As previously reported, former WWE Superstar, Ryback, also known as Ryan Reeves, has started his own podcast recently called Conversation with the Big Guy. Among other things, Reeves talked about his WWE departure as well as whether WWE covers the costs of any road expenses for its performers.
According to Reeves, winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship was the beginning of the end for 'The Big Guy' in WWE.
"From a business standpoint, I did not agree with them on a lot of things and I do not live in fear. And I refuse to live in fear. And I think, people, if they knew the true story, and they will know the true story because that's why we're here, that they will understand why I did what I did and it goes back to the last year, winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship," Ryback reflected. "I feel like I've never been their guy or I was never chosen to be their guy. And I kind of was caught off guard with 'why are they putting the Intercontinental title on me here?' It just seemed so random. I thought they had not committed to me on numerous occasions and that was something that always really bothered me, but they put the I.C. title on me, and then that's kind of when things took a turn for the worst when they came to me with a new contract offer, which I [thought], 'oh, okay, this makes sense now'. And it was an offer I wasn't happy with, quite frankly, for where I've been in the company and what I've done."
Reeves claimed that deciding not to re-sign with the world's largest professional wrestling promotion was about creative and WWE limiting his opportunities to grow his brand. Apparently, he and Triple H got heated during the course of their contract negotiations.
"Me and Hunter had many conversations in that last year and they were quite heated at times. And I would tell him, 'it's not about the money' and he goes, 'it sounds like it's completely about the money'. No, and he finally understood when we were finally done our last talk. It was about creative and it was about limiting me as a brand because I am responsible for my brand, the Ryback brand, the Feed Me More brand, that I believe so strongly in. And when I'm told that I have to go out there and lose in two minutes or not have any buildup for a pay-per-view match, which happened time and time again, when I'm not given opportunities to do promos and be myself, that's what truly bothers me."
Reeves added, "I think the wrestling business has been a certain way for so long, that just because they did some things a certain way, and people have gone with it for so long, that doesn't make it right. And I think it's time to start taking a look at things because the performers are the core of the brand. The WWE does not exist without the wrestlers and wrestlers still exist without the WWE. But the WWE is not where it is without its core, and that is the wrestlers."
Reeves admitted that while he came to terms with Vince McMahon with respect to finances, he waited to see whether WWE's Chairman was going to make good on his promises before signing on the dotted line. 'The Human Wrecking Ball' claimed that McMahon promised to let Reeves squash AJ Styles at WrestleMania, that he would become the number one heel in the company, and he would get a run with the world title.
"When I had that new contract offered to me by Vince, I'd been lied to at different times throughout my career there and that was something - I'd always been very loyal to them and I've given them everything that I've had at every moment. I think it's just booking stuff and opportunities and just different situations. It's one day at a time up there and the last three months there, with that conversation with Vince, the particular thing I was lied to about after we came to terms on the money, which wasn't about the money. It was about being lied to and the commitment and the things in the past with merchandise and things that we'll talk about. And he told me, essentially, that he was going to make me his number one heel [and] he was going to put the title on me. All I had to do was listen to him, read his promos word-for-word, and he would take me to the motherland, [were] his exact words."
Reeves recalled, "a week after that conversation, so this new contract, this is at the end of all this, I have this contract and I would have signed it, but I wanted to see if he was going to come through with his words this final time because I was at my boiling point, essentially. A week after that conversation, my opponent had already been changed to then Kalisto. And then, 'okay, we're going to do the U.S. title', that'll heat me up and still stick to the game plan and whatnot. Well, for whatever reason, as you all know, the WrestleMania match got put on the preshow, I was told the direction we were going days before, and after I got that, that's when I went to the attorney and I said, 'I want to make these changes on the contract because if I'm going to stay here, I need to know they're going to commit to me because they're just lying to me now left and right.' And they had been lying to me. And we go through all that, we go do business and then, the next one, Payback, same thing: put on the preshow and that's him f--king around. He knew I wasn't happy. He knew I was already pissed. And Payback, we do our business, and then finally, we get to that day in St. Louis [Missouri]."
Reeves finally left WWE after he saw the creative plans for his character at WWE Monday Night RAW.
"I got there that day and I saw the direction we were going for the TV after having the pay-per-view match that we had. And I knew they already had the new contract that I put the changes in it. And so, now I felt like we were just going to run me into the ground before I left and get me as low as we possibly get me. We've seen them do it with guys and the booking that I saw for that day was 'you are a piece of s--t and we're going to tell these people that you're a piece of s--t'. And you know what? I'm not a piece of s--t. I'm not. And I'm done being walked on, living in fear, and that was the day I told [Mark] Carrano, 'take me off this f--king TV show. I'm done.' I never saw Vince. I didn't want to see him. I'd had too many conversations with him where he lied to me and it was one of those, 'fly me home. I'm done. You're going to fix my nose and my ear. I'm going to get better and we're done.' And they had the new contract and I knew they weren't going to go for that and that was my way out."
On the subject of whether WWE covers any road expenses for performers, the former Skip Sheffield indicated that WWE pays expenses for a few months for performers who have been called up from developmental to acclimate them to life on the so-called main roster.
"It's mind-blowing that we're in 2016 and this is still going on. And I think that they're 30 years behind everything else." Reeves continued, "when you first get on the road usually, out of developmental, they kind of take care of those expenses for the first two, three, [or] four months. I think it's kind of to ease you into that transition of coming up."
Click here to check out the podcast. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Conversation with the Big Guy with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Conversation with the Big Guy