Ryback said while Vince McMahon may be right that introducing new talent may have hurt RAW and SmackDown ratings, it is ultimately WWE’s fault.
McMahon was asked about falling ratings for WWE’s two main television programs during a conference call with investors discussing WWE’s first quarter earnings in 2020. During the call, McMahon named a number of factors in ratings change, including the different feeling the shows have filming from the performance center with no audience, but pinned much of RAW’s ratings struggle on the new talent the company debuted on its flagship show.
Ryback spoke with Wrestling Inc.’s Raj Giri on the Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report podcast where he addressed McMahon’s comments about the ratings. He said, while McMahon isn’t wrong in his statements, it is WWE’s fault the talent isn’t getting over as much as they could be because of WWE’s past booking mistakes, a sentiment Ryback expressed before.
“Overall what’s going to happen is, and we talked about this over on (Giri’s) show when I was on the Wrestling Inc. podcast, and he’s not entirely wrong on that,” Ryback said. “When you’re debuting all these new talent, problem is you have watered down talent and talent that’s been booked horribly … it’s a culmination of many different things.
“Now, when these talent works with these other talent that’s been lowered, they can only get over so much. They can’t ever truly fully get over because Vince hasn’t made new superstars at the level that they were in the past. So what’s happening is, the people’s perception is they’re not as big as stars as the past, based off how they’re booking them, and then you’re debuting just a plethora of new talent, which you can only do that in small doses anyways normally.”
Ryback compared WWE’s use of their new talent to WCW, saying when he watched WCW he didn’t care about the new talent close to the end of its run. He said even though WWE is in a better place financially, their product looks and feels the same to the fans as the product from the dying days of its biggest rival.
“I equate it to back when WCW was folding up, and I remember as a fan just watching seeing all these new guys with The New Blood, and like just I didn’t care,” he said. “I wasn’t invested into them, and I didn’t know why I didn’t care, I was just like, ‘This isn’t as good. Like, where are the guys that I loved? Where are they?’ And it was falling apart.
“This is kind of, even though financially that’s not the case with WWE and all of these other things, but from a product standpoint it’s very similar what’s going on, and even if these other talents do get over, you know, like Street Profits. I feel like Street Profits are getting over to a degree, but they’re no where near the level they would if they were actually with some really really over talent. It’s only going to get so high, and the ratings, I don’t see the ratings improving significantly. I think there will be a pop when the crowds are back, but the numbers have been on a decline for too long because this business model is not working.”
You can see the clip from the Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report where Ryback speaks on the subject above.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.