Ryback revealed that his biggest WWE paycheck came from a royalties check he received during a media tour in India.
Ryback spent 12 years with WWE from the beginning of his stint on Tough Enough in 2004 until his final appearance on the Payback kickoff show in 2016. Ryback is outspoken about the need for wrestlers to unionize and his issues with WWE employees classification as independent contractors.
The Big Guy appeared on the Monday night edition of the Wrestling Inc. podcast with Matt Morgan, Raj Giri and Glenn Rubenstein. During the appearance, a fan in the chat room asked if he received his biggest payday from his WrestleMania match with WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry, or his pay-per-view main events against John Cena. Surprisingly, it was neither.
“My single best payday was a merchandising check that I got while in India by myself,” Ryback said. “I just had turned heel. (WWE) sent me to India for media, which would end up getting like 13,000 people in a mall for my appearance. It was also one of the coolest moments of my career. They still were treating me like a babyface even though I turned heel and everything that was going on with John Cena.
“But I’ll never forget, I was in India and I got a quick break to go eat for 20 minutes between media, and I had like a steak and vegetables. Got up there. It was like the afternoon there, but like Friday night it hit in Vegas. The time difference, that is when the WWE checks would always go to the direct deposit. I remember I opened my phone, I opened my Chase Bank app and look, and there was a check for like $130,000 for my royalties and merch, and I hadn’t even started. They pulled my merch, though, right before that from the quarter before. Had things kept going, that would have only kept going up. So, that was the highest payday I have ever gotten in WWE, followed by the Mark Henry match.”
You can see the full episode of the podcast above. Ryback’s comments about the paydays begin at the 1:09:30 mark.
The Wrestling Inc. Podcast airs every Monday immediately following WWE RAW, Wednesdays immediately following AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT, Fridays immediately following WWE SmackDown, post-AEW PPV or NXT TakeOver Saturdays, and post-WWE PPV Sundays immediately after the event with Matt Morgan, Glenn Rubenstein, and Raj Giri.