7 Rivalries Ryback Has to Avoid
The WWE is obviously grooming Ryback to be its next big babyface.
All it takes is a look at how strongly "Big Hungry" has been booked to see that the company is going to do anything and everything in its power to ensure that Ryback becomes a star.
But if the WWE wants to make sure that Ryback will succeed and reach the level that company officials want him to, there are certain things that the creative team absolutely cannot do with the man formerly known as Skip Sheffield.
Mainly, the WWE can't book Ryback in a feud or storyline that—much like his current rivalry with CM Punk—is, for whatever reason, just too damn hard to book.
Here are seven rivalries that Ryback has to avoid for the foreseeable future.
7. Damien Sandow
If Ryback is being groomed to be the WWE's next top babyface, then Damien Sandow is in line to be its next top heel.
For that simple reason, these two absolutely have to avoid feuding with each other anytime soon.
We know that Ryback is going to be booked as arguably the company's most dominant superstar, but it shouldn't came at the expense of a guy like Sandow, who figures to evolve into one of the WWE's top heels in 2013.
If you throw these two into a feud with each other, odds are that it's going to be too difficult to book (because the WWE won't want either to lose) or that it will result in Ryback running through Sandow and destroying the momentum he's built up since his debut.
While I think a feud between Ryback and Sandow would be an interesting clash of styles (the simpleton vs. the aristocrat), they should stay away from each other while the WWE is still trying to build them up as top guys.
Then, maybe when they get to the top of the WWE, a feud between them will make more sense.
6. Antonio Cesaro
Much like Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro is currently positioned to be one of the WWE's breakout heels of 2013.
Thus, the WWE will want to book him as strongly as possible for the foreseeable future, especially when you consider that he's still relatively new to mainstream wrestling fans.
As is the case with Sandow, putting Cesaro in a feud with Ryback doesn't figure to do much for either guy. Cesaro is the United States Champion, which is a step below the level that Ryback's been pushed at recently, meaning that Ryback would have to take a considerable step down the WWE ladder for this feud to happen.
Plus, what are the odds that Ryback would just destroy Cesaro with ease? Probably pretty good.
Both Ryback and Cesaro have really bright futures in the WWE, but those futures would be a little brighter if they remained on separate paths as they tried to make it to the top.
This could be a solid rivalry once both guys are firmly established, but as WWE newcomers, there's no need to hurt either guy's push by having them feud.
5. Big Show
Big Show is doing some fine work as a heel right now and is more relevant now than at any point in recent memory.
He's fresh off a great match at Hell in a Cell and is now the World Heavyweight Champion. But that being said, I really don't want to see him feud with Ryback.
Although Big Show did just put on a fantastic match with Sheamus, he's known for having pretty bad matches if he's not in the ring with the right guy. Odds are, Ryback would not be the right guy.
By all accounts, Ryback is still a pretty raw talent, and nothing he's done recently suggests that he could have a match with The Big Show and make it even slightly entertaining. In fact, a Ryback/Show match would probably be a slow, drawn-out bout that damn near puts us to sleep.
Do we really want to see a major rivalry involving two big powerhouses, especially if it involves the World Heavyweight Championship?
If you're a hardcore wrestling fan, your answer to that question is probably "no," and I don't blame you. I like Big Show's recent work and think Ryback has some potential, but like oil and water, they probably just wouldn't mix.
4. John Cena
One of the biggest problems with the feud between CM Punk and Ryback is that it's extremely difficult to book because both men are protected so much by the creative team.
Now, if you think that's the case, then just imagine the number of issues that a rivalry between Ryback and John Cena would create.
We, of course, know that Cena has been booked incredibly strongly for like seven years now, and during the seven months he's been on the main roster, Ryback has been booked to be more dominant than any other WWE superstar.
Put these two in a feud against one another, and what you've created is a booker's nightmare.
Neither of those guys are going to take losses very often, much less clean ones, so how do you book them against each other if you don't ever want to have either of them lose?
If you have the answer to that question, you are better man than I am because I don't see any way that a Ryback/Cena feud creates anything but problems for the WWE—at least for the foreseeable future.
3. Triple H
Triple H is only a part-time wrestler these days, which makes a potential feud with Ryback a lot less likely.
But I like to call Triple H the "momentum killer" because he's made a bad habit out of killing the momentum of rising superstars, and he would probably do the exact same thing with Ryback.
I mean, do you remember when Triple H defeated Sheamus at WrestleMania 26? Why not put over a guy who the WWE was obviously trying to build up as a top star?
How about when Triple H defeated Punk at Night of Champions last year and stopped Punk's momentum dead in its tracks? Does anyone think that that was the best way to book the hottest act in the company?
I think you get the point, and it's that, generally speaking, putting an up-and-comer in a feud with Triple H hasn't really proven to be a great idea over the last couple of years.
Does anyone really think that things would be any different if Triple H feuded with Ryback? I sure don't.
2. The Undertaker
Once Ryback's undefeated streak got a little lengthy, the buzz really started to pick up that he could be headed for a "streak vs. streak" match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29.
That chatter has died down a bit since Ryback suffered his first loss at Hell in a Cell, but with the way that Ryback's been pushed so strongly, you have to think that it's still a very real possibility.
No one seems to know for sure if Undertaker will compete at WrestleMania 29, but if he does, Ryback will be at the top of the list of his potential opponents because he's one of only a few guys who we could picture actually ending the streak.
But I, like many others, have no interest in seeing Ryback go one-on-one with Undertaker at the biggest PPV of the year.
For starters, The Undertaker has put on phenomenal matches at six straight WrestleManias now, and needless to say, a match against Ryback wouldn't be the type of match we've grown accustomed to seeing Taker have at Mania.
Then, of course, there's that other reason why I don't want to see this match: the possibility that The Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak would end.
"The Streak" should never end and certainly not by a guy who hasn't even been around for an entire year.
You could make a case that Sheamus has taken over John Cena's spot as the most strongly booked star in the WWE.
Up until his loss to Big Show at Hell in a Cell, clean losses had been extremely rare for Sheamus in 2012, and losses in general almost never seemed to happen for "The Great White."
If he's been the most strongly booked babyface this year, though, then Ryback probably slides in at No. 2—and only because he hasn't been around long enough to be No. 1.
A lot of the complaints surrounding the current Ryback/Punk feud is that it's pretty much impossible to book. Well, with the way that Sheamus has been booked over the last year or so, a Sheamus/Ryback feud would be even harder for creative to book well.
It would be a classic case of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. How is either Ryback or Sheamus going to fall victim to the other guy?
I don't know, and that's precisely why the WWE's two most strongly booked babyfaces absolutely must avoid each other at all costs—at least until the creative team isn't hellbent on having both of them win every match they participate in.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!