Ryback (real name Ryan Reeves) is a professional wrestler currently employed by WWE. He originally debuted in 2004 as a WWE Tough Enough competitor, and was later rechristened "Skip Sheffield" for WWE NXT. He broke his leg at a house show and was sidelined for over a year. When he came back, he was portrayed as an unstoppable powerhouse who would squash two people at a time.
Breakup Breakout: Due to his injury, he was barely in the Nexus at all. However, back in 2010 very few people would have guessed that Skip Sheffield would later become a bigger star than anyone in the original Nexus.
Canon Discontinuity: He was in no way shape or form part of The Nexus. What they acknowledge is that he was part of NXT season 1, before getting hurt.
Discontinuity Nod: A close look at his ring gear reveals a subtle (if not accidental) one, in that he wears arm bands on his biceps with a huge "R", right where the Nexus armband(s) would be.
Catch Phrase: Most notably, "FEED! ME! MORE!!". Other catchphrases include; "WAKE UP" when entering the ring, "I HIT! HARD!" while he assaults his opponent, and "FINISH! IT!!" before shellshocking the opponent.
As Skip Sheffield, he had "Yup yup yup, what it do."
Charles Atlas Superpower: Established in kayfabe, he lifted up two jobbers at the same time, but the jobbers were small and scrawny. He also tossed one of Miz's stage couches out of the ring after interrupting one of his shows, but seeing how it barely made an impact as it landed, it was very lightweight. By contrast, he showed considerable difficulty getting the 360lbs Tensai up on his shoulders for the Shell Shocked, a slightly modified Samoan Drop, whereas his predecessor Goldberg managed to hoist up Big Show vertically for a Jackhammer (though Tensai had dead weighted Ryback on the move, while Goldberg had Show's full cooperation). He has, however, managed to get the even largerMark Henry up onto his shoulders for the move, with some help from Henry. Then he does it to Khali and does his signature walk around twice.
Gave John Cena a run for his money in their Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules. An AA through a table? Speared through the barricade? Splashed through a table by Cena and blasted in the face with a fire extinguisher? He kept.coming.back.
Development Gag: The name Ryback makes a little more sense if you know that he wrestled on the independents as "The Silverback" Ryan Reeves.
Early-Installment Weirdness: They actually tried having him cut a promo once back toward the beginning of his undefeated streak. Either his mic skills needed work or they decided that The Quiet One was the way to go, because now he only says a few words at a time, although that seems to be changing.
Every Month They Fizzle Out: Is made to look like a beast on TV but went a full year of failing to win every match he had on Pay-Per-View, bookended by victories over Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks at Money in the Bank 2012 and Chris Jericho at Money in the Bank 2013.
Expy: His large, imposing figure, shiny pate, and tendency to beat opponents in dominating fashion recall Goldberg, which the crowd invariably lampshades with the appropriate chant during his matches. In interviews, Ryback sees the comparison as an insult (because he considers himself to be a more passionate and harder worker than Goldberg) while Goldberg treats it as a compliment (as fans are still chanting his name years after his retirement).
He has also been compared to the Ultimate Warrior because of his...interesting promos. His voice is even similar to Warrior's.
Eye Scream: For a while, he came down to the ring with an eye that was bright red. This came from an accident involving a kettle bell if Daniel Bryan is to be believed.
Exact Words: Ryback said he wouldn't let John Cena get up in their Last Man Standing match. Cue the end of the match, where Ryback drove Cena through the PPV set onto a metal brace. The match was called a No Contest, but whereas Ryback was standing, albeit helped out by officials, Cena was carted off on a stretcher in a neck brace.
Face-Heel Turn: May be undergoing one after Shell Shocking John Cena on April 8th. The fans (for better or worse) cheered it like he finally got his hands on the top heel, which made it really difficult to tell what the intended reaction was.
A week later, WWE decided to drive home that he's a heel now when they had him act like a complete coward when face to face with Cena.
After his heel turn and feud with John Cena, he became "Rybully".
After a few decidedly uncomfortable segments, fans have dubbed him "Rapeback".
