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Mr. Tito Strikes Back - Why Not Ryback?
By Mr. Tito
Oct 16, 2012 - 10:12:05 PM
Months ago, I saw this pro wrestler who appeared, at the time, to be doing his best Bill Goldberg impersonation. Bill Goldberg, for those of you who watched him in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during 1997-2001, was a 1 man wrecking crew especially during 1998 when his "streak" captivated audiences through his rise to the WCW World Championship. He was absolutely dominant during his WCW run, especially on his rise to the WCW World Title where he systematically destroyed the midcard before destroying Raven for the U.S. Title and then Hulk Hogan for the World Title.
So I see this former Nexus wrestler named Skip Sheffield rebranded as Ryback destroying jobbers on the Smackdown roster. I instantly thought "GOLDBERG", as did everyone else since the new character fully debuted during April 2012. I just laughed it off as a desperate attempt by Vince McMahon and the Creative Staff to instantly create a new main eventer.
But then something hit me... Ryback was actually being booked and built up as a Main Eventer instead of being hot-shotted to the Main Event section such as winning the World Title too fast or winning the stupid Money in the Bank match for a cheap title shot.
As I watched Monday Night RAW and John Cena offering up the Hell in a Cell match to Ryback, I was impressed... With John Cena recovering from elbow surgery, it was beginning to look like the Hell in a Cell Pay Per View would be an utter disaster... After all, John Cena is a strong WWE draw, in particular with younger audiences, and his absence could spell a disastrous buyrate for this Pay Per View. However, in the segment between CM Punk and Vince McMahon where Vince was supposed to name Punk's opponent, Cena let Ryback have the match... Instantly, the crowd dug it and changed "FEED ME MORE" and were popping as Ryback delivered a beatdown to CM Punk.
Could it be that the WWE actually got the build up of a new main eventer correct?
Well, it all depends on how they book the Pay Per View. In my opinion, Ryback CANNOT win the WWE Title now. CM Punk has to weasel his way out of this match, whether the interference benefits him or hurts him. Granted, this is a Hell in a Cell match that's typically NO Disqualification, but a "No Contest" needs to be allowed. Either throw $$$ at "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to make a one-time appearance to STUN CM Punk or to utilize Brock Lesnar to attack Ryback... Punk has to escape this match to (a) not give Ryback the title too early and (b) protect Ryback's build. I'm calling for no pins in this match... No Contest will be fine, especially if Austin or Lesnar interfere.
Ryback's push has been since April, but week after week, it's been building and building to the point where WWE wants to test him as a Main Eventer. And why not? WWE is hurting on the Depth Chart right now. Dolph Ziggler is a great worker but it appears that he's lacking the personality to carry the company as champion (I'm still holding out hope). Sheamus is overpushed as a face and it's not adding value to the Smackdown shows. That, and Sheamus has fallen flat as champion previously. Alberto Del Rio was Vince McMahon's darling in 2011, even at the expense of cooling the red hot CM Punk to make Del Rio Champion at SummerSlam 2011. Jack Swagger pushed too fast to the title as a Money in the Bank winner. I'd argue that the WWE is wasting Daniel Bryan, but maybe he's too undersized to hold strong as champion? I won't argue that, but some have...
And John Cena can't be around forever... Unlike in 2002 when Steve Austin and the Rock's careers were winding down, the WWE doesn't have the developmental system to replenish the roster. During 2002, the WWE gave us John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin, and others who carried the WWE roster on their backs for a decade now. John Cena and Randy Orton are the top WWE stars, while Brock Lesnar was brought in for millions on a 1 year deal to pop buyrates. With due respect to many of the call-ups and indy wrestler acquisitions since 2002 the star power isn't there beyond CM Punk and with time in my opinion, Daniel Bryan. But nobody on the existing roster can replace John Cena... But the WWE must try something and for 1 Pay Per View, it might be worth trying on Ryback.
Why not Ryback? He has the look at 6'3", 291 pounds of pure muscle (God, I hope he's Wellness Policy tested). Unlike the sight of Alberto Del Rio or Daniel Bryan, if you were in a dark alley with Ryback, you'd be scared. He has a GREAT finisher in the Shell Shocked finisher, especially with the way he marches around the ring with his opponent. And as noted above... He's NOT a Money in the Bank winner. He has an actual scheduled Title Match instead of cheaply cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase after the Champion wrestles. Thus, the match is credible because CM Punk can prepare for his opponent instead of being forced to wrestle a second match for the night.
I have to hand it to WWE Creative... As much as they've screwed over many wrestlers in their push to the top, either giving them a cheap Money in the Bank title victory or pushing them to the World Title too early, they might have repackaged and built up Ryback properly. And the timing couldn't be better...
But now, it all depends on how the WWE books him from the Money in the Bank Pay Per View and beyond. There's too much risk in giving him the title too early. WCW hotshotted their World Title to Bill Goldberg too early, as they rushed him to the World Title within 6 months of recognizing his surging popularity. Oddly enough, Goldberg's popularity peaked at that Georgia Dome Nitro title win and Monday Night RAW never lost a ratings battle since. WCW became clueless on how to book the undefeated Goldberg as World Champion and business dropped off. WCW was in steady decline by the time they opted for Kevin Nash to defeat Bill Goldberg at Starrcade 1998 in a humilating defeat. Goldberg meant jack and squat after that to WCW, while not making that significant of a dent when he arrived later in the WWE during 2003-2004.
WWE has the challenge of booking Ryback to look strong in his first Pay Per View main event while not giving him the title. In my opinion, having a significant name person (Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar) is the best way to achieve this and it makes everybody benefit in the process long-term. Ryback doesn't job, CM Punk remains champion to continue his title reign towards Royal Rumble 2013, possible Steve Austin vs. CM Punk hype (if they choose to do it), and quite possibly laying the groundwork for Brock Lesnar (if they choose to use him) vs. Ryback for an overhyped match of epic proportions... Lots of wins here...
If the WWE opts to make Ryback champion, oh boy... Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it! Just remember what happened to Bill Goldberg in 1998. They crowned him champion and then had nothing interesting for him. The current WWE Creative Team, under Stephanie McMahon leadership, has crowned many, many, many, many, many World Champions for the past 10 years but not many of them were given something significant to do that would present them as a great champion. Even CM Punk with his long title reign has barely Main Evented shows as champion. WWE treats their World Title as an accessory and not something that gives the WWE drawing power like a legitimate sport.
Unlike Goldberg, however, Ryback has had years of in-ring training before his mega-push towards the top of a wrestling promotion. Once Goldberg was in the main event, he relied on other stars to carry the match. See Halloween Havoc 1998 where Diamond Dallas Page did miracle work. It would be up to the man behind the Ryback gimmick, Ryan Reeves, to prove himself as a strong in-ring worker who can provide the WWE with strong Main Event after strong Main Event without needing to be carried. But the real risk is that we're pushing a guy just 6 months into his "Ryback" gimmick and through his first Pay Per View main event. WWE has lacked patience for the last 10 years with its stars and Ryback could be no different.
To be honest, I'm SICK and TIRED of the existing WWE product. The 3 Hour show is an utter failure, the CM Punk character was poorly booked after 1,000th RAW, Big Show is boring the crap out of me, Smackdown does nothing for me as a roster or the show, and the Midcard is an absolute disorganized mess when it should be the additional drawing factor to complement the main event scene.
So why not, push Ryback to the moon and see where it takes us. Couldn't get much worse in today's WWE.
I'm Mr. Tito and I approve this message...
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