ATLANTA — Some WWE fans thought it would take an act of God for WWE Champion CM Punk to walk out of his Hell in a Cell Match against Ryback with the title still in his possession. In truth, all it took was an act of deception from the WWE Champion and a WWE official that won’t soon be forgiven.
Successfully executing a plan that could only have sprang from the twisted mind of Paul Heyman, CM Punk became the first Superstar to defeat the human wrecking ball machine after WWE official Brad Maddox revealed himself to be working in collusion with The Straight Edge Champion. The same referee who garnered Punk’s wrath after some questionable officiating on the Sept. 17 edition of Raw, Maddox changed the course of WWE history by low blowing Ryback as he was about to finish Punk will Shell Shocked and then counting three in less than three seconds while helping the WWE Champion hold down Ryback’s massive legs.
Punk and the underhanded official may have pulled of a devious plan, but both men ended up lifeless in pieces after a very angry Ryback got his hands on them.
Tonight’s deception was the exact kind of dishonesty WWE fans have come to expect out of the arrogant Superstar and his slimy associate. Three hundred and forty three days into his reign as WWE Champion, Punk recognized that he was facing his most imposing and unpredictable challenge yet and it would take more than just some outside interference from Heyman to beat Ryback.
An indestructible phenomenon who somewhat unexpectedly found himself in the WWE Title hunt, Ryback did not enter tonight’s Hell in a Cell bout with the type of trepidation typical of a Superstar competing in their first WWE Championship Match. Instead, he walked in with an unshakeable confidence usually reserved for experienced veterans. Punk, on the contrary, appeared nervous and hesitant as he hugged Paul Heyman before entering the Cell, unsure of whether or not he would see his ally again.
The WWE Champion was right to be anxious. The moment the imposing cage was chained shut, Punk’s 291-pound opponent terrorized him like the villain in a horror movie. As the desperate title holder tried his damndest to stay out of Ryback’s grasps, the scary strong Superstar maintained his focus, allowing the champion to get close enough so he could tear him apart like a pit bull with a chew toy in its mouth.
Never so desperate, The Voice of the Voiceless franticly clawed at the Cell’s padlock for escape and even crawled under the ring to get away from his challenger. A blast from a fire extinguisher momentarily turned the bout in Punk’s favor, but Ryback turned it right back by sending a steel chair right into the champion’s incisors. Barely 10 minutes into his showdown with the human wrecking machine and CM Punk was confident of one thing — he was in over his head.
So what do you do when you’re locked inside an inescapable cage with a 291-pound monster who does not feel pain like a normal man? If you’re any other Superstar, you accept your fate as a stain on the mat. If you’re CM Punk and sports-entertainment iconoclast Paul Heyman is in your corner, you have a plan.
It happened like this — just as Ryback prepared to finish the WWE Champion off with Shell Shocked, referee Brad Maddox stood in the machine’s path. It only took a moment, but with the mighty Superstar halted, Maddox dropped to his knees and delivered a vicious low blow to the big man. When Ryback fell over, Punk rolled him up and the crooked official performed the fastest three count the WWE Universe had ever witnessed while on top of Ryback’s leg.
There was no celebration on the WWE Champion’s behalf. Just a hopeless struggle to get out of Hell in a Cell before Ryback came to. Punk wouldn’t be so lucky this time. After dispatching of Brad Maddox by throwing him out of the ring and directly into the unforgiving steel of the Cell cage, Ryback chased his rival to the very top of the towering structure. With nowhere left to run, Punk was snatched by the wrecking ball machine who delivered an unforgettable Shell Shocked in front of a wild WWE crowd in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena. Ryback lost the bout, but as he put a foot onto the chest of his fallen opponent, he looked every bit the victor.
Tomorrow night on Raw, Punk may not look like a winner, but he will have the WWE Title. The underhanded Superstar will continue to count his days as champion, but with Cena at 100% and Ryback hungrier than ever, those days may finally be counting down.