Full Transcript Of Ryback’s Latest Podcast – Discussing John Oliver & More

On the latest edition of Ryback’s “The Big Guy Podcast”, Ryback and his co-hosts went into extreme depth on the John Oliver situation and much more. Here is the full transcript from the wrestling portion of the podcast:

RYBACK: JD, I know JD, you saw the entire John Oliver video, right?

JD: Huh?

RYBACK: You saw the John Oliver piece on the WWE, right?
JD: Yeah.

RYBACK: Joe, you saw parts of it?

ASIAN JOE: No, I saw the entire thing.

RYBACK: You saw the entire thing?

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: It was. I highly recommend anybody listing to this podcast to watch it on YouTube. I think John Oliver WWE will be one of the first videos if you just type that in.

ASIAN JOE: Oh, yeah.

RYBACK: It has millions of views already now. In my opinion, it’s the best piece to be put out on this subject of the WWE independent contractor employee deal.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah. John Oliver went really in depth of what’s going on.

RYBACK: And I’ll have Ryan Satin will probably be on next week because I did see a video of where he had multiple viewpoints of the situation and I’d like to talk with him a little bit more.

ASIAN JOE: I think remember a couple weeks ago I actually sent you a Joe Rogan segment where he did talk about a little bit about pro wrestling?

RYBACK: Yeah, I didn’t watch I couldn’t so that was with Usman.

ASIAN JOE: I forgot who that was.

RYBACK: Yeah. That was with Usman, the fighter that just won the championship.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, I think so.

RYBACK: Yeah. I couldn’t watch all of it.

ASIAN JOE: No. He talked about how the WWE, how you guys take a toll, you know, your body and the injuries and, you know, just briefly discussed how, you know, you guys are not.

RYBACK: There’s a lot people don’t understand about the whole situation, like the way so in so the John Oliver guy, obviously he has a team of writers, they have people there, but they and I don’t know, I’m not familiar. I’ve seen him before. I’ve seen him do other wrestling stuff before.

The video was hilarious at times, but it was it was put together in a very entertaining way built around facts. And which I have found out, by the way, WWE threatened to sue him and some other things I found out from talking to people and whatnot, which, don’t worry, John, they won’t do anything to you, I can promise you on that. But that’s like their little bully tactics.

And it’s not being bitter, negative. It’s true. This is what happens, and I have real experience on that end of how they do act and that sort of thing.

But a lot of people watched it and I think a lot of people look at it and, to me, this is the best chance for something to be done if because if everyone would just share this video, just circulate it, I feel like it would give it the best chance to for something to be done because, for whatever reason, throughout the years they’ve been able they’re the only place to really essentially get away with this.

Right, JD?

JD: Yep.

RYBACK: As far as the whole independent contractor employee thing.

JD: Uh huh.

RYBACK: I don’t understand how and I’ve seen Jesse Ventura talking about it years ago on Howard Stern, like nobody can actually understand how they’re able to get around this.

JD: Well, I told you they even brought it up at Linda’s confirmation hearing well, she was warned about WWE’s monopolistic practices.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And they said your use borderline abuse of 1099s, but they didn’t they said they would discuss those topics in a closed setting, not in the public setting, so they didn’t actually discuss it.

RYBACK: They never discuss it.

JD: Well, they must have, but nothing, you know, came of it, right? But they were she was publicly, you know, warned about it at her Senate hearing, but I don’t know how it’s maybe it’s just because it’s not illegal, technically. I don’t know.

RYBACK: I don’t know, either. It’s…..

JD: Because everything that like if they say show up at noon and you don’t and you’re under contract, they can’t do anything to you, but you know that they will, right?

RYBACK: No. They can fine you.

JD: That’s what I’m saying. They won’t fire you over that because that could raise a stink in regards to independent contractors.

RYBACK: If somebody was smart enough to know that, but yeah, yeah.

JD: If they were. But they’ll punish you in other ways. Right?

