Parts Unknown: Where Does WWE Take Ryback From Here?

Brad Milner — Contributor — @ BylineBeat

(Panama City, Florida) A funny thing happened while fans were taunting Ryback’s gimmick with Goldberg chants. The repackaged WWE superstar has found his niche and the gimmick has taken off, leaving many to wonder how far Ryback is headed. He opposes CM Punk for the WWE Championship in Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in a match some feel is too soon.

It became a necessity when John Cena had elbow surgery a few weeks ago and the uncertainty in when he would return thrust Ryback into the main event. Cena has been cleared, as of this week, but it’s Ryback’s turn against the long-reigning champion.

Ryback’s unbeaten streak has been highlighted by several handicap match victories over jobbers. He’s also defeated Jinder Mahal, Tensai, Jack Swagger and The Miz in singles competition. That list isn’t overly impressive, but what is important is the reaction Ryback has received.

Vince McMahon has always loved the bruising big men and when one connects with the fans he’s ready to run. A new, rising star is what WWE needs, especially with Cena now the grizzled veteran of the locker room. Hopes have been pinned on many before Ryback, some have succeeded and some have failed, and we’ll find out what direction he goes on Sunday.

Having Ryback win gives CM Punk something to chase over the next few months, but it throws a kink into the early-year PPV, The Royal Rumble. The Rock will be in the main event wrestling for the WWE Title and many believed Punk would be the guy also in the main event. That could still happen, but it would mean Ryback’s title reign was short or doesn’t happen at all.

WWE is flirting with the risk of ending Ryback’s streak too early. Perhaps there will be interference, from Brock Lesnar possibly, to cost Ryback the title without having to lose cleanly. I’m thinking Lesnar and Ryback meet down the line somewhere, maybe WrestleMania, with the youngster being put over by the departing former champion.
Then there is Cena lurking in the shadows. He’s always in the mix somehow and while it would be smart money to say he’d beat Ryback and face The Rock, I don’t think that will happen right now. Cena is the mouthpiece for Ryback and he’s pushing him, like WWE, to the moon.
There’s a lot of time between now and The Royal Rumble and myriad possibilities could work out. Ryback might fizzle and that would make it easier to put the belt back on CM Punk. However, he could take off more, which is what WWE is hoping.

The most important factor is there is some intrigue heading into a PPV for the first time in a while. There is a measure of unpredictability here and we won’t know what will happen until the end. Then we’ll sit back and watch the next few months unfold like the old days when a new star tries to make his mark.

Will the star shine or fade out? Ryback will answer that for us soon.

Quick thoughts on the PPV:

Conversely, there is no measure of unpredictability in the World Heavyweight Championship match between Sheamus and The Big Show, well at least as far as the outcome is concerned. Sheamus will retain, but will he be so beaten up that Dolph Ziggler will finally cash in Money in the Bank? That’s the wild card in this one.

Team Hell No is still going strong and their Tag Team Championship match against Team Rhodes Scholars, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, should be great encounter to watch.

No one cares about the Intercontinental Title match between champion Kofi Kingston and challenger Miz. Kingston has won two in a row over Miz and he was a sacrificial lamb for Ryback on Monday.  I don’t see Miz’s luck changing.

Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio also are scheduled for the card. I’m a Del Rio fan, but my gut says Orton wins.


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Editor’s Note: Brad Milner’s ‘Parts Unknown’ column will appear bi-monthly on Byline Beat every-other Wednesday.