Ryback – One Step Down
I remember a friendly debate (and bet) I had with friend and colleague Adam Gorzelsky late last year, regarding Ryback's future, after his win streak came to an end.
I said Ryback would challenge for a mid-card title before he challenged for a world title again, and that his career was going to go barreling downhill like crazy. Adam didn't think that loss meant near as much as I did.
I lost the "bet" part of the argument, but I was still more right than Adam. Ryback losing to Punk at Hell in a Cell was the beginning of the end.
I'm not bragging either. I really hate it for Ryback. He had something going before he was bitten by one creative disaster after another.
His first loss, more high-profile losses, his angle with The Shield being dropped without him getting any type of redemption whatsoever, losing to Henry at 'Mania (the one match he was "sure" to win), a forced heel turn, a program with John Cena…bad promos…
It's hard to claim the last nine months for Ryback have been anything other than a train wreck. At least, it is if you're looking at it from a could have been/should have been standpoint like I do.
How successful could Ryback have been had he won that match against Punk at HIAC and kept his streak alive? It's hard to say — he would have lost it within two months anyway so the Punk/Rock match could play out — but there's no doubt it would have been better than the alternative.
Can A-level success still be in Ryback's future at some point? Sure. I don't think his career is unsalvageable. But it won't be easy.
When all else fails, good mic skills and a natural ability to entertain can often save you, or at least change your momentum in the right direction. I think Ryback has a bit of the latter, but comes up way short on the stick.
The only thing I see possibly getting him back to the dance is the same thing I begged wouldn't end the first time around: another win streak.
Oh..and a manager wouldn't hurt.
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