Who will replace Ryback on Team Foley?
The beast is gone in search of a bigger meal in WWE Champion CM Punk and John Cena, and now Mick Foley finds himself a tad shorthanded at Survivor Series following Ryback’s management-mandated departure from The Hardcore Legend’s squad. Ryback, previously thought to be the rampaging ace in the hole for Foley’s merry men, leaves a gap in the ranks that’s pretty difficult to fill. With the newly minted Team Ziggler sporting quite a roster of its own (Dolph, Team Rhodes Scholars, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett) — which, by the way, includes both of last year’s sole survivors — Foley will need to do some A-list scouting to bolster his boys to the point where they’ll be able to turn back The Showoff and his cocky crew. And, with the fall classic only a week and change away, time is most certainly stacked against Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy. Mick, we hope you’ll take our humble advice and consider these five potential picks to fill Ryback’s spot.
As we’ve noted before, the former U.S. Champion is a goofball, but he’s a pretty efficient goofball, and only a couple of months removed from a lengthy run as United States Champion. The Italian Stallion seems out of place, at least on paper, nestled among the likes of WWE Tag Team Champions Kane & Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, but Santino tends to thrive when the odds are stacked against him. Remember, this is the Superstar who came an inch away from defeating Alberto Del Rio in the final two of the 2011 Royal Rumble Match, and took Daniel Bryan to the woodshed before falling short of the World Heavyweight Championship in the 2012 SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match. That’s the kind of Superstar who could swing the outcome of an anything-goes contest like a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match. Of course, if Foley’s not nuts about Santino, he could always go with The Milan Miracle’s tanner half …
The bro in “Co-Bro” had himself a marquee moment at Survivor Series last year when he crashed the U.S. Title Match and basked in the glow of the Empire State faithful. Granted, The Ultimate Broski had a rough start to 2012 thanks to Kane (this could be a potential red flag in terms of recruitment since The Devil’s Favorite Demon is part of Team Foley as well), but he bounced back emphatically after that. In recent months he won two Battle Royals, laid down a gutsy challenge for the U.S. Title at Night of Champions and threw his hat in the Tag Team Titles picture alongside Santino. In other words, he’s as hungry as ever, and fellow Long Islander Foley would be wise to consider Ryder’s services in completing his team.
Oh by the way, that big Survivor Series moment last year? It occurred at the expense of none other than Dolph Ziggler. Perhaps Long Island Iced-Z would like to put another licking on his longtime rival.
Ryback leaves a hole in the powerhouse department, and while Kane can be called upon to pack a wallop, he’s just as likely to beat up Daniel Bryan these days as he is to attack his opposition. Team Foley needs a bruiser without baggage, so why not recruit the only rompin’, stompin’ Funkasaurus in captivity? Big Brodus hasn’t had a chance to show his muscle in team contests yet, but we know from his lengthy winning streak throughout 2012 that The Funky One is a tough foe to topple. And with none of Team Ziggler’s members approaching the prodigious size of Clay, he could prove to be the difference-maker when the final bell tolls.
We’re admitted fans of Tyson Kidd here at WWE.com, but there’s a pretty good reason for that: The Hart Dungeon Padawan is one of WWE’s most unpredictable, dynamic Superstars, and it’s difficult to argue otherwise once you’ve seen him compete. A blend of Best-There-Is-style technical efficiency and daredevil high-flying, the Calgary, Alberta, native poses a tough test for any Superstar who faces him (consider the wins Kidd owns over no less a creature than the mighty Tensai). Kidd’s last big moment was at Money in the Bank 2012, where he competed for the World Heavyweight Championship contract. He came within a hair’s breadth of capturing the briefcase (He also gave Ziggler quite a run for his money, powerbombing The Showoff off the side of a ladder — in midair — and somehow maneuvering it so Ziggler landed face-first on the canvas. OMG!). What Kidd lacks in size, he makes up for in almost everything else. He fears no one and will stop at nothing to achieve victory. Sounds like a pretty appealing option to us; perhaps The Hardcore Legend will agree.
Now here’s an interesting possibility. The Awesome One is a giant pain in everyone’s rear end, especially Team Foley member — and reigning Intercontinental Champ — Kofi Kingston. But Miz is a man without a country at the moment, having unceremoniously ditched what was then–Team Punk on Raw last week. He was replaced by Wade Barrett in the final hours of CM Punk & Paul Heyman’s stewardship of the team, so getting him back on that squad is off the table, but who’s to say Foley can’t find a place in his heart for the garrulous former WWE Champion? Miz is coming off rough October following his loss of the Intercontinental Title, but the man can still go, as witnessed by his (ultimately unsuccessful) shellacking of Sheamus on Raw.
And if that hasn’t convinced you, consider it in these terms: The last time Miz found himself with something to prove and a spot on a multi-man team was with Team Johnny at WrestleMania, and he scored the deciding pin of that contest to deliver control of Raw and SmackDown into Mr. Excitement’s waiting clutches. Foley may not like it (to say nothing of his teammates), but with victory on the line, he’ll have to consider the possibility of lightning striking twice.