When Ryback took John Cena’s place against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell 2012, it was a sign that he was on the path to the top of WWE.
Here we are, two months later, and Ryback still has some work to do in order to be the top babyface of the company.
While he began a hot streak, he has lost a number of pay-per-views recently, including the 2013 Royal Rumble match.
If Ryback is going to reach that level of success, he needs to begin winning again. Not only that, but he needs to defeat some main-event-level Superstars on his way to the top.
With that said, here are five wrestlers Ryback must defeat on his journey to being the top babyface of WWE.
Chris Jericho could greatly help Ryback on his path to the top of WWE, as Jericho has been putting over young stars for a while.
Most recently, Jericho has helped Dolph Ziggler by putting him over last year, before leaving WWE once again. Jericho is at the point in his career where he doesn’t need to win, so he could be a great help to the younger Superstars. He can still provide some great matches while making his opponent look strong.
Jericho also holds the record for most number of Intercontinental championship reigns, as well as being the first undisputed World Champion.
By defeating Jericho, Ryback would remind us that he belongs in the main event.
The Big Red Machine is in a similar place as Chris Jericho, and based on his size, he may be able to help Ryback even more.
Kane is a veteran big man who could deliver great matches with Superstars of any size. He has had great matches with The Undertaker and the smaller Daniel Bryan. A feud or match with Ryback would allow the latter to show off his strength and skills.
Kane is bound to end his partnership with Daniel Bryan soon, opening questions as to what and who Kane will work with next.
Kane has been playing the role of babyface with Bryan, but he could easily revert back to the monster heel he was for so many years.
It may seem overdone, but it doesn’t have to last long.
The match you may have been anticipating at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight title can and should still happen between Ryback and Big Show.
It won’t be for the World Heavyweight Championship, and it may not happen at WrestleMania, but Ryback delivering Shell Shock to the Big Show would certainly help Ryback on his path to the top of the company.
Ryback has yet to have the moment that he needs to show the fans and Vince McMahon that he belongs on top of WWE. He has the look, the strength and the catchphrase.
He is missing that one match or even that one instance that will make him a super Superstar.
Stone Cold Steve Austin had his moment at the end of his WrestleMania match with Bret Hart, when he was bleeding so profusely, the referee had to end the match.
Can Ryback have that moment with the Big Show?
It’s certainly possible.
Randy Orton is a wrestler who would be a perfect fit to have Ryback beat on his path to the top, because it would allow Orton to finally turn heel.
Ryback eliminated Orton in the 2013 Royal Rumble match, which is a popular way for Superstars to begin feuding.
We haven’t seen anything on Raw or SmackDown that would suggest Orton is seeking revenge.
Randy Orton is one of the most established Superstars in WWE, but his record over the last year has gone downhill.
Ryback would still benefit from defeating Orton, as they would deliver a quality match. Ryback’s matches with CM Punk and The Shield have shown us what Ryback can do.
When you pair Ryback with a high-level Superstar like Orton, he can do the same.
John Cena is the one wrestler Ryback must beat if he is ever going to be the top babyface of the company.
Watching Cena and Ryback at the end of the Rumble gave me chills at the idea of a feud or even just one match between the two.
John Cena is clearly still the No. 1 babyface of WWE, but Ryback is being built in such a way that suggests he could be the future No. 1.
Ryback took Cena’s place in his feud with CM Punk when Cena was injured. Cena is not going to be able to wrestle forever, so Ryback would be a great wrestler to groom to take Cena’s place.
In order for this match to happen, one may think Ryback or Cena needs to turn heel. Although it would be intriguing to see either one turn heel, it would not be surprising if the match was face-against-face.
An entire book could be written about the possibility of Cena turning heel, so I won’t even go there. Ryback turning heel would be interesting, but in order to build him as the next top babyface, he needs to stay in his current role.
John Cena needs to put over Ryback, just as he did Dolph Ziggler at WWE TLC 2012, but this time without any interruptions.
Ryback is a future World Champion based on his look, power and backstage support, but he needs to get back on the winning track.
Wrestling and beating former World Champions, like those on this list, would certainly help him get on his way to the top.
Clearly, beating John Cena would give Ryback a boost, but there are plenty of other main-level Superstars that Ryback should defeat.
Who do you think Ryback must beat on his path to the top of WWE?
Please leave your suggestions, ideas and comments in the section below.
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