
While John Cena may not be trustworthy when it comes to his injury, he's assuredly the more proven man in regards to performance evaluation when facing CM Punk.
+1 to John Cena
John Cena is the so-called cash cow of the WWE. His merchandise sells, his television segments do well and events seem to suffer if they don't involve him in some capacity.
There's seemingly no evidence to support the theory that the buy rate would be better with Ryback headlining the event against CM Punk. His popularity is growing, but he's still left in the dust when putting him up against the company's No. 1 moneymaker.
+1 to John Cena
Generally speaking, I would have to argue that John Cena vs. CM Punk is the best way to go with this match.
Not only are there other times in the future that CM Punk could have his blow-off match with Ryback, but the slow burn of their feud could make said blow-off much more interesting in the long run.
This is wholly dependent upon John Cena's ability to wrestle and walk out of the arena not with his hands raised above his head, but more importantly, with his arm not in a cast. As long as John Cena is safe to wrestle, he's the safest choice to turn in a profit by finishing off his established feud with CM Punk.
Who do you think CM Punk should face at Hell in a Cell? Sound off in the comments below with your pros and cons.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!