Why was the Survivor Series main event changed to Punk vs Ryback vs Cena?

The main event of the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view was made and changed within a seven day span. So why did WWE have such a sudden change of heart from one episode of Monday Night Raw to the next?

Just two weeks ago, WWE used an entire episode of Monday Night Raw to make the main event for the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for Sun., Nov. 18, 2012, at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

It would be Mick Foley leading a team of five babyfaces against CM Punk (with Paul Heyman) and their team of five heels. Those teams were:

Team Foley
Randy Orton
Team Hell No
Kofi Kingston

Team Punk
CM Punk
Alberto Del Rio
The Rhodes Scholars
The Miz

Then, something changed. Suddenly the idea of doing a five-on-five traditional elimination style match was scrapped in favor of the main event that was booked on the very next episode of Raw, a triple threat WWE championship match pitting Punk vs. Ryback and John Cena.

So what happened?

According to the fine folks at the Wrestling Observer, the preliminary estimates came in for the Hell in a Cell PPV and the buys showed that Ryback was as hot as it seemed like he was. He moved the needle enough that it was determined they should continue to strike while the iron stays hot.

From Bryan Alvarez in the latest edition of Figure Four Weekly (subscription required but strongly recommended):

"What happened was, preliminary numbers for Hell in a Cell came in strong, and Vince's conclusion was that Ryback was hot and they needed something more for him than a generic ten-man Survivor Series match at the PPV."

As we've discussed extensively of late, McMahon may be a failure in every other business venture in his life but he's probably the most successful pro wrestling promoter in history. That doesn't make him exempt from criticism but what's to argue with here? Riding the hot hand holds true in nearly every aspect of life and adapting on the fly using new information that paves the road you should be traveling down is what McMahon is really good at.

Ryback is hot, ride him until he's not.

The question quickly becomes whether he's hot enough that WWE will actually pull the trigger on putting the title on him, something they could do while maintaining current plans for the Punk-Cena-Rock trio at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 29 next year. It would mean some form of match at TLC next month that would see Ryback lose the belt without getting pinned, something they could book easily with major players that could draw another solid buyrate.

I may be talking myself into Ryback winning the belt in just over a week.

Now that you've got this new information, Cagesiders, what are your thoughts on the matter? And is Ryback hot enough to win the title?

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