The WrestleMania 29 card reeks of predictability, which probably means that we can expect to see a few curveballs thrown our way at the pay-per-view.
While the outcome of the show’s top three matches seem to be pretty much set in stone, the WWE has a little more leeway with its undercard matches. Fandango vs. Chris Jericho, the WWE Tag Team Championship match and The Miz vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental title could all go either way.
One undercard match, however, that many have already penciled in the winner for is Ryback vs. Mark Henry, with most thinking that Ryback will emerge from this match victorious.
There is always the possibility, though, that the WWE decides to have Henry be the first man to beat Ryback cleanly, which would set Henry up for one last run as the most dominant heel in the company.
But if WWE officials know what’s good for the long-term sake of the company, the possibility of Henry winning at WrestleMania 29 won’t even be considered.
No, Ryback should—without a shadow of a doubt—defeat Henry at “The Showcase of the Immortals.”
Would a Ryback win be predictable? Of course, it would. But whereas there’s no real benefit to The Undertaker or Triple H winning their respective matches, there’s a huge benefit to Ryback winning his.
Ryback, as we all know, has been booked pretty badly over the last six months or so. After quickly disposing of anyone in his path over his first six months in the WWE, he hit his first real snag in October 2012 when he suffered his first loss, albeit a dirty one.
Unfortunately for Ryback, though, that loss would set in motion a really rough string of losses in major matches that is still going on even to this day.
Although Ryback has won almost every TV match he’s had since then, he’s also lost every major match (whether on TV or PPV) he’s had during that span: At Survivor Series, WWE TLC, on the first Raw of 2013, the 30-Man Royal Rumble match and a six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber, followed by another one the next night on Raw.
The booking of Ryback over that span has been rather peculiar because—although Ryback has been protected during most of those losses—he’s lost those matches, nonetheless. It seems as if the WWE wants to push Ryback as a top babyface but continues to put him in awkward booking situations in which he always ends up losing.
What’s resulted is that Ryback has lost much of the momentum that he had gained over his first several months in the company. But there’s an easy way for him to gain it back: By beating Henry at WrestleMania 29.
While many (myself included) wouldn’t mind seeing Henry win at WrestleMania 29 to set up one last dominant run for the big man, the reality is that Henry is a lot closer to the end of his career than he is the beginning.
In fact, Henry has teased retirement a number of times over the past couple of years, including in an interview with WWE Magazine (via Wrestling.com) in December 2011 and in a radio interview (via WrestlingInc.com) that took place last summer.
With it looking very likely that Henry is nearing the end of the road, there’s no real reason to push him at the expense of an up-and-coming superstar who may be around for another five or 10 years. Instead, Henry should do what so many others do on their way out: Pass the torch.
It’s safe to say that, over the past couple of years, Henry has established himself as the most physically imposing and dominant specimen in the entire WWE. He was pushed incredibly strongly during his great run in 2011 and has been booked like an unstoppable monster since his return earlier this year.
When you look at Ryback, though, he is one of the few men who can step up to “take Henry’s place” so to speak whenever Henry hangs up his boots for good. Although there will never be another Henry, Ryback is one of the few men—if not the only man—in the WWE who is as impressive as Henry is in terms of power and strength.
A match and feud between the two is like a match made in heaven, really. These two guys mirror each other in so many ways that it would be more than fitting for Henry’s last WrestleMania match to be used as a passing of the torch for Ryback.
After all, Ryback needs that signature win now more than ever.
He’s suffered far too many losses over the last several months, and truth be told, he needs a victory over someone that appears to be unbeatable. Other than perhaps The Undertaker, the only man who fits that bill is Henry.
If Ryback can prove at WrestleMania 29 that Henry is indeed capable of being beaten, he’s going to benefit from it in a huge way.
A career-defining victory over Henry will get Ryback back on track and ensure that he’s ready to reclaim his spot in the main-event scene.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!