One of the harshest criticisms of World Wrestling Entertainment over the last five years is that the company struggles to create new stars, leaving noticeable voids whenever one of its top performers goes down to injury.
Following September's Night of Champions pay-per-view, it was revealed that John Cena would miss a number of weeks thanks to a surgical procedure to remove bone chips from his arm. It was a massive blow to a roster already lacking legitimate star power and left Vince McMahon and his merry band of writers scrambling for a backup plan, a replacement, for their franchise star.
As was seen on Raw over the last two weeks, it appears they have found that replacement in the form of the dominant Ryback.
One of the more polarizing stars on the roster, fans either love or hate Ryback. He is a dominating force in the same vein as Goldberg and has a winning record that has stretched for months. He has also proven to be somewhat reckless in the ring and has yet to prove that he can sustain his energy and ferocity for longer than five minutes.
With that said, he has a star presence about him that other fresh faces do not. When he walks through the curtain, he carries himself like a Superstar and seems incredibly confident in what he does.
Most importantly, Ryback's recent interactions with WWE Champion CM Punk have received the reaction from the fans that the company wanted. The idea that the physically-imposing performer stood up to the loudmouth champion two weeks in a row has only helped to increase his popularity and create interest for an eventual match between the two.
Regardless of your personal opinions on the former Skip Sheffield, Ryback's sudden rise up the ranks in WWE is a good thing for the company. While he is unproven in the spot he is about to find himself in, Ryback provides a fresh new face near the top of the card and is evidence that, if the company thinks outside of the box and focuses on creating a new star, fans will usually react accordingly.
Fans like new. After seven years of John Cena at the top of the promotion—and a full year of CM Punk dominating the WWE title scene—elevating a new face to a top position in the company cannot and will not hurt.
Especially if that new star has been booked as well as Ryback has in recent weeks.