WWE Main-Event Scene: Examining the Anomaly That Is Ryback
Since bursting onto the upper-midcard scene late last year, people have been curious as to what to make of Ryback. On one hand, there are those that like to call out his flaws. They cite a lack of wrestling moves, a lack of mic skills and a one-dimensional character as reasons why Ryback won't succeed in the WWE.
Others like to point out the positives in his game. They cite the fact that Ryback is incredibly over, that he has the look of a top Superstar and the fact that he has a positive attitude that will help him rub people the right way as reasons he will succeed.
More than likely, whatever anyone says isn't going to change a person's opinion on the War Machine. Still, at the very least, I see no harm in trying to clear up misconceptions and provide evidence as to what Ryback is capable of.
With him targeting Cena and the WWE Championship, one has to think we'll be getting a healthy dose of Ryback on our television screens for a good while to come. With that in mind, I can think that some people aren't happy about that, considering how Ryback has been booked.
Still, we may very well have our main event at Extreme Rules in Ryback vs. John Cena. So, in an attempt to help get some people over their misgivings over this match, I've taken the liberty of breaking down the skills of Ryback. Perhaps some of you are on the fence when it comes to Ryback? Maybe you need to get a concentrated image of his abilities? Well, this is something we'll be attempting to give to you in this article.
So, without further delay, let us take a look at the physical phenomenon known as Ryback!
What's one thing that helped put the WWE on the map when it was first getting started? Well, one could argue it was the impressive physiques of guys such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior.
The bodybuilder look is something treated with disdain by a good deal of folks, especially those on the Internet, but I have to believe that if a guy with the build of a Daniel Bryan or CM Punk was put in the place of Hogan, things wouldn't have gone as well for Vince and the company as they did.
This brings us to Ryback. He may not have 24" pythons, but there's no denying the man is built like a tank. It's ironic that there are people who despise this look, as they assume it's usually the only reason someone is signed/pushed. Especially considering that it can be a great way to get a talented athlete's foot in the door. When Ryback walks into a room, I have to believe there are some heads that turn—especially in the gym.
There's a lot it takes to be a WWE Superstar, and having a great physique isn't a huge part of it, but it can certainly help you. When WWE is looking for a Superstar, it wants someone who'll stand out from the crowd, someone who turns heads, someone who can be a larger-than-life figure. Ryback happens to have that going for him.
A lot of people like to make jokes about Superstars having a small number of moves. A favorite is John Cena only having five. Little known fact, though: Superstars often don't use too many moves.
Another fact is, having a lot of moves doesn't make you a better wrestler. For example, did you know John Cena actually has more moves than Dolph Ziggler? Does that mean Cena is a better wrestler than Dolph?
My point is, Ryback is another Superstar who gets blacklisted for a perceived lack of moves. The video above shows the creator's top 10 moves of Ryback. This video is about a year old, so keep that in mind. That aside, there are some omissions. Ryback's use of the repeated mat slams, the Thesz Press and his Spinebuster are all absent from the list but are usual parts of his move-set, nonetheless.
People take a lack of technical ability as a sign that a man cannot wrestle, but they're unwilling to take into account that there are several different ways people can wrestle.
There are high-flyers, strikers/brawlers and, of course, those that fall into the same category as Ryback—power wrestlers.
You're not going to see many, if any, headlocks and arm drags when it comes to Ryback. Ryback is a powerful guy; he's going to use powerful moves. That's his thing. Telling him to stop that and to start wrestling more like Daniel Bryan would be like telling Bryan to wrestle more like Ryback.
The simple fact is, not everyone likes technical wrestling or finds it that entertaining. There are people who enjoy it, of course, but fans need to realize there is more to wrestling than just technical skill.
Charisma can be a difficult thing to get across. Some people think certain guys have charisma, while others are see them as staler than a seven-year-old chip.
So, does Ryback have charisma? Well, instead of giving a straight answer that would largely be influenced based on my personal, favorable opinion on Ryback, I'll instead give a few facts and tidbits regarding Ryback in regard to what I think symbolizes charisma.
- Ryback does manage a pretty impressive pop when he makes a scene.
- Crowds everywhere follow suit with his "Feed Me More" chant—even in smark-heavy places, apparently, as the video above shows.
- Ryback looks to be showing a surprising ability to get crowds behind him, without the need for pandering and/or cheap plugs.
Do these point to Ryback having charisma? Not for me to say here, I think. Charisma can be defined as a charm that can inspire devotion in others. That definition isn't really far off from these things listed, but like I said, it's not really for me to say.
The proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to Ryback is his ability on the microphone. Now, let's not be too hasty. We've heard Ryback talk before. We've seen him cut promos. So, it's not as if we don't at least have some material to go with in making an assumption of Ryback's ability on the microphone.
There are different styles of promos. No one style is essentially bad. Dolph Ziggler likes to talk really fast in his promos. Randy Savage liked to come out of left field and relate everything back to his original topic. John Cena likes to tell jokes. The Rock likes to pepper in his catch phrases and signature terms (sticking things up people's butts and various monkey body parts, for example.)
Ryback, for his character, likes to pepper in hunger metaphors and give off an aura of intensity in short, sweet sentences. This has its advantages. It generally does help keep him from getting repetitive on the mic (he says what he needs to say in his own way and he's done). But it has its drawbacks, as it makes him seem incapable of pulling off a long promo—something top guys are generally able to do, such as Austin, Cena and Hogan.
Does Ryback have the ability to go for 20 minutes on the mic with someone else? There is a chance, but we have yet to see.
That said, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Just because we don't know if Ryback can work the mic for a long time doesn't mean he can't. Ryback looks to be in a pretty good spot right now in terms of getting to work on his mic skills in the coming weeks, so we may get to see what he can do for a good 10-15 minute promo.
My Thoughts and Opinions
Personally, I think Ryback has that "it" factor needed to make it in this business. Do I think he can be the top guy? That's not something I'm willing to bank on just yet.
There's potential to be one of the bigger names of the next few years, and in the next year or so, I expect Ryback to have some gold around his waist. However, to be the face of the company? Well, Ryback's going to have to show me more than what he has so far.
His booking as of late has been shoddy at best. Almost the opposite of most heels, it appears Ryback can't seem to catch a break, and if it doesn't stop, it's going to hurt him pretty bad in the long run.
WWE seems to think Ryback is in a position where he can continually lose and look strong, but that's not the case. This is why I think Ryback feuding with Cena is a bad idea. With Cena looking to have an amazing 2013, I have to believe talk of Cena losing the title won't even amount to much until at least SummerSlam, if not Survivor Series.
If it were up to me, Ryback would most likely be the U.S. Champion by now, as Cesaro has jobbed to Ryback enough that it only makes sense to have him win the championship after a good feud, trading wins back and forth.
Like I said, I think Ryback has the "it" factor. I'd say he needs time on the mic to become a respectable talker, and his in-ring ability, while nothing to write home about, isn't bad, but there's room for improvement.
There's no denying that Ryback is slowly but surely becoming a bigger star in the company. A commanding appearance combined with the throwback style of his that consists of raw power makes him an anomaly in today's WWE.
One has to wonder just how far he will rise as the years go by. That said, I have to believe that as the years pass, one thing will stay the same: Fans around the world will enthusiastically chant alongside The Anomaly: "Feed me more!"