Shock! Awe! Ratings spike!
All the things that SHOULD be happening on Monday nights…and yet, they’re not.
Compelling television has not been the WWE’s strong suit these days. I’m convinced that if you loaded up an entire episode of Raw with the company’s renowned video hype packages, you’d do more to sell a PPV in one night than you ever could in 5 weeks. Unfortunately, that’s because those seamless videos are the product of a month’s worth of bullshit trimmed down to 2 minutes a pop.
The WWE almost had something somewhat interesting going for them a few months ago in the form of Ryback. Sure, he was a cookie-cutter character, the unstoppable hoss, with limited mobility and in-ring prowess…but a lot of the paying crowd was getting behind his push. Chants of “Feed me more!” filled the arena night after night (and let’s not forget “Goldberg” as well), but something unexpected derailed that momentum.
John Cena got injured.
The WWE was put in a difficult position at Hell in a Cell, and they opted to put Ryback in the title scene against CM Punk. The timing couldn’t have been worse, because Ryback was undefeated and Punk was on a roll as an unbeatable champion. One of the two had to lose, and with the bout being a cage match, there was no way Ryback could win via DQ and still keep his streak intact; they certainly weren’t going to interrupt Punk’s soon-to-be-historic title reign for a pinch hitter. And so, Punk won in controversial fashion and Ryback’s winning streak ended.
However, the circumstances warranted a rematch and so it was that Ryback received another opportunity…but The Shield’s debut once again further de-pushed Ryback. Week after week, The Shield would take out Ryback and eventually cost him another title opportunity in a TLC match. In order to continue the momentum of The Shield, they were built to be a perfect unit, mostly at the expense of Ryback. As of this writing, The Shield remains undefeated and Ryback has yet to earn some semblance of revenge.
Fast forward to three weeks ago when Ryback attacked John Cena without provocation, and you’ll soon understand why his heel turn is pointless and only further diminishes the impact of his current feud with Cena.
Ryback’s explanation was that Cena turned his back on him and now it was Ryback’s time to shine. This explanation is so out of left field that his character has done a complete 180 in terms of development. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Ryback the guy who could handily defeat two wrestlers at a time without breaking a sweat? The guy who would no-sell in ways that would make Jim Hellwig jealous? The guy who would take on The Shield in 3-on-1 situations and NEVER ask for help or complain?
The length of time between Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules is long enough to warrant a tournament of some kind to crown a new number one contender. Even at the expense of a hastily-thrown-together rewrite of the script following The Rock’s sudden departure, there’s no excuse as to why this didn’t occur. Ryback could have won the tournament to regain some much-needed momentum. Instead, the WWE went to the well they’ve so often abused: turn Ryback into a bad guy so we can have a stereotypical face/heel dynamic.
Does he have a legitimate gripe about Cena neglecting his duties as a buddy? Maybe. But when you really think about it, since when is that a reason to attack the WWE Champion from behind? There’s just no thought or real logic in any of this, which is a shame; had the company done this right, we could have had an interesting face vs face match at Extreme Rules instead of this force-fed “You have to boo me now” crap.
On top of that, the only thing that would make this successful in my eyes would be if Ryback does manage to dethrone Cena in May. However, with Cena having spent over a year trying to become WWE Champion again, I highly doubt he’ll lose the belt so soon. Unfortunately for Ryback, that means his losing streak must continue and he’ll be known as a perennial choke artist instead of the dominant machine he was originally booked as.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: cm punk, extreme rules, Hell in a Cell, john cena, Mike Gojira, ryback, The Rock, The Shield, wrestlemania, WWE, wwe championship