WWE's Ryback: Looking at the Many Theories Behind His Botch Against Tensai
Ryback was supposed to have his signature moment during his current rise to the top of the WWE as he prepared to hoist super heavyweight Tensai for his finisher, similar to what he did on the smaller SmackDown stage just days prior.
Unfortunately, Ryback struggled to lift Tensai in the air at the conclusion of the long-form match, and as is customary in pro wrestling reporting, conspiracy theories began to populate quicker than one of Ryback's squash matches.
Theories pertaining to Ryback's failure to execute his finisher on Tensai range from the logical to the borderline absurd. Oddly enough, in the often-petty world of professional wrestling, none of these theories are outside of the realm of possibility.
Theory No. 1: Tensai "Sand-Bagged' Ryback Intentionally
When Tensai made his debut in the WWE, coming off a successful tour of Japan, there were big hopes for the big man who once flirted with the main event as the A-Train.
Unfortunately, the Lord Tensai gimmick didn't quite connect with fans the way that WWE officials had hoped despite a steady string of retooling.
With Ryback serving as the antithesis of Tensai's flameout stint in the WWE, the two meeting on the national stage of Monday Night RAW gave Tensai—a WWE veteran—a chance to make a huge statement against talents like Ryback who saw an abundance of opportunities so early in their career/gimmick.
Maybe it was jealousy, maybe it was a form of hazing, but many suspected some form of foul play from Tensai following what seemed to be a curious struggle for Tensai to cooperate in taking Ryback's finisher.
Theory No. 2: WWE Officials Sabotaged the Match to Test Ryback
Let's call this absurd notion the crazy Wade Keller theory. Earlier this week on PWTorch, the crackpot columnist theorized that WWE officials could have been setting up Ryback for failure to see how he would respond in crisis.
According to Keller, WWE officials have been known to test up-and-coming talents with head games simply to see how good they are at handling pressure. Botch-gate from this past Monday could have been yet another example of this.
Theory No. 3: WWE Officials Sabotaged the Match to Keep Ryback Humble
Crazy as it sounds, it has never been above the WWE to teach their superstars an embarrassing, televised lesson. Getting too big for one's britches is among the many violations of WWE's unwritten backstage commandments.
With Ryback receiving such a rare opportunity from the WWE, keeping the future face of the company humble is likely a priority for WWE higher-ups.
Theory No. 4: Ryback Was Too Tired to Lift Tensai
The most appropriate theory for Ryback's botch may also be the most alarming. Ryback, a superstar used in quick squash matches, may have simply been too tired to lift a 300-pounder towards the end of what had been a lengthy match.
Ryback's demanding finisher, often performed on two men at once, is conducive to a quick match, and Ryback usually has enough energy to complete his impressive maneuver at the end of a match.
However, Ryback's long match against Tensai may have caused so much energy to be expended that he was unable to complete his Shell Shocked finisher. This could be an early point of concern for WWE officials as Ryback needs to be able to shine in these type of matches from bell to bell if he is to be a top star.
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