How It Started vs How It Ended: Ryback
Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome back to another edition of How it Started vs How it Ended. Today’s edition of the column is all about “The Big Guy” Ryback. The former Skip Sheffield reintroduced himself to the WWE Universe as a muscled up meat head, who wanted nothing but to have the WWE locker room feed him more. Today, I’ll take a look at the way things started for Ryback, where the hot start took him from there, and the way it all came to an end. Now that we’re all caught up on what I’m here to talk about today, lets get to it!
Ryback began his run on April 6, 2012, by taking on a series of local talents, on the way to racking up a 38 win streak. The impressive start led to an intense rivalry with CM Punk, that now lives in infamy. Ryback had his first major singles match when he took on Punk in a Hell In A Cell match, for the WWE Championship, in the main event of 2012’s Hell In A Cell Pay Per View. Ryback lost the match to Punk, due to a low blow from referee Brad Maddox, while setting up for his finishing move, Shell Shocked. Maddox followed up with a fast count, resulting in a controversial loss for Ryback. The WWE Championship feud continued at 2012’s Survivor Series Pay Per View, during a triple threat main event match between Ryback, Punk, and John Cena. During the closing moments of the match, Ryback hit Shell Shocked on Cena, and went for the pin. Suddenly, 3 men dressed in all black invaded the ring, preventing Ryback from making the cover. The group followed up the in ring attack with a powerbomb through the announce desk, allowing Punk to retain the title. The trio of black clad men that became known as The Shield got involved yet again, during a TLC match for the WWE Championship between Ryback and Punk, on the January 7th, 2013 episode of Raw. Ryback tossed Punk through a table at ringside, and began to climb the ladder. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins appeared on the opposite side of the ladder. Roman Reigns jumped Ryback from behind, and The Shield prevented Ryback from winning the title for the final time, ending the feud with Punk.
At the 2013 Royal Rumble, Ryback and John Cena made it to the final 2 of that years Royal Rumble match. Things started off cordial between Ryback and Cena,since both guys were face, and they spent the next few weeks teaming up with various other faces to take on The Shield. On the Raw after Wrestlemania 29, John Cena faced Mark Henry in a non title match during the main event. Cena won the match via count-out, angering Henry, who attacked him. Ryback ran out to make the save for the champion, and the two briefly celebrated together. Ryback then shockingly hit a meat hook clothesline, followed by Shell Shocked on Cena. The attack turned Ryback heel for the first time, and The Big Guys second major feud was off to the races. The first match took place at 2013’s Extreme Rules Pay Per View. The two competed in a match fought under Last Man Standing rules, for the WWE Championship, and the match resulted in a no-contest. The match ended when Ryback ran Cena, and himself through the titan-tron, and both fell down onto the “metal rigging”, and concrete floor below. Cena and Ryback continued the rivalry, facing off once again at the first ever Payback Pay Per View. The match was contested under the “Three Stages of Hell” stipulation, and started off as a Lumberjack match. Ryback won the first fall, pinning Cena after hitting Shell Shocked. Cena tied things up at 1 a piece, winning a Tables Match via an Attitude Adjustment through a table. Ryback lost during the third stage of hell, which was an Ambulance Match. The finish came when Cena hit Ryback with an A.A. on top of the ambulance, sending Ryback through the roof of the vehicle, and ending their rivalry.
A few months after the feud with Cena, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel took on CM Punk in a handicapped match, at the Night Of Champions Pay Per View. Ryback appeared from out of nowhere during the match, and speared Punk through a table that was set up in the corner of the ring. Ryback laid Heyman across Punk for the pin, and Heyman won the match. Ryback carried Heyman to the backstage area, and solidified himself as a Paul Heyman guy. At Hell In A Cell 2013, CM punk defeated Ryback and Heyman, in a Handicapped Hell In A Cell match, after Punk put Ryback through a table, and hit the GTS for the third time in the match. A week or so after that, Ryback and Heyman had a falling out. Fortunately for Ryback, he made an ally out of Curtis Axel, who Heyman also dropped as his client, forming the team known as Rybaxel. The team came together on a December 6th, 2013 episode of Smackdown, and they scored a win against then WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust, becoming the number one contenders to the titles in the process. Rybaxel never managed to capture the titles, and in August 2014, Ryback stepped away to recover from a legitimate injury. Ryback returned to the ring a few months later, reverting back to his “feed me more” gimmick, and playing the role of a face once again. Ryback ended his partnership with Curtis Axel soon after, and began a feud with The Authority faction. The feud lasted for most of the latter part of 2014, and through the early part of 2015. At the 2015 Elimination Chamber event, Ryback competed in an Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship, against Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, King Barrett, Sheamus, and R-Truth. Ryback eliminated Truth and Sheamus, en route to capturing his first title in WWE. Ryback held onto the IC Championship for 112 days, eventually defending his title against Kevin Owens at the Night Of Champions Pay Per View. At the end of the match, Ryback set up for Shell Shocked, and Owens raked the eyes, blinding Ryback. This allowed Owens to roll-up Ryback, and steal a victory from The Big Guy. The Big Guy lost the rematch at October’s Hell In A Cell event, and moved on to the next phase of his career.
On November 12, Ryback competed in a 16 man tournament for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, where he would take on Kalisto in the first round of the tournament. While attempting to suplex Kalisto off of the top rope, Kalisto reversed, and hit Solida Del Sol for the surprise victory. Ryback got one last attempt at glory, competing in the 2016 Royal Rumble match, for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Ryback was unable to win the belt, after being eliminated by The Big Show, and his road to Wrestlemania began on the wrong foot. On the way to the “show of shows”, Ryback teamed with The Big Show and Kane, and they took on The Wyatt Family. After a few weeks of teaming up, Ryback turned heel once again, leaving the veterans hanging. The Big Guy eventually began a feud with then United States champion Kalisto. Ryback and Kalisto would go on to battle over the championship, on the Wrestlemania 32 Pre-Show. The match was hindered by technical issues, as the ticket scanning machines went down, causing most of the WWE Universe to miss the match. Ryback lost, and the two competed once again, on the Payback Pre-Show. The end of the match came when Ryback went to the top rope, and missed a big splash. That allowed Kalisto to hit Salida Del Sol, and put Ryback away once again. This would be the last time we saw Ryback compete in a WWE ring, as later that week, reports began to say that the WWE had sent Ryback home. On August 8th, 2016, WWE officially released Ryback, after contract disputes caused him and the company to have a falling out.
How It Started
How It Ended
That’s all for this edition of How It Started vs How It Ended. Join me right here next Monday, as I take a look at the way things started and ended for “The Animal” Batista. You can check out that edition of the column, as well as many others, exclusively on Rajah.Com! Have a great day everyone.