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: They’ll fine you, they’ll back you differently, they’ll take you off TV, they’ll take you off of house shows.
RYBACK: They’ll tell you what to say to a T.

JD: They tell you nowadays, yeah.

RYBACK: Now they tell you how to dress. There is a dress code at all times.

JD: Yep.

RYBACK: There’s a lot of different things in there.

JD: Social media, what to post, what not to post.

ASIAN JOE: Uh huh.

RYBACK: They made everyone that’s something I told everyone before. That’s another – see, this is something this is why I wanted to talk about this because I can share actual factual things.

JD: Listen, there has been employers in other lines of work.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: That got in trouble for texting their employees after hours, right? There’s been cases where somebody’s off the clock at 5:30 and that their boss texts them at 8:00 and they get in trouble saying, “Listen, if you’re going to talk to them at 8:00 about work, that’s you owe them overtime.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Like, you can’t even text, you know what I mean?

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Now, most people aren’t going to complain.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Because it takes 30 seconds to write a text back.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: But in the eyes of the law, they can’t do that.

RYBACK: No. There is just no rules with this, with them, and they get away with a lot. That’s what the social media thing, they brought everyone and I’ve told this story before.

They brought us all in a room. This was towards the end up there, and as far as I was aware, I was the only one that didn’t sign it. They strong armed everybody into signing over their social media accounts where essentially they could delete your accounts, they could do whatever, and that way they could have full control over your account and which is very dangerous, especially considering I knew at that point that I wanted out. I didn’t want them which and I’ve shared this, that when I left, they threatened me with legal letters.

JD: To hand it over.

RYBACK: To hand it over, to sign over all my social media. Just hear how they literally told me I had to sign over all my social media accounts I created on my own that had nothing to do with WWE.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: But that was their way of trying to control the situation. Like people need to understand that this is the norm, this is how they act, and they get around these things time and time again, and it’s not.

JD: But you want to know why? It was because you were using social media.

RYBACK: Media, yeah.

JD: To do what? To tell your story.

RYBACK: To tell my story. And it’s the most powerful tool we have right now.

JD: And if they were able to take the social media away from you, you would not be able to talk.

RYBACK: Yeah. And that has been one of my things, and I stated, and I’m going to share some information with people why I’m so passionate about this, because of my ankle situation and how I was treated and all that, and the things — and to this day and the a lot of people don’t understand.

They hear guys that aren’t there anymore and they speak up this isn’t for me. This is to try to make it better for the wrestlers there now and for the future. Learn from the past mistakes because it doesn’t everyone’s, “Oh, it’s always kind of been that way.” Well, it’s always been wrong, so, and that doesn’t make it right.

JD: No. And I disagree with that because in the ’80s.

RYBACK: I know what you’re going to say here. Yeah.

JD: Yeah. With the territories, people got paid based off of how many fans they drew. You really were like an independent contractor because….

RYBACK: It was a different criteria.

JD: You were given your finish yes. You were in control of your character, you were in control of your match, you were in control of your promo, so you were in control.

RYBACK: You could go work other places.

JD: You could work other places.

RYBACK: Other territories, yep.

JD: But as far as like grabbing the brass ring, it was like 95 percent you.

RYBACK: It was up to you to go out there and get over, more so.

JD: Exactly. So you had control over your destiny.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And you weren’t told be at the building at this time, and you have to do this, you have to do that. As long as you showed up to wrestle and did your job and you drew fans, you got paid based off that percentage of the gate. It was completely different.

All of these independent contractor aspects applied then, but by the end of the ’80s when you just had WCW and WWF it pretty much didn’t apply then, and that’s how long it should have since there should have been a change.
RYBACK: What year do you think that was?

JD: Well, I think, what, ’87, ’88.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Was pretty much the absolute end of the territories, I think.

RYBACK: And the story isn’t the story that goes supposedly and with was it Jesse Ventura back then?

JD: Yep.

