This past Friday night on WWE SmackDown, "Goldberg" chants erupted during Ryback’s match against a local jobber.
If you were to search “Ryback” on Twitter, you would find many people comparing Ryback to former WCW/WWE superstar Goldberg. They’re not alone. Even the WWE itself has compared Ryback to Goldberg.
In a WWE.com article entitled “Five WWE Legends That Inspired the Rise of Ryback,” Matthew Artus looked at five former WWE superstars whose “ruthless reputations live within Ryback.” The five superstars mentioned in the article are Ultimate Warrior, JBL, Sid, Bam Bam Bigelow and...Goldberg.
In his article, Artus mentioned similarities between Ultimate Warrior’s Gorilla Press Slam and Ryback’s Gorilla Press Slam; JBL’s clothesline and Ryback’s clothesline; Sid’s head games and Ryback’s head games; and Bam Bam’s grittiness/unpredictability and Ryback’s grittiness/unpredictability.
Ultimately, the similarities between Ryback and Ultimate Warrior, JBL, Sid and Bam Bam are minor in comparison to the similarities one could find between Goldberg and Ryback. Regarding similarities between Goldberg and Ryback, Artus wrote that
The influence of Goldberg’s stoicism and imposing presence shows itself when Ryback arrives at ringside. Ryback decimates an opponent with a surgical precision and ends the affair before getting carried away. He does only what he needs to do to succeed, even if what he does involves rapidly battering an underprepared foe into ruin.
Besides similarities between Goldberg’s shaved head, stoicism, imposing presence and Ryback's shaved head, stoicism and imposing presence, it seems that Ryback’s mannerisms are also similar to those of Goldberg’s.
The motions to the crowd, the lion-like roars, and almost everything but Ryback's intense breathing rhythms and post-match arm movements seem to have been taken straight out of Goldberg's playbook.
So, who could blame WWE fans for chanting "Goldberg" during Ryback's matches?
Something that Ryback has not adopted from Goldberg is the spear. No, Goldberg did not invent the spear, but he sure did popularize it.
Should Ryback adopt the spear?
On the positive side, it seems that using Goldberg’s pre-finish spear would excite the crowd more than Ryback’s pre-finish clothesline ever will.
On the negative side, the fans would continue to chant “Goldberg” instead of “Ryback.” Who wants to live in another person's shadow?
Should Ryback use the spear?
Ultimately, it seems that whether Ryback chooses to use the spear or not, fans will continue to chant "Goldberg" during his matches and view him as a poor man's Goldberg—an imitation. What a pity.
Therefore, Ryback should probably either drop the Goldberg-esque mannerisms or take a risk by fully embracing his resemblance to Goldberg by adding the spear to his move set.
Does Ryback need to change? Will the fans ever chant "Ryback" instead of "Goldberg"? You tell me.
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Ryback?