How Much Longer Can Ryback Remain a Legitimate Threat?

Bryan HaasFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

courtesy of
courtesy of

When WWE superstar Ryback steps into the ring for his Three Stages of Hell match with WWE champion John Cena in less than two weeks, it stands to reason that it could make a permanent mark on wrestling history.

But the type of mark that it leaves could very well depend solely on the type of performance that the challenger puts forth. 

In an industry where bigger is almost always better, Ryback has seemingly carved out a very comfortable niche for himself, as he has continually been a featured performer near the top of a wrestling card for months.

However, his success is rather befuddling given the lukewarm reactions that he frequently gets, and his subpar ringwork.

And this is not a new issue. For months, this has been Ryback's problem. He has little charisma and solely functions as a human wrecking ball. Which is fine, but at what point does it reach it's limit?

And more importantly, when does the company finally tell him to improve or face the possibility of no longer having his spot?

His ringwork is spotty on the best of occasions, normally consisting of punches, kicks, clotheslines and his Shell Shocked finisher. He has recently reincorporated a powerbomb into his repertoire, with the main goal of that move being to drive his opponents, or even hapless competitors through tables. 

He now has the ring savvy of a rookie, which is essentially inexcusable for someone with his level of experience.

But the company is known for loving size and strength in their competitors, which is why Ryback still finds himself in the position that he is in.

It might also be why the Great Khali is still gainfully employed. And despite the Punjabi Playboy being a physical force, like Ryback, his ringwork is also very limited.

But the biggest issue with Ryback's in-ring abilities is not his lack of polish, or a limited arsenal of wrestling moves, it is his seemingly poor conditioning.

At several points in his match on Raw with former world heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan, Ryback looked on the verge of physical collapse. He looked incredibly winded and at one point rolled to the outside where he struggled to get back up for several moments. This led commentator JBL to say "Ryback's spent."

Of course he recovered and ended up completely decimating Bryan by putting him through a table.

But if he could barely survive a match on Raw with Bryan, how can he be expected to thrive in a three fall encounter with Cena at a pay-per-view?

It stands to reason that this will not be a quick match, and Ryback will need to rely on every reserve he has just to walk away unscathed, let alone with the WWE title.

But the biggest knock on Ryback at the moment is not his in-ring work or conditioning, it is his inability to deliver a decent promo.

Week after week it seems as if he is struggling to remember his lines. His backstage segment with Bryan on Raw where he compared the former world heavyweight champion to a pile of vomit that he had apparently accumulated during an illness months back was a prime example of him not being able to get his point across in a menacing manner.

His comparison looked more like something a schoolyard bully would say rather than a legitimate WWE title contender.

Of course this begs the question that if you're walking around powerbombing people through tables, why do you even need to speak at all?

And that might be the exact issue.

Maybe Ryback's physicality should speak for itself. This may actually be the key to keeping the character fresh and relevant.