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The Atrocious WWE Booking Of Ryback

Friday 15th, November 2013 / 12:11 Written by

The WWE has done it again. WWE creative has successfully stalled any momentum one of their rising stars effectively killing off his potential. The booking of Ryback has been a disgrace and Vince McMahon should be ashamed of himself.

Let me make this perfectly clear. I am hardly a Ryback fan. He is not what you would call my cup of tea as far as a pro wrestler goes. However I can respect the business he brings to the company and at the end of the day this is a business. So please understand this isn’t a case of a Ryback fan whining about his favorite wrestler’s push. I am however a fan of good booking.

I wrote a blog last year when Ryback was shot to the top due to John Cena’s injury defending the idea that the WWE put him over CM Punk for the WWE championship. I understood that the company had plans on the table for a Punk vs. Rock program and that Ryback wasn’t even supposed to be there. However, I also saw that the WWE caught lightning in a bottle, by luck mind you with Ryback, and the limited opportunity to strike was there.

They didn’t listen. The Ryback vs. Punk program put a halt to Ryback’s momentum and squashed all of the momentum they had to make a rising star. I blogged at the time that the WWE had consistently taken guys with momentum and did everything in their power to squash that upswing and make sure fans knew that it was John Cena and everyone else. The only reason Ryback was hot was because they hadn’t beaten him yet. Well they did and he was done a few months later.

Here we are several months later and the Ryback has turned heel. Ryback had a ton of momentum once again going into his program with John Cena for the WWE championship. I understood taking the WWE title off of Cena so quickly after he won it probably wasn’t ideal. Yet again the WWE were handed an opportunity where Ryback was hot and needed to continue his momentum. Cena (and Punk last year) could absorb a loss and be fine later on. Ryback could not. Ryback needed to win the WWE title to cement himself as a top guy and continue the ascension.

Again the company didn’t listen and he was done once the program ended. Somehow or another he got a third opportunity as part of the Paul Heyman-CM Punk program. This was it! There was not going to be any more chances for Ryback to get hot. He needed to go over Punk convincingly and jump back into the WWE title picture. The storyline would have been perfect going into the Rumble. Ryback would have been the favorite and put someone else over by not winning, yet sustaining his momentum going into WrestleMania and beyond.

Instead we got two straight matches with Ryback on the losing end against CM Punk. That was Ryback’s third strike and he is definitely out. Now the company is teasing some kind of a Ryback babyface turn. Nobody could ever convince me that this was the longterm plan for Ryback. They are scrambling here and unfortunately no matter who he turns on or feuds with he will never get that same momentum back he had those three previous runs. It’s over!

It isn’t just about Ryback, although he is a great example. You could easily take Ryback’s name out of the title and replace it with Bryan’s. Daniel Bryan was a failure as a top guy according to the numbers. He didn’t draw and fans just weren’t buying him as a top guy. That could have easily been fixed because we all know the momentum was there to change it. What do they do instead? They put Randy Orton over on him, never give him his revenge, and immediately send him into a tag team match against the Wyatts. Job well done!

This leads me to the bigger picture here. The WWE booking has been for a lack of a better word atrocious when it comes to getting new guys over. Vince McMahon wants to blame creative (or Daniel Bryan) for recent low buyrates. How are guys like Bryan, Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, and even Punk successfully draw when they are elevated under this formula? Nobody will ever succeed under this booking. The only reason Ryback had a chance was his streak and you best believe that you won’t be seeing any lengthy streaks under this booking regime.

People like to call Vince McMahon a genius. People like to credit Triple H for understanding pro wrestling when it comes to booking. You better believe that Triple H would be working somewhere else today if he was booked like this in the early part of the century. You better believe that Vince McMahon would not be remotely close to the tycoon he is today if he booked Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, or The Rock like this when they got hot. I can’t rationalize any way that this “even” booking helps anyone when it comes to business. The numbers don’t lie and all you have to do is look at the buyrates to confirm this.

The WWE needs a complete overhaul to its booking philosophy. They aren’t going to go out of business but they are completely screwed if something ever happened to John Cena or he just decides one day that he is done. Nobody on the current roster has been booked well enough to be positioned as the top guy in the company. Just the idea that these people can’t see that is probably the scariest revelation of all.

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About the author

Eric Gargiulo is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009.

View all articles by Eric Gargiulo

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