Outsmarted, out-hustled or out-cheated? However you slice it, CM Punk used an illegal low blow to defeat Ryback at WWE Battleground, and “The Big Guy’s” biggest admirer, Paul Heyman, is crying foul. At Hell in a Cell on Oct. 27, the newest Heyman Guy gets a chance to prove the win was a fluke, as his manager says, when he faces The Best in the World in a rematch.
In pinning Ryback, the ever-savvy Straight Edge Superstar seemingly took a page out of his former mentor’s book: As a WWE official reprimanded Heyman for brandishing a Kendo stick — apparently intended for use against a downed Punk — The Second City Saint took advantage of the distraction, kicking The Human Wrecking Ball low and rolling him up for the win. Despite coming away with the victory, Punk insists he is not yet vindicated. He has also admitted that his ongoing rivalry with Heyman is taking its toll.
“I’m damn near broken,” Punk told Renee Young. Since splitting ways with Heyman, The Second City Saint has been slammed through tables, lacerated by Kendo sticks and blasted in the skull with a ladder. He has wondered aloud whether he’ll last long enough to score the retribution he seeks.
To succeed, The Straight Edge Superstar may have to dispel any questions about his ability to defeat Heyman’s “big, beautiful” protector in a fair fight. The WWE Universe has already noted the hypocrisy of Ryback’s supposed disdain for bullying, and on the surface, Heyman’s disapproval of Punk’s illegal tactics seems like more of the same.
Yet, Punk has not earned a decisive win over the bald-headed shredder. At last year’s Hell in a Cell, The Best in the World became the first Superstar to defeat Ryback, but the involvement of rogue referee Brad Maddox gave cause for skepticism. Punk won a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match against Ryback in January, but only after The Shield interrupted the proceedings.
With their rematch scheduled for Hell in a Cell, can Punk prove once and for all that he is the superior competitor? Or will Ryback — fueled by anger over the loss and with the strategic support of Heyman — break Punk’s body and spirit? To find out, watch Hell in a Cell when it airs live on pay-per-view Sunday, Oct. 27, at 8 ET/5 PT.