In pro wrestling, it’s common for a debuting wrestler to start off his career with a lengthy winning streak that’s meant to build him up as a credible superstar.
It’s happened with a long list of guys, including CM Punk, and in today’s WWE, it’s almost becoming the norm.
Several recently debuting WWE superstars have entered the company and wiped the floor with the competition for several months before eventually losing. Among those stars are Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow.
Of course, one recently debuting superstar has become famous—or perhaps infamous—for his winning streak that started in April and is still intact: Ryback.
The man formerly known as Skip Sheffield made his debut under the Ryback character shortly after WrestleMania 28 and has rolled through any and all competition since then.
Sure, the majority of that “competition” has been local enhancement talent, and Ryback’s toughest challenge to date has been Jinder Mahal. But hey, he’s undefeated, nonetheless.
It’s not all that surprising that Ryback has yet to lose, either, because he’s got a huge supporter in Vince McMahon.
According to The Wrestling Observer (via ewrestlingnews.com), McMahon is extremely high on Ryback, as are a number of WWE officials.
This hasn’t exactly come as a shock to many wrestling fans (who are all too familiar with Vince’s love for big guys), but to some of those fans, it’s still a head-scratcher that he would push a guy like Ryback who is deemed a “Goldberg ripoff” and appears to be rather limited with what he can do in the ring.
Nonetheless, it’s very apparent that McMahon and the creative team are firmly behind pushing Ryback as far as he can go. Though some question just how far that is, the WWE appears dead set on trying either way.
I still think that Ryback has a long way to go before he should be in the main event or World title scenes, and I’d love to see him face some stiffer competition in the coming months.
But regardless of the rather weak competition he’s faced so far, Ryback seems to be evolving into one of the WWE’s top stars.
That statement may shock a lot of people, but it’s become incredibly clear in recent weeks that the fans are getting behind Ryback, and it stems largely from those three little words: “FEED ME MORE!”
You may be thinking that one tiny catchphrase can’t help make or break a star. But ask The Rock or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin about that. Better yet, ask Daniel Bryan, whose fantastic 2012 has had a whole lot to do with one of the most commonly used words in the English language.
This isn’t to say that Ryback will ever be on the same level as those stars (that’s not going to happen). Rather, it’s a testament to Ryback’s surprising ability to get over with the crowd.
Although we still hear “Goldberg” chants here and there, the WWE arenas are slowly but surely starting to fill up with “Feed me more!” chants. These aren’t the piped-in chants we get on SmackDown, either—they are legitimate.
Take a look, for example, at this week’s Raw when Zack Ryder appeared on the titantron and informed Heath Slater that he’d be facing Ryback. The ovation Ryback received was pretty shocking, as were the loud “Feed me more” chants that echoed throughout the arena after the match.
This is a fantastic sign for Ryback. He’s catching on and, especially over the last couple of years, superstars who catch on generally move on to bigger and better things.
When CM Punk got ridiculously over in 2011, he became one of the biggest stars in the business. In 2012, Bryan has done the exact same thing.
Will Ryback ever become a top star?
Sure, those guys both benefited from being fantastic wrestlers who are much better in the ring than Ryback will ever be. But Ryback isn’t even six months into his WWE run, and he’s already evolved into one of the WWE’s most popular baby faces.
The WWE always tends to be thin on the baby face side, and with a big dropoff from the No. 2 and No. 3 baby faces (Randy Orton and Sheamus) to the rest of the good guys, Ryback has as good of a chance to become the WWE’s next big baby face right now as he ever will.
It’s going to be a struggle because Ryback doesn’t appear to be a great wrestler, but I’m not sure he’ll ever have to be very good in the ring to reach the top of the WWE.
After all, he’s got the support of McMahon, and when your boss likes you, it’s a lot easier to have a successful career.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!