wrestling / News

Ryback Says AEW Is Good For the Industry, Talks WWE Departure and If He’s AEW-Bound

January 31, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

– Ryback spoke with The Ring Report for a new interview discussing All Elite Wrestling’s formation, his WWE departure and more. Highlights are below:

On rumors that he could join AEW: “Right now, my main priority is just getting healthy. I just had another shoulder scope yesterday which was my second one in two years. I’ve had ten stem cells procedures and I’ve got the eleventh coming up on February 11th. That, right now, is my main focus…I have no doubt that no matter what I choose, it will be the right decision. After leaving WWE, I was hurt first and foremost and I’ve essentially saved my career and been blessed by the technology that we have with stem cells where I’ve avoided having five discs fused and a shoulder replacement. I was in a bad way so it looks like I’m going to have a second chance to actually have a new body and do what a lot of performers wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do. Where that’s at, I don’t know, and it honestly hasn’t crossed my mind yet because I need to get to a certain level health-wise before I know I can push myself at a high level again.”

On AEW being good for the industry: “I think it’s great having competition with All Elite Wrestling. I’m very happy for everyone involved. I think it’s good for professional wrestlers to have options and there’s different promotions that are doing a lot better now because of the visibility social media provides so it is one of those things where you might not have to work for WWE to have a successful career or to make a good amount of money…I hope they get a great TV deal and there’s nothing bad to say about All Elite Wrestling. I want them to be as successful as humanly possible because it just helps professional wrestling and they seem to have a good infrastructure in place a) financially and b) having guys like Cody. I’ve known him for a very long time and I know his brain and he’s very motivated and having The Young Bucks around – I’ve never met those guys personally – but I feel like they want to make this work and it seems that they’re getting the attention and the buzz and that’s a great thing.”

On his WWE departure: “It was a day I’ll never forget in St. Louis. Sitting in a building I’d been in many times, I knew it was just time to go and I had tried communicating up until that point. I had a contract and a lot of money offered to me but I believed there were other issues going on. I created the Ryback character, I created the ‘Feed Me More’ catchphrase, and ‘The Big Guy’ nickname, so I had those trademarked and I did not have any intentions of giving them up as they meant a lot to me. I never had that discussion with Vince about how important those things were to me but I had the contract and changes made and we came to a standstill over a few things. I knew I was pretty much on my way out so we had changes made to the contract just to be difficult essentially with how they were handling things on their end…”I took matters into my own hands. I went home and sat out my contract. They tried to freeze my pay and I then went and had my nose and ear fixed which required them to pay me to the day my contract expired on August 8th. They wanted to fire me publicly the day prior but I had not been medically cleared yet and held on to that and I waited to get cleared until my contract expired so that they could not publicly fire me. I then wished them the best, and that video is out there, on their future endeavors and because I was one step ahead the entire process, I left on my own accord and saved my career and health in the process.”