When it comes to Ryback, one thing is certain: If he's wrestling for the WWE championship, then The Shield are going to be there.
The three men from NXT have become a staple when Big Hungry is fighting for the belt. With several run-ins and a bout at TLC, why is Ryback constantly being stopped by The Shield?
The Shield has made Ryback their punching bag ever since their debut. At Survivor Series they cost him the title when they attacked and powerbombed him through a table.
The next night on RAW, they did the same thing again. At the TLC pay-per-view, The Shield fought Ryback and Team Hell No in a vicious bout. Ryback was denied vengeance yet again as The Shield pulled off an impressive victory.
When Ryback got a third shot at CM Punk on RAW, Sean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were there yet again. They plowed Ryback through a table and onto the steel steps, which allowed Punk to steal the victory.
Sure, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, aka The Shield, are on a mission to fight injustice. They have made that clear. But is it Ryback's fault he was thrown so quickly into main event status?
Look back at how Ryback got where he is.
He started on Tough Enough in 2004 and parlayed that into a contract with WWE. He trained in Deep South Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling before moving on to the main roster. An ankle injury sidelined him in 2010.
In April 2012, he returned and went undefeated for months.
Then one day in September, CM Punk attacked Mick Foley backstage after RAW, and Ryback showed up to protect him. When John Cena needed surgery on his arm, Ryback was thrust into the main event scene. He scored the match with Punk for the title at Hell in a Cell.
He lost, but got a rematch at Survivor Series and yet another on RAW.
Everywhere Ryback is, so is The Shield.
But why? Ryback hasn’t committed an injustice, but is going along with what has been given him.
One way to look at it is through the eyes of conspiracy. Namely, Punk or Paul Heyman, is behind it. They have contracted The Shield to protect Punk and his title at all costs. They talk about the sword of justice, Brock Lesnar has a sword on his chest, and Heyman manages Lesnar, so there must be a connection.
A Punk-Heyman connection is too obvious.
From a storyline perspective the attacks are because of Ryback’s fast rise through the ranks. His fault or not, he has sidestepped other superstars. He has been given shot after shot, failed and is still pushed as a main event guy.
But given that logic, why haven’t they gone after Cena? He has also been given shot after shot despite having what Punk described as “the worst year of his career.”
The reality is the WWE needs to solve a creative mess.
The Shield is constantly stopping Ryback because this is the only way he can survive his mini-feud with Punk and still come out looking strong. It’s the WWE’s way of sweeping a damaging storyline under the rug and pushing ahead with his ascension.
It’s a great move on the part of WWE creative. The Shield needs a focus. Week after week of sneak attacks on different wrestlers with no real direction would quickly make them boring.
Ryback and The Shield have great chemistry together. Consider their TLC bout from 2012: a violent, hellacious match that pushed them all to their physical breaking point.
It made them all come off stronger.
With an extended feud, future encounters could be equally rough, playing off each man’s strength and pushing all four men to greater heights in the WWE.
Perhaps it could all come to a head at the Elimination Chamber, where they can beat the living hell out of each other once again.