OK, so the jury is still out on whether or not Ryan “Ryback” Reeves can be the top heel WWE needs right now.
His mic work is decent enough—and he has thankfully moved beyond constantly repeating the annoying “Feed Me More” phrase all the time—but he doesn’t seem to be that over as a bad guy, receiving light cheers or no reaction at all over the past couple of weeks.
For the most part, the crowd don’t seem to know how to treat him.
That his problems with John Cena are actually very well justified—he has noted Cena’s willingness to abandon his friends when they need him the most—probably doesn’t help in establishing him as the guy to boo.
It also remains to be seen whether his in-ring work—he faces Cena in a singles match at Extreme Rules—will be up the standards WWE fans have grown accustomed to in recent times.
However, one thing is for sure: If Ryback loses clean at the pay-per-view, any chance his heel turn has to succeed will be dead in the water.
Frankly, Ryback has enough problems with credibility right now without factoring in yet another loss.
Indeed, for all the Bill Goldberg comparisons, Ryback is different from the WCW mega-star in one crucial respect: Goldberg won a lot.
While he may be presented as a monster, Ryback has a truly terrible record when it comes to the big shows.
He has lost at Hell in a Cell, failed to win at Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, fell to Punk on the 20th anniversary Raw and, to top it off, lost to Mark Henry at WrestleMania.
Man, no wonder he had cooled down considerably as a face prior to turning heel last week—the fans have been given absolutely no reason to believe in him. And having him lose clean at Extreme Rules? Well, that would kill off his heel turn—and maybe even his career—beyond salvaging.
Of course, some would point out that Ryback has to lose at Backlash because he is not yet ready for the burden of carrying WWE by being champion.
There’s some truth to this. As his botch-filled debacle with Mark Henry at WrestleMania showed, he’s not a great wrestler and probably never will be.
Despite being in the business for years and years, he still doesn’t seem that much better than your average rookie who has just been called up from developmental. Even Goldberg—no Shawn Michaels even on his best day—was a far more fluid and competent worker.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Ryback wouldn’t be the first green wrestler to hold the belt—The Great Khali, anyone? So, why not give him a run with the title? It’s also possible he may rise to the challenge and get significantly better with time.
If he flops, then he flops. But it seems extremely unfair not to even give the man a shot.
As noted, WWE have made far too mistakes with Ryback during the last year.
Booking him to sustain loss after loss and giving him terrible one-dimensional promo material are the main things that spring to mind. But nothing can be done about that now. What the company can do for Ryback is protect him, and not allow him to fall to Cena at Extreme Rules. That would no one any favors.