Kickout Fatigue: The Ryback Conundrum
by, 10-20-2012 at 12:56 AM (5036 Views)
For the most part, I've enjoyed the meteoric rise of Ryback. After the 20th squash match where he did the same 3 moves it got a bit old, but all along I've been pretty captivated by this beastly wrestler and the path of destruction he's been blazing across the WWE.
Seeing him catapulted into a main even situation against CM Punk was pretty shocking to me. Obviously, WWE is high on this guy, that was never more obvious than he decimated then Intercontinental Champion Miz in about 3 minutes. But taking him from nobody to main eventing a PPV for the WWE Championship in just a few short months? I don't think anyone saw that coming.
Here's where the problem comes. The Punk vs Ryback match is a no win situation for WWE. Let's look at what happens if Ryback wins the match.
First of all, you've got WWE putting the belt around the waist of a rookie. We all know wrestling's scripted, but there's still a high level of prestige that goes into winning that belt. Finally being recognized by the company as THE GUY is a huge honor, something most superstars chase for a long long time before achieving (if they ever achieve it, many don't). How's it going to sit with all the guys in the back if WWE grants a rookie a title reign?
Also, how's it going to look if Punk, after nearly a year of domination, suddenly loses to an unseasoned wrestler? Punk has held onto his belt so many times when it looked like his defeat was going to happen. The top tier talent in WWE could never get it away from him, but a wrestler who's only been around for a few months and has only ever been in 3 minute matches against (mostly) nobodies can?
Then there's the timing of it. If punk gets through Hell in a Cell with his belt, then he'll hit 1 solid year as champion before the next PPV comes around. That's a huge mark, and it's hard to believe that WWE would take the title away before Punk hits that historic 1 year mark.
Okay, now let's look at the issues if Punk does win and retains the belt. WWE has spent month after month building Ryback into an unstoppable monster. Handicap matches couldn't stop him, Intercontinental Champions couldn't stop him, he's been built up to be one of the most dominant forces that the WWE has ever seen. Does the WWE really want to throw that away by having him lose at HIAC?
Probably not, which means that we could be in for a truly bad finish to what will likely be an awesome match. Let's look at history, which in the case of Ryback leads you to Goldberg and his undefeated streak. WCW built him into an unstoppable beast. They did a great job with it, and even though he had some great tests along the way, he kept winning and remained undefeated for a very long time.
The problem was, he eventually had to lose. To accomplish this, WCW put together one of the dumbest screw-job endings pro wrestling has ever seen. A disguised Scott Hall repeatedly tased Goldberg, which weakened him enough so he was defeated by Kevin Nash. The streak was over, the fans were furious, and that was that.
A straight Punk victory vs Ryback is almost certainly not going to happen. It's just too damaging to Ryback's character at this point. But I also can't imagine them putting the belt on Ryback so early in his career, and also so close to Punk's 1 year mark with the belt. This leads me to believe that we're headed towards a truly wonky ending. Interference gone wrong, maybe? An accidental Cena chair shot that hits Ryback instead of Punk? Or something even more off the wall, like a run-in from someone we don't expect? Or maybe Punk will just use something ridiculous like Scott Hall did, employing a taser or something along those lines to incapacitate Ryback.
I give WWE credit for moving forward with this match, but I don't give them too much credit. Don't forget, if not for Cena's injury, we were in for yet another Cena/Punk showdown. What I will give WWE credit for is saying "to hell with it" and throwing together Ryback and Punk as a replacement storyline. It's a stroke of brilliance, and even though they've put themselves in a tough situation over the outcome, I'm still glad they moved forward with this.
So who do I hope wins the match? I have to say, it's been a while since any storyline in the WWE had the electric energy that this Ryback/Punk thing does. The fans seem to sense that this is a volatile situation. The crowd was going nuts at the end of Raw. WWE has been so hesitant to have guys drop belts, so for that reason I want Ryback to win. I think it forces change, and brings a fresh sense of "anything can happen" to the product.
That's who I hope wins, but who do I think wins? Punk. I just don't see them putting the belt on a rookie, and I don't see them ending Punk's reign so close to the 1 year mark. Either way they go with this match, they're going to do some damage to their product, but it's been a pretty entertaining mess and I can't wait to see what they come up with for the finish.
Let's just hope it's not Scott Hall in a disguise again...