Mike Bucci, who appeared in WWE as Simon Dean and ECW as Hollywood Nova, joined the VOC Wrestling Nation to discuss the career of Ryback, and how he ascended from a failed WWE Developmental project to being at the top of the card at WWE Hell in a Cell. Bucci was one of the head trainers when WWE Developmental was in Ohio Valley.
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Bucci discussed a variety of topics, and the entire interview can be heard at VocNation.com. Here are some highlights:
On being on the trainers in OVW that worked with Ryback: "I love the guy. People are looking at the guy like he's an overnight success, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Ryback was originally discovered by Ty Bailey (former head of WWE developmental) to be a contestant for the first season of Tough Enough and he didn't make it through. I guess they just didn't think he had "it" at that time.
On Ryback being a wrestling fan: "He got signed to OVW and they used to call him the Silverback. This dude trained so hard inside the ring and out of it. He is a true wrestling fan; in this business, if you're not a wrestling fan, you will not last. You'll make money and get over, but there is a difference between making money and drawing money. The guys in this business who draw money are usually the guys who are fans of the business. He is a true fan and a great guy."
On Ryback being compared to Goldberg: "Bill Goldberg came in and made wrestling cool. He was a butt kicker, and everyone knew who he was. There are three types of fans: 1)People who will always watch wrestling; 2) People who will never watch wrestilng; and 3) People who will watch wrestling when they think it's cool to watch it, and Bill Goldberg brought out those types of fans. People are still talking about Bill Goldberg 10 years after his last match. (Ryback has the potential to be that.)"
On why Ryback will succeed: "(Ryback) busted his ass so hard to make it. This guy will not be a drug addict, he will not be a goof; he will not embarrass the company. If I were a kid right now, I would love this guy; he looks like a real life superhero. He's a larger than life figure. When he comes out, you know things are going to happen, and people are going to get hurt. When you look at the roster, there is nobody else like that right now."
On Ryback being able to survive as a character: "Vince always goes to the muscle guy. They had it with Cena for a long time. (Ryback) has a ton of personality. He can talk, he can do all of that; but people are going to pay to see him kick ass. They're trying to build a star, so for me (on Sunday at WWE Hell in a Cell), he HAS to win. He's gotta hit the finish 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring, no screwjobs. Wrestling titles are fake, nobody wins the title, it's given to you. They have the opportunity to do something special here, and I hope they don't screw it up."
On the days of a slow build-up of a star being gone: "The slow build is done. There are so many channels on TV, and we live in an ADD society. People don't have as much commitment anymore to sit there and salivate over a guy that they hope is being created over 6 months. "
On building the company around one particular guy: "Fans see the WWE as a show, and the guys on the show just happen to be part of that show…there is only one group of people that can't be replaced on that roster and that's the McMahon family. That's why Vince made himself into the top heel in the late 90s. He knew that he was the only guy he could count on that would not leave for WCW. When you're a WWE fan, you're a fan of the brand. There's never going to be another Rock, or another Stone Cold."
On who are the top guys of the future: "Damien Sandow is a STAR, and they dropped the ball on him for 10 years. I told everyone who would listen that he was a star. When he failed the first time, he went to Puerto Rico and reinvented himself. What you see now is what he is in real life. This guy was at my house and had a conversation with my wife's dog; that's how nuts he is. (Damien) is in the top 5 of the workers in that company right now. I'm talking about the ability to work a gimmick, control the crowd, talk on the mic, and have a believable character. And he's 6'4 260lbs.
On Dolph Ziggler and why he stays in the mid card: "He's a great dude; he busted his ass. (Dolph) is successful because he's a true wrestling fan. The people want him so bad, and if they don't (push him) soon, they run the risk of having him always look like that guy who will never get over the hump."
On CM Punk: "I have never seen anybody defy the odds of what he's done. It doesn't make any sense on how he got to where he is. So many people bashed him along the way, and only one guy believed in him: Vince McMahon. He doesn't even look like a wrestler, but he hung in there and he made it.
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