Ryback's Character and Progression Go Against Successful Tradition

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

If there was ever a last chance for Ryback, feuding with Chris Jericho is it.

On Raw, Ryback vs. Jericho at Money in the Bank was made official, and I believe this was one of the prime options for Jericho's WrestleMania 29 match when he last returned to WWE.

I think Jericho would have been the best choice then, and he's become the only choice now. Ryback's two-month WWE title feud with John Cena didn't add any credibility or momentum like WWE probably hoped it would.

Jericho might be the only guy who is capable of continuing to teach Ryback while simultaneously selling him on the mic and in the ring like only Y2J can.

What is interesting about Ryback is that he was better with the Skip Sheffield character. He was better with a corny, simple, muscled-up country boy gimmick where he talked funny and said “yip yip yip what it do.”

The Ryback character is the character he wanted. It's the character he's always wanted. It's the name he's always wanted. It's what he always wanted, and it's done poorly. Normally, when a talent gets to become more of what they want, it's a recipe for success. The Rock escaped from Rocky Maivia. Stone Cold escaped from The Ringmaster. Dolph Ziggler escaped from Nicky the male cheerleader.

There is no substance to the Ryback character. He wears traditional wrestling ring gear, which—as everyone has come to notice—is made by the same guy who does RVD's. He has no personality with the character. He's attempting to talk like a machine who is locked in on his target. Trouble is, it doesn't come off that way. It comes off that he's uncomfortable.

If you want to make his stiff, robotic speech seem logical, the character should have more science-fiction aspects. A smoke-filled, lights-and-pyro entrance. More to his ring attire as he's coming to the ring. Go watch a Glacier entrance from WCW. Then, his talking is expected to be one tone, and it's an appropriate element to the entire presentation of the character.

Nothing with Ryback has been developed correctly. We never learned anything about him. He was kept a mystery. If he was done in a more science-fiction way, then perhaps the mystery around him would have worked better. Instead, the mystery just seems lazy, confusing and an overall failure.

His “Ryback Rules” phrase has never been explained. Is it supposed to be like “Raven's Rules"? Is it his own warped mind of standards and boundaries in life or a match? Is it suppose to be that he's number one? If it's the latter, it correlates with the one dimension that the rest of the Ryback run contains. “O'Doyle Rules.”

Ryan Reeves is a good guy. He wants to be successful. He wants Ryback to be successful. However, too many bad decisions have been made by somebody regarding the character. You can't unsee them, and I don't know how many more bad decisions the audience can take with him.

Ryback with Jericho is a good risk to take because it's the only risk to take that seems like it could have valuable upside. Jericho won't be harmed no matter what because he's Jericho.

If Ryback can't come out of a feud with Jericho gaining momentum and growth, it might be time for the Ryback character to take his place in the WWE Encyclopedia.