Listening to the flat reaction he gets from the crowd these days, it's hard to believe that it was only a couple of months ago that Ryback was being positioned as the company's next top babyface.
One thing is clear watching WWE TV: Ryback's momentum has completely disappeared.
Oh, sure. People still loudly chant "Feed Me More," but they don't seem terribly into him. It's never a good thing when your catchphrase is more over than you are.
Creatively, he also seems adrift.
WWE's writing team doesn't seem to know what they're doing with him. With The Rock on top, he's not going to win the WWE Championship anytime soon and appears to be stuck in the midcard, with nowhere to go.
It doesn't help that the former Nexus member has now been branded with the "loser" tag, having failed to win the WWE Championship three times in a row—at Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series and the January 7 Raw.
He also took the pinfall at last Sunday's pay-per-view when he teamed with John Cena and Sheamus to take on The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns).
This is one heck of a way to treat a Bill Goldberg-esque monster babyface. Can anyone imagine WCW jobbing out Goldberg this much in 1998?
Of course not.
For all their many flaws, WCW brass at least knew that fans couldn't get firmly behind a butt-kicking babyface unless he was, you know, winning a lot.
They got it, so why can't Vince McMahon?
In fairness to the bookers, Ryback is also hindered by his green wrestling style and lack of decent promo skills.
It's very possible all these losses wouldn't have damaged his momentum as much as they have if he had more to offer as an in-ring competitor and personality. As it is, he's very one-dimensional. This is on him, not WWE.
So then, is all hope lost?
Well, a potential heel turn and feud with Cena is rumored, per reports (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via Wrestling Inc). This would surely serve to put him back on the map and send him back into the main event scene.
With Cena, Alberto Del Rio and The Rock around, Ryback is never going to be the No.1 babyface, so a heel turn might be just what he needs.
Of course, it's worth pointing out that Mark Henry, The Big Show and Brock Lesnar are also currently playing the same "monster heel" persona, so it seems doubtful Ryback could go anywhere new with it.
Come on, can Ryback really give off the same fearsome vibes Henry and Lesnar do? Unlikely. Highly unlikely.
But, hey, it has to be worth a shot.
Because as a face, Ryback is going absolutely nowhere.
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