Friday 14 November 2014

Please Do Not Feed The Ryback

Did you allow yourself to believe Ryback's recent character reboot was going to see WWE take another stab at elevating him, properly this time? If so then you are, in the words of 'The Big Guy' himself, a feed me moron.

And I'm right there with you. I was stupid enough to believe WWE had realised what they had in Ryback: a guy who looks the part, has a surprisingly good sense of humour about himself, and is sufficiently different to John Cena to help contribute towards making the main event more diverse. The return to the squash approach Ryback initially used to great success in 2012 and a spirited bit of promo work on the October 27 made me think another crack was going to be made at getting Ryback established as a singles force. And, because people responded to it, I thought it was going to work.

The November 10 RAW showed how wrong this thinking was. Just weeks after passionately stating he would never turn on the fans again Ryback... turned on the fans. Off-screen he had agreed to join The Authority's Survivor Series team. But by the end of the night he had left Team Authority and sort-of-but-not-quite-sided with John Cena, leaving us with a classic "Who's side is he on?!" scenario.

It never goes right for The Ryback.
It has since been confirmed that Ryback will indeed be a member of Team Cena at Survivor Series. Not that it matters. The damage to his character has been done. By emphatically stating he wanted to be a hero that fans could look up to and then siding with the bad guys at the first opportunity Ryback has shown he can't be trusted. I understand this is wrestling and people turn back and forth all the time but can you imagine Cena being booked like that? It wouldn’t happen. Because Cena is the perennial babyface who does the right thing and fights the good fight. Ryback could go on to have a hot run as a face from this (though he probably won't) but the episode of RAW where he was more than ready to side with the bad guys will always be there, standing as testament to his willingness to betray.

It was a frustrating move from WWE. It was clearly designed to elevate Ryback, but it did so in a backwards, illogical fashion. It would have been better had The Authority spent the episode attempting to woo Ryback into joining their cause, which would have worked especially well alongside the already booked Cena v Ryback main event.

Instead Ryback started the episode in cahoots with The Authority, was belittled throughout , and then turned babyface when things didn’t go his way. He looked untrustworthy for siding with The Authority and stupid for joining them, the upshot being that when he assaulted them at the end of the night it was clear he was doing it for himself and not for the fans. Basically, he did not look like the sort of stalwart powerhouse babyface he previously was. And that’s the model of Ryback that’s going to get over as a headliner.

It was a simple mistake, but it was a mistake nonetheless. And it was one WWE should have known better than to make. It has potentially cost them a fresh headliner, not the first time that's been written of 'The Human Wrecking Ball'.

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