Why Ryback Is NOT the WWE Breakout Star of 2012

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

Photo courtesy of WWE
Photo courtesy of WWE

Ryback is the breakout star of the fall, not of the year 2012.

WWE's riveting Slammy Awards are next Monday. One of the categories is breakout star of the year.

Ryback is the first name I've heard from many fans when they talk about this topic. I disagree.

In wrestling as a whole, TNA's Austin Aries is the breakout star of the year. But talking just WWE―give me Daniel Bryan.

Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship at the end of 2011 after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. He started 2012 as a middle-of-the-line face in championship matches. In four months, he became one of the top heels.

On the BIGGEST WRESTLING STAGE, he lost in 18 seconds, dropping his title in the opening match. This turned out to be the moment that a rocket was shot up the rear end of his career—a ride of YES and NO while he remains a top heel, main eventing against CM Punk.

He goes from top heel back to being one of the most over faces of the company. All in 12 months.

Ryback beat dozens of local independent wrestlers then was added to various pay-per-views unadvertised to beat one or two local talents at a time. He beat Camacho. He then beat Jinder Mahal. He beat Jinder Mahal again.

So good the first few times, you saw him beat Jinder Mahal again.

He then had a staredown with CM Punk when John Cena got injured in October. Since then, he's yet to win a main event match in the two months. He's been the victim of curveball, outside interference.

I give all the credit to Ryback for his success. He's over. The fans chant his name and his catchphrases, and are starting to buy his merchandise. He is growing on the WWE Universe.

He's the breakout star of the fall season, but not the year. I measure a breakout star by looking at where someone was in their career and who got noticed by the most amount of people while providing a huge amount of progression to his career.

Ryback could go for rookie of the year, being that the character made its debut this calendar year. I can agree he beats out Tensai, Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow for rookie of the year.

His name holds more weight than any other rookie from 2012. But not breakout star of 2012.

Ryback went from beating no-names to losing to big names. Daniel Bryan went from floundering midcarder to arguably the most entertaining performer on the mic and in the ring.

Ryback's progression has nothing on Daniel Bryan's.