A year ago at Survivor Series, Ryback was the hottest wrestling superstar on the planet.
Today, he’s a mid-carder. That’s not his fault.
Ryback emerged as a superstar last year even though the WWE was really pushing him to be the next big thing in wrestling. He was one of those guys who just clicked with the audience. Yes, he resembled Bill Goldberg and used some of his moves. But he was getting over as his own character.
Like a Lex Luger character, he didn’t need to be Shawn Michaels inside the ring. Ryback was just big and powerful. He had a great catchphrase of “Feed Me More,” and the fans were totally into him and his character.
The WWE didn’t want to put the title on him at last year’s Survivor Series. CM Punk was supposed to hold the title all the way to the Royal Rumble, when he was supposed to drop the strap to The Rock.
CM Punk had to win, so the WWE figured out a way to let him keep his title, without pinning him clean. In the main event of Survivor Series, CM Punk defended the title against an injured John Cena and Ryback in a triple threat.
The Pay-Per-View ended with the PPV debut of The Shield, who attacked Ryback and put him threw a table, allowing Punk to keep the title.
Ryback should have won the title that night. Ryback has steadily declined since that night. In a huge mistake, he turned heel at WrestleMania, and has been pretty much losing ever since. He’s an interesting heel, but gone is the buzz around him and the “Feed Me More” chants. Ryback is just another guy who was close to getting big, but the WWE stopped his push before it climaxed.
The same thing happened to Daniel Bryan this year. No matter how popular a wrestler becomes among the fans, if it isn’t in the WWE’s long-term booking plans, the wrestler isn’t going to be a big star.