Ryback holds his future in the palms of his hands, or more accurately, atop his broad shoulders.
He faces off with Mark Henry at WrestleMania XXIX in what could be one of the more entertaining matches of the pay-per-view. While the two aren't going to put on a mat class, fans should be treated to 10 minutes or so of two big guys going right at it.
WWE was very smart putting these two together. It's just two big, strong guys going up against one another to determine which guy is the biggest and strongest.
However, the biggest factor in this match is whether Ryback can cleanly deliver Shellshock on Henry.
He's gotten two guys up at once in the move, but he has had a little bit of trouble getting one big wrestler up. While he hit Tensai with it on SmackDown about a week prior, there was that failed Shellshock attempt on Raw back in October.
Then there was the time he struggled to get Paul Heyman up.
There's no doubting Ryback's strength. He's probably lifted the equivalent of Mark Henry onto his shoulders already. But you could see why having a wider wrestler would cause problems for Ryback.
Properly lifting Henry and hitting the move all in one motion is key for Ryback. He'll look like a monster if it happens, and it will be played time and again as Ryback's WrestleMania moment. This would provide a ton of momentum going forward, especially considering he'll likely get a title push this summer.
Should Ryback struggle to get him up, though, it could easily start a slow downward slide for him. It might put that little seed of doubt into the minds of the WWE creative that Ryback isn't good enough to be the guy going forward.
Why hitch your wagon to somebody when he blows the finish to his first match at WrestleMania? That's not to say that it would be a fair decision, but WWE has thrown guys down the card for much less.
Ryback is not a multilayered character. He has a unique promo style and relies heavily on looking like a beast in the ring. If people start questioning just how strong Ryback really is, you're starting to chip away at that aura he carries with him. His charisma can help carry him along.
He's only got one chance to hit the move. The company won't be replaying a botched Shellshock attempt over and over again, even if Ryback is ultimately successful with the move.
Many have compared Ryback to Goldberg. They have kind of the same look and were given an unbeatable-monster angle on their arrivals.
More accurately, though, Ryback could turn out to be like the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior was a huge crowd favorite and had a legendary match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI. After that win, though, he couldn't replicate that fan reaction.
The Ultimate Warrior burned hot for only a short period of time. Ryback could very well do the same. Having a rough finish against Henry could turn out to be the beginning of the end for Ryback as a main event player.
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