As previously reported, the WWE has reached a deal with FOX to air SmackDown Live on Friday nights. During a recent episode of his Conversation With The Big Guy podcast, Ryback discussed the deal.
The deal is a five-year agreement worth more than $1 billion, $205 million annually. With the move to Friday nights, SmackDown Live will remain live. Ryback said it will provide an opportunity for more talent to achieve success.
“That is a lot of money. That is a huge deal,” Ryback said. “I stopped trading WWE stock many years ago, but I wish I was in that before that happened. That would have worked out nicely. That is great.”
It is expected that WWE will gain exposure from promotion alongside professional sports like MLB and NFL, which Ryback believes is an extra benefit from the deal.
“Congratulations to them, that is a lot of money. That is definitely a lot more than their previous TV deal. You can’t knock them for signing that one,” he said. “Exposure-wise because with the sports programming, and having it tied in, they will promote that with the other shows, which will get them more eyes now. It is not just on one channel, it is on several channels, so that is amazing for WWE.”
Ryback also discussed September 1’s All In event organized by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks and gave his thoughts as to whether CM Punk will make an appearance. As previously noted, tickets for All In sold out in 30 minutes. Ryback praised Rhodes for their show selling out so fast despite fans not knowing what other matches will happen at the event. Ryback said the success of this event could possibly lead to more events down the road.
“I was talking with Cody [Rhodes] the other day, texting with him. I think that it is phenomenal to sell out a show that fast, and again, there isn’t any matches announced outside of Cody Rhodes vs. Nick Aldis for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but I am sure they are going to have a stacked lineup all the way down the lineup, I can imagine. That is definitely a huge victory for them. It makes you wonder if they would have ran a bigger arena, how big could this have been? It is already enormous for professional wrestling and for them. It is one show but it is eventually knocking down the doors and it is opening up bigger doors for much bigger shows,” Ryback said. “Again, great start. They can decide by then if they want to go bigger on the next one and they will have the track record of doing the one so it won’t be as much of a risk doing the second, and then if they have an amazing show, which I take it that they will, it sounds like the Starrcast deal. He actually asked me to be part of that Starrcast thing but I don’t really know what is going on during that time period because I will be doing some stuff, but I politely declined at this point because I don’t know what I have going on at that point. I prefer to wrestle than to just go and do a meet and greet, especially with that type of audience I would much rather wrestle in front of, but you never know, we will see what happens with that, but I am extremely happy for him and all those guys. They set a goal and they did it. Anybody who has anything negative to say about that, that isn’t cool I will say.”
Ryback addressed the people questioning the legitimacy of the event’s sellout. He said that it’s mostly haters who are looking for a reason to find something negative to say about All In. He said Rhodes and the Bucks should be praised for proving they don’t need to be in WWE to be successful.
“Those ticket agencies do that for every big event, again, that is a small number. It is crazy the amount of hate there is in the world of pro wrestling. Again, say StubHub bought 5,000 tickets, that is not in their hands; not in Cody Rhodes or The Young Bucks’ hand. That is another business buying tickets to make money. At the end of the day, they keep doing what they are doing and the show has 10,000 people then those people won’t have any arguments, but they will find something else to b***h and moan about other than that. That is what they do. They go from one thing to the next; they can’t just allow people to be successful and happy. There are billions of people on this planet and the majority of them are in a negative place. You just smile and move on because they accomplished what they set out to do.
“When you are not in the public eye, not everyone is using social media to keep tabs on everything going on, it’s kind of like, out of sight out of mind,” he continued. “For my fans and followers, they understand what is going on. The casual audience and viewers that aren’t as loyal followers who do their own thing, which is totally fine, but they assume you’re not doing anything, which blows my mind but you are out of the invisible eye. [With this event], it proves that you don’t need WWE in order to be successful, these guys are proving that. With their Hot Topic license, I am sure they are doing more than OK.”
As previously reported, former WWE Champion and current UFC fighter CM Punk is scheduled for an autograph signing in Chicago during All In weekend. Ryback said he wouldn’t be surprised if Punk made an appearance at All In, but it will likely depend on the outcome of his upcoming fight against Mike Jackson on June 9 at UFC 225.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he is a part of it. I don’t think he is going to be involved in a match, but I think if the fight goes well then I definitely think he makes an appearance. If the fight doesn’t go well, I don’t know,” Ryback said. “Doing the signing is one thing, but again, it is professional wrestling. I am sure he would be welcomed back. That would be one way to have people talk about the show with him doing an appearance.”
Be sure to check our recap of the All In press conference.
If you use any of the quotes 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
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.