According to PWInsider and other sources, it is said that the already hyped return match between current WWE Champion C.M. Punk and Ryback is not going to happen as advertised. The two were originally scheduled to have a title bout at the WWE TLC pay-per-view until it was decided that the champ needed to undergo surgery for a knee injury.
Since then, adjustments have been made to the PPV event itself and the upcoming weeks of televised programming with the big payoff being the rescheduled encounter of Punk vs. Ryback. This match up is currently advertised for the first Raw program of the new year which is to take place on Monday, January 7, 2013.
However, word is that the WWE is intending not to go through with this match as they would like to hold off and milk their eventual encounter for as long as possible. Another reason is the internal concern for Punk’s health and to ensure he is 100% for when WrestleMania 29 rolls around. The WWE does not want to risk re-aggravating the injury with an early in-ring return.
Apparently, officials have a big role planned for Punk come WrestleMania and it should come as no surprised. Punk is not only the current WWE champion but he is also one of the top guys they rely on for ratings and in-ring performance.
If the rumors turn out to be true, this is a decision that management should be commended on for multiple reasons. First and foremost, they are putting the health of an employee as a priority. They are also thinking long term and ensuring that their biggest event of the year does not take a hit due to a short term pay off.
Additional benefits may include a better payoff in the eventual Ryback versus Punk encounter. It will also allow for the WWE to build Ryback up once more after suffering three consecutive PPV loses. An early Raw rematch would potentially have led to another loss or a finish marred with controversy or run-ins.
Furthermore, it gives Punk even more heat as a champion who has been avoiding Ryback and receiving external assistance (Brad Maddox, The Shied). Milking an injury past its due date could further enrage the WWE Universe.
As well, with all due respect to Ryback but Punk defeating mid-card talent and repeat contenders will not do anything to help build the legacy of his title reign. He has competed against the majority of the WWE’s main eventers.
At this point, he needs to go toe-to-toe with more prominent contenders such as The Undertaker, HHH, Brock Lesnar, the upcoming bout with The Rock and, of course, the dream match with Steve Austin if it were to ever happen. These are the type of pressure situations that Punk thrives under best and they are the ones that will help take his title reign to the next level.