A few months ago, WWE issued an edict on third-parties, such as Twitch, and most WWE Superstars fell in line. But Zelina Vega opposed WWE’s edict and even tweeted her support for the idea of unionization in pro wrestling. Vega then continued to maintain her Twitch and OnlyFans accounts, which prompted WWE to fire her two weeks ago.
Ryback believes that what WWE did was not only ethically wrong but may have been legally wrong as well. He talked more about Vega’s firing on “Ryback TV Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report With Raj Giri.”
“If she never signed any paperwork with them, I promise you what they did was probably illegal. Now they can say they fired her for other reasons outside of that, but I think it was pretty apparent they made an example of her because she didn’t go along with the flow on the Twitch like everybody else,” said Ryback.
“What they do is they create new paperwork. This is what they did when I was there. They herd the talent into a room and they force you to sign. They are literally adding to the contract. It really puts people in a tough position because you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“So I’m curious, if she’s using her real name on that and she never signed that new paperwork, they can find themselves in a messy situation.”
Ryback added that if Vega chose to go the legal route, she would need the backing of someone like Andrew Yang to help finance the lawsuit. Shortly after Vega’s firing, Ryback tweeted his support for her while also tweeting his criticism of WWE.
“I put out I support her and #F*ckWWE and that did decent. And I mean that because it really bothers me. because she’s super-talented? I get both sides of it and I never want to talk bad about wrestlers because we’re our own worst enemies. When you’re there and making that money, do I expect people to all of a sudden jeopardize that? The problem is ? and this is what’s happened ? she takes a stand and who else is with her? Nobody, nobody, nobody! That’s why I put that out, because it takes great courage to do that,” stated Ryback.
“I guarantee you she got a message from probably the majority of the talent there commending her and saying how much they respect her. But they publicly won’t do a damn thing, and that’s the problem. Now if everybody that day and everybody in that company– if Roman said, ‘Guys, we’re not doing this anymore.’ And Drew, Drew the leader, right? A real leader would have done that and not just go with the flow. I love Drew and I love Roman, but you can’t count everybody because somebody’s gonna go tell the office, and that’s what happens.”
Vega is likely subject to a non-complete clause with WWE, but Ryback already knows of which promotion she should join next.
“I think she’s gonna have more opportunities and I think she would fit in very nicely with AEW,” stated Ryback. “I think that’s the best place. I think the sooner she goes there, the better when she’s allowed, because she’s super-talented.
“AEW being a wrestler’s promotion and having wrestlers in key positions ? that is huge! And active wrestlers with different backgrounds in life with Cody, Omega, The Young Bucks, Tony? It is a different environment. I think we’re gonna see a lot of positive changes, which they’ve already done and I think they’re gonna continue to implement.
“Compared to WWE in the past and what they’re continuing to do, Vince is almost fighting this, and he’s gonna fight this until he dies. That’s just who he is. I think the change comes fully until he’s gone. And I don’t know if Hunter is the answer because Hunter comes from that background. Hunter is a little more in-tune than Vince, but he’s still cut from a similar cloth with what Vince has taught him, much like what Vince has taught Dana White in UFC.”
Ryback then talked about how WWE often takes advantage of wrestlers, and they’re able to do that because wrestlers aren’t considered employees but rather independent contractors.
“The fact that Zelina Vega was working for the largest wrestling promotion in the world on TV every week for years, being used and highlighted, and she was making more money on Twitch? That goes to show what they do, and I’ve talked about this – they give you these low downsides and they try to milk that as long as they can. And then eventually [they give] a little more down the line,” stated Ryback. “But they’re taking advantage of human beings. If you’ve worked there for five years, you should be good, but they’re not. And that’s why people have to stay there so long?
“It creates that hostile, negative work environment, and from everything I’ve heard, AEW is the complete opposite. They use the word ‘team’ there. Man, that appeals to me as an athlete and wrestler so much more than the WWE environment. I can get behind that.
“I’m so happy she’s out of that environment. I’m telling you, it might suck for a little bit in not seeing some of the people, but she’s gonna be so much happier when she goes to another company. If she goes to AEW, it will be the best decision she’s ever made in taking a stand for herself.