RYBACK: And they were trying to get a wrestlers union.

JD: And Piper.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, Jesse.

JD: Well, because they went to Hollywood. Yeah, they went to Hollywood in the ’80s, Piper and Ventura did. Right?

RYBACK: Yeah, and then it was supposedly Hogan who put the kibosh on that. Is that true, or that’s a rumor?
JD: That’s 100 percent true because his money would have been affected and he was making boatloads.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And what happened was, was it didn’t come out until a couple years later during the steroid trial. Vince when Vince was put on the stand.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: They said, you know, they brought up the stuff about independent contractors and unions and stuff and they said, well, how the situation came up and he said well, Hogan told me or it was either he was on the stand and he said Hogan, or Hogan was on the stand and he said I told Vince.

RYBACK: One of them had to, yeah.

JD: One of them said in court. So then it was like, wow, okay, so you literally killed it for the whole company.

RYBACK: And that’s the thing, too. With people, here’s the argument, and this is for fans. All this is, is there is nobody looking out for the wrestlers and that’s the problem and that’s a very dangerous, scary situation and the industry is screwed up as it is.

JD: But they make enough money. You should take care of yourself.

RYBACK: But they don’t understand that that’s not the case for the majority of guys.

JD: Yeah.

RYBACK: And the money is very the money is not good. I know people there on very, very, very low salaries and they’re on the road just as much as all the guys, the small group of people that are making a little bit more.
But they asked, they go, well, the people there aren’t saying anything. People under contract to WWE or independent wrestlers. Independent wrestlers aren’t going to say because they all want to go there. Right?

JD: Never. Yep.

RYBACK: And WWE knows this and they prey on this. And then you’re dealing with the quote, unquote, portion of fans who are, “You should just be lucky you get to you’re a wrestler, you get to travel the world.”

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: They can’t understand. They’re comparing it to something you can’t compare it to. They’re not looking at it as a separate thing and they just can’t understand it.

ASIAN JOE: Well, because they don’t understand the business side.

RYBACK: No.

JD: No.

RYBACK: And there is a lot of holes in this and how they treat the talent and they’re literally in their own thing. The wrestlers are their most important thing.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah. Without wrestlers, there is no WWE.

RYBACK: Without wrestlers, there is no WWE. And they acknowledge that, yet the wrestlers are treated the absolute worst.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And I can tell you this. It’s not because I walked away, I left. It’s not because I’m bitter and I’m angry. It is because of how and I’m going to share with you, like I did early on in the podcast, a situation with me and how they treated me and things, how they strong armed me. And I vowed to myself, when this all happened, that I was going to one day, I’m going to make this all better one way or another. And I don’t know how.

The only thing I know is this John Oliver piece struck a chord with a lot of people and it needs to keep striking a chord with more and more people because they’re going to be forced to eventually have to make changes.
And this isn’t me looking for a handout. I don’t want anything from them. My time, I left. I’m done. I’m trying to do this for the guys now that can’t say anything, and for the future. It is a selfless act all the way of holding this organization responsible, and people that are angry, that are like you’ve got people saying John Oliver they’re judging him.

Well, he does blah, blah, blah. They’re letting their personal opinion of the guy what you think about him is irrelevant. It’s the information that was put out is all true.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And there’s different levels to this and people need to understand why I’m passionate about this. And I’ll go back.

When I broke my ankle and leg when I was in the Nexus with WWE and they sent me they had a guy named Matt, that was fired down at Florida Championship Wrestling, making all my decisions for me, that he should not have been making, sent me to a doctor who botched the entire ankle the surgery on my ankle and leg.

The guy did nerve damage all the way down my leg. I lost function of my foot and my big toe. I still don’t have function of my big toe. Required three surgeries. I was out a year and a half. The doctor that fixed my leg in Birmingham like, they didn’t send me to Birmingham, Alabama. They tried to save money and sent me to a doctor in Tampa.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: There are a lot of things that we’ve discussed in the past on this podcast, and there were a lot of mistakes made at a lot of different levels.

