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CALDWELL'S TAKE
FIVE REASONS: Why Ryback will and will not be WWE's Next Big Star

Oct 4, 2012 - 12:09:29 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Rybak_artTB180_15.jpg
Why He Will Be

(1) WWE's Machine. If Vince McMahon wants to get behind someone or something, he will put his full effort behind it. Right now, Ryback is that someone.

(2) Roster Depth. Who else could WWE turn to in John Cena's absence? Roster is thin on top stars who are not over-exposed; WWE has decided to turn to the tried-and-true musclehead formula.

(3) "Feed Me More." Credit Ryback and The Machine for getting his rhythmic chant over. It gives Ryback a "signature," which all top stars need to appeal to the masses.

(4) Time. It seems like there has been a gap since the last major meathead/overpowering star was placed in a main event setting. To WWE's audience, Ryback seems like a fresh, new act, which could allow him to draw interest.

(5) Potential for heel turn. Ryback is just Ryback. If the plan is for Ryback to be thrust into a main event spot, feud with WWE champ Punk, and then turn heel to feud with top face John Cena, there's potential for Ryback to develop into a top star as the next big threat to Cena.

Why He Will Not Be

(1) Inorganic rise. Ryback went from Jinder Mahal to The Miz to C.M. Punk in a matter of days. Along the way, the crowd was warming up to Ryback, but there wasn't a rising tide of interest a la Goldberg in WCW.

(2) Unproven. Can Ryback have a 10-15-minute, unedited, live TV match with a top star? Kozlov comes to mind as a physically-impressive wrestler who WWE got behind, but bombed in long-form matches.

(3) Goldberg-lite comparisons. Is Ryback a cheap imitation of a star who many people still have an affinity for? Being able to break through the "Goldberg" comparisons is a tough task.

(4) Not a novel concept. Big, over-powering stars have been done throughout wrestling history, so why should WWE's audience accept the latest one? Goldberg had the intangibles that helped create a bond with the WCW audience. Ryback doesn't quite have that, so it seems. Can that be developed, or will it come out in a big-league setting?

(5) Speaking ability. WWE smartly did not have Ryback speak in his first confrontation with C.M. Punk on Monday's Raw. But, when the time comes for him to actually talk in an important situation, will he connect with fans or lose the audience? Ryback is unproven in this area.

Verdict: Too much is unknown about Ryback at this stage of his current run. The inorganic build to his main event position could stunt his growth, but he could overcome that if The Machine puts him in very favorable positions. I don't see him being a permanent, five-year main-eventer with his limitations and risk for over-exposure on WWE television, but he could have a strong six-month run to next year's WrestleMania before settling back to the mid-card.

[Torch art credit Travis Beaven (c) PWTorch.com]


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