WWE Hall-of-Famer Jim Ross famously says that all wrestler disputes come down to one of the two “C’s” – Cash, or creative. In the case of Ryback, it seems to have come down to all of the above.
Ryback published a lengthy blog on his new Tumblr blog (yes apparently grown men CAN have a Tumblr.) about his grievances with the WWE. The long story short of it: The Big Guy is upset that lower-card and mid-card wrestlers are paid substantially less than the top-of-the-card talent.
I wrestled my first match in 1998, which is why I call myself the “Last of the Old School.” The wrestling business has fundamentally changed in the past decade, but one thing that has never changed is that wrestling is scripted entertainment. Always has been, always will be. I’m not sure why Ryback doesn’t seem to understand that aspect of the business. Then again…
Ryback advocates for all wrestling talent to be paid equally. After all, just because you are scripted to lose doesn’t mean that you are less valuable to the company than the guy who is scripted to win. It’s why Barry Horowitz is widely regarded as equally important to the success of the WWF in the 1980’s as Hulk Hogan.
Oh wait… I forgot that wrestling is entertainment and like any entertainment – Some entertainers are a bigger and better draw than others. Wrestling is sports, too? Oh yeah, Tom Brady makes the same as the kicker – It doesn’t matter that they have different skill sets. After all, it’s the coach that determines what position you play, right?
If ever there was an argument for more concussion research, it’s Ryback. Let’s remember that this was a guy who basically got the “Goldberg” push upon entering the WWE. He did not lose a match for almost an entire year before getting punched in the dick and rolled up by his biggest fan, CM Punk. Ryback apparently doesn’t remember his monster push or the incredible opportunity to take the ball and run with it that the WWE gave him. It was right around the time that Ryback was blowing his own finisher against guys like Tensai that MAYBE, just MAYBE, the WWE realized that Ryback was a pretty one-dimensional performer and would never be at the top of the card.
Does that make Ryback a bad guy? Of course not. Does that make him as valuable to the WWE as John Cena or Dean Ambrose? No. Should he be paid the same? Why? Who is Ryback? Who has he beaten? Huh?
You know who’s fault this really is?
The boys are in the back watching a one-dimensional guy who has never paid his dues get a rocket strapped to his back and jammed down the collective throats of the WWE Universe. Guys like Ryback are probably thinking (and rightly so) “Hey, if Creative is just going to pick whoever they want and not pay attention to the fans, why shouldn’t it be me?” Ryback never had to wrestle in an armory for $20 in front of 30 people – Neither did Roman Reigns. Ask a guy like AJ Styles what he would think about getting offered a 655k downside guaranteed contract with the WWE after a few years of wrestling in developmental.
Maybe Ryback can go to Japan. Although the big men over there can work, and I don’t think him walking in there demanding to be paid the same as Okada or Tanahashi will go over that well, either. I’d love to watch a guy like Ishii blow Ryback up in 10 minutes and then knock his head off.
This has been an argument in the wrestling business since the days of Jesse Ventura trying to organize a Wrestler’s Union. I respect Ryback for trying to protect the lower-card guys but quite frankly – Lower card guys are generally lower card guys for a reason. Maybe they can’t cut a promo. Maybe they can’t hit their own finish effectively. (Nice Samoan drop, you goof) Maybe despite the WWE’s best efforts, the performer just doesn’t have “it” – I’m looking at you, Roman. Wrestling is about connecting with the crowd, maximizing your minutes, and doing what you can to get over. If the crowd doesn’t like you (and by “like” I mean connect – Look at a guy like Kevin Owens as a bad guy who the crowd still responds to) it’s not the WWE’s fault, it’s yours.
If Ryback reads this (And he might) my question to him would be this: What do you expect the WWE to do with you? Where do YOU think you belong on the card, and why? Do you think you should be beating Brock Lesnar? Should you be World Champ? Who’s spot do you think you should have? Ambrose? Cena? Jericho? Styles? Are you versatile enough to work against everyone? Can you carry a match? Can you cut a good promo? You think talent should be paid based on merch sales? Great – Look at a team like The New Day, who a year ago was begging to get ONE shirt on WWE Shop, and managed to get THEMSELVES over to the point where they were the highest-grossing merch sales for Wrestlemania.
They were given the ball, and they ran with it.
You, Big Guy, fumbled.
Enjoy TNA if it is still there when your contract runs out. I have a feeling the only thing you’ll be getting fed more of is Indy dates for $250 a pop. But hey, you can be the top of the card there, and you won’t have to put over anyone! Feel free to be creative!