Ryback has never looked better than during his reign with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Punctuating his recent run, was a particularly spry performance this week on RAW. In a match that included some of the WWE's brightest stars, Ryback stood out. His mat acumen rate was through the roof, combining his always impressive power with an acrobatic flair yet unseen from the Las Vegas native.
Clearly, Ryback has something to prove, and prove it he did. Now we know that a properly motivated Ryback can flat out wrestle. Sadly, Sin City's favorite son now finds himself on the injured reserve list, unable to defend his title.
Reports finger a bacterial infection for Ryback's benching, but the unusually spectacular aerial display certainly had something to do with it as well. Simply put, Ryback got too big for his airbrushed britches.
Misfortune seems to plague the IC Champion with such regularity, there is talk of a "Intercontinental Curse." Make no mistake, curses exist, but there's nothing paranormal about the bad luck that has befallen Ryback, Daniel Bryan, and others. Let's look at a non-exhaustive list of curse victims:
Each of these wrestlers either suffered from a pre-existing injury that intensified upon winning the title, or subsequently experienced an injury that interrupted their championship reign. This is after the long period of peak health required to win the title in the first place.
Curse or not, an Intercontinental Championship reign is taxing for even the most accomplished wrestlers. Furthermore, those who are most able to endure the grind of a championship reign are lured to pursue a world championship. Think of Bret Hart, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and CM Punk. Then there is the group that skipped over the IC strap entirely, due to superior skill or good fortune, such as Undertaker, Seth Rollins, and Yokozuna. Both of these subsets would likely have made successful, curse-resistant IC champions, but simply moved on to bigger and better things.
Note that there is another collection of IC Champions who enjoyed fruitful, non-cursed reigns. This includes wrestlers who were full-time musicians (Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine, Double J), those with time-intensive jobs on the side (Mountie, Tito Santana), practitioners of other martial arts (Marc Mero, Ken Shamrock), or adult film stars (Chyna, Val Venis). Wrestling wasn't everything to these superstars, so they were better able to endure their title reigns.
The victims of this so-called curse aren't prey to the paranormal, but rather a self-selecting group of athletes. Great wrestlers all, but ill-equipped to handle the rigors of defending Professional Wrestling's most dangerous championship.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE 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 31 and culminates with WrestleMania 32. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night Raw-- 7/13/15
Main Event-- 7/14/15
WRESTLER WRANKINGS, WEEK 16 *TOP TEN*
1. Neville -- 42 points
2. Seth Rollins -- 41
3. Ryback -- 39
4. Dean Ambrose -- 36.5
5. John Cena -- 36
6. King Barrett -- 28.5
7. Roman Reigns -- 27.5
8. Sheamus -- 25.5
9. Dolph Ziggler -- 23.5
10. Randy Orton -- 23
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!