After failing to garner television ratings on par with major stars, Ryback went into his first pay-per-view (PPV) main event at Hell in a Cell on Oct. 28, 2012, in Atlanta with a mix of low expectations and casual excitement.
The way WWE booked him heading into the show created a curiosity factor for his match against WWE Champion CM Punk, as fans wondered if the promotion would actually go through with a title switch after building Punk's title reign for so long. It would have also required scrapping plans for Punk to face The Rock at Royal Rumble next year.
Combine the match type -- Hell in a Cell, which has less ways out with smoz finishes -- and more fans than normal were hooked into buying the show.
The proof in the pudding came with WWE's PPV buys estimates, which have the show at doing 200,000 buys, breaking down to 152,000 domestic and 48,000 international. Last year's show, headlined by Alberto Del Rio winning the WWE title in a triple threat match with Punk and John Cena, drew 182,000 buys, so this is an improvement if only slightly, though the 2010 show, headlined by Kane defeating Undertaker for the world heavyweight championship, did 210,000.
This year's show saw Punk retain the title after rogue referee Brad Maddox hit Ryback with a low blow and hit a fast three count. In addition, Big Show won the world heavyweight title by pinning Sheamus, Kofi Kingston retained the Intercontinental strap over The Miz, and Randy Orton knocked off Alberto Del Rio.
For complete results from WWE Hell in a Cell click here.