WWE's Ryback Turns Heel as His Career Turns Downward
This month will mark the six-month anniversary of Ryback's first pinfall loss in the WWE at WWE Hell in a Cell.
The Rock was waiting in the wings for the WWE champion come Royal Rumble. All signs pointed to that champion being CM Punk. Punk's famed WWE title streak was going to be invaluable to a Punk-Rock blockbuster.
The idea of Ryback-Punk so early in Ryback's push was a bad idea then. Ryback was being booked in a position where he would almost certainly lose. His career mismanagement in the half-year since has justified that notion.
After going undefeated for his first six months in the WWE, Ryback has not won a pay-per-view match in the six months since losing to CM Punk. Ryback inexplicably lost to Mark Henry in his WrestleMania debut earlier this month. The following night, he turned heel in a similarly inexplicable fashion.
Ryback is the only WWE superstar anywhere close to replacing John Cena as the face of the WWE. He is the only wrestler with transcendent qualities similar to a Dave Batista, Bill Goldberg or The Ultimate Warrior. After him, the WWE babyface roster is a wasteland of lukewarm afterthoughts.
Now that he is a heel before winning a WWE championship, several months of carefully-invested booking have been undone. The WWE worked to create good Ryback. Bad Ryback feels like a character in fast forward.
There is now a risk of fans becoming burnt out on Ryback within mere months. By then, they will have seen it all from the once-undefeated monster babyface-turned-monster heel.
With the WWE Championship at stake, the WWE could have simply stayed the course with Ryback as a babyface. The richest prize in sports entertainment does not reward friendship. Ryback was looking to become the guy, and John Cena was standing in his way.
But then there was that promo.
Ryback made complete sense in giving his deposition on John Cena and why he attacked him. Two minutes into the testimony, Ryback had already gone one minute too long.
The promo dragged for another four minutes.
Will Ryback be better as a heel?
The monologue was shockingly articulate, yet not conducive to Ryback's character. It showed that the WWE has officially lost its grip on who he is. Ryback was able to get over with the use of three simple words.
"Feed me more."
Yet creative felt it necessary to add a mini-novel to his vernacular. Ryback was once the most protected WWE superstar in the entire promotion. Since October, however, his career has eroded by the minute. He is now in the midst of an ill-advised heel run sure to end with a continued pay-per-view drought. That erosion may begin to become measured by the second.
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