Did John Cena Pass Zack Ryder the Torch on Raw 12/5/11?

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Did John Cena Pass Zack Ryder the Torch on Raw 12/5/11?
John Cena celebrates with Zack Ryder after helping Ryder defeat Mark Henry to become the #1 Contender for the U.S. Championship

After months of fan support, numerous "We Want Ryder" chants throughout arenas, even an article from yours truly praising him, it seems as though Zack Ryder will finally get his shot at Dolph Ziggler's U.S. Title at the December TLC Pay Per View.

It seems as though WWE has finally acknowledged the outcries of their fans and the broskis taking part in the "Ryder Revolution," despite the criticism of Ryder fans for months.

Or have they? Has this all just been a ploy all along by the suits at WWE to get Ryder over? Obviously, Ryder has admitted that he first did the show against WWE's wishes in hopes to gain some fan support and avoid being released. However, the matter in which the WWE has gone about the push is a tricky situation.

The criticism is that maybe it took too long. Fans have been tweeting and blogging in favor of Ryder since his show debuted nearly a year ago. Still, Ryder appeared full time on WWE Superstars, and occasionally in the background during promos and vignettes backstage on Raw.

Despite little TV time, his merchandise continued to sell out and his name was chanted during other superstars' matches. However, since July 2011, Ryder has seen an increase in television time on Monday Night Raw, WWE's flagship program.

Here's where John Cena comes into play. For anyone who has watched during the last few weeks, Cena has made it his mission to promote Ryder and plugging him, Z! True Long Island Story and his Twitter page (@ZackRyder) any chance he can get. However, this support has started ever since the Ryder Revolution became to gain steam.

Despite all the criticism he receives, John Cena is a student of the game, respects the business and seems like a genuinely good person. There is no doubt that the promotion is, to me, genuine, however, who better to promote an up-and-coming superstar than the WWE's "Golden Boy."

And what better title to push Ryder over the hump with than the United States Championship? Fans will recall the Big Show dropping the strap at Wrestlemania XX in Madison Square Garden to one of the most popular up-and-coming superstars in WWE at the time. That superstar was a young John Cena. Before the boos, before the "staleness" criticism, and before the majority of fans over 16 hated him.

I personally still find John Cena entertaining, however even the biggest Cena fans cannot argue that his act of never losing has gotten somewhat stale. Perhaps this is why WWE is hesitant to push Ryder so drastically. I recall being 13 years old and watching Cena's first Wrestlemania match thinking, "This guy should be WWE Champion." Now I'm afraid he'll have 30 reigns by the end of his career.

This adds to the reasons to push Ryder, as well. Obviously, you have CM Punk (Best In The World) and John Cena as the dominant "faces" on Raw. However, WWE is lacking upper mid-card talent to strengthen their entire card. Also, as I mentioned, fans grow bored of seeing the same thing every week they tune in. Raw needs to be much more unpredictable.

With Cena giving up his title shot for Ryder to gain an opportunity to face Ziggler at TLC, it seemed as though he was passing the torch to Zack. By no means am I saying Ryder is the new John Cena or that John Cena is "yesterday's news." But, I am saying WWE is creating a way to put Ryder over and possibly take some heat away from Cena.

I definitely see their logic now much clearer than I did in the months leading up to Ryder becoming a weekly regular on Raw. WWE has definitely built up the Ryder/Ziggler rivalry up, especially as it has integrated into "Z! True Long Island Story," as well. Personally, I definitely see big things in the future for Zack Ryder in WWE as long as he can stay fresh in the eyes of the WWE fans.

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