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Who should WWE Champion CM Punk choose to face at Hell in a Cell: John Cena or Ryback?
Behind one cage door is John Cena — a 10-time WWE Champion, a veteran of this unforgiving match who will do whatever it takes to reclaim the coveted title he hasn’t held in more than a year.
Behind the other cage door is Ryback — a snarling, ferocious beast who has devoured every Superstar in his path and just keeps demanding to be fed more and more.
Which Hell in a Cell would you choose to step inside?
That is the unenviable decision that CM Punk now faces after Mr. McMahon issued an ultimatum to the WWE Champion at the close of Monday night's Raw. For Punk, it comes down to picking between the devil he knows or the devil he doesn't have the slightest clue about. On the surface alone, it seems like the choice should be Cena, especially considering his recovery from elbow surgery. But if you look closer, you'll realize that it's not all that simple for The Straight Edge Superstar.
WWE.com is here to examine the pros and cons of both options Punk has to choose from as Hell in a Cell looms just weeks away. Which opponent he selects might make all the difference between extending his impressive WWE Title reign and losing the grip on his championship gold completely ...
Why Punk should choose to face John Cena
Even if you believe that Cena will be fully recovered from elbow surgery in time for Hell in a Cell — and there's a good chance he won't be — history indicates that this match could work in the WWE Champion's favor. Punk and Cena have gone head-to-head more than 10 times dating back to 2009, but it's Punk who has come out on the winning end of two of their most important clashes for the WWE Title.
In 2011, The Straight Edge Superstar defeated Cena at Money in the Bank and took him down again one month later at SummerSlam. Punk even knows how Cena typically operates inside the confines of Hell in a Cell, having battled him and Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat Match at Hell in a Cell 2011. With a devious mastermind like Paul Heyman giving Punk advice from outside the Cell, conquering Cena might even be easier than those past showdowns.
It's also apparent what Cena wants: the WWE Championship. Ryback, on the other hand, might not care about the title more than he cares about the destruction of his opponents. Is Punk ready to be trapped inside a steel structure with an unpredictable wrecking machine? Yeah, facing Cena definitely feels like the much safer alternative.
Why Punk should choose to face Ryback
For several weeks, Punk has been clamoring for respect ad nauseam. He's tried to demand it with his words and even beat it out of WWE Legends like Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Mick Foley. But if Punk really wants to prove himself worthy of everyone's respect, how about accomplishing something no other Superstar has been remotely able to do? Yes, we're talking about being the first to defeat Ryback.
Getting inside Hell in a Cell with the 6-foot-3, nearly 300-pound juggernaut is a ridiculously scary proposition, but if Punk could break Ryback's food chain, he'd have a victory that would silence the doubters and possibly make his WWE Championship reign be viewed as one of the very best of all time. There may not ever be a greater proving ground match for The Straight Edge Superstar than the one that stands in front of him right now.
Simply put, Ryback could be the Andre the Giant to Punk's Hulk Hogan.