Maybe it’s purely the hulking frame, but Ryback has done something to endear himself to Vince McMahon and the execs of the WWE. After a lackluster face run, awkward heel turn, and a surprisingly tolerable run as a solo bully-heel, Vince McMahon has given Ryback the gift of masterful promo creator, Paul Heyman. Ryback, for his perceived inability on the mic—he says that he has mic skills; we’re still waiting for proof—now has a way around something that many see as his weakness. With Heyman at the helm, Ryback never needs to say a word; he can continue snarling, breathing hard, and violently shaking, while Heyman does all the necessary talking. With Heyman at Ryback’s side, the WWE can actualize their vision of making Ryback a top heel, and Ryback can become the star that the WWE wants him to be.
Nevermind the mob-like kiss that Heyman gave to Ryback that many of us are still trying to wash from our memories, the pairing will work well. How often has Heyman been in bad pairings? This can be mutually beneficial for both parties involved. The pairing allows Heyman to explore another dimension of his on-screen character, and he’s at his best when he’s managing a stable. When he manages various wrestlers, he’s allowed to create diverse relationships with each respective wrestler and by extension, exhibit the impressive variety of his skills as a character. For Ryback, this eliminates the biggest perceived weakness in his character, speaking on the mic. Audiences and WWE Execs never felt he was effective on the mic and some people had even become resigned to his character. So the WWE decided to pair him with someone who many feel is the best talker in the business. Above all else, the addition of Heyman sparks interest in those who wrote off Ryback and view him as irrelevant and boring. He doesn’t boast the skill of Cesaro or Bryan, but his moveset, wrestling style, and pace have all been dictated by how the WWE wants him to be perceived as a big guy. In light of the constraints placed on him as an overtly muscular wrestler (and a few botches aside, including a famous botch on Heyman), Ryback isn’t that terrible in the ring. With a great manager and decent ring skills, Ryback can become watchable to the harshest of critics.
With Heyman as the mouthpiece, Ryback’s character now has immense potential. Heyman’s character is so creative that he can come from an array of angles, bringing Ryback with him. Ryback can start to run rough-shod over the midcard while Heyman rationalizes Ryback’s actions. While Heyman touts his client, Ryback can continue to display a cognitive dissonance between his “hatred for bullies” and his browbeating behavior towards WWE staff, jobbers, and other wrestlers. Ryback could even become a key agent of Triple H’s regime, in a stunning twist of fate that would see Heyman and Triple H agreeing on-screen to work together. Ryback has been fortunate to receive Heyman as a manager, because Heyman can use Ryback’s look and reputation to create something reputable out of “the Big Guy.” Let’s hope that somehow they get this right.