Ryback's 7 Most Impressive Moments in WWE
In the last year, Ryback has moved up the WWE food chain, raising eyebrows and making jaws drop along the way.
As he's demonstrated his uncanny power and shown himself to be a believable dominant force, the "Goldberg!" chants have begun to fade. He now closes in on a potential WWE title match with John Cena.
In just 12 months, Ryback has gone from destroyer of jobbers to a snarling animal near the top of the WWE hierarchy. The following are the most awe-inspiring and attention-grabbing moments he's had on the way.
Ryback vs. Barry Stevens
The unknown Barry Stevens stood in the ring and mocked the SmackDown crowd. "You are the rudest people on Earth," he told the fans. He'd soon have little else to say.
Ryback's guitar-heavy music came on and the powerhouse had his first feeding.
With the wrestlers in the locker room looking on, Ryback tore through his opponent like a freight train tearing through cardboard. Ryback smashed Stevens with forearm shots and effortlessly tossed him around the ring.
With this dominating display, Ryback did well to erase the memories of him as Skip Sheffield, beginning a new rubble-lined path for himself.
Destroys Two Jobbers
Ryback vs. two local athletes on SmackDown
WWE continued to feed Ryback its bottom feeders, but moved from single doses of jobbers to double ones.
Even as non-intimidating as his opponents were at first, the fact that Ryback could manhandle two of them at once was impressive. Overpowering a pair of foes simultaneously became a habit for him, but it was at first a startling feat.
Ryback lifted both of his opponents onto his shoulders and marched in a circle before sending them crashing to the mat. It was a showcase of power that forced fans to take notice.
Destroys Miz TV Set
Ryback vs. the Miz TV set
Miz insulted Booker T, his first guest on Miz TV. He had few words for his second.
Ryback charged to the ring, forcing Miz out like a mouse out of his hole. He then took to tearing down the Miz TV set. In the midst of his destruction, Ryback tossed out two couches over the ring ropes.
The moment painted Ryback as a wild, unstoppable beast. Even the Intercontinental champ wanted nothing to do with him. Miz fled as couches sped toward him.
The WWE Champion Shell Shocked on Hell in a Cell
Ryback slams CM Punk on the Cell roof.
Throughout much of their WWE title match, Ryback controlled the action against CM Punk. Ryback was undefeated up to this point and had barely been challenged by other stars. There didn't look to be any way that Punk could stop the onslaught of clotheslines and power moves.
It took a rogue referee and a low blow to finally cheat Ryback out of his seemingly inevitable win.
To offset Ryback's first loss, WWE had us watch him go on a post-match rampage. He followed Punk atop the cell and Shell Shocked him against the steel. This was the lasting image of their battle, a seething hunter making his prey writhe in pain.
Nearly Wins Royal Rumble 2013
Royal Rumble 2013 highlights
In his first Royal Rumble, Ryback came just one elimination away from winning the whole thing.
It was John Cena who won after tossing Ryback over the ropes, but Ryback was a destructive force up to that point. In just nine minutes of action, Ryback made a major impact. He tossed out five men in that span.
Ryback ended Damien Sandow, Sin Cara, Miz, Sheamus and Randy Orton's hopes of headlining WrestleMania. His volume of elimination was impressive enough, but the caliber of foes he defeated was more so. Among his victims were two former Rumble winners and three former WWE champs.
Mark Henry Gets Shell Shocked
Ryback hits Shell Shocked on Mark Henry. (Photo from WWE.com)
Lifting a man who weighs 450 pounds is an attention-grabbing feat. Even as much as Mark Henry assisted in making the move work, seeing Ryback deliver Shell Shocked on The World's Strongest Man was an extraordinary enough image to help wipe out memories of Ryback's loss at WrestleMania 29.
Ryback had previously lifted two men at once in the move, but never this much mass.
It allowed Big Hungry to have his WrestleMania moment despite the loss. Moving forward, it leaves no doubt that regardless of a man's size, Ryback is one Shell Shocked away from victory.
Highlights of Ryback and Team Hell No vs. The Shield at TLC 2012.
Smacking jobbers' heads on the canvas is one thing, but Ryback was a convincing destructive force in his TLC match against The Shield.
He was a monster armed with ladders, a man who had to be double and triple-teamed in order to be brought down.
In one of the best matches of the year, Ryback was one of the highlights. He smashed The Shield with a ladder. He had Dean Ambrose howling in pain. He hurled Seth Rollins through a table.
This match served as proof that Ryback is no mere squash-match specialist, but a powerhouse capable of helping to create classics.