Since making his debut roughly one year ago, Ryback has had a mountain of hype heaped upon him, with absolutely nothing to show for it.
An upcoming showdown with Cena at Extreme Rules might end up being his last shot at making a lasting impact. And if he cannot, he may find himself without a place on the WWE roster.
He has had numerous world title opportunities, which for one reason or another, he was never able to win. He was one of the last two participants in the Royal Rumble match this year, before being eliminated by John Cena. He was once a force to be reckoned with.
But history does not remember "almost" or "nearly." If there are no accolades to Ryback's credit, what will his legacy eventually be?
As of right now, he remains an over-hyped phenom that never lived up to his potential.
And unfortunately, the company seems to have given up on him at this point, because despite his current status as a top contender for Cena's WWE championship, he will eventually come out on the losing end, as nearly every competitor has before him.
Cena holds a special place in the company, one that has been held by men like Hulk Hogan before him. He is the great equalizer. Yes, sometimes the bad guy can come out on top, but in the end, good always triumphs over evil.
And in turn, Cena always triumphs over whatever negative threat there is. His feud with CM Punk may be the lone exception in recent memory, but in the end, that trend will not repeat with Ryback, who cannot compare to Punk's charisma or in-ring skills even on his best day.
It is telling that the company decided to have Ryback tape his promo this past week on Raw. Whereas most superstars are given the freedom to go out to the ring and cut scripted, yet live promos, it had him in a sanitized environment where he was free to make mistakes. It is more evidence of the fact that it does not trust him to do what needs to be done live.
Let us not forget the numerous in-ring debacles that he has had. His considerable trouble properly delivering his signature Shell Shocked has led to some awkward situations where he was not even able to get certain competitors up into the move.
A poorly executed back body drop, one of the fundamental moves in a newly trained wrestler's arsenal, nearly led to Jack Swagger being legitimately injured in late August.
This is not to say that Ryback is without his merits. He is incredibly powerful and the company has done an excellent job of playing up his physicality. He has an incredible look, which at times does make up for the fact that he is still incredibly limited in the ring.
And frankly, after many years in the business, there is absolutely no excuse for the limited arsenal of moves that he does, nor the reckless manner in which he executes them.
And sure, the company may not mind when he manhandles enhancement talents in the ring. But when he drops Cena awkwardly, or completely mishandles a key promo, can it be very long before WWE management decides to abandon this sinking ship?
Initially, the crowds were always into Ryback when he would enter the arena. They would cheer raucously and encourage him to plow through whatever hapless superstar was put in front of him.
But in recent months, the cheers have quieted. There are times where he gets absolutely no reaction at all, which let's face it, is far worse than even being booed. Cena gets a generous mix of cheers and boos, but the crowd reaction is always loud. No reaction equals no support.
And if the WWE Universe refuses to support Ryback, how much longer will the company continue to do so?
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