Ryback is the true definition of an enigma at this point in his career. Whether that is the fault of WWE booking or not is completely up for debate, but the questions surrounding the direction of his career have been abundant.
Many critics and members of the illustrious IWC have been extremely harsh on Ryback since his debut with WWE. Some have said that he doesn't have any stamina and struggles to breath during his matches. Others have said he doesn't know how to wrestle and shouldn't even have a spot on the roster.
Understand that he is a big, musclebound professional wrestler whom many purists of the sport cannot identify with. His move set is minimal and he will never give you a catch-as-catch-can classic.
There are undeniable similarities between Ryback and other monstrous wrestlers from yesteryear. Whether you want to compare him to Ultimate Warrior, Goldberg, Batista or Scott Norton, there is no denying that they all hold similar traits. All of these men were huge, intimidating, intense and lacked that technical ability that so many out there treasure.
However, that doesn't mean that they aren't capable of telling good stories and putting on solid matches.
All of those men put on huge matches and told great stories throughout their memorable careers. Each of them wrestled all over the world in main event matches and told fantastic stories while doing so.
In the past few months, Ryback has competed in two TLC matches and one Hell in a Cell match. From my calculations, he is the only man to ever compete in two TLC matches within a month of each other.
The only issue with all of that is that Ryback wasn't victorious in any of those matches. He has compiled an unbelievable amount of wins during his short time in WWE, but when it has mattered, he has been defeated.
The Shield has been a proverbial thorn in the side of Ryback since Survivor Series 2012 and has cost him a match against CM Punk and John Cena for the WWE Championship. They also defeated him in a six-man TLC match and then cost him the WWE Championship in a TLC match against CM Punk last week on Raw.
What does Ryback have to do to get over the hump? When will he get his revenge on The Shield? When will he achieve that huge victory to catapult him into finally being a champion? And how will Ryback silence his critics?
These are the four major questions that need to be answered before the critics will quiet down and before he can become champion.
The formula to answer these questions is simple:
- To get over the hump, Ryback must win Royal Rumble 2013. This will be a huge win that will put him in a huge spot at WrestleMania 29 and solidify him as a main event-level talent.
- He needs to destroy The Shield, and it will happen sooner rather than later. I expect Ryback to unleash hell upon each individual member. Whether it will be a Gauntlet Match or another six-man tag, Ryback needs to get his revenge soon.
- If he wins Royal Rumble 2013, he gets a shot at either the WWE Champion or the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 29. This will be a huge, high-profile match on the biggest stage possible. If he gets booked to be in a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 29, he is going to win.
- To silence the critics, he needs to convince them that he is working as hard as possible to improve his in-ring work. His style and character doesn't call for him to be technically skilled, but if he can slowly show that section of the audience that he is, they will start to favor him.
Well, maybe it isn't so simple after all, but we do know that anything is possible in WWE, and we've seen stranger things happen.
To wrap this up, Ryback needs to win Royal Rumble 2013, win a major championship at WrestleMania 29, completely dismantle The Shield and show the IWC that he isn't just a one-dimensional monster.
Believe it or not, that entire scenario is far from impossible, and I wouldn't be surprised to see everything on that list take place in the next few months.
Whether it will or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Ryback will be a huge star in WWE for years to come.
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