Ryback vs. Chris Jericho
Since they were feeling left out of the next pay-per-view (PPV), then Raw Managing General Supervisor Vickie Guerrero put Y2J and Big Hungry together for this match in Philadelphia.
The Road to Money in the Bank
Jericho has bounced around more than a little bit since his return at the Royal Rumble. In fact, a program with Ryback had been rumored for him for WrestleMania 29, but that was put aside when the powers-that-be decided to shoot their new ballroom dancer character to the moon and the veteran was chosen to make the kid a star.
And he very nearly did, putting him over on the Grandest Stage of All and letting him generally get the best of him all the way up until he ended the feud with a win at Extreme Rules.
Next up was the chance to rekindle his series with CM Punk, and make the Best of the World look like, well, the best in the world, in his big return at Payback.
Now, with the same mix of backstage coincidence and post-match encounters, the part time rocker will try to help out the former Skip Sheffield.
After a phenomenal debut that saw him battle through mocking "Goldberg" chants and make a splash as a jobber-shocking monster, Ryback was elevated to some pretty big matches on major events. He actually did okay in the limelight, too, but the nature of the guys he was working with (first CM Punk and most recently John Cena) meant that he wasn't going to win on those big stages. Ever.
Throw in an abrupt heel turn necessary to work with Cena, and now you have a beast who loses that audiences had just learned to cheer but were now expected to boo.
Who else are you going to turn to to fix something like that? No one other than the first unified world champion, who has held the Intercontinental championship more times than anyone else and is a master of 1004 holds - Chris Jericho.
What's at stake?
Mr. Back is in a really interesting position. His helter skelter character arc is so bizarre that it's fascinating. Add in the possibility of an alignment with heat magnet Vickie Guerrero as teased on last Monday's Raw and he could come out of six-to-nine months of PPV losses in a surprisingly strong position.
To really do so, however, he needs to show continued improvement in his duel with Jericho this weekend. Conventional wisdom has it that he will win, but looking like he can hang with a ring general like Y2J would raise his stock with the decision makers in the back and the hardcore fans.
For the Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla (soon to be returning to his other job as lead vocalist), his commitment to the third act of his career as the pro wrestling equivalent of a main event gatekeeper seems to have silenced most of his critics. He'll always be adored by the masses for his overall body of work, and each new star he helps shine brightens his in the eyes of the so-called "smart" fans.
Can Jericho and Ryback put on a great match that returns the latter to the PPV win column?
You know we'll have match results and one or two opinions on that, right here at Cageside Seats!