Flat Character: His character can really be summed up by his catchphrase, "Feed Me More". This makes a little more sense if you know about insider terminology ("feeding" someone to a wrestler means to put them in a Squash Match specifically to make the winner look better) and Ryan Reeves' backstage rep for being a Big Eater. But it also means that on the rare (no pun intended) occasion that Ryback cuts a promo, he tends to use a bizarre amount of food-related metaphors and puns.
Alternatively, a very intense, odd, Blood Knight, since he feels genuinely unsatisfied with the jobbers he's been given and craves more suitable competition.
Forced Meme: "Feed Me More!" The guy has to lead his own chants.
He's over now, so you'll hear the crowd say it LONG before he does in the match.
Game-Breaking Injury: The poor guy broke his leg right as the Nexus angle took off in 2010, and it kept him out of the ring for well over a year.
Green-Eyed Monster: Possibly. One of the reasons he gave for turning heel was that he was sick of living in John Cena's shadow.
Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The explanation behind his Face-Heel Turn was that he was there to help Cena every time Cena was attacked by the Shield, but Cena didn't return the favor when Ryback was attacked by them.
Muscles Are Meaningful: Used in kayfabe, but averted in real life, in spite of his defined physique he's got problems lifting up guys like Tensai (though it should be noted that Tensai dead weighted him on one occasion, and he succeeded in an attempt before and after this incident). He'd also lost an armwrestling match against the much smaller Daniel Puder back in Tough Enough 4.
Nice Hat: Since turning heel in April 2013, Ryback began to wear a skullcap during promos and any time he's not wrestling.
Pet the Dog: Comforted Vickie Guerrero after she was fired.
Portmanteau: Ryback is actually the combination of his first name Ryan and his original nickname, "Silverback".
Promoted Fanboy: Has been a wrestling fan since he was five. Also invoked this himself when he responded on a radio show to the Goldberg chants he draws: he says the difference is that Goldberg was in it for the money, but he's in wrestling because he loves it.
Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: A not uncommon spot in his matches is for his opponent to try and kick him, only for him to catch their foot leaving them open for one of his signature lariats.
The Quiet One: Rarely ever talks, and when he does it short and to the point.
With his recent heel turn, that aspect of his character has been scaled back. He now cuts a lot more promos, and they're pretty standard length.
Real Life Writes the Plot: A very straight example of this. As much as WWE liked Ryback, they didn't plan on giving him a WWE Championship match as early as they did - but after John Cena had surgery to repair an injury and took longer to heal than originally planned, they had to go to him as a backup.
Red Baron: WWE tried to give him "The Big Hungry" as one, but it didn't stick and they just stopped calling him that. Jerry Lawler occasionally refers to him as the "Sin City Cyborg" (which is a Shout-Out to the Terminator-inspired gimmick he had in FCW), but that doesn't seem to be sticking either.
More recently (mainly after his Heel turn), he's been called the "Human Wrecking Ball."
Redemption Promotion: Inverted and played with. As a face, Ryback was practically unstoppable, usually requiring massive amounts of interference or a well-organized group like The Shield to be defeated. After his heel turn, his opponents are generally allowed to get much more offense in against him, although he still usually wins, except for title matches. This became more extreme when he ended up getting injured by Justin Gabriel of all people, who is essentially a jobber, then a week later ended up having to quit a match against The Miz because of it.
Spell My Name with a "The": Several wrestlers have referred to him as "The Ryback" during interviews or other related publicity. In mid-2013, John Cena started calling him "The Ryback" on Raw.
Squash Match: What his matches have been since his (re)debut.
Straw Hypocrite: His mid-2013 character is a flagrantly obvious bully who claims not to like bullies.
Took a Level in Badass: More like SEVERAL levels. The whole repackaging from Skip Sheffield to Ryback definitely qualifies, as clearly someone in WWE realized that "Yep yep yep what it do" was so hopelessly dumb that the only way they could make him sound intelligent was to turn him into a grunting monster. And it worked - although recent segments indicate that he's probably more articulate than WWE allowed him to show in the early goings.