On the April 6, 2012, edition of WWE SmackDown, a familiar face debuted under a new gimmick.
In August 2010, Skip Sheffield, a member of the infamous Nexus group, was injured at a live event in Honolulu.
It would be almost two full years before we'd see the man on television again, but when he returned on the aforementioned SmackDown, it was clear that he wasn't going to be used as some henchmen in a large group.
Ryback was his new character, and at 6'3" and 291 pounds, he's one of the most well put together stars we have ever seen in WWE.
But what's going to separate Ryback from the pack?
Early in his career, he was put up against local talents who would try to garner some heel heat by disparaging the city that the show was emanating from. Ryback would then come out and dispatch these men in seconds.
Then, the company began booking him in handicap matches against these enhancement wrestlers, and still, they were no match for the big man.
WWE has built Ryback slowly, finally putting him in the ring with bigger names like Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. It was also somewhat refreshing to see the opposition get some offense in on him, just to see how he would handle being on the defensive.
Ryback is going to be a huge star in the WWE—one who's going to be around for a long time and will reach the top of the WWE mountain.
The fans often chant "Goldberg" during his matches, but I'm not quite sure why that would be considered a bad thing. After all, Goldberg was wildly successful in World Championship Wrestling—one of the biggest superstars they ever had.
He has also come up with his own catch phrase, "Feed me more." The fans are starting to chant this after Ryback puts another opponent or two down for the three count, and those chants are getting louder and louder. Why? Ryback is slowly starting to get over with the crowd.
WWE is pushing him correctly, giving him a slow build and not giving him too much, too soon. Because of that, a good portion of the crowd seems to be jumping on the bandwagon.
However, the biggest thing Ryback has on his side is that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is reportedly in his corner, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com).
Ryback looks like the type of superstar who can succeed in WWE, mainly because of his physique. But if he can amass a strong fan following, it will be inevitable that big things will follow.
Ryback has yet to face a big-name opponent, but that will come in time, perhaps as early as SummerSlam.
The WWE has, hopefully, learned not to throw everything at a guy too fast, as they did with Sheamus a few years ago.
Ryback will get to that level, but it's imperative that it's handled correctly from a booking standpoint.
Then, when he's ready, give him that shot and maybe, just maybe, we'll see something similar to this. And that folks, would not be a bad thing.
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