So what will WWE do with Ryback, John Cena and Daniel Bryan at, and following, the Payback pay-per-view?
Well, in this week's (subscribers-only) F4W Newsletter, Bryan Alvarez notes that current creative plans do not involve Ryback coming out on top and winning the WWE Title from archenemy Cena.
The WWE, it seems, sees the Ryback feud as more of a way to get Cena over heading into the summer months:
At the moment, Ryback is not scheduled to win the title and the idea for the Three Stages of Hell match is that it is a vehicle to get over Cena big for the summer.
But, rest assured, Ryback fans, as Alvarez notes, plans are constantly changing in the hectic world of the WWE, particularly in the case of rising star Daniel Bryan:
Now, keep in mind, all is subject to change, and in fact this card changed from the weekend to Raw (for example, Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan was scheduled as of Saturday, but by Monday they'd changed it to the tag team match). Bryan, as of last week, was scheduled to be in the title picture in both July and August, perhaps in a three-way at Money in the Bank, but with the Orton storyline having changed a bit, perhaps that's off the table for now.
So, what to make of all this?
Well, assuming the initial predictions are correct, and Ryback does lose on Sunday, it will do the star's credibility no favors whatsoever.
Just how many times has he come up short when going after the WWE Title over the last year? Five? Six? No wonder many fans have stopped believing in him.
There's also the question of whether Cena, the undisputed No. 1 in the company, even needs his star power built up any more.
What good will sacrificing Ryback do in the long run?
The WWE's obsession with Cena may not bode too well for Bryan either when he does enter the title picture.
Bryan is a terrific wrestler, a funny personalty and is liked by the fans.
He could easily be the company's next babyface star if he's allowed the chance to flourish and isn't kept in Cena's shadow.