Have you ever seen those nature documentaries where two giant bull moose butt heads and lock horns in an attempt to gain domain superiority?
Of all of the matches on the card, this one matches up perfect rivals. Unlike John Cena and The Rock, The Undertaker and CM Punk or Triple H and Brock Lesnar, the Ryback-Henry contest features the most equally matched opponents and sets the stage for a rivalry that could last for some time.
Both are extremely strong and flaunt their strength during matches. Henry is billed as the “World’s Strongest Man,” but Ryback is the first wrestler to come along who could be a serious challenger to that billing.
Henry has a weight advantage. Ryback has a speed advantage. But that is where the differences end.
Because they are almost each other’s equal, they make perfect rivals. Plus, instead of an end to a program (as many WrestleMania contests have been), the Ryback-Henry match is expected to launch a feud that lasts all through the summer and maybe beyond.
Why am I predicting the rivalry between these two to continue well past WrestleMania? It’s simple.
First, WWE has limited the pre-PPV contact between them to activities such as last week’s weightlifting contest and this week’s use of Santino Marella as a human medicine ball. They will not put their hands on each other until they get in the ring at WrestleMania. If WWE wanted this to be an end to a program rather than a beginning, then Ryback and Henry would have begun pounding on each other weeks ago.
Second, it is a WrestleMania match that features two men who, barring any kind of serious injury, are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Both men are full-time performers, which means they are not just coming into WWE for a respite from their other careers. Some of the others on Sunday’s pay-per-view will either be gone for a year (Undertaker) or only make sporadic appearances (Rock, Triple H). Ryback and Henry will be there for show after show, until Vince McMahon decides he has seen enough.
The foundation for this match and potential rivalry must have been laid down last year when Ryback challenged CM Punk for the WWE Championship. While Ryback was not successful in gaining the title, he obviously gained enough respect from the WWE powers that be to gain a cherished spot on WWE’s grandest stage. The only thing missing was the ideal opponent.
When Henry returned earlier this year from injury rehab, the WrestleMania match—and the subsequent rivalry—practically wrote itself. The WWE Creative Team just filled in the blanks.
And in putting together the perfect rivals in Ryback and Mark Henry, they just might have created WrestleMania’s perfect storm.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.