While NXT on USA Network has received generally positive reviews through two weeks, one person is a bit concerned about what he's watching with the NXT product. Ryback discussed those concerns with Wrestling Inc's Raj Giri on his Conversations with the Big Guy Ryback podcast.
"I caught a good part of the show, all the talent, everybody is young and hungry; I love it," stated Ryback. "My concern is just from - and I was thinking about this earlier - with the direction that pro wrestling is headed with WWE and AEW. You can take all of the talents in the world, the teachings of wrestling have changed from when I was called up where it began as psychology and storytelling to now you can get a room of 100 people and teach people all of those same moves. When you go to a movie or you watch Game of Thrones week after week if it was just an hour every week of senseless killing with crazy, acrobatic moves where people are being killed in crazy ways with no story, just straight up killing every week, would the average viewer be inclined to watch week after week?
"This is my belief with the direction of where pro wrestling is going and why the casual viewers have tuned out is that nobody gives a f**k about senseless killings and mindless moves; anybody can do that. There is so much more into being a pro wrestler, and being charismatic and talking, intensity and believability. If you are watching Game of Thrones and it's a bunch of people who don't look like they should be fighting will regular people watch the show? This is just me looking at this from a pro wrestler standpoint and what I saw the system and what it is and where I see the direction going; I don't know."
Ryback then said it will be interesting to see how NXT's ratings are affected once AEW premieres on TNT next week. But he still thinks that NXT lacks the storytelling element that he is accustomed to seeing in pro wrestling.
"A lot of people feel that way who have tuned out. A lot of people who were in the business who don't watch the product anymore everyone says the fans are now running the business. The marks have jumped the guardrail and they are the ones [wrestling]," said Ryback. "And I believe they are not as talented psychology-wise versus the people who came before them and this is the easier way out by just doing moves. This isn't to say that they are not learning other things.
"NXT has a great system down there, but anybody from any generation…you can put Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Hunter, and the emphasis is, okay guys, let's just learn as many moves as we can. We are going to take the emphasis off of believability, intensity. Let's just learn as many acrobatics as we can, all day and every day, that is all we are going to learn. People like Steve Austin is out doing hurricanranas because he can learn that move very easily, anybody can, but that is not what pro wrestling was about. All of a sudden, when the focus is just on mindless moves, I don't know if that is a draw, but I'm going to go that it is not."
He then added that social media influences the pro wrestling product in not necessarily in a positive way. People see all of these acrobatic highlights on social media and believe that's the way wrestling should be.
"Social media is also confusing a lot of people. Everyone thinks that they can see everything on social media now then it is automatically popular, but there is a difference between social media and television to a degree," said Ryback. Someone getting a hashtag on Twitter, and that is part of the culture now. But here's the thing - if football, Game of Thrones or the NBA's ratings were tanking as well then you can say, you know what, everything is now social media. This is what the focus is. Social media is the new thing now, and what truly matters, every show is taking a hit, but that is not the case though. Shows are doing better than ever; I just don't get it. This is just talking openly about this and my concern from the talent that I know from wrestling that I talk to who feel the same way where we don't know what the f**k is going on."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Conversations with the Big Guy Ryback with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.