We hear a great deal about the similarities between Bill Goldberg and Ryback. But what would happen if wrestling's two monster behemoths locked up during each man's heyday? Let's find out as we Make The Match - Ryback vs. Goldberg!
Long after Andre the Giant's "15 Year Undefeated Streak", Bill Goldberg showed up and made being undefeated into an artform. What followed was a year worth of spears, jackhammers, and wins. By the end of it all, WCW (long claimed by critics to not know how to create stars) had created a bona fide hit.
Fans unfamiliar with WCW outside of WWE's slash and burn documentaries might not realize Goldberg's popularity at the time. No one was equal to him in WCW and the mistaken heel turn Vince Russo wrote for him proved that. Bill turned bad and fans revolted. It wasn't long before he was back to basking in the cheers.
When Goldberg found himself in WWE, he was used in way that was, well, less than stellar. Immediately, WWE scripted a segment that put Bill into Goldust's wig and we all got a taste of what Goldberg with a half-hearted push looked like.
His race to the top of WWE was slower and more agonizing than his WCW climb. Gone was the US title win. Gone was the undefeated mega match. Instead, Triple H seemed to retain his championship during Bill's attempts until the title switch finally occurred. By then, the magic was gone.
No one, though, can question Bill Goldberg's power in the ring. Without a doubt, Goldberg's matches seemed brutal and realistic. Whether his hard-hitting oopsie style played into that is another story. But Goldberg could draw a crowd in and achieve the same cheers with a press slam that other guys have to flip off a roof to get. For WCW and at times WWE, Bill was always "da man".
Ryback's rise is nothing like Goldberg's. For starters, there was no long undefeated streak. Ryback's was short. There was also no buildup to a World Title shot. It was mere weeks before he was on PPV against CM Punk for the strap…
…and he lost.
What followed was a few months of mediocrity disguised as a monster push. Ryback may have been saying that he "ruled", but his match outcomes told another story. After his handy defeat at the hands of Mark Henry in his WrestleMania debut, Ry was all but written off by critics.
So, WWE turned him heel. Unlike Russo's attempt to villain-up Goldberg, this turn worked to an extent. Although Ryback's rise seemed more suited for a babyface, his embrace of the dark side has given his character more of an edge and allowed him to show what he can do as a real monster. He may not have captured the WWE title in his last two attempts, but you can't deny the fact that he's still in the main events.
So what would happen in a contest between "Feed Me More" and "Who's Next"?
It would probably be horrible.
That's not a slam on either man. In fact, it's a compliment to their styles. In the 1980s, Pro Wrestling Illustrated had done a "Computerized Wrestling Tournament". The kayfabed card featured dream matches put together "by a super computer". Stop rolling your eyes.
The main event of that tournament was Hulk Hogan vs. Billy Graham. According to PWI, the match was awful because "the men shared such similar styles". Although the results were pretend, the observation was true. Sadly, we'd get the same result from Goldberg and Ryback.
If wrestling were a legitimate competition between two men, Ryback would have the stamina advantage while Bill would have the momentum advantage. If things went beyond 5 minutes, the tide would turn in Ryback's favor…
… but it wouldn't get that far.
Before Ryback could get to the "More" in his catchphrase, Goldberg would run in, spear, jackhammer, and pin. No matter what you say about him, no one could compete with Bill Goldberg in his prime and Ryback would simply be "next".
Hope everyone enjoyed the first "Make The Match". Thanks to JG for the opportunity. I'll have more in the weeks to come. See you at the matches!