How Long Can WWE Protect Ryback with Pre-Taped Promos?
Having Ryback deliver pre-taped promos is a crutch that WWE can't have him hold onto for long.
On the April 15 episode of WWE Raw, Ryback explained his attack on John Cena via a taped speech. Fans must have felt like they had traveled back in time. In the '80s and early '90s, taped promos were the norm.
Ultimate Warrior’s famous nose-dive promo was taped, as were many of Hulk Hogan’s. It's something that has largely gone away. WWE has evolved to have their wrestlers do their trash talking live, for the most part.
Ryback is not a dynamic speaker, and it appears that WWE is trying to mask that by sticking him in a studio rather than feeding him to a live audience.
The problem with this format is twofold. It severs Ryback from the flow of live shows and it leaves him sounding overly rehearsed.
Fans who go to live events don't want to see stars via a screen. They paid to see them in the flesh; to have a different experience from what they have at home.
On top of that, separating Ryback like this limits the effectiveness and energy of his promos.
Compare John Cena's dull pre-taped empty-arena promo before WrestleMania 28 to his work inches away from The Rock to hype their WrestleMania 29 match.
There is a special buzz about a live performance. Part of that is born from a connection with the audience that can't be achieved in a studio. Heels react to booing by snapping at the audience. Faces placate to the crowd.
Ryback can't do any of that if WWE continues to stick him with pre-taped performances.
He can't adjust what he's saying in response to the crowd's reactions. The pre-taped format creates a disconnect that only the elite charmers can overcome.
If Ryback's speech on the tax day WWE Raw had been moving and mesmerizing, perhaps this discussion doesn't even get started. Instead, it came off as robotic. He sounded like he was reciting a script, performing a character rather than becoming the character.
Ryback will never be Dusty Rhodes on the microphone, but the pre-taped promo isn't beneficial to him.
Let him be himself. Fans can overlook flaws in exchange for genuineness. A heartfelt speech complete with stumbling trumps a blemish-free speech delivered in robotic fashion.
If WWE continues to have Ryback discuss his feelings toward Cena and others through pre-taped work, fans will get bored. It's a safer yet more sterile option than trusting him to perform live.
If the company is truly worried about Ryback's inability on the mic, hiring a manager for him is a much better option.
Paul Heyman frees Brock Lesnar from faltering with his promos. Provide Big Hungry with a similar mouthpiece and the issue is solved. Either that or let Ryback learn on the job by swimming in the deep end that is live TV.
Turning Ryback into an anachronism by pre-taping his threats and demands is a faulty option that can't last.
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