If you’re one of the people who have been reading my columns since day one, the first thing I want to do is thank you for being down since the beginning. Second you would know that the first column that I had ever written for the site was entitled “All Aboard the Ryback Train”. It was right before he was about to face CM Punk for the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell. I felt that it was extremely important that he won that match.
The reason being is that his “Feed Me More” gimmick was based on him always winning and never losing. It is a formula that we have seen with guys like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and others. When Ryback didn’t win that match, it started a snowball effect where he just kept losing in the big event. He hasn’t won a match in Pay Per View in about a year, and that didn’t change when he was beaten by John Cena at Payback. Everyone knew that he was going to lose, not because John Cena is the top guy but because after all the months of losing he was looked at as such….A LOSER.
Ryback’s booking reminds me of how Lex Luger was booked in his early days in the NWA. He was winning all sorts of matches but whenever he faced off against a top guy like Ric Flair for the title, he would always lose the big one. Fans began to label Luger a choke artist, and when he did finally win the title a few years later no one really gave a shit. Ryback is WWE’s choke artist, and after looking dominant when he first caught fire within WWE he now looks like just another fake wrestler on the roster. There is nothing about him special anymore. If he won the WWE Title next week, would anyone care? He isn’t exactly Ricky Steamboat in the ring, and he isn’t known for being that good of a talker. Winning was the only gimmick that he had that was marketable. Ryback should have been so much more, and the blueprint for booking him was out there. Goldberg was the blueprint that WWE needed to follow with him, and while he was put into the WWE Title scene way to soon because WWE creative panicked they still should have gone all the way with him. FOLLOW THE BLUEPRINT!
Before Ryback was even put into the main event there was a lot that could have been done first. He should have blown through the whole midcard during that early run when he was beating everyone’s ass. If he had blown through the midcard, it would have ended with him winning either the Intercontinental or the US Title, and once he won that title it only would have been a matter of time before got a shot at the WWE Title at a big event and became the WWE Champion. I don’t totally blame Ryback, I blame the creative team and the way that he was booked during his whole run at the top of the card. He was always the bridesmaid, but never the bride. They couldn’t even do him a favor, and give him a win over Mark Henry at Wrestlemania which would have given him a win over a former World Champion. Instead, he was beaten, but somehow became the number one contender for the WWE Title the night after Wrestlemania to the delight of no one.
Can Ryback be fixed? Can the Ryback train get back on track? The way that it looks now, the answer appears to be no. The keyword there is “appears” because there IS a way that he could be fixed; it would just involve him being pushed away from the main event scene for a while. What you can do is give him a manager! And I know the perfect guy that could manage him while drawing nuclear heat at the same time. That man would be John Lauranitis. Lauranitis can play off the gimmick of a chicken shit manager that everyone hate, but he can hide behind a man who is 6’3 and 290 pounds of pure muscle who will batter anyone who tries to attack his manager. Heyman can’t be the only heel manager out there, and if there is anyone who can benefit from a manager it would be Ryback. The mouthpiece may be the only thing that Ryback was missing this whole time, but we will never know if that was the case because all of his other weaknesses have always been exploited. It’s almost as if someone decided to sabotage his push, and make sure that the whole thing failed miserably. If WWE creative doesn’t go the route of giving him a good manager or a good storyline soon, then they might as well give him a cowboy hat and vest and have him go back to being Skip Sheffield. If things don’t work out for Ryback, then I will be one of the few fans of his out there who will always wonder what could have been.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @whosantcox, and I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, opinions, I respond to ALL of them! I promise you that! See you next time, wrestling fans!
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