Mark Henry vs. Ryback Did Not Last Long Enough

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 23, 2013

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The power-fueled feud between Ryback and Mark Henry ended too early.

WWE needed a top heel to take CM Punk's place, someone to challenge the newly crowned John Cena. Turning Ryback to the dark side made sense for that reason, but it robbed fans of a potentially explosive feud and hurried Ryback's ascent to the WWE title picture.

Ryback and Henry's WrestleMania match was supposed to be a fight to decide who was king of the jungle. Henry won when he thwarted a Shell Shocked attempt and crashed onto his opponent. Other than the post-match attack, Ryback sought no revenge, no redemption.

In fact, he somehow rode that loss to become the unofficial No. 1 contender for the company's biggest title. It felt a little like if the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs but advanced all the way to the finals anyway.

WWE, of course, doesn't adhere to rankings and consistent procedures to decide who is title-worthy, but still it felt odd that a loss propelled Ryback to the top of the company while Henry's win earned him a non-title feud with Sheamus.

Henry could have been a test to prove how legitimate a threat Ryback is, but Big Hungry sidestepped his stepping stone en route to his feud with Cena for the WWE Championship.

Beyond that, though, the truncated feud between Henry and Ryback felt unfinished.

Henry choked him with a barbell and left him to fend for himself against The Shield. He dominated Ryback for much of their WrestleMania 29 match. Then the story was over.

Feuds don't have to follow a three-pay-per-view formula, but this one did not follow its buildup with a satisfying climax.

Besides, those two beasts could have a great series of bouts.

Their WrestleMania 29 match showed glimpses of what those two were capable of together. Watching them charge at each other was like two trains crashing head-on.

The collision of mountain vs. mountain between two of the most intense and powerful forces in WWE could have been compelling, violent theater. Henry and Ryback could have had a feud-ending clash at Extreme Rules, where they could have decided the ultimate victor by means of a Falls Count Anywhere or Last Man Standing match.

Instead, Ryback is the beneficiary of a vacancy left by Punk.

He now gets the opportunity to showcase his capacity to thrive in the main event opposite the company's biggest star. For Ryback, a WWE title match trumps avenging his WrestleMania loss. For fans, though, a hiccup in hierarchy logic can be ignored, but the untapped potential of the Henry and Ryback feud leaves them feeling hungry for more.