Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ryback Discusses His Messy Departure From WWE

Sports Illustrated has a very interesting interview with with former WWE star Ryback. Below are highlights:

Punk’s negative statements in 2014:
“Those Punk comments did a lot of damage to me,” said Ryback, referring to Punk’s negative statements about him in November of 2014 on the Colt Cabana podcast. “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.”

“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.”
Losing to Mark Henry at WrestleMania 29:
"I will never forget that day," said Ryback. "My numbers kept climbing even though I was losing these big time matches. I was under the assumption that I was going over on Mark Henry at WrestleMania and then turning heel the next night on John Cena. When I found days before that I was not going over, but that they wanted me to fall on my face with my finish and look like an idiot, I said there was no way I was doing that. I asked, 'Why are we doing this?' I went to Vince and spoke with him for thirty minutes in 'Gorilla' [the staging area right behind the curtain] and he lied to me how this was the reason for my heel turn – that I fell on my face and tripped, I just couldn't cut it, and that's why I'd turn heel.

"Ultimately, though, they were just trying to run me into the ground and ruin my brand forever, and that happened time and time again. As you saw with that finish, it made zero sense from a booking standpoint to book me to fall flat on my face, and then the next night to turn me heel. The reaction to my heel turn was louder than ever, and then what did Vince do? He came to me personally and said, 'We're taking away all your merchandise. I want your merchandise to tank and no more 'Feed Me More,'' which was the thing that put me on the map. So instead of giving me an edge as a heel, you're stripping me of everything, having Cena go over me, and then you saw how my career fell after that. I lost the momentum, and I never got it back again."
His promos being "atrocious" during his last run:
"The promos were atrocious during my whole last run. I delivered them exactly as I was supposed to deliver them, but the writing was so out of touch. I remember Jericho went up to me and asked, 'Who's writing this?' And I said, 'Vince. I've tried to get it changed but he wants me reading it word for word.' Vince wanted me to read his promos word for word, and I never enjoyed that and I never will."
“The problem with these writers who work for Vince is that they’re scared,” said Ryback. “Everyone is scared. I used to tell Vince that all the time. I’ve told him, ‘You have all these people who are scared around you. They can’t truly do their job. They’re always going to play it safe and nobody is going to take chances.’ That’s why you see these promos with guys, week in and week out, playing it safe, staying within the guidelines, keeping the sponsors happy, and keeping it PG. They don’t want to take a chance with anybody saying anything that could create controversy, and that’s why you see the product the way it is today.”
Vince McMahon's surprising admission:
“In one of our last talks, Vince told me, ‘You’re the hardest working guy that I have here,’” said Ryback. “I just said, ‘Thank you.’ Vince said, ‘But hard work doesn’t always pay off here.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Well then, I need to go to a world where my hard work will pay off.’

“Vince has created that world, that bubble he lives in with the people he has surrounded himself with, and I need to go out and create my world. My beliefs are entirely different than his. No offense, we just didn’t see eye-to-eye business-wise, and I’m going to tell the people why. I’ve taken a lot of s--- over the years for things I had no control over. I do have control now, and I’m not going to live in fear. I know the way things work there, and if I want to talk about it, then I’m going to.”

“Vince used to say all the time, ‘I have nobody else like you,’” said Ryback. “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.”

“The WWE is not just run by Vince McMahon anymore,” said Ryback. “They are a publicly traded company and have shareholders. The company’s goal is to make as much money as humanly possible. I’ve said, from day one, they’ve done a phenomenal job of building up the WWE brand, but they’re very stubborn and hard headed. If you’re not in that little inner-circle of guys, it does not matter what you go out there and do. That should not be the case.”

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