WWE employee Ryan Reeves is two weeks into his official comeback on the main roster. After suffering an injury that kept him out for months, Reeves returned to the ring with a new gimmick, billing himself from Sin City and calling himself Ryback.
Ryback has only had two matches against local competitors, but Ryback is already getting more exposure and attention than he ever did during his original WWE gimmick: "The Cornfed Meathead" Skip Sheffield.
Sheffield was progressively getting to be better and better, especially once Nexus started up. During NXT, the booking was not very favorable for Sheffield, who had the honor of William Regal as his mentor on the show. A case could be made that the early eliminations, beginning with Sheffield and later Michael Tarver, could be connected as the reasoning for starting such a faction as Nexus.
The feeling around the company was that Vince McMahon was very high on Sheffield and even eyed him as a top face for the company. His injury certainly sidetracked that notion as CM Punk emerged as a top star, and Zack Ryder gained momentum.
Historically, McMahon has believed to be into the larger bodybuilder-type superstars. It's no mistake that a guy like Batista, John Cena or Sheamus has been given the fast track to the main event early on in their career. However, will Reeves, now as Ryback, be the next Batista or the next Bobby Lashley?
Even just two matches into his stint as Ryback, there has already been criticism about his booking. In relatively record time, Ryback has been called bland by some, a Goldberg wannabe by others and has been ridiculed for new new wrestling attire. There have been constant jokes about Ryback stealing the attire of Rob Van Dam—one of the more notable superstars to wear a singlet with similar color styles.
There have even been some who have tried to throw Ryback into the category of a guy with "five moves of death" and complain about not showing much in his brief time on television. However, it seems like the Ryback arsenal of moves is different than that of Skip Sheffield.
Remember that Sheffield's biggest moves were his devastating clotheslines and a Backpack Stunner. Ryback's finisher is a one-legged muscle buster, which at least is something different to see. Then again, it brings back memories of Goldberg's jackhammer finisher.
Only time will really tell us how big Ryback truly will get. The next few weeks will be key to see if people can get on board with him. Once he's finished with local competitors and moves on to actual heels on the roster, that will help Ryback's case. More time has been spent for longer on superstars who showed a lot more promise than Ryback. These builds just don't always work, so it will be up to Reeves to connect to the crowd as Ryback.
Perhaps, a flicker of his personality, as well as a wider arsenal of moves, would help the critics begin to lay off of Ryback. Every superstar has their fair share of critics, so nothing said by fans should impact Ryback and their plan with him too much.
Even now, just two weeks into his stint of Ryback, there's more attention and care put into him than when he was Skip Sheffield. The potential is a lot higher than it ever was, so we will have to see if potential produces results.