Friday 17 October 2014

Ryback Rules

I think anyone who appreciates a good wrestling-based chuckle will have become a fan of Ryback over the last year. This is not the unstoppable jobber-demanding musclehead who was hot-shotted to the top of the card in late 2012, the guy who jobbed to Mark Henry at WrestleMania XXIX, turned heel the next night, and then did some more jobs to John Cena before tumbling down the card into obscurity.

Maybe the nip slip could become a regular part of Ryback's repertoire.
No, this guy sends himself up with YouTube videos and childishly mocks “internet wrestling fans”1 during his ring entrances. His videos, often recorded in profile on an iPhone in a move that seems designed to further the perception that Ryback is a clueless, bumbling simpleton, have included him taking part in rib-eating contests, rocking up at drive-thrus with his own entrance music blaring from the stereo of his (rental) car, and laying in a hospital hooked up to an IV and heart monitor even though he’s only there to undergo a hernia operation.

With these videos he has created a deluded persona for himself. One that suits him and that he seems to enjoy playing.

It’s the last video mentioned (also the most recent) that really showed how much potential the character has for being used on television. After acknowledging that he’s been working injured for a while (neatly avoiding revealing the nature of his injury) Ryback says he powered through for the kids, grandparents, fathers and mothers, noting that the mothers are particularly fond of ‘The Big Guy’. He then references a conversation he had with his “good friend” Babe Ruth, who died in 1948, 33 years before Ryback was born, before promising he’ll return “in a big way” and drifting off to sleep saying his own catchphrase. And throughout he continually refers to himself in the third person by his ‘Big Guy’ moniker. It’s wonderfully daft.

WWE should make the most of the character the man’s created. Precede his comeback with a series of delusional videos, aired on RAW and SmackDown, in which Ryback does things like visit children’s homes and open supermarkets, giving speeches and referring to himself as ‘The Big Guy’. When he gets back to arenas have him reference his famous pals in interviews. Anyone from Abraham Lincoln to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The joke is that much more surreal if the alleged friend is dead but they don’t have to be: the base punchline is that Ryback clearly doesn’t know any of these people.

‘The Human Wrecking Ball’s’ chance to crack the top has probably been and gone but he could still play a very convincing mid-card beast. He could have great matches with guys like Cesaro and Ziggler, sending ‘The Show Off’ bouncing around the ring and providing a suitable slab of flesh for ‘The Swiss Superman’ to muscle around. Ziggler and Cesaro should be the two guys WWE builds their mid-card around, and if they are then they’ll need opponents. Ryback’s perfect for the role.


1 Because apparently it’s fine to lump us all together with this “label.” Whatever, Ryback. You bigot.

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