Wrestlers are often known to be outspoken after they leave WWE, but few have had quite so much to say as Ryback. The former Intercontinental Champion, who recently announced that he is having his first name legally changed to Ryback so that he can continue to use it without interference from WWE, recently did an interview with SI.com, in which he talked about a variety of topics, including how he felt that WWE deliberately cut him off at the knees when he was at his most popular, while also praising their extensive Wellness policy, and promoting his upcoming line of supplements and nutritional products.
Ryback claims that at his highest point, he was the #2 merchandise seller in the company, and occasionally #1:
“I was beating John Cena on certain nights. I had half the amount of merchandise that he had, but would beat him in shirts, chains, and photos on some nights and be right there with him the rest. From a business standpoint, if you see a guy who is red hot and the crowd is behind him, you should be going out of your way to make merchandise and book and protect this guy because you have lightning in a bottle. But that was not the case, and instead they had to go out of their way to make me look bad.”
Ryback on his strained relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:
“In one of our last talks, Vince told me, ‘You’re the hardest working guy that I have here’. I just said, ‘Thank you.’ Vince said, ‘But hard work doesn’t always pay off here.’…Vince used to say all the time, ‘I have nobody else like you’, so I’d ask him, ‘Then why do you use me like everyone else then?’ It always drove me crazy, and then he’d just laugh. That’s how he dealt with things.”
However, Ryback says he’s not bitter:
“I’ll say it time and time again: I’m thankful for my time in WWE. I love professional wrestling, I’ve loved it since I was a kid. Working hard allowed me the opportunity to showcase my talent on their platform. I have a lot of the things I have in my life because of that, so that’s never been a question. My decision to no longer work there comes down to business. Having the opportunity, hitting a home run time and time again, and not having the other end reciprocate the effort I was putting in was my issue.”
Obviouly, this information is coming solely from Ryback’s own perspective, but it’s an interesting and informative interview nonetheless. You can read the full interview on SI.com.