Ryback and WWE's Search for the Unstoppable Big Man in 2012
The creative department of WWE seems to have finally found what they have long been searching for in the development of new main-event babyface, Ryback.
The concept of huge, unstoppable characters has long been a tradition in professional wrestling and WWE has been trying, often failing, to make a number of their larger athletes genuine main-event players throughout 2012 thus far.
Although current WWE Champion CM Punk's year-long title reign illustrates that super-heavyweights are not the be-all and end-all in the main-event picture, the company's desperate struggles to manufacture monsters throughout the year show that the bigger guys are still seen as crucial behind the scenes.
While Ryback has arguably been a success so far in his short run at main-event level, more often than not, WWE's efforts to create believable new big men have fallen fairly flat.
Take Brodus Clay for example, the "Funkasaurus" went on a 24-match winning streak following his re-debut in January of this year, only to be knocked off by the recently turned Big Show in a mere two minutes and 33 seconds.
Although usually facing jobbers, it has to be wondered whether the creative department ever actually had a plan for Clay as a comedic face.
While often showcasing his serious side once the bell rang, he never received the main-event push that at one stage seemed imminent. Whether this was due to his gimmick, or the WWE's desire to put Big Show over, Clay now finds himself losing short matches to mid-card champions, such as United States champ Antonio Cesaro.
Where will Ryback be in 12 months' time?
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for followers of the product is the lack of explanation for this. Why was Clay unstoppable six months ago but completely ineffective now? However poor the logic behind his booking, it would seem that Brodus is one wrestler that requires repackaging if he is to be considered a threat by the WWE Universe.
Tensai, initially "Lord" for one reason or another, is another case of WWE unsuccessfully trying to push a bigger superstar to the moon.
Despite holding pinfall victories over both John Cena and then-babyface WWE Champion CM Punk, Tensai inexplicably became useless, losing to the likes of Tyson Kidd and Sin Cara, who can generously be described as mid-card superstars.
Of course, the de-pushing of the man once known as Prince Albert was likely due to the poor reaction he received in the first few weeks of his re-debut. Was he overshadowed by Brock Lesnar, who returned on the same night? Probably.
Whatever the reasoning for the failures of Clay and Tensai, it is apparent that WWE is still big on the pushing of their super-heavyweights as main-event players.
I for one am pleased that Ryback is getting over reasonably well as a monster in the main-event scene, but if something goes wrong and we see him losing in three minutes to Kidd, Cesaro or Sin Cara in six months' time, it is fair to say that a familiar yet less forgiving collective groan will be emitted from fans of professional wrestling.
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