Former WWE Superstar Ryback recently spoke with Sports Illustrated about his career. During the interview, Ryback commented on CM Punk’s negative comments towards him while on Colt Cabana's podcast in November of 2014. Punk claimed that Ryback was an unsafe worker, and that was not intelligent. Ryback took Punk’s comments to heart and explained that it did a lot of damage to him.
“Those Punk comments did a lot of damage to me. CM Punk has a tremendous following. When you have as many followers as he has, and you say something about somebody, they’re going to believe everything you say. To this day, I don’t know why Punk tied me in with his whole thing against the WWE. I feel like part of it was he was his unhappiest with the company when he was working with me, and I kind of got tied into all of it.”
Ryback was upset that WWE never went out of their way to say that Punk’s comments about him were untrue. Ryback noted that he did receive support from his colleagues.
“I was always upset that the WWE never went out of its way to say, ‘That’s not true about this guy,’” said Ryback. “Guys like Jericho, who have been in the ring with me, went to bat for me, and I can’t thank them enough for that – but why couldn’t the company do that, especially when I took the hit on that? That always bothered me that they never tried to clear that up.”
Ryback’s last WWE match was at the 2016 Payback pay-per-view event in which he wrestled Kalisto on the pre-show in Chicago. CM Punk is from Chicago, so Ryback decided to have some fun and mocked Punk during his entrance.
“It’s funny that my last match was at Payback in Chicago where I mocked Punk. I was very upset that myself and Kalisto were put on the preshow of ’Mania, which was never supposed to happen, and then again on the preshow of Payback. We were having great matches at live events, but I had no TV time the whole month before that pay per view and no build up for the match. So I decided I would mock Punk to get some heat from the Chicago crowd, and it worked brilliantly. I knew, at the end, Kalisto was going over – and the bigger heel I could be in the match, then the bigger the babyface will be at the end of the match once he goes over on me. After the match, they were furious with me that I was doing anything to get heat. It was so unprofessional on so many levels. I asked, ‘What do you want me to do? I’m a heel, let me go out and make the babyface in the best way I can.’ It’s ironic that Chicago was the last place I wrestled before I left the next night. Punk and I are two entirely different human beings, but I think we shared some of the same viewpoints toward the WWE as far as business.”