WWE WrestleMania 29: Why Ryback vs. Mark Henry Must Be Added to Undercard

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

To say that the vast majority of WWE's WrestleMania XXIX card is in question at this point would be an understatement. Aside from the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship matches, nothing is set in stone, but the WWE would be wise to begin an undercard feud between Ryback and Mark Henry, culminating in a match at 'Mania.

As things currently stand, Ryback is among the most popular faces in the entire company. There is no doubt that he reached his peak at some point between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, but he still elicits a strong and favorable reaction from the crowd. This is despite the fact that Ryback has lost at five consecutive pay-per-views.

Henry, on the other hand, is easily one of the best heels in the WWE, and I would argue that he is at the top of the heap in that regard. He returned several weeks ago after missing nine months due to injury, but it feels like he never left. Henry has been absolutely dominant and is running roughshod over the WWE roster with very little resistance being offered.

Neither Ryback nor Henry is involved in a storyline right now, so it makes a ton of sense to pit them against each other. The angle would practically write itself. Ryback was the WWE's dominant force, but after so many big losses, fans are beginning to question him. Henry has destroyed everyone and everything in his path in recent weeks, though, and may have surpassed Ryback in terms of being the WWE's most unstoppable superstar.

Such a feud could easily be put in motion at some point over the next week or two with Henry interrupting a match to attack its participants. Before he can induct anyone into the Hall of Pain, however, Ryback could run to the ring and chase him off. This would set the stage for an extremely compelling program that would add a great deal of depth to the WrestleMania card.

Ryback is a really interesting character in the WWE because it's tough to say how he'll be used moving forward. The creative team may have moved a bit too quickly with him when he was placed into a WWE Championship feud against CM Punk despite having no big victories to his credit. Ryback lost a few matches to Punk due to interference from Brad Maddox and The Shield, so he ultimately came out of that looking fine.

Since the end of that rivalry, though, Ryback has lost three different six-man tags to The Shield and was eliminated by John Cena to end the Royal Rumble. Ryback truly hit rock bottom at Elimination Chamber when he teamed with Cena and Sheamus against The Shield. Ryback took a spear from Roman Reigns in the latter stages of the bout and was ultimately pinned as well. That marked the first time Ryback had been beaten cleanly in the WWE.

Despite Ryback's issues with The Shield, it seems like he has been moved away from them as of late. The Shield mentioned him in a promo on Monday night, but only Sheamus and Randy Orton got involved. The fact that Ryback is no longer actively seeking out The Shield tells me that there is another feud in store for him, and it could very well be with Henry since The World's Strongest Man is free as well.

Henry's only slip up since returning was a loss in the Elimination Chamber match, but it took three superstars working in lockstep to take him out. Henry ultimately got the last laugh, though, as he delivered a World's Strongest Slam to Orton, Chris Jericho and Jack Swagger after getting ousted from the contest. He has set his sights on The Great Khali lately, but that seems more like a holdover feud than one meant for WrestleMania.

Ryback and Henry are two of the most dangerous behemoths in the WWE and it would be a total failure on the creative team's part if it doesn't have them face each other at WrestleMania. Perhaps the best part about it is that the WWE can go in a number of different directions with the feud depending on what the future plans are for Ryback.

If the WWE wants to get Ryback on the fast track back to where he was previously, he can vanquish Henry at WrestleMania and begin his ascent. Ryback is still popular, so it probably wouldn't take much for him to become a main-event face once again. If the WWE wants to build on his misfortunes and fuel a heel turn, however, Henry can be given the victory.

I realize that Ryback is still popular, but I would prefer the latter scenario. There is a shortage of main-event heels in the WWE right now, and there isn't really anyone for Cena to feud with if he wins the WWE Championship at WrestleMania as expected. It wouldn't make sense to thrust Punk back into the title scene immediately, so a heel Ryback vs. Cena would be a great feud that the fans would really enjoy.

The fact that Cena eliminated Ryback from the Rumble and Ryback walked out on Cena after losing at Elimination Chamber tells me that there is some bad blood from a storyline perspective. One more loss could push Ryback over the edge, and Henry is one of the few guys who could believably beat him.  

Ryback and Henry are two of the most physically imposing superstars in WWE history and WrestleMania is the perfect stage for a showdown between them.


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