Leave it to Vince McMahon to try and find the WWE’s identity by giving another muscle-bound, freakishly gifted athlete a chance to carry the flag.
In a swerve that I did not see coming (and hopefully you did not either), the WWE now will look toward Ryback as the potential savior of the company and take it back to a place where other immensely popular and muscularly-built performers have done before.
But can Ryback, a virtual unknown in this company, really win the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell and take a major step forward as the immediate face of the WWE? It remains to be seen since it would also appear Ryback has as much verbal appeal as Goldberg, and while the phrase “Feed Me More” is catchy, it is not the catchphrase the WWE should hang its hat on.
Certainly not when so much is made of wrestlers having to look good in and out of the ring and be able to speak and grab the audience’s attention with words, as well as actions.
Once again, McMahon has proven to be a true genius. Having John Cena support the move for the neophyte to meet CM Punk in Hell in a Cell solidifies it even more.
You will excuse me if I do not fully embrace it yet. I still have my own opinions about how this should have gone down. The only thing about giving Ryback a title shot is it proves that Cena and his elbow injury are not healed enough for him to be competitive in a match like this.
What a lucky break for Ryback and the WWE Universe. It is just another way for McMahon to return to the scene of the crime and help his company regain its own identity.
And he did it one night after we watched a very entertaining TNA pay-per-view at Bound for Glory. Our excitement over what could be for that company is now tempered as the WWE once again shows its muscle and gives us something to think about.
A reader left me a comment the other day telling me I was spot on with the WWE and its rehashing old storylines to create drama and win back fans. I was speaking mainly of CM Punk and why the WWE really missed a golden opportunity to use The Rock and Steve Austin as part of Punk’s new character in the company.
“Nostalgia is wrestling’s worst enemy,” she said, and she was right for doing so.
The WWE has been the top dog of the wrestling business since McMahon bought the company from his father and has, in effect, become his worst own enemy. While wrestling promotions lived on life support until they finally died a painful death, Vince upped the ante, creating bigger shows and more marketing promotions. He took over the scene with smaller companies like TNA and ROH remaining, but not becoming a threat to the conglomerate that McMahon has built.
That is why I have said for years Vince McMahon is one of the greatest businessmen of his generation.
But like many businessmen in this day and age, Vince has a problem with himself and the company he owns. There are not enough marketable stars who could effectively carry this promotion.
John Cena can. The Rock can, but he wrestles on a part-time basis. Randy Orton can. CM Punk can and is doing so in small amounts.
There are plenty of talented wrestlers who deserve a push like Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and possibly Damien Sandow. Rhodes and Sandow are now tag team specialists. Kingston will be a singles star again, and Ziggler should be wearing the World Title after the New Year.
And of course, Ryback remains the great mystery of the company.
To save his company from “failing” of late, McMahon appeared on Raw last week and got into the ring with the WWE champion Punk. Not a bad idea when an owner needs to take one for the team. But McMahon, in his advanced age (he isn’t a spring chicken anymore), cannot be counted on to jump into the ring every time something goes wrong.
He again showed his face this week, leading to the important announcement of Ryback being named the challenger for the title match (with the help of Cena, of course).
The WWE is not about the wrestling in the ring anymore, as much as it is about the storyline behind the feud. I can honestly say it is the one thing that TNA works hard on and kicks the WWE’s ass at when it comes to feuds and plots. The two companies cannot compete with each other because of size and marketing, but sometimes, old school is better than something that looks like it was thrown on a wall and hope it sticks.
Hopefully, Ryback getting a title shot changes the course and direction of the WWE, and it can get back on more solid footing with its creativity. The tag teams are coming around again. There are decent feuds on the horizon. And there is still hope that Cena and Punk will lace it up one more time to give us all what we want. But this may not be for the WWE Title.
McMahon needs to get his hands back on creative control like he did years ago. I’m not saying he needs to go back to the announcers table, but it may be a start. There was creativity and excitement back then. There was fire and passion back then. There were characters we all loved back then. Right now, we are hoping to see some semblance of the past that can help us link the here and now to the past and then to the future.
And until we get that, the fans, or maybe myself in this instance, see the WWE as a company out of control because the storylines, the angles and the wrestlers all need fine tuning. McMahon, like he has in the past, is hoping size matters just like he has done with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Triple H, Ultimate Warrior and others.
If nothing else, Ryback gives the WWE another face to follow and hope he can be everything he could be in the future. His development is now sped up a bit.
In this case as well, the company needs a shot of adrenaline because before McMahon showed up last week, it appeared the company could have been headed toward another PPV fall because decisions were not being made for the betterment of the on-screen product.
Feed Ryback more, and pray what he eats means there will more where that came from for this company.