Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wrestling, Ryback and the Bucket List, revisited

I am a huge fan of the wrestler known as Ryback.  I have been a fan since the first time I saw him on RAW, May 2012.  Some say I am a little 'obsessed'.  I like to think I am a devoted fan, a VERY devoted fan.  I have watched as this wrestler has been sent through the wringer, and back, by those that employ him.  Regardless of storyline, every interview has been nothing but positive feedback about his continued drive for his dream.  He is one of the reasons why I have been motivated to make some of the changes I have made for myself.

The man who is Ryback is a guy by the name of Ryan Reeves.  He comes from a little town out west of here called Las Vegas.  He still calls LV home, though he's on the road most of the year.  Even with the ongoing realization of his childhood dream, I'm sure that isn't easy.  So it makes this already loyal fan even more loyal, to know what my favorite wrestler does to keep his fans happy.  He is 31, to be 32 in November (and yes, I actually do know his birth date, the 10th).  He is currently unmarried, but bloggers seem to have given him a rep for being a bit of a ladies man.

Ryan tried out for and got a position as contestant on a program called Tough Enough, with another wrestler now popular with the fans of the WWE, The Miz (Mike Mizanin).  He didn't win but still got a developmental contract.  He went by several names during that time, including a Terminator like character called Ryback.  Ryan was renamed Skip Sheffield in the FCW, a comedic character created by none other than the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.  Skip gave him a chance to show his not so serious side, but didn't let him be the wrestler he wanted to be. (Yep! Yep! Yep!  What it do!)  He was chosen to participate in the first season of NXT, which is a television program produced by the WWE to showcase new talent.  The winner gets a contract with the WWE.  In 2010, when he was called to the main roster, he became a part of a stable known as Nexus.  Nexus was made up of the contestants from NXT the season Ryan participated.  That group included some of the biggest superstars in wrestling today.  They wreaked a little havoc on the WWE Universe for a while, causing some issues for some very popular wrestlers.  Personally, some of the wrestlers targeted deserved everything they got, and should have gotten more.

In August 2010, Ryan was seriously injured during a tag team match in Hawaii.  He broke his ankle, but kept wrestling the match.  That created a spiral fracture that went to just below his knee.  Not a good thing to have happen in a young wrestling career.  He spent the next year and a half recovering from that injury including 3 surgeries.  Doctors told him he wouldn't wrestle again.  But Ryan was undeterred.  He was determined to get back to the main roster and become the superstar he knew he could be.  He busted his ass to rebuild and increase his strength.  He devoted himself to becoming who he knew he should be, a headliner.  In December 2011, he was back in a dark match for the WWE as Ryback, not Skip Sheffield.  In April 2012, he debuted on SmackDown.  And in May 2012, I found my 'little obsession'.

I was a fan immediately.  At the time, his primary character trait was to squash whoever was in the ring with him using absolute brute force.  His sheer size was enough to terrorize jobbers, like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.  He shouted things like "Wake up!", "Done!" and "Feed me more!" but said little else.  Ryback cut a swath of destruction through the no names and the not quite superstar names of the WWE, beating everyone and everything in his path.  He easily took on two wrestlers at time, stacking them up on his shoulders for the infamous Shell Shock.  Watching him pick them up, and drop them hard is amazing, considering the strength it requires.

He tore through the WWE like no one before, except maybe Bill Goldberg.  Ryback heard those chants often....naysayers calling "Goldberg!  Goldberg!" during his bouts.  It ticked me off.  Goldberg will always be legend in wrestling, but Ryback is his own man.  He is a beast built purely for the spectacle called sports entertainment.

Not wanting to rehash the whole year, I'll give a summary.  In October, Ryback got a an unexpected shot at the title belt, and he didn't win it due to interference from the referee.  He got another chance in November but again, the script said no.  Instead, they had him Triple Powerbombed onto the announce table by the latest heel faction in the WWE. a group called The Shield.  December brought a scheduled then changed again.  January, much of the same, the script writers having too much fun creating havoc for this amazing wrestler.!  March, though there was no belt opportunity, he ran straight into the path of the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry, in a setup for Wrestlemania in April.  April saw him lose to Mark Henry at Wrestlemania 29.  May, a loss to John Cena, no title.  June a loss to John Cena, no title.  July, he defeated Chris Jericho to finally get another pay per view win.

Now we are in August, SummerSlam season.  It appears as though the rivalry with Mark Henry has been renewed for a possible SummerSlam bout.  Only now, instead of being the face of the match, Ryback will be the heel.  He went 'bad guy' on John Cena (which makes me grin still!!!).  Ryback seems to have come into his own with the change in his character.  Heel suits him, with his size and look.  He fits the bill of the bad guy.  I like that, setting the WWE on its ear with his Ryback Rules.  Ryan seems to be enjoying every moment of this new character line.  I can't blame him.  He has put up with so much bull since last October: run-ins with The Shield; losing Table Match after Table Match with Cena; belittling losses that should never have happened; harassment by the likes of Y2J (the infamous Cryback nonsense).  Yeah, be the heel, Big Guy!!

It's time that the WWE show some real appreciation of their resident beast.  He's not a part-timer, like Brock Lesnar or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  Those guys are good, don't get me wrong.  They have obligations that keep them from being anything but occasional aggravations to the Universe's world.  I would much rather see Ryback be given a legitimate shot at the championship belt.  He has a whole family of fans that wait for that moment.  We call ourselves Rybackers after something Ryback himself had said of his fans.  We are fairly well versed in Ryback trivia, some more than others.  We search for and post countless pictures from all over.  We wait for each tweet from our hero, impatiently...but as quickly as he sends them, he deletes them because of a single tweet several months ago that caused a ruckus.  Such nonsense, considering the tweet was nothing compared to what others have put out there.  It does keep us watching, closely.  It only serves to make fans as devoted as I am a bit more dedicated to our wrestler.

I still hope to meet Ryan Reeves, Ryback.  It is still the number 1 item on my personal bucket list.  I had hoped to meet him (even briefly) in March, when I went to see a live taping of Smackdown but that didn't materialize.  It was pretty awesome though, just to be in the same building that he was in.  Yeah, I'm a little 'obsessed', I suppose.  I wait kind of impatiently for the opportunity to get to thank him for keeping me entertained, for showing me that most anything is possible with the right attitude and for providing hours of pleasant daydream material (LOL! Sorry, it's the truth!).  I would also like to thank him for being the catalyst for some pretty amazing friendships that I have developed.  He has made a big impact on my life, and the lives others.  I don't know that he realizes how much he has truly done for his fans.  I hope someday, I get to tell him.  Ryback will continue to be the topic of many of my Twitter conversations with my extended 'family'.   So, I'll stay a little 'obsessed' seems only right.  

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