Ryback is a rare example of a WWE midcarder with a sign of life.
Following yet another strong backstage segment Monday on Raw, James Caldwell of PWTorch.com noted, "Ryback takes the award for bright spot of the show. He's in a good spot right now."
Ryback's ability to connect with the audience as a vulnerable, passionate and resilient WWE Superstar makes him more human than his jacked-up frame indicates. During his initial rise in 2012-13, Ryback was marketed as a machine who barely spoke outside of his "feed me more" catch phrase.
Fans began to see through the invincible booking with no pathos, and the sarcastic "Goldberg" chants followed.
But, as I mentioned on the PodNasty Wrestling Podcast, since Ryback was given the opportunity to speak from the heart and express his lifelong passion to be a WWE Superstar, his support only continues to grow.
The humanization of Ryback even adds value to the Intercontinental Championship, a task that previously seemed impossible.
During Monday's segment, Ryback spoke about what it meant to be Intercontinental champion. In a revealing interview (seen below), he stated, "My parents haven't spoken in over 15 years. They recently came together to watch me defend this Intercontinental Championship, and I've never been prouder."
Loud applause could be heard from the live arena in the background as fans sympathized with a plight that is as human as any: divorce.
"Feed me more" was to be taken literally. It was an indication that an enigmatic monster was hungry to consume his competition.
But Ryback continues to wisely root this popular chant with real-life struggles and circumstances. His battles with injury and a desire to be the best are inherent in that chant. His openness over the past six months are doing more than any handicap match could.
Now, "feed me more" is more than just a catchy tag line—it's a lifestyle that represents perseverance.
As a result of Ryback's inspirational message, he is several notches above almost every expendable midcarder in WWE.
If WWE continues to take the time to make humans out of Superstars, higher-quality programming will follow, and fans will continue to buy in.
Alfred Konuwa is a featured columnist and on-air host for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his weekly wrestling podcast.