Mark Henry and Ryback have been crossing paths in recent weeks, hinting at a WrestleMania showdown between the two monsters. Given the unpredictability of the bout, a clash between the two men could steal the show.
In a year of rematches and predictability, WrestleMania needs something new and these two men could be the answer.
(Warning: The rest of the article has potential spoilers.)
Too many of this year's WrestleMania bouts are either a rematch, a renewed feud or entirely unsurprising. The result is a card for the biggest event of the year that feels like a glorified version of any other pay-per-view event.
Instead of taking it big, it feels like the WWE is taking it safe.
The Rock vs. John Cena is a rematch from last year's successful WrestleMania XXVIII. But given that Rock won last year, Cena will win this year.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, while an exciting bout, is also a rematch from SummerSlam. CM Punk and The Undertaker already feuded in '09 and '10, so their matchup will be nothing new.
Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger have never fought in a singles bout but have wrestled together in tag teams and in battle royals. With the leaked news that the two will battle again at Extreme Rules, it is safe to assume that Swagger, with momentum on his side, will win.
The six-man tag team match, The Shield vs. Ryback, Sheamus and Randy Orton is another rematch of sorts. With or without Ryback involved, The Shield can't survive a loss, but the others can. Plus, with Orton about to receive a heel push, a loss would give him ample opportunity to turn.
This is what makes a potential bout between Henry and Ryback so appealing. Hopefully, despite recent events at the SmackDown television tapings, the WWE will be putting this match together like they've been hinting at doing.
A few weeks back, Ryback and Henry first crossed paths on the entrance ramp on Monday Night Raw. It was only a stare, a long look where the two were measuring each other. But in that moment, there was a tension between the two, a feeling that there was magic to be had with these two men in the ring.
They bumped into each other again on SmackDown, this time backstage. Inches apart, they stared at each other, and the power of this match was again in the air.
Then, on the March 11 episode of Raw, Henry and Ryback took turns hitting Drew McIntyre with their respective finishers, twice each. It was a moment where the WWE was showing the WWE Universe that these two beasts were equals in strength.
Scheduled for a match on the March 12 SmackDown tapings, Henry vs. Ryback didn’t happen. The Shield, whose own six-man bout was announced earlier in the evening, attacked Big Hungry. The World's Strongest Man then hit Ryback with The World's Strongest Slam three times.
If the WWE handles things right, then on next week's Raw, Ryback will drop out of the tag team bout and challenge Henry for WrestleMania.
This is what WrestleMania needs.
These two men are powerful behemoths who dominate their opponents through sheer brute strength. They seem to thrive on the punishment they can hand out. Their moves appear to hurt.
But what they truly bring is the unexpected: Who would win?
Henry is on the rebound from nine months of missed action due to injury. Before his injury, he was World Champion and a dominant heel. Without the belt, he was still in the title picture and headlining shows.
Who would win a WrestleMania match between Mark Henry and Ryback?
Ryback rode the wave of an undefeated streak to a title match with Punk at Hell in a Cell. Despite not winning and going on a pay-per-view losing streak, he was still a hot property—a new main-eventer.
Both men need the win at WrestleMania. Henry needs it to get back in the title hunt. Ryback needs it for, well, the same thing. But who can afford to lose?
Henry can. He roared back in February, only to lose his first pay-per-view inside the Elimination Chamber. But he went out strong and now is the same threat he was before fighting in the Chamber. Ryback needs the win. But that doesn't mean he'll get it.
With so much predictability on the card, all it may take is that small iota of uncertainty to turn Henry vs. Ryback into a showstopper.