Ryback: Why the IWC has it all wrong
by, 10-09-2012 at 03:02 PM (9574 Views)
When I hear the crowd mocking Ryback with "Goldberg" chants, I shake my head.
When I read how Ryback can't cut a promo when he hasn't yet been given the chance, I die a little inside.
Ok, maybe I was a little over dramatic on that last one. But nonetheless, characters like Ryback and the subsequent response by we, the IWC, has led me to perhaps give perspective as to why this man should be encouraged and cheered to succeed, rather than be dismissed as yet another failure by the WWE.
I understand that the last handful of years has been difficult for wrestling enthusiasts. We are the generation of wrestling fans who lived through the golden ages of wrestling: 80's and early 90's of the wrestling boom; the NWO; WWF's Attitude era which encompassed the Mcmahan/Helmsley era, Invasion era up to where I believe we are currently at. the Post Wrestlemania 21/PG-era. (My personal opinion is that Wrestlemania 21 was the last great Wrestlemania which culminated with John Cena and Batista winning their first top championship belts, angle vs HBK, a young Orton v. Undertaker). Now what makes WM21 an important moment is the residual effect it's had on today's product. Cena and Batista were waaaaaaay over at that moment in time. We had reason to believe as fans that these two were going to take the torch and lead us into the next era of wrestling. That didn't work out too well. Batista proved to become uninteresting over time then eventually left WWE, and we were left with Cena. Yes, the John Cena little kids love, and big kids can't stand anymore. The transition from tv-14 to TVPG assisted greatly in this at epic fall, but I digress. The issue since then has become the problem in finding the "next" guys since these 2 seemingly failed.
Our attention spans have become that of a fly. If someone doesn't grab our attention right away, we dismiss them. Or, in Ryback's case, we mock them as retreaded ideas of the past, or someone who's too "green" to be interested in. I'd find this rational to be funny if it wasn't so sad. What amazes me is how Ryback's character has been on TV for about 6 months now, yet many in the IWC have already written his obituary. We see his intense pre-match presence, we call him Goldberg. We don't hear him on the mic, we assume he can't cut a promo. Not even 1 years worth of substance, and already he has been judged. This is where a history lesson is needed:
Perhaps you youngins don't remember way back when the Undertaker came onto the WWF scene. I do. And I remember thinking "how f'in stupid is this character." A big guy wearing oversized rubber gloves with too much pale makeup on, barely taking bumps. The biggest thing that stood out was beyond a couple mumbled sentences and his "rest in peace" catchphrase, the first 2 years of his career, he didn't cut 1 SINGLE DECENT PROMO! He didn't talk! But we gave him a chance. We gave him time to grow before dismissing him. And slowly but surely, he became one of the WWE's most beloved and respected characters.
Lesson learned? Don't assume because I guy doesn't talk on the mic, it means he can't. Big misnomer there kids. These guys are characters. And when building a character up, you don't use the same ingredients to develop them. Ryback's character, for now, isn't meant to speak. His "actions to the speaking for him." Rolling your eyes? About to chant the next guy I'm going to talk about's name?
See Goldberg is an interesting case given the timing of his push happening at the apex of WCW's popularity along with the dominance of the Attitude Era. Here was a guy who didn't say anything except...wait for it...."who's next!" He was unassuming. His character was meant to be a bulldozing "good guy" who's actions spoke for the words he didn't. Whether Bill Goldberg could or couldn't cut a good promo is irrelevant. His "character" wasn't meant to speak in the same vein as the Rock, SCSA, Nash, Hogan etc....And yet he got over big time. Crowds loved him. It was because he didn't speak much that I believe his character worked. My point being where I miss the mic talkers who could produce in the ring, I don't need EVERY character I like to fit that mold. Occasionally, we just want the huge, strong ass kicker. Few words, just action.
I hold WWE, along with TNA, ROH and other wrestling promotions, accountable for keeping us interested by developing characters we care to follow. But I also sympathize with their position. We have developed incredibly short attention spans. We ask these promotions to wow us, but don't give them the proper amount of time to do so. If the character is lame at the beginning, they become labeled as such, and we move on.
Listen, the onus falls on the heads of the higher-ups in WWE. The writers and bookers deserve the majority of the blame for the current state of wrestling. But we as fans have a responsibility to be more patient than we have been.
Ryback is a perfect case in point. He is growing on me week after week. And while squash matches no longer help his cause, they are at the very least trying him out in bigger situations. Last night's Raw gives me hope for this guy's future. The pop he received at the end was refreshing to see and hear. Perhaps he's not the "next guy," but unlike most in the IWC, I'm not going to right him off. Ryback isn't Dameon Sandow (<candidate for next big thing in WWE), but he's not suppose to be. Forget trying to recreate the Rock or Stone Cold, let's appreciate each character and their differences, so that they are unique, and not all trying to be the same "guy." We've suffered and complained long enough. For once, let's give Ryback, and this next crop of future guys for that matter, more than a few months to win us over. If for nothing else, this may be the last crop of wrestlers who if they fail, we may finally start tuning out for good.....and that will be a dark day for this guy.