Hardcore Legend's Hell in a Cell advice: Mick Foley's words to Ryback

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October 25, 2012

On Sunday, Ryback will descend into “Hell” for the first time. If this is an exaggeration, it is a small one.

Hell in a Cell will test the rising star in ways he’s yet to encounter during his brief (though undeniably impressive) career. Not only will the human wrecking ball find himself in an unfamiliar environment — not to mention one that has claimed Superstars far more storied than he — but he’ll also be facing easily his toughest, most experienced opponent yet: the WWE Champion himself, CM Punk. While Ryback has certainly made mincemeat of the champion in their brief encounters leading up to Hell in a Cell, it bears mentioning that Punk has been caught either off-guard or winded almost every time. Sunday, Ryback will see a new side to The Second City Saint, and for all his might, the chance of defeat looms higher than ever.

All this is not to say Punk has this one in the bag. But even Dante would agree: When setting foot into hell, it’s best one has a guide. So for Ryback’s maiden voyage into the place where rivalries are settled, WWE.com sought the wisdom of the Cell’s most storied veteran: Mick Foley. To the surprise of no one, The Hardcore Legend did not pull any punches when he laid out the challenges facing the ravenous newcomer when he steps into the Cell.

“Let it all hang out,” Foley told WWE.com. “If there was ever a time not to hold anything back, it is in this match.” Foley cited his own Hell in a Cell experience as an example for Ryback to play the hand that fate deals him and roll with whatever circumstances the Cell throws his way. For the uninitiated: Foley was thrown off, then through, the roof of the Cell and Tombstoned onto a mound of thumbtacks, but still brought The Phenom within a hair of defeat.

This strategy calls for a certain tenacity in the ring, however, and The Hardcore Legend made sure to highlight that Ryback has yet to face an opponent with both the physical and cerebral proficiencies commonly attributed to CM Punk. If hell is other people, then Ryback is certainly walking into the seventh circle against this particular champion.

“We haven’t seen Ryback pushed past the five-minute mark,” Foley said. “Five minutes would be a long Ryback match … [Punk] had a day off and spent it running a marathon; that is a guy who is in prime condition.” The Hardcore Legend said the idea of Punk vs. Ryback brought up memories of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle,” where Muhammad Ali used his speed and stamina (plus a healthy dose of jaw-jacking) to withstand the powerhouse assault of George Foreman en route to an upset victory over the younger, stronger champion. If Punk decides to emulate The Greatest and let Ryback punch himself out, that could lead to disaster for the No. 1 contender. “CM Punk [is] a master of mind games and it could just very well be that he would relish the opportunity to have a very tired Ryback on his hands,” Foley said.

Avoiding that outcome should be paramount in the mind of the human wrecking ball. “Hell in a Cell is a something that, optimally, a Superstar would have months to prepare for,” Foley said. “Ryback’s case is a couple of weeks, and there are a lot of question marks surrounding Ryback, whether he can ‘go the distance’ as they say. And not to use too many clichés, but it’s said that fatigue makes cowards of us all, and it would not be very becoming of Ryback to come out of this enormous match looking cowardly in the least.”

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