Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Difference Between Ryback and Goldberg

By Brian Phelps

For everyone at the WWE Live Events and RAW Tapings who continuously chant "Goldberg" at Ryback... just stop it. It's an insult to Goldberg and it's just unfair to Ryback. Goldberg and Ryback are nothing alike and I'll tell you why.
Sure enough, I agree that when Ryback first started he was clearly a Goldberg rip off in terms of mannerisms, snarling and spitting, etc. Even his catch phrase "Feed Me More" was just a synonym of Goldberg's classic "Who's Next?" catch phrase. 
However, that was a long time ago and Ryback has evolved. Think about it. When did Goldberg have a Manager? Oh, that's right... he never did. When did Goldberg wear air brushed wrestling singlets? Oh, that's right... he never did. When did Goldberg have a "Bullying" gimmick? Oh, that's right... he never did. So why continue to chant "Goldberg" at him? Oh, that's right... there's no reason to. Just stop it. At this point, the only reason crowds are still continuing the "Goldberg" chants is because Ryback is a musclebound bald guy with a beard and power moves. That's it. It's as lame and stupid as it was in 1998 when some fans tried to claim that Goldberg was a Steve Austin rip off just because they were both bald with black trunks. By that same logic, The Shield are all Big Boss Man rip offs because they look like they raided Boss Man's ring gear. 
To compare Ryback to Goldberg is an absolute insult to the legacy of Goldberg. Goldberg was faster, more agile, and far more intense than Ryback. He was also leaps and bounds more athletic than Ryback. Last time I checked, Goldberg never botched his own finisher. Ryback botched Shellshocked TWICE. How do you botch Shellshocked on Paul Heyman? Goldberg successfully lifted Big Show vertically and standing jackhammered The Big Show (then known as The Giant) at a time when Show was much heavier than he is now. Youtube it and you'll see how much harder it is to Jackhammer Big Show than it is to give him an Attitude Adjustment. Goldberg's feats of strength were more impressive than John Cena let alone Ryback. 
Another often used comparison is the undefeated streaks and squash matches. Here's the thing though. Squash matches worked for Goldberg. They didn't work for Ryback. Why do you think that is? Part of the reason squash matches worked so well for Goldberg and not Ryback is because of the amazing depth the WCW roster had in 1997-1999. WCW had the deepest roster in pro wrestling history for about a 3 year period. Don't believe me? Hook up a Nintendo 64 and pop in a copy of WCW/nWo Revenge and look at the roster on deck. WCW was so deep with talent in 1997 and 1998 that the British Bulldog, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Virgil, Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart, and Big Boss Man were jobbers and mid-carders on WCW Saturday Night. Those guys had trouble making it on the main shows. That's how loaded WCW was at the time. Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, Chris Benoit were opening match guys. That's how loaded WCW was. Goldberg was squashing legit wrestlers like Mr. Perfect, WWE Tough Enough Trainer Bill Demott, The Faces of Fear, Raven, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Scott Hall, etc. Even the ham -n- eggers like karate jobber Jerry Flynn, Vincent (aka Virgil), and Norman Smiley were better than Ryback's competition. Goldberg was squashing legitimate stars, legends, and future Hall of Famers while Ryback spent 6 months squashing "local bums". 
The allure of Goldberg was similar to the allure of Mike Tyson. Goldberg was viewed as a knockout artist and came off like a legitimate and credible pro athlete thanks to his molding from the NFL. That's why Goldberg's squashes were more legit than Ryback's. Goldberg was getting over beating Ric Flair, Mr.Perfect, Chris Jericho and Raven while Ryback was bullying local wrestlers who would probably work for a sandwich.
Ryback dominated local bums and ham -n- eggers. Goldberg dominated legends of the "sport". Not entirely Rybacks fault because I do like Ryback to a degree. Ryback doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Goldberg though. It's an insult to Goldberg and it's unfair to Ryback.
On an alternate note, for anyone who wants to talk bad about Goldberg's wrestling ability... listen. Goldberg never claimed to be the second coming of Bret Hart. Goldberg was what he was. A believable athletic beast who had more drawing power in his day than Cena has in his entire career. For anyone who disagrees... call me when Cena draws 40,000 people to an episode of RAW.
Guys like John Cena and Ryback make Goldberg look like the Michael Jordan of pro wrestling. Was Goldberg limited in the ring? YES. The difference is Goldberg KNEW his limitations and played it smart by working to his strengths. He had the decency not to embarrass himself by trying and horridly botching a hurricanrana or injuring his neck trying a shooting star press. He was also wise enough to know he had no business wrestling Iron Man Matches and to Goldberg's credit he never put us through one. 

The fact is Goldberg in 3 years drew more money than most main eventers draw in 20 years. Goldberg was drawing 40,000 people to an episode of Nitro. There was no question that Bill Goldberg was a box office draw and had every bit the star power of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold or anyone else. 

Goldberg has been often imitated, but never duplicated. The magic of the Goldberg gimmick is like the magic of the Stone Cold / Vince McMahon feud. It was lightning in a bottle, and no matter how many times WWE and TNA try to replicate the Goldberg character it will never happen again. You can throw out all the one-syllable squash monsters you want from the Rybacks, Lesnars, Lashleys, Batistas, Crimsons, etc but there is only one Goldberg. 

Ryback by comparison is a farce. So stop chanting "Goldberg" at Ryback. It's not even close. Ryback will never be Goldberg. He will never live up to legend of Goldberg and it's not fair to Ryback to heap that kind of pressure on him. His bullying gimmick is great (though it was better before Paul Heyman... when he was beating up the catering crew and making them run shower water into their duffle bags). Let Ryback be his own man. 

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