Sunday, January 20, 2013

Top Ten Cases: WWE 2012 Year-End Awards - Next Superstar to Become a First-Time World Champion

My Pick:  Ryback
I really do think Ryback will be the next first time World Champion, but here’s the kicker:  I don’t think it’ll be with the WWE Championship.  I say he wins the World Heavyweight Championship.  Until the very end of 2012, I would have bet with a certain level of confidence that Ryback was going to be the one to unseat the Big Show as World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE is in a unique situation with Ryback, and because of the fact that they’ve been much less restrictive about who they grant World title reigns to – and the titles have changed hands more than they had in the past – it’s one they also haven’t found themselves in for quite a while.  When Batista failed multiple months in a row to grab the World Heavyweight Championship away from Edge, he already had numerous title reigns to his name.  And we knew he’d have a few more, too.  That’s not the case with Ryback.  He’s been put in several featured matches on PPV, and he’s had to lose them all.  They seem invested enough in him that they continue to feature him so strongly and prominently, but they’ve been wise enough not to hot shot a title change.  Since they haven’t taken the Tensai route, where they just give up on the guy and use him as a comedic jobber, I’m inclined to think they’re just going to put him in a situation where he wins the other World Championship in a rather dominant fashion.  Despite coming up short every time he fails to win the WWE Championship, they’ve managed to protect him each and every time.

Interesting thing to note, though:  There was not a single first time World Champion in 2012.  That hasn’t happened in nearly a decade (2003 was the last time).  With Alberto Del Rio currently feuding with Big Show and a rumored Sheamus/Randy Orton World Heavyweight Championship feud on the horizon – and CM Punk, the Rock, and John Cena conceivably dominating the WWE Championship for the foreseeable future – who knows?  We may not even see a first time World Champion AT ALL in 2013.

What You Said – Ryback
Here’s a fun fact for you:  Back in my 2010 Year-End Awards, Wade Barrett was predicted to be the next first time World Champion.  It’s now two years later, and he still hasn’t won the championship.  In that amount of time, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio all beat him to the punch (and Christian and Mark Henry, depending on your perspective on the ECW Championship).  And some major title wins – like Sheamus winning the WWE Championship in 2009 – came completely out of left field.  So this category can be harder to predict than you might expect.  Nonetheless, we’re both in agreement here.

Ryback earned over half of the votes here (54%), with Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro coming off strong too (19% and 17%, respectively).  Appropriately, these are your Intercontinental and United States Champions, historically the championship Superstars held before going on to claim the World title.  Surprisingly, Cody Rhodes only received two out of the first 100 votes.  While historically none of us have been particularly good at making this prediction (in 2010, I did a bit better than you guys:  I picked Alberto Del Rio, who did win the championship that year….although Dolph Ziggler edged him out with his two hour title reign), I don’t see a better option than Ryback.  WWE has cut back significantly on their Shock TV title reigns (although Big Show remains a bit of a head scratcher), but Ryback seems to be following a similar model that Sheamus took last year.  Become a dominant babyface who eventually topples the heel champion.  Alberto Del Rio’s current reign may have thrown a bit of a wrench in his path of destruction, but I still see him ultimately nabbing the gold (perhaps from another Big Show reign, or maybe a returning Mark Henry).

No comments: