When I was watching WWE Smackdown this last week, I witnessed The Great Khali versus Ryback for a second time in as many weeks. I know the impossible dream had finally been achieved with this life-changing feud. As I tried to go to my “happy place”, I realized how far Ryback had fallen. Few superstars have fallen farther faster then the lovable bully Ryback. For a wrestler who had all the momentum in the world last October, it is quite a dramatic fall. It shows the traditional lack of care or long-term planning for a vast majority of the characters in the WWE Roster. He was the second most popular good guy in the league and we have watched his character be completely destroyed in less then a year.
So as opposed to a long career retrospective on Ryback, I wanted to look at the lowlights that led to Ryback, the colossal waste of a character he has become. Here are the key moments in the Ryback demise:
Beating up Jobbers
On April 6, 2012 Ryback debuted on Smackdown defeating a jobber. He would continue to do so for months on end. He even beat on pay-per-view epic names like Aaron Relic, Jay Hatton, Camacho, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. Ok so it wasn’t that impressive but it seemed to do the trick with the audience. When fans weren’t calling him “Goldberg” they were started to get behind the Ryback character. We needed an unstoppable monster and this newcomer seemed to do the trick. Besides, someone has to beat up JTG and Jinder Mahal.
Dude, Where’s His Feud?
If we are going to buy a wrestler’s credibility, he has to have credible opponents.
While Ryback was well established as a “monster”, he didn’t have any opponents that would push him to the next level. He briefly got involved in a feud with The Miz. I believe this would have been a good step in his character development. It would have allowed him to move up the ladder without forcing him into an unwinnable situation. But then fate and John Cena arrived at the worst possible time just as The Miz feud was getting started.
With Cena unable to wrestle at 2012’s Hell in a Cell, Ryback was pushed into the main event. He wasn’t ready. Even Goldberg was built longer before being pushed into the main even scene. Ryback had been around less than six months. With no feud to build him to the main event, it was inevitable he would lose. I just didn’t know it was the start of a long trend that destroyed his character and credibility with the fans.
The Shield’s Whipping Boy
l will admit I am a massive Shield fan. But part of the reason I am such a fan is how they were built up. They were the dominant heels that got your attention every time their music played. Since they won every major feud for months, we believed them as a credible threat. Unfortunately for Ryback, it came at his expense.
Ryback was the victim of the first beat down at Survivor Series. Ryback was on the losing end of their first match at TLC. The Shield took him out during a WWE title match. Why Ryback couldn’t even beat The Shield with John Cena’s help at Elimination Chamber!
While I don’t know if I would have really wanted the Shield to lose earlier on in their careers, the fact that it constantly came against Ryback killed any remaining momentum that Ryback had. He seemed to have a lot too.
Did He Just Lose to Mark Henry?
It still doesn’t make any sense. Mark Henry, the veteran that loses constantly and didn’t need the win beat the man on a five pay-per-view losing streak. Ryback desperately needed a major win and Henry could afford to lose, so naturally Ryback lost again. Huh?
Now that he had lost six straight months in a row, what is Ryback’s reward? I hoped it is moving down the card to regain his momentum a bit. Nope, it is clearly main event time!
John Cena's Whipping Boy
John Cena needs a steady stream of young wrestlers to steal their essence and to continue his long wrestling career. It is what keeps him young. Our Superman can’t ever find his Kryptonite can he? With that in mind, Cena needed a new whipping boy. Who better then the guy who had lost for six straight months? When Cena threw Ryback through that Ambulance at Payback, it might have been best to leave him buried right then and there. But apparently the WWE really hates Ryback.
The Losing Bully
Bullying is the use of force, threat or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively to impose domination over others. (Wikipedia Definition) The domination part seems to be key to me. If you don’t actually successful dominate someone then you can’t call yourself a bully. While Ryback had a grand old time bullying backstage employees when he was given the chance to bully bigger WWE Superstars, he was unsuccessful. He even backed away from any major challenges. It made the one time monster look weak again.
Much like his previous major feud, Ryback made the really poor “choice” to go after CM Punk. It is hard to be a successful bully when facing the second biggest face in the company. Ryback naturally lost every major aspect of the feud. He lost at WWE Battleground and WWE Hell in a Cell. If you never get a major victory in any feud you are involved in, why should the fans care? And when you are fighting The Great Khali during multiple weeks on Smackdown? You might as well write your permanent ticket to WWE Main Event right now.
Thus is the story of Ryback, the constant loser. I don’t honestly know if he is really that talented of a wrestler. However, I do know that the WWE killed any and all the momentum he had in a very short order. Since they are constantly looking for that new face of the company, it seems strange to have killed his popularity so quickly. But who knows, we might get that Ryback versus Goldberg match. After all, I need to go to the bathroom during WrestleMania XXX at some point. Thanks to the WWE, I doubt I can ever care about the poorly created character that is Ryback.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I have my Twitter account, WWELasher as well. I would love to hear your thoughts about the Ryback’s rabid demise.