Ryback has found a role in WWE that suits him better than any other storyline he has seen so far. And it could be the one that finally helps him reach his potential.
Meet WWE’s version of the schoolyard bully.
Ryback has been a backstage terror during the last few weeks, snarling at anyone who dared to cross his path and even getting physical when he felt like it. One week, he terrorized broadcaster Josh Matthews into backing away from an interview. The next week, he cut in line at a backstage buffet table and wound up rubbing food into the face of an unidentified arena worker before sending him through the table.
Each time, the skit ended with Ryback cracking a maniacal grin on his face, almost as if he was thinking—sorry, Bill Goldberg—“Who’s next?”
He’s like the bully back in elementary school who scared the pants off the nerdy little kids and stole their milk money.
Over the past several months, Ryback has been one of the most miscast superstars in WWE. He was thrown into the WWE Championship picture last year when he was not ready for it, and he followed that up by being The Shield’s whipping boy. He also looked lost in his ill-fated run at John Cena’s WWE Championship title in two pay-per-views.
On top of that, he had developed a reputation for botching moves. In the most recent account of an alleged botch, DailyWrestlingNews.com reported Triple H blew up at Ryback after the July 22 Raw show for dropping Daniel Bryan on his neck and shoulders at ringside instead of catching him and putting him through a table as the match had been scripted.
But nothing balms over ill feelings like a good storyline, especially when the pivotal character is able to pull it off as well as Ryback has done thus far.
Of course, it is one thing to boss around mousy announcers and faceless backstage personnel. It is something else to bully those who can beat the tar out of you.
Ryback likely will continue his backstage bullying routine and eventually bring it to the ring.
Back when he was first in the WWE and working handicap matches, he had an edge that seemed to get lost as he rose up the ranks and into the title picture. This bully character will allow him to bring that squash mentality back into the ring. It's easy to visualize him squashing someone like Sin Cara, Zack Ryder or R-Truth.
Eventually, he may take the routine to the next level and start sneak attacking and bullying some of WWE’s top stars. And he will find that, unlike the backstage personnel, they will not take too kindly to his antics.
I can see Ryback developing a program with Sheamus over his bullying. Sheamus’ character has always been one to not back away from a fight, plus he is one of the faces of WWE’s Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign. A feud between them makes sense all around.
Meanwhile, WWE Creative needs to find more ways for Ryback to continue being a bullying jerk. It’s obvious that being really mean is making him look really good.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.