WWE is trying really hard to build up the newly heel Ryback as a legitimate threat to John Cena and his WWE Championship reign.
But whether or not it’s actually accomplishing that is certainly up for debate.
After all, WWE can try to hit the “reset” button on Ryback’s career all it wants. However, the reality is that wrestling fans don’t forget, and we all remember what Ryback has—or perhaps hasn’t—done over much of the last year: Win:
Just ask yourself when the last time Ryback won a pay-per-view match. Five months ago? Six months ago? Seven months ago? How about none of the above.
In actuality, Ryback hasn’t won a pay-per-view match since way back in July 2012 when he defeated Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks in a 2-on-1 handicap match at Money in the Bank. Yes, it’s really been that long—although WWE will naturally never mention that.
Rather, WWE will try to make us forget that Ryback is a loser. WWE will try to make us forget that he has lost big match after big match. WWE will try to make us forget that he’s continuously lost to men who are all lower on the company totem pole than Cena is.
Then—in true WWE fashion—the company will then try to pass him off as a legitimate threat to Cena’s WWE Championship reign a mere month after he won the title.
I’m not buying it. You shouldn’t. Hell, no one should.
While WWE can try its hardest to build Ryback up into Cena’s unstoppable and destructive No. 1 contender, we can all see Ryback for what he really is: an enhancement talent for “The Champ.”
As we all know, the goal of an “enhancement talent” in pro wrestling is to make whoever he’s facing look good. Some fans equate the term with jobbing, but the way I look at it, an enhancement talent is anyone whose purpose is to do whatever it takes to make his opponent look and seem better.
Ultimately, isn’t that what purpose Ryback is serving in his WWE Championship match against Cena at Extreme Rules?
Obviously, in a more logical world, Cena vs. Ryback would be a match or feud that is used to established Ryback as a top heel, help him regain his momentum and give him his first world title reign. But logic can be thrown out the window here, especially when Cena’s involved.
In a day and age where heel champions like Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro lost five times more often than they win, that spells serious doom for Ryback. He lost a lot as a top face (which is unusual for WWE), so can we really expect him to suddenly start winning a lot as a top heel?
That’s the question we have to ask ourselves because its answer holds the key to Ryback vs. Cena.
If you think the answer is, “Yes, Ryback can now start winning as a heel,” then you should probably go look at WWE’s recent history so you can notice that top heels have a really hard time winning consistently, especially cleanly.
If you think the answer is, “No, Ryback cannot win consistently as a top heel because he didn’t do so as a top face,” then you deserve a pat on the back—you get the picture, and you know not to buy into the mirage that is Ryback as a legitimate challenger to Cena.
There are, of course, guys who could pose an actual threat to Cena’s WWE title reign—Punk, Sheamus and perhaps even Orton to name a view.
But Ryback? Ha!
Unless WWE does a complete 180 all of a sudden, then there’s virtually no reason why we should view Ryback as anything but a means to an end.
You can bet on this: The end of this story is Cena standing tall as WWE Champion.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!