Earlier this week, the WWE on FOX Twitter account posed the question: “The best Superstar to never win the WWE Championship is?” Former WWE Superstar Ryback retweeted the question and noted that wrestling is “fake” and the championships are simply “props” to get entertainers over with the audience.
Ryback wrote: “Wrestling is fake, guys, and the Championships are props to market entertainers as ‘Champions.’ Nobody has actually ever won or lost a prop, as scripted physical entertainment is incapable of that. This tweet explains so much though on your TV deal with them.”
Ryback signed with WWE in 2005 and worked with the company until 2016, winning the Intercontinental Championship on one occasion.
WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry caught those comments and had some strong words during his appearance on Busted Open.
“A lot of his peers look at him as difficult,” Henry said of Ryback. “A lot of his peers looked at him as dangerous. And yes, we talk about it on this show all the time. That [WWE] is a show, it’s sports-entertainment. It is a reflection of sports. He don’t use the term ‘fake,’ the championship is the championship. It’s not a prop, and he’s wrong. I’ve been a World Champion in three sports. And I consider pro wrestling one of those, but it was the politics that got me to the top. It was the fact that I’m a damn good entertainer because entertainment is in the name of the job description.
“Ryback can’t take away what I achieved. There’s no way that your bitter ass — and I’m talking to you, Ryback, your name is not Ryback. I don’t even know you’re real name. Skip, whatever it is — you are wrong. Every wrestler that sees your face should walk up to you and say, ‘Hey, you’re an ass—-.’ And I hope you know how to fight for real because you know and I know there’s a lot of people that would whoop your ass. If I saw you, I would tell you ‘Hey man, you’re an ass—-.’ And if you want it with me, you could get the first one. Go ahead, you’re punches taste like candy. And there’s a bunch of guys out there that feel the same way that I do — the way you talk s— on our business. I feed my family with this business.
“This show, hey, it’s a show about wrestling. I’m not an active talent. I’m not an employee, but I love the business enough to not let you sit here and talk s— on it and trivialize it because you failed. Because you didn’t achieve. That you didn’t become a champion, so you feel like it’s something that’s given. It’s a prop. You’re wrong. What have you ever been a champion in outside of wrestling? Are you a champion in your own home? Do your dogs like you? Do people around you respect you for being more than a wrestler, or a musclehead? I’ve been a musclehead my whole life, and people respect me for it. You owe the wrestling industry an apology. If you don’t, I think that pro wrestlers all over the world should never give you respect.”
Ryback has since responded in a string of tweets, noting that his initial tweet to the WWE on FOX account was meant to be sarcastic.
“I have nothing but love for the wrestling business. I made the decision at 22 years old to drop out of college to pursue my dream, which I was with WWE for many years before I walked away at 34 years old to save my health. It would be very easy to get upset at Mark’s comments and engage in back and forth bickering, but the moment I do that this turns into something I’ve said I would never do and that is make it against me and WWE wrestlers. My issues are with the organization and Mark most likely unaware of. The tweet Mark is referring to was a sarcastic tweet to Fox not knowing wrestling was entertainment and yes the word fake was used.
“Could it have been worded different, absolutely, but in 2021 where every podcast exposes the business just talking about it, including the show Mark is a part of and organizations selling tickets to let fans see how the ‘magic’ works along with a host of other things letting the fans in. I have held a Championship in WWE and never once felt I ‘won’ it or that I was a legitimate Champion. There is a lot of realism in the work and sacrifice that goes into being a professional wrestler and I myself having to walk away from needing a 5 disc fusion and shoulder replacement know all too well how serious the business is. Had I not ‘won’ a championship I would understand Mark thinking I was bitter etc, but that simply isn’t the case. I have a very serious matter I’ve dealt with WWE since my ankle injury in Nexus and the company forcing me to drop a multi million dollar lawsuit after debuting as Ryback and many other issues that resulted from that injury that Mark wouldn’t be privy to and that continues to this day.
“I am grateful to own my brand and the Ryback trademark will be awarded to me in the future, but I want to make one thing perfectly clear and I love pro wrestling and I speak very highly of it. I speak up against WWE and everyone has different experiences, so while I understand Mark being very loyal to WWE and Vince, that is his experience and unfortunately not everyone’s. Mark starts off stating I was difficult and dangerous with once again zero examples of said comments. I’ve dealt with WWE pushing out false narratives from the start and this is the most upsetting thing to hear come from Mark.
“All I can say is I’ve been blessed to overcome needing a 5 disc fusion and shoulder replacement with zero help from the company the injuries were caused in, but my career and next chapter will far surpass even what my first half did. My comments on wrestling and my views on wrestling and wrestlers playing roles (Extremely Physical) are simply how I embrace wrestling, as I refuse to let that define me as a man in anything outside of the business or my happiness.
“The difference to what role you play any given day or night lies inside a room where people lay out said card or show and Mark saying my career was a failure would be countered with if you call having a goal of being a professional wrestler and achieving that playing both the lead babyface and heel and in between while garnering significant reactions a failure, then I’m beyond proud to be a failure. I have always gotten along with Mark and I’m not sure why he chose to go the route he did with personal insults, but I will always respect him for his achievements in weight lifting as he is one of the GOAT’s and reaching pro success in multiple endeavors is a rare thing in life that he has achieved.
“Mark also was the one who insisted I get checked for sleep apnea, which probably saved me from a heart attack at some point, so I will not resort back in anger or firing back personal insults. I love professional wrestling and believe that it while performing and in the environment it is imperative to protect it, but when we live in a time where everyone profits from talking about it (myself included).
“Talents taking pictures backstage and the various other shows etc letting people in I just don’t find this the way he claims. My tweet was a sarcastic reply once again and not intended as an attack on the industry that has allowed me much of what I have in life. I’ve overcome too much to get my health back to once again return and fulfill my destiny, which is playing the role of a champion once again. The work and emotion to get to that will be very real, but rest assured and I give you my word when it happens I will still believe I am playing a role because that decision will be made by someone other than me regardless of the work I put in and I know this very well.
“Mark is entitled to his opinion as am I and I wish Mark the best, but won’t resort to personal attacks because my issue is with the company and not Mark. I thank @TheMarkHenry for our matches and wish him nothing but happiness and success in his life. PS. I know much ‘punches’ taste like candy, that’s part of being a good worker. [winking emoji]”
You can hear Henry’s full comments in the clip below.
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