David Shoemaker summed it up well on Grantland when he noted that Ryback was a throwback to the late '80s and early '90s WWE. The company has always had a fascination with large, muscled men, and Ryback benefited from that.
Jim Cornette has said that in wrestling you can wait seven years, then just repeat the same stuff over again. That was clearly the mindset WWE had when it came to the man formerly known as Skip Sheffield.
It has been over a decade since Bill Goldberg exploded on to the scene and won 100-plus matches in a row. The angle was incredibly simple, but effective. Unfortunately for the company, Ryback wasn't able to get out from under Goldberg's massive shadow.
He hasn't been helped by WWE's sloppy booking, either.
Brandon Stroud encapsulated the problem extremely well in his "Best and Worst of Raw" column on October 29.
The beauty of Goldberg is that he was given a lot of time to build his character into an unstoppable cyborg. He started with the likes of Hugh Morrus, then slowly moved up the ranks until there was only one man he hadn't beaten: Hulk Hogan.
Ryback wrestled the likes of Stansky and Rosenberg, then moved up to glorified jobbers like JTG. Then, all of a sudden, he's in the main event of Hell in a Cell against CM Punk.
WWE painted themselves into a major corner.
If they had Ryback win the title, then CM Punk would have lost all the momentum of his 300-plus day title reign. And it would have killed the build to the WWE title match with The Rock at Royal Rumble.
With Ryback's loss, the fans have immediately become indifferent to his character. His lukewarm reaction at Survivor Series was very telling.
He doesn't have any place to go but mid-card purgatory.
WWE mishandled Ryback like every other wrestler or angle that starts to get hot. They push it down fans' throats until nobody cares anymore.
The beauty of the nWo/Sting angle is that it was over a year in the making. Eric Bischoff didn't pull the trigger after Sting came down from the rafters to take out the New World Order at the end of Uncensored '97.
Instead, he waited and waited until Starrcade, when the company received a 1.9 pay-per-view buyrate.
Goldberg's first win was in September 1997. It wasn't until July 1998 that he got the match with Hogan for the world title.
The WWE didn't allow Ryback to grow organically over a long period of time. It has not only hurt the wrestler, but it has also thrown money down the drain.
With Ryback being demolished by three NXT rookies at Survivor Series, it's hard to see what's left for him in the immediate future other than to fade into obscurity.
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