The plan for Hell in a Cell was going to be John Cena against CM Punk. That much was painfully obvious, given the finish of the Night of Champions Pay Per View. The double pinfall was a logical build to the potential John Cena against CM Punk WWE Championship match. Of course, John Cena's shoulder injury is more severe. Especially given a high performance match such as Hell in a Cell, such an injury might cripple how good the match can be.
WWE's back up plan is Ryback. This is an interesting plan for a number of reasons. For one, WWE kind of books themselves into a corner with this one. Punk losing the title right now would kind of put a bullet in any future plans involving the Rock against CM Punk at Royal Rumble. On the other hand, having Ryback lose inside Hell in a Cell would mean that he's just another guy.
Ryback has really been built up over the past six months. Granted, it might be about six months too soon to put the title on him. Goldberg got the WCW Championship ten months into his WCW run. Then again, given the current state of the WWE product, they might as well go for broke, and put the belt on Ryback.
It's not like they have much less to lose. Business is not what it used to be be. Interest is down, and the ratings took a hit over the last number of weeks. Ever since the three hour RAWs started in July, there has been a downward spiral. Oversaturation was what killed WCW, and the same thing is causing WWE to take a tremendous hit.
Just stop and consider one point, is Ryback really the worst choice to put that belt on? WWE might as well try something daring for once. If it doesn't work, put the belt on someone else in a few months. But what if it does work? You could have a new white hot superstar on your hands to rekindle fan interests. Vince McMahon has gotten soft, and has played a rather safe game.
Of course, there is a chance John Cena will still try and go for Hell in a Cell. WWE is running a test run of Ryback against CM Punk matches on house shows. Likely those matches will end in some kind of disqualification finishes. So while Cena against Punk is the plan, Ryback is an interesting backup. While some might argue he's not ready for the title, WWE is more than ready for something new. You never know what might happen. If he's a bomb, it's not like WWE has too far to drop. They'll recover, even if they have go back to the same old hands. Punk's reign just hit the skids over the past couple of months.