One night removed from WrestleMania 29, Ryback shockingly turned heel when he viciously decimated John Cena in the closing moments of Monday Night Raw. Ryback has had the WWE champion's number ever since, earning himself a title shot against Cena at the upcoming Extreme Rules event.
While I was initially skeptical of Ryback's heel turn, it's proven to be somewhat of a success thus far. Sure, the character is still rough around the edges, but I have hope that it will improve in time.
In recent weeks, Ryback has gone head-to-head with both members of Team Hell No for the first time ever, defeating the WWE Tag Team champions in singles matches.
With a fresh batch of opponents for Ryback to work with now that he's heel, which unfortunate Superstar is next to feel his raging wrath?
Next Sunday, Ryback will battle with WWE champion John Cena in a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules. This marks the first-ever singles match contested between the two, as both top-tier stars have managed to not cross paths until just recently.
Their history dates back to as far as last October, when Cena relinquished his shot at the WWE title in favor of Ryback. The two formed a friendship shortly thereafter, which abruptly came to end the night after WrestleMania 29 when Ryback ambushed Cena.
Although their feud up to this point has been a bit lackluster, I'm still highly anticipating their upcoming encounter at Extreme Rules. A win over The Champ could do wonders for Ryback, who hasn't emerged victorious on pay-per-view since last July.
Since returning to WWE in the 2013 Royal Rumble match a few months back, Chris Jericho has competed in some of the best matches in recent memory. From Dolph Ziggler to CM Punk to Jack Swagger, Jericho has put over a number of young, rising stars like only The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla can.
One fresh face, however, he has yet to contend against is Ryback, who has taken the WWE by storm since re-debuting over a year ago. Aside from a few multi-man matches here and there, Jericho and Ryback haven't had the chance to work with one another up to this point, thus making their eventual encounter all the more interesting.
It was reported shortly after Jericho's return to the ring that he would be facing Ryback at WrestleMania 29, which ultimately didn't come to fruition. Nonetheless, they'll be squaring off on this Friday's edition of SmackDown, so I look forward to what these two can bring to the table.
Over the last four years, Sheamus has plowed through anyone who dare step in his path of destruction. He's achieved quite a bit of success as well, having won the Royal Rumble, King of the Ring, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship on two separate occasions.
Although he has yet to have his first taste of gold in WWE, Ryback is similar to Sheamus in the sense that he too enjoys a good brawl. He's proven that since arriving on the WWE scene last April by decimating every opponent he has stepped in the ring with.
In this year's Royal Rumble match, Ryback eliminated Sheamus before being taken out by John Cena. The three final participants in the Rumble aligned to face The Shield in a six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber but were unsuccessful.
Ryback and Sheamus wrestle a very similar style that I strongly believe would make for a blockbuster matchup. When this colossal collision occurs, however, is the true question. Here's hoping it's sooner rather than later, as one can only imagine the level of intensity these two can deliver.
Following his gradual face turn in December 2012, Alberto Del Rio developed an all-new persona that has seen his current character become much more intriguing. Not only that, but his matches with the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Big Show and others have been extremely entertaining as well.
Since the start of the year, Del Rio has been involved in the World Heavyweight Championship picture, but I don't expect him to be chasing the title for much longer. While I'm not necessarily looking forward to a feud between Del Rio and Ryback, I would like to see the two cross paths in the squared circle at some point.
Their back-to-back matches against one another late last year were fun to watch, but a rematch between the two top-tier talents would be desirable with the roles now reversed. Giving Ryback a victory over a former multi-time World champion such as Del Rio could do wonders for his career.
After losing to Sheamus at 2010's Extreme Rules event, Triple H semi-retired from the ring to take up responsibilities backstage. Interestingly enough, his only real feuds over the last three years have been with The Undertaker, CM Punk, Kevin Nash and Brock Lesnar.
Of those four individuals, only one of them is an active wrestler, which goes to show that The Game hasn't done much to help put over young talent in recent years. It might be due to the fact that he's feuded with almost everyone, but one Superstar he has yet to clash with is Ryback.
There's no questioning that Triple H is one of the most legendary Superstars in the last two decades, so imagine how much Ryback could benefit from a victory over the 13-time WWE champion. The handful of matches that Ryback has lost in recent months has done significant damage to his character, but feuding with HHH could make him a true threat in the eyes of the WWE Universe.
Following Extreme Rules, Ryback could ambush HHH and put him out of commission for a number of months, thus setting up a match between the two at SummerSlam. Of course, that's only how I would book the rivalry if it were to happen.
Since his loss of the World Heavyweight Championship in September 2011, Randy Orton has been without direction on the SmackDown brand. While he's had a number of great matches with the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Kane, The Shield and others, none of his victories have been enough to propel him back into the title picture on Friday nights.
Many people had credited his face run as the reason why he's not being used more meaningfully, stating a heel turn is the answer. It's been rumored for over six months now that he's been scheduled to turn heel relatively soon, but I've lost hope in that happening at this point.
However, that may not be such a bad thing. One individual I wanted to see him target as a heel was Ryback, but with Ryback turning his back on the WWE Universe a mere month ago, the possibility of the feud happening is unlikely.
That is, unless Orton remains a babyface for the foreseeable future.
Orton has put over a long list of names since late 2011, so I have no doubt that he'd help give Ryback the monumental victory he desperately needs. I would love to see Ryback chant "Feed Me More-ton!" at the Apex Predator during their potential feud, but the chances of that happening are slim with Ryback ditching his signature catchphrase upon his heel turn.
When Ryback's impressive undefeated streak was still intact late last year, it was heavily rumored that he was a potential candidate to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29. Of course, that match never ultimately came to fruition, but it doesn't mean it's never going to happen.
For the first time in nearly three years, Undertaker competed on both Raw and SmackDown a few weeks back before being attacked by The Shield and written out of WWE storylines for the time being. It's been reported that 'Taker might be back as soon as SummerSlam, which means he'll need a credible opponent to work with.
Whether Ryback will be WWE champion by that point in time remains to be seen, but there's no denying that a program with Undertaker could launch Ryback into a whole new stratosphere. Now that he's a vicious heel, there's more of a chance of the feud happening this time around than there was at WrestleMania 29.
Ryback wouldn't even need to defeat the Deadman to solidify himself as a main-event player, as simply being in the ring with him would be enough to make him look like a star.
Honestly, I don't see Ryback vs. Undertaker as a marquee match at a future 'Mania, but it would surely make for a blockbuster main event at any other pay-per-view.