Ryback is a big monster of a man and appears to be headed for a long and successful career near the top of the card in WWE. I'd say that he's probably one of the Top Ten best wrestlers in the company today (and his place in the Wrestler Wrankings backs up this claim).
CM Punk is an all time great still in his prime and probably one of the 25 or so greatest wrestlers in the history of the sport. He's in something of a transitional period between his recent long stretch with the WWE Championship and another likely run at the strap. Though not in the Wrankings Top Ten, given his sabbatical to begin the season and the quagmire of a feud with Brock Lesnar and the rest of Paul Heyman's guys, he is no slouch in 16th place.
The difference in class between the two could not have been more apparent than on RAW this week, where CM Punk dismantled the Ryback about 4 minutes.
Now you may say that Punk simply outclassed Big Hungry as he has generally done in their recent dustups, but something about this seems odd.
A year ago at Hell in a Cell '12 CM Punk and Ryback faced off in one of the most hotly anticipated main events in years. Both superstars were seemingly peaking, with Punk in the midst of his yearlong title reign and Ryback crashing though the WWE as the undefeated, hyper-nourished bowling ball that he was at the time.
The record books may show that the Straight Edge Savior walked away with a victory and his title belt, but that was only due to the hyperspeed count of crooked referee Brad Maddox. Ryback has his way with the champion and seemed hell bent on taking the championship and taking over as the kingpin of WWE.
But it didn't happen that way. Ryback lost where he should have won, lost his career momentum, lost his dominance, and lost his moral compass. Now he seems more interested in hassling food service workers than in devouring his opponents.
I've written about momentum before. It seems like, perhaps more than in other sports, inertia is extra relevant in wrestling. For some reason success seems to beget more success while a single big loss can send event the most famished of superstars spiraling into competitive oblivion.
We don't know what has changed with either CM Punk or Ryback in the last year, but it's clear that, relative to each other, much has changed. Of course, if something can change, then it can change back. I predict big things for both of these stars in the future, but they've now feuded twice in a calendar year. I think the best thing for both of them is to stay away from each other for the foreseeable future.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE OR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 29 and culminates with WrestleMania 30. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Hell in a Cell-- 10/27/13 (1.5x PPV bonus calculated in scores)
Monday Night Raw -- 10/28/13
Main Event -- 10/30/13
SmackDown -- 11/1/13
1. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- 93.5 points
2. Randy Orton -- 82.5
3. Daniel Bryan -- 78.5
4. Curtis Axel -- 64.5
5. Dolph Ziggler -- 44.5
6. John Cena -- 44
7. Rob Van Dam -- 42
8. Ryback -- 38
9. Kofi Kingston -- 34
10. Fandango -- 32
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!