The WWE desperately wants Ryback to become its next big superstar, doing anything and everything in its power to establish him as a top guy.
He’s been shoved down our throats, pushed as a face, pushed as a heel and paired with some of the best wrestlers in the company.
But more than a year after his debut, what does Ryback really have to show for it?
At least on paper, you would expect a guy who’s wrestled the likes of Cena and Punk for the WWE Championship and who’s been involved in multiple huge angles in a very short span to at least have something to show that he’s become a top star. That something could be a title reign or two, maybe an epic PPV singles match, maybe a great feud.
Ryback has accomplished none of the above, despite countless attempts by the WWE to firmly entrench him as a top guy. Instead, Ryback has shown that—no matter what the WWE does—he will never be the star that the company wants him to be.
It’s simply too late. The Ryback ship has sailed.
In fact, it began sailing several months ago when Ryback went from being undefeated to being constantly defeated. You probably don’t need a reminder about Ryback’s losing ways, but the man has not won a PPV match since last July at Money in the Bank.
Throw in some big TV losses, and Ryback has failed to win every major match he’s had for nearly a year now.
How on Earth did anyone ever expect Ryback to become a top star with that type of booking?
Yes, this is “sports entertainment” rather than just a sport or just wrestling, but that doesn’t mean logic should be completely thrown out the window. That doesn’t mean the fans are going to care about someone who’s a loser.
There’s a reason why no one goes to watch the Miami Marlins anymore. There’s a reason why NBA teams who don’t make the playoffs have fewer fans at their games. There’s a reason why MMA fighters call it quits once they lose four or five fights in a row.
That reason? No one wants to watch a loser. Quite frankly, that’s exactly what Ryback is.
The WWE can try to hype him up as an unstoppable force or “the biggest threat to Cena’s WWE title reign.” Michael Cole can talk about how great Ryback is, and JBL can try like hell to put him over on commentary.
But at the end of the day, none of that matters.
We can see through all of the WWE’s BS, and we realize that Ryback isn’t anywhere close to the type of superstar they would like to portray him as.
He’s not unstoppable. Unstoppable superstars don’t lose every major match.
He’s not a threat to Cena’s WWE Championship reign. A superstar can’t pose a threat if there’s nothing threatening about him.
He’s not the biggest or strongest dude in the WWE. Plenty of superstars are taller, a handful are heavier, guys like Mark Henry and maybe even Antonio Cesaro have him beat in the strength department.
He’s certainly not a great in-ring performer. His best PPV singles match (against Cena at Extreme Rules) was just OK, while his two best TV matches just so happened to come against two of the WWE’s greatest wrestlers in Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan.
If Ryback is not those things, what is he exactly?
Will Ryback ever become the star that the WWE wants him to be?
Not the star that the WWE wants him to be—that’s for sure. No, he’s just a major disappointment.
Some of that is Ryback’s fault because his in-ring and mic skills aren’t at the level they need to be if he wants to be a top-tier superstar. But a big chunk of Ryback’s failures can be attributed to the creative team.
Even if Ryback was better in the ring and on the mic, it would still be awfully hard for fans to buy into him as a top guy if he was booked as poorly as he has been since last October.
The creative team simply hasn’t been willing to go that extra step with Ryback and push him over the top by having him pick up that signature victory that has eluded him for so long.
Now the WWE has reached a point where it won’t even matter anymore.
Whether the company realizes or wants to admit it or not, Ryback’s losing and struggling ways have been so ingrained into our minds that the damage has already been done. Ryback may be labeled as an unstoppable superstar by the WWE’s announcers. To us, he’s just another guy.
Yeah, he looks good. Yeah, he’s performed well at times.
But when you consider the skills he lacks and his constant losing ways, you don’t think of Ryback as a major WWE superstar.
You think of him as someone who never reached the level that he probably should have, had some things played out differently.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!