7 Ways Ryback's Push Is Now Dead in the Water
If Ryback were pushed any harder, he'd probably fall down.
Since making his WWE debut back in April, "Big Hungry" has received a monster push that seems to get bigger every week.
Just a few months back, he was beating local talent in 2-on-1 handicap matches. Over the last couple of months, though, he's developed into one of the WWE's biggest stars and the top challenger for CM Punk's WWE Championship.
Now, however, Ryback's push appears to be stuck at a standstill. Technically speaking, the guy may still be getting a big-time push, but is it really leading anywhere? I don't think so.
Here are seven reasons why Ryback's push is dead in the water.
7. He's Lost His Two Biggest Matches
It's kind of ironic that Ryback went from a guy who never lost to someone who seems to lose all the time now.
A big part of Ryback's appeal during the buildup to his main-event run was that he was unstoppable and unbeatable.
But what happened at both Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series? He lost, and it's been a big detriment to both his push and his image as the WWE's resident monster.
The WWE spent so long building Ryback up to be CM Punk's toughest challenger to date, but in the end, it's been Ryback who has been unable to prove that he can step up to the challenge in the main-event scene.
With Ryback failing at his first two WWE title opportunities, it doesn't make him seem like a top star. It makes him seem like a loser.
Why push a guy to the top of the mountain if you don't have enough faith in him to have him win once he gets there?
6. He's Been Made to Look Too Human
To piggyback off the last slide, Ryback's recent losses have, in a way, made him look too human.
He's a guy who spent the first six months or so of his WWE career running through jobbers and the lower part of the roster, and now all of a sudden, he doesn't look so unstoppable. In fact, he's looking a lot more human these days.
Ryback lost the two biggest matches of his career, and he's been put through a table twice when the idea behind his character seemed to be that no one could hurt him, much less destroy him like the trio of debuting NXT stars did.
Obviously, Ryback was going to have to look a little human at some point or risk getting too stale and redundant, but I think it was far too soon for that to happen.
The WWE could have avoided this had it held off on Ryback's rise to the main event for a while, but since he was pushed to the top before he was probably ready, the company was essentially forced to make him look human with two straight pay-per-view losses.
Ryback didn't exactly look weak in either of those losses. But a little more human? I'd say so.
Now, the WWE has the challenge of recreating his image as an unstoppable force, but with the realization that no one forgets history.
5. He's Staying in the Same Spot
When something is being pushed, it's moving forward, right?
Well, I wouldn't consider what Ryback's currently doing to be moving forward. In reality, he's been stuck in the same exact spot since he entered the main-event scene just a couple of months ago.
Yeah, he's the top challenger for the WWE's top title. But that's all he's going to be.
With the long-term WWE title scene not figuring to involve Ryback, he's, in essence, got nowhere to go. He's just a guy who's feuding for a championship without any real advancement.
Of course, Ryback still comes across as a top guy because of the monster push he's gotten, but that push can't continue if he he can't advance any further up the ladder.
And guess what? He can't.
4. He's Still Feuding with CM Punk
Ryback's push could have continued if he was feuding with 99 percent of the guys on the main roster.
But not CM Punk.
Punk is in the midst of a record-breaking WWE Championship reign, and along with that reign comes a major push that is likely going to continue until 2013 and beyond.
As long as Ryback is feuding with Punk (and it seems like he will do that until WWE TLC and perhaps even afterward), there's going to be little to no room for advancement of his push.
That's why so many people were against this feud in the first place. It's pretty much unbookable.
The thing is, Punk isn't suffering from it too much because he's a heel. Ryback, on the other hand, is the one who's hurt the most by it because he's a new babyface main-eventer who continues to lose when the stakes are the highest.
3. He's Not Going to Win a World Title Anytime Soon
Does anyone really think that Ryback is going to win a World title anytime soon? Because I sure don't.
The WWE title picture seems to already booked for the next six months or so, while it would be a major risk to put the World Heavyweight Championship on Ryback around Royal Rumble time. Of course, you also have to consider that Ryback just doesn't seem to fit in the World Heavyweight title picture at the moment.
With Big Show getting a monster push, Sheamus possibly in line to take the strap off of him and Dolph Ziggler just waiting to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, I don't see any logical scenario that has Ryback winning the World title in the near future.
And here's the thing: Because Ryback was pushed to be a top title contender soon, the only way for his push to get any bigger is for him to win a World title.
If he doesn't do that, then the WWE absolutely wasted its time trying to build him up as a top guy. He won't be a legitimate top guy if he doesn't win the World title he aspired to get.
2. The Rock and the Road to WrestleMania
It's not going to be The Rock vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship at the 2013 Royal Rumble. It's going to be The Rock vs. CM Punk.
From that point forward, the WWE title scene figures to revolve around The Rock, Punk and, in all likelihood, John Cena until WrestleMania 29 and beyond.
Where's Ryback in that picture? Probably nowhere to be found.
He's not going to win the WWE Championship at WWE TLC, he's not going to be involved in a WWE title match at The Royal Rumble, and he's likely not going to be a WWE (and perhaps even World) title contender until after the WrestleMania dust has settled.
That, of course, means that Ryback is going to lose to Punk again (likely at TLC) and then shift gears to another storyline that likely won't have anywhere near the importance that his current one with Punk has.
If that's indeed what happens, the Ryback's massive push is essentially over and done with.
1. The Only Way to Go Is Down
When you rise to the top of the WWE but don't end up winning a World title, the only way to go from there is down.
The WWE has pushed Ryback to what is basically his highest level possible (at least right now because of other factors), and that, of course, means that he is going to have a fall from grace at some point.
That fall has already started.
Even though Ryback is still CM Punk's top challenger, there seems to be about a 99.99999 percent chance that he will lose to Punk for a third straight time, and then what? He slowly but surely works his way down the card.
There's simply no other way for him to go. There is no higher level than a WWE Championship feud, and after WWE TLC, Ryback doesn't figure to be involved in the WWE title picture.
What goes up must come down, and Ryback already went all the way up. Now, he's about to come back down.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!
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