Ryback Says WrestleMania Payoff Was His Worst WWE Payday Ever; Talks Leaving WWE, Working Pre-Shows

Recently on Conversation With The Big Guy, former WWE Superstar Ryback talked about a number of topics including his WrestleMania experiences, his 'pre-show stopper' weight belt, realizing it was time to leave WWE, and more.


Ryback admitted that he was not satisfied with his WrestleMania experiences as being relegated to the pre-show was stressful and working with Mark Henry at WrestleMania 29 was stressful in its own right.

"WrestleMania week was always hell for me. One, because I wasn't happy with the pre-show for the last three years. And then, the Mark Henry match at 29. That was all fine. That was my first one. That was stressful in a different way."

Apparently, Henry does not like to get picked up and did not want to practice Shell-Shocked, much to the chagrin of Ryback, who was concerned after the Tensai botch.

"Mark doesn't like to get picked up and he's a very large human being. And it's not just his weight. He's just thick. His legs are bigger than anything you've ever seen in person." Ryback continued, "I had to pick him up for Shell-Shocked and they wanted to go over it a few times and he goes, 'no, no, we'll be fine when we get out there.' And that whole Tensai debacle where I hooked Tensai wrong."


Ryback gave Henry credit for being true to his word.

"Mark was like, 'trust me, if I jump, and that has always been to Mark's credit, anytime he has ever told me, 'just trust me,' he has come through out there. But I went to pick him up the first time and he didn't go up good. He was hesitant, so his weight got heavy, so we went up and right back down to his feet." Ryback recalled, "when he jumped with me, it was actually really easy. He went up fairly [easily] and we wrestled on many occasions past WrestleMania."

Ryback shared that WWE sets up rings at the WrestleMania hotel each year, so the performers can practice all week. 'The Big Guy' noted that this practice is particular to WrestleMania and some Money In The Bank matches.

"At the WrestleMania hotel, it's a very nice hotel every year and they have rehearsals where, essentially, and they have rings set up all week for the talent to go down there if they want to work on stuff or work on anything." Ryback continued, "every once in a blue moon, if it's like a Money In The Bank match, they'll get together beforehand and have a little bit of a rehearsal or something."

According to Ryback, talent see the pre-show as a step down from the main card, but Vince McMahon does not.


"They always say Vince hated the term 'pre-show' and, as you've seen, they'll put anybody on them. It's really kind of? Vince, I honestly don't think he considers it like a bad thing, but the talent do. It's before the actual show."

Ryback divulged that his most recent WrestleMania pre-show was his second best payday from WWE and that his 2014 or 2015 WrestleMania pre-show payoff was his worst payday ever.

"It was probably my second best payday in WWE, and that was after I walked out and I thought they were going to f–k me over for sure. And I don't know what the reasoning was, because my worst payday? The year before was the WrestleMania pre-show." Ryback remembered, "my worst payday, and I can't remember if was 2015 or 2016, oh, I'm sorry, 2015 or 2014, was a WrestleMania match on the pre-show and it was worse than other kickoff pay-per-views for me, yeah, so there's no rhyme or reason."

On the subject of Ryback's hilarious 'pre-show stopper' weight belt, he said that WWE referee John Cone told him to take off the belt.

"John Cone, who I'm? I'm a big fan of John Cone. Sorry, John, if I get you any heat for this. But he has always been a normal, good dude." Ryback added, "he was like, 'they're saying 'take off the weight belt' and I was like, 'tell them to f–k off'. It was great. And it was on multiple occasions out there and whatnot. And I was already? I was checked out at that point."


Ryback claimed WWE brass was "furious" the next day. Also, while Ryback said that he would have liked to have finished out his WWE contract, he already decided he wanted to leave by then.

"That pre-show stopper belt in Chicago [Illinois] the next day, they were furious at that, but I didn't wait to talk to anybody. I just left and got changed. I drove off, left." Ryback said, "I was already decided in my mind that I was done. I would've liked to have stayed there for the remainder of my contract."

Ryback remembered that while he was stuck on the pre-show, Baron Corbin made his WWE main roster debut at WrestleMania 32 and won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

"I sitting in the locker room and there were WWE, some Legends in the battle royal that was supposed to be on the main show and guys like when Baron Corbin, that was his debut at WrestleMania and I'm just like, 'I've killed myself year after year for this company and, like, proven time and time again,' and I was just like, 'I'm on the pre-show.' And I'm sitting there and I'm like, 'they show up and they're on the actual show.' And there was a lot going on that day and that's just my honest, true feeling on it. Nothing against [Corbin] or any of them. They all should have that opportunity. I think it's great, but I just wanted it too."


In May 2016, Ryback was going to be tossed from a battle royal by Titus O'Neil, who was scheduled to toss Ryback and young prospect Apollo Crews at the same time. Upon hearing these plans, 'The Big Guy' realized that McMahon was going to book him poorly on his way out.

"This is nothing against Titus O'Neil, but I just know how they view him as far as? and how they've used him. They've never gone through with anything on him and whatnot. And there was a battle royal for the number one contender for the U.S. Championship and rather than taking the guy who was the number one contender for the last two pay-per-views, and having him have a strong showing – I get it, you have to move on and move the next guy in, but psychology-wise, you would think you would have me in there till the very end to show why I was a worthy U.S. [title] contender, just to have that because I was the last guy following him and the very first eliminations were Titus O'Neil eliminating not only me, but me and Apollo Crews together. And this is just me being honest, as I always am. As soon as I heard that, I realized Vince was going to start the 's–tting on me even more' phase until my contract [ended] because of everything going on with the contract. And I was like, 'I'm not playing his f–king games anymore.'"


Feed Ryback more podcast downloads here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in 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