The Ryback Train Has Stalled, Courtesy of the Shield
It all started when an injured Skip Sheffield returned as Ryback, plowing through jobbers on SmackDown. This was done to make Ryback a dominant threat in the WWE. Then, one jobber became two jobbers, and he impressed the WWE Universe by lifting both up in his Shell Shocked finisher.
Once that started to become redundant, midcard jobbers such as Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and Jinder Mahal (as opposed to the no-names that were being demolished) became the next batch of victims for Ryback.
Even though the winning streak of Ryback was quite unimpressive in the beginning, he still reached a mild level of popularity by garnering audience support as he chanted, "Feed Me More" (which constantly battled against opposing "Goldberg" chants).
Consequently, John Cena became injured weeks before the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in October, and someone had to quickly fill the role as the main-event babyface to compete against CM Punk. This moment occurred on an episode of Raw when CM Punk was backstage trying to pick a fight with Mick Foley. However, someone stood in between the two, defending Foley.
None other than Ryback.
As the new face of the main-event scene, it was a fresh move from the WWE to utilize Ryback in this caliber. His intensity quickly gained a bigger fanbase, and his momentum seemed to be unstoppable. The possibility of him becoming WWE Champion grew exponentially leading up to the Hell in a Cell PPV.
Then-referee Brad Maddox was the first to slow down the Ryback train, ostensibly assisting CM Punk to give Ryback his first loss.
The next PPV, Survivor Series, gave Ryback another chance to redeem his loss and become WWE Champion. He competed in a triple-threat match against CM Punk and John Cena, but was annihilated by three men coming out from the audience garbed in security attire.
These men were identified as NXT superstars Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, later coined as the Shield.
Ryback once again became a victim of the Shield, losing his third straight PPV at TLC.
Since many believed Ryback had his opportunities to become WWE Champion extinguished by the Shield, he once again was granted another chance at CM Punk this past Raw in a TLC match.
However, Ryback lost the match, courtesy of, once again, the Shield.
It seems as if the Ryback train has significantly stalled due to the constant Shield attacks. His career skyrocketed the end of last year. Now, his popularity has taken an involuntary nosedive. It may reach a crash landing if he continues to feud with the trio.
Seemingly, the only way to salvage Ryback's current status would be to win the Royal Rumble. Getting away from CM Punk and the Shield, starting a feud with the Big Show leading into WrestleMania, would be the best option for Ryback to regain some much-needed momentum.
Do you think Ryback's feud with the Shield stalled his push? How can it be salvaged? Comment civilly below.
Chris Featherstone is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a writer for WrestlingInc.com. He hosts a weekly wrestling talk show show, Pancakes and Powerslams, which airs Tuesdays at 11pm ET on Blog Talk Radio. You can show your support by following @cravewrestling on Twitter and liking Crave Wrestling on Facebook.
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