Ever since The Shield debuted as a unit at Survivor Series, they have made life miserable for Ryback. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have gotten the better of Ryback each and every time they have gotten involved with him, but allowing Ryback to settle the score would be a mistake on the WWE's part.
Ryback's momentum reached a high point prior to Hell in a Cell last year where he challenged CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Ryback's rise was meteoric to say the least and it almost seemed as though the WWE was pushing things along too quickly, but the iron was obviously hot, so the WWE decided to strike and it looked like a smart move at first.
Ryback lost to Punk at Hell in a Cell, but it was due to interference from referee Brad Maddox and it didn't affect the crowd reaction at all. Ryback was once again screwed at Survivor Series, but this time it was at the hands of The Shield as they powerbombed him through the announce table, which allowed Punk to pin John Cena and retain the WWE Championship.
The Shield has since beaten Ryback in multiple matches as they beat Ryback and Team Hell No at TLC, they defeated Ryback, Sheamus and John Cena at Elimination Chamber and they took out Ryback, Sheamus and Chris Jericho on the ensuing episode of Raw. Add to that the fact that The Shield helped Punk beat Ryback in a TLC match for the WWE Championship on Raw back in January and there is no doubt that they have been a thorn in his side.
Losing wasn't a big deal for Ryback at first because he usually didn't take the fall, and when he did there were obvious shenanigans. Ryback has lost at each and every pay-per-view since Hell in a Cell, though, so the fan support has inevitably lessened to some degree. Things truly came to a head at Elimination Chamber as Ryback was the one who was pinned after a spear from Reigns.
Most didn't expect The Shield to win, but if they were going to win, then it was going to involved dirty tactics. That wasn't the case. Also, Sheamus seemed to be the most likely candidate to take the fall since he wasn't involved in a feud of significance at the time. Again, that wasn't the case as Ryback was pinned cleanly for the first time in WWE.
Suddenly Ryback is in a tough spot as he is no longer in the main-event scene and doesn't have much purpose. The easy thing for the WWE to do would be to have him face The Shield in yet another six-man tag at WrestleMania XXIX. The WWE could put Ryback over and then perhaps everything that The Shield did to him in the past would be forgotten.
That would obviously be great for Ryback, but it would severely damage The Shield. The WWE has handled The Shield extremely well so far as their cohesiveness has allowed them to defeat all comers. Not even all-star teams have been able to vanquish The Shield to this point. I like the fact that The Shield appears to be invincible and I want to see that continue moving forward.
Rather than putting Ryback over with The Shield being collateral damage, I would have Ryback feud with Mark Henry heading into WrestleMania. Neither man has anything of note going on right now and they haven't had any interaction in the past, so a rivalry between them would feel fresh and exciting. Henry has been dominant since his return with his only slip-up coming at Elimination Chamber. It took three men to eliminate him, though, and he ended up destroying them all anyway.
Henry is an unstoppable force, but Ryback can be billed as the guy who actually has a chance to knock him off his pedestal. It seems to me like the WWE is trying to build Ryback up again as he beat Dolph Ziggler on Raw. If he picks up a good win or two every week between now and WrestleMania and then beats Henry at the event itself, he'll likely be back in the fans' good graces yet again.
As I have suggested since Elimination Chamber, I would supplement that win with a heel turn as well. I fully realize that Ryback is popular, but so are Cena, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and many others. When it comes to main-event heels, though, the WWE has Punk and not much else. There is an open spot for Ryback and I would love to see the WWE steer him in that direction.
A couple seeds have already been planted as Ryback walked out on Cena and Sheamus after losing at Elimination Chamber. He also got into an argument with Sheamus the next night on Raw. With Cena likely to walk away from WrestleMania as the WWE Champion, it would make sense to turn Ryback at some point after 'Mania while also aligning him with The Shield.
Ryback has been bested by The Shield so many times that he may finally have a change of heart and join them in their quest for justice. Ryback wouldn't necessarily be the leader, but he would serve as the main-event guy of the group. He also wouldn't have to do much mic work as Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have proven perfectly capable of handling that.
Things haven't gone well for Ryback as of late, but he still has a lot of potential and big things are on the horizon. I'm 100 percent in support of building him back up; however, there is no way it should come at the expense of The Shield.