At this time a year ago, I was highly anticipating the return of Ryback to the main roster of WWE.
Prior to his stint as Ryback, he worked as Skip Sheffield, having debuted on the inaugural season of WWE NXT and was later a crucial member of the Nexus stable.
After suffering a severe ankle injury in August 2010, Sheffield was sidelined indefinitely with no return date in sight. In his absence, he was repackaged as an unstoppable monster named Ryback and worked as a heel at live events in late 2011.
At that point, I couldn’t wait for Ryback to resurface on television, merely because he had potential to be one of WWE’s top stars as a ruthless monster.
If you saw his path of destruction during his time with the Nexus, you know that he was capable of much more destructivity than some gave him credit for.
However, one report released during Ryback's inactivity stated that Vince McMahon was incredibly high on his character and saw him as the future No. 2 babyface of the company. I took the report with a grain of salt since Ryback was such a fantastic heel, but I simply couldn’t imagine the Cornfed Meathead as one of WWE’s top faces.
Despite that, Ryback finally reappeared on the SmackDown brand shortly following WrestleMania 28 as a fan favorite.
I thought it was a mistake at first, but he gradually got over with the WWE Universe using his simplistic “Feed Me More” catchphrase.
Although he started out by decimating local athletes, Ryback slowly but surely progressed his way up the ladder in WWE, eventually becoming a breakout star in the main event scene by the fall season.
He was quickly placed in a feud with CM Punk over the WWE Championship, headlining multiple pay-per-views during his time at the top.
Over the last 10 months, Ryback has become one of the most over Superstars in the entire company, an impressive feat to say the least. Despite his winning ways throughout 2012, he hasn’t been as successful coming into the new year.
His latest loss came at last Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event, where he took the clean pin-fall for his team in a match against The Shield. This came as a shock, mostly because he had been protected for so long and was rarely ever the one to take the loss.
Following the bout, Ryback walked out on this teammates, John Cena and Sheamus. On the subsequent edition of Raw, he’d cross paths with Sheamus before going on to lose to The Shield later that night.
Shortly thereafter, a report surfaced indicating that a heel turn for Ryback has been discussed. While it would make some sense given Ryback’s recent mannerisms, it would be a huge mistake at this point in time.
As good of a heel as Ryback could be, now is certainly not the time to go through with it.
Ryback is easily one of the most over guys in the company at the moment, so what’s the point in turning him heel?
I realize that WWE is in desperate need of top heels right now, but I don’t understand why Ryback has to be the one to fill that void. There’s still plenty of money left in Ryback as a fan favorite, so turning him heel so soon wouldn’t be beneficial for his character.
Not only that, but that same report went on to state that there is worry in turning Ryback due to the fact that he’s still somewhat limited in the ring.
While his in-ring skills are solid as a whole, he won’t have the crowd behind him during his matches, which is how he got to where he is today to begin with.
There are still a number of potential rivalries waiting for Ryback as a face as well, including with the likes of Mark Henry, Big Show, Wade Barrett and many others.
One of the biggest reasons for Ryback to turn heel would be to feud with Cena, but how likely would it be that Ryback comes out of that feud unscathed?
As we quickly approach WrestleMania 29, I hope to see Big Hungry featured in a prominent role against a worthy opponent. I’d be completely content if he were to enter a feud with Sheamus since it’s only logical at this point, but neither guy should be turning heel anytime soon.
Keep in mind that Ryback hasn’t won a match on pay-per-view since Money in the Bank 2012, which is quiet shocking, to say the least.
Sure, a heel turn could give Ryback a fresh batch of opponents to work with, but there’s simply no need to flip the switch so early in his hot babyface run.
Nonetheless, I’m highly anticipating how Ryback’s character will booked going forward, especially with WrestleMania 29 being only mere weeks away. He’s shown tremendous potential up to this point, and I’d hate to see it all go to waste by turning him heel within the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Ryback’s potential heel turn and how you think it will either benefit or hurt his character. As always, your criticism and overall feedback of my latest piece is greatly appreciated.