Ryback lost yet another major match at WWE Payback, and now it’s official: He’s done as a main event Superstar.
That is, of course, if he ever really was one.
The WWE tried like hell to establish Ryback as a top babyface, having him maul his way through half the roster initially after his debut before moving him into the WWE Championship scene last October.
Ryback was given chance after chance to solidify himself as a long-term main eventer, but in part because of his average skills and in part because of the creative team’s screw-ups, he was never able to do so as a face. As a heel, the results have been the same.
As everyone knows, he lost big match after big match after big match, and at WWE Payback on Sunday, he lost again in what has to be his last shot at ever becoming a true main eventer.
Ryback is no longer a world title contender or a “top guy.” Whether or not the WWE actually makes him one, he is now a midcarder.
Quite simply, it’s just too late for him to ever be considered as anything more than a guy who fights in the middle of the card.
Want to know why Sheamus is clearly a top guy now? Because the creative team pushed him by having him win more than any guy on the roster.
That never happened for Ryback.
Want to know why Daniel Bryan is the most over guy in the WWE right now and consistently one of its most entertaining performers? Because he has the promo skills and the in-ring skills to thrive at the top.
The same can’t be said about Ryback.
Want to know why Alberto Del Rio, despite his limitations, continues to get pushed at the top of the card? Because, as a Hispanic Superstar, he appeals to a demographic the WWE is trying to appeal to.
That doesn’t apply to Ryback.
The bottom line is that no matter how badly the WWE wanted Ryback to become a bona fide star in this business, the company has screwed that up so royally that—barring a minor miracle—it’s never going to happen.
For all intents and purposes, Ryback is a midcard Superstar now because the creative team inadvertently made him one and also because he hasn’t shown that he has what it takes to be a top guy.
Sheamus is now a top guy because he worked his tail off to improve and get over as one. Bryan is emerging as a top star because he has all the tools to be one. Del Rio is a top name because he appeals to the Hispanic audience and because he has the in-ring skills and the charisma to be one.
That’s why those three guys are main eventers. That’s also why Ryback isn’t one.
Ryback hasn’t won enough to build up his credibility as a major Superstar, à la Sheamus. He hasn’t shown enough skills in the ring or on the mic to emerge as a top guy, à la Bryan. He doesn’t appeal to a certain audience or constantly deliver in the ring, à la Del Rio.
Combine those three facts with what has been abysmal booking by the creative team, and you get a recipe for disaster that has turned Ryback from someone who was right on the cusp of superstardom to someone who’s now just another guy.
Countless losses in major matches have done Ryback absolutely no favors, just like he’s done himself no favors with what have been subpar performances throughout most of his career.
A guy can only get by on his look and his catchphrase for so long, and Ryback is really learning that the hard way.
Once you get past his unbelievable physique, you see Ryback for what he truly is: a midcard Superstar both now and—if the WWE is smart—for the rest of his career.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!