Former WWE Superstar Ryback (now known as "The Big Guy" Ryan Reeves) spoke out about his WWE departure on the debut episode of his podcast.
Co-host Pat Buck says that there is a prejudice against him from some because of his look. Reeves said that he agrees with a lot of what he said and he worked to get respect from fans even though he had things working against him. He mentioned CM Punk's comments about him as something that he's had to overcome.
Buck said that, outside of a few people, nobody really knows how Reeves got to this point in his life. Reeves started off by saying that this podcast is not meant to be a "bitchfest" and that he is very thankful for WWE but he did not agree with them on a business level.
Reeves said, "I do not live in fear and I refuse to live in fear. I think people - if they knew the true story - and they will know the true story - they will understand why I did the things that I did." He added, "I feel like I've never been their guy or I was never chosen to be their guy." He said that he was caught off guard when he was told that he was going to win the Intercontinental Championship and it seemed random to him. It always bothered him that they had never committed to him. He felt that the offer to resign with the company was not fair. He added, "It was not about a money issue [and] just so everybody knows, I walked away from the WWE. The contract offer that I walked away from was a 3 year, $1.5 million contract." He said that he and Triple H had heated conversations and he told Hunter that it was not about the money and it was about creative and Ryback being limited with his brand.
He said that he wanted a commitment on merchandise and the money was just a small part of it. He said that he added hotels and rental cars to his deal and felt that it was something that WWE should take care of, especially since independent companies take care of hotel and travel.
Reeves said that wrestlers are taxed about 40% and then you have the travel expenses and for what you put your body through, you are not making as much as it says in your contract. He feels that WWE has preyed on wrestlers being fans of the business and taking what is given to them. He feels that more wrestlers need to speak up. He knows that it's hard for some, especially people with kids to speak up, but if enough people did it then change can happen.
Buck said that there have been things used against him regarding his price on the indy scene. Reeves said that he hasn't been handling his bookings and people need to know why he did what he did with McMahon. He said that he's been lied to on different occasions while in WWE. He said that he was lied to about "booking stuff" and "opportunities."
During his last 3 months, after he and WWE came to terms on money, Reeves said that Vince McMahon told him that he was going to make him the number 1 heel and he would put the title on him as long as he listened to McMahon and read his promos word for word and he would take Reeves "to the motherland." Reeves added, "This was before WrestleMania. My opponent was supposed to be AJ Styles. Vince told me 'I'm gonna squash that little twerp.'" Reeves added, "I didn't foresee that happening with everything the way he was being brought in and whatnot." Reeves said that Styles is an incredible performer and he had fun wrestling him on an overseas show.
Reeves said that a week later, he had a contract in hand ready to sign but he wanted to see if McMahon would come through on his word this final time. A week after the conversation with McMahon regarding Styles, Reeves' opponent had been changed to Kalisto. The match got moved to the pre-show and when he was told about the creative direction then that is when Reeves when to his lawyer and asked him to make changes to the terms of his deal because he felt that he was being lied to. He was put on the pre-show for the Payback PPV. Reeves said, "That's him f*cking around. He knew I wasn't happy." Reeves said, "They mishandled me from the very beginning. They mishandle a lot of talents." That was the day when he told Mark Carrano that he wanted to be done with WWE and he wanted to fly him because he was tired of being lied to.
Buck mentioned other guys that have gotten over despite the way they were pushed. Reeves added, "If you're not chosen by then it doesn't matter. Being a publicly traded company, that's not the way business should operate." He felt that he overcame things on several occasions only to be shut down and it eats away at you over time. Reeves said that he is not the guy that some fans think he is and he is thankful for his time in WWE but he felt betrayed on certain things and he doesn't have to go home and not talk about it. "I'm not burning a bridge, I'm just telling the truth. If they don't like it [then] too bad because I'm gonna speak up because I don't live in fear and I have courage. I think some of these things need to be talked about."
Reeves talked about being offered Flex Magazine covers but the company would decide on giving the cover to someone else. He said that there was a time when he was asked to be on a cover but WWE wanted Roman Reigns on the cover instead. That is very similar to what CM Punk said on Colt Cabana's podcast. Ryback said that it's happened to other wrestlers too.
He also said that it was like pulling teeth to get WWE to put out more merchandise for him. Buck mentioned that Randy Orton said that he can't get more shirts made at live events. Reeves said, "Big Show is another one. He can't get shirts at live events but they'll put an NXT talent who hasn't proven themselves yet on TV and they'll have 6 things or 5 things. It's f*cking stupid to be quite frank. It's ridiculous. I brought that up." He said that they would pull up his merchandise numbers and would say that his stuff wasn't selling right now. Reeves said that his stuff was doing better than it should despite the way he was booked and it was like pulling teeth with WWE.
Reeves noted that he is set financially and he is wrestling on the indie scene because he loves wrestling and he wants to prove the doubters wrong.
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