When I got the metal taken out of my leg, the doctor said they three doctors told me I was never going to wrestle again. They didn’t think it was going to be possible with the damage that had been done to my leg. So I see this doctor, Dr. McBride, who has been killed in a car accident since, that fixed my leg that saved my career. He goes, “I can’t promise you anything, but this will give you the best chance of hopefully being able to wrestle.”
That day after the surgery, John Laurinaitis called me, who was in charge of talent relations at the time, and the call was being recorded and I could hear how it was being recorded because that sound you can hear it when it was there was a way to tell when they’re recording you, when it was a very politically correct call, let me just say that. And I knew right then and there, I go, oh, they’re going to try to fire me at some point. And sure enough, I was at the gym and they gave me the call.

I was getting ready to get cleared to make an attempt to come back. I was going to be able to probably come back, but I had a lot of damage still to my leg, but I knew I had to get I was out a year and a half, and John Laurinaitis called and fired me.

This is after Nexus. I was 29 years old and I was just getting ready to get cleared, I wasn’t even cleared yet, fired me over the phone. Well, no. 20 minutes going off on him, “You’re not firing me,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, a bunch of *. They sent me my firing papers on accident. I’ve still got the firing papers to this day.
I had to go get attorneys. I had to then call them back, “What the * is going on?” He freaked out. “No, no, no, rip those papers up. Rip those papers up.” I went and took them right to my attorneys who then started building a case against the WWE for what they had done was illegal.

JD: Do you remember at that time, too, right when that happened, you came over. I had just moved to Florida and you came over and you had a file folder and I said.

RYBACK: I don’t remember.

JD: Yeah, you had the file folder with you. And I said, “What’s this?” And that’s when you you hadn’t really told me much over the phone and you had all the papers.

RYBACK: I don’t even remember that. Wow.

JD: Yeah. Yeah.

RYBACK: I still have everything locked up in a safe. It is these people wonder why. It is you’ve got to understand my story and what happened.

So they I never my intention was I never wanted to do anything against WWE. I just wanted my opportunity to go there

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: to do what I loved and make a living wrestling and be my best. They I also had a multimillion dollars lawsuit against the doctor, Dr. Herscovici, down in Tampa at Tampa General who did the surgery, who the doctor that fixed me had filed he was going to testify that all the damage that he went in and fixed that this guy had screwed up on.

So the WWE, I had to kind of force them to put me back on the road. It was they tried to put me back in developmental. This kind of goes back to me and Hunter. I had to say, “No, I’m not going back to developmental.” And I drove back to Vegas. I moved home on my own. They kept me at home for a few months, two or three months, and then they finally brought me on the road and that started my journey back to WWE as Ryback.

But there was a lot of if I would have just gone with the flow, I would have, one, been fired, or, two, they would have just put me in developmental and let me rot down there for the rest of until and my ankle could not handle it at that time.

So fast forward, I’m now Ryback in the WWE. I’m now in the main event, and this is getting ready going into the match with CM Punk. This is shortly before I did Hell in the Cell. And people I always explain why, if you look at my career and what they did with me, it all goes back to this.

Jane Geddes, that dumb * called me, who was working for WWE and I say dumb * I mean that nicely, Jane, and that is.

ASIAN JOE: It’s the nicest way.

RYBACK: Yeah. That’s the nicest way I could possibly ever say that.
She was working in, I think, John Laurinaitis’ position at that time. He had since been bumped down and, again, this from the top.

ASIAN JOE: Is this is same John Laurinaitis?

RYBACK: This was from Vince, Hunter, whoever. This was from the top, called and actually forced me and threatened me with my job that if I did not drop the lawsuit against the doctor for millions of dollars, which had nothing to do with WWE.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: That it was a done deal. Like the attorneys had been working on this now for some time and she said if I want to remain with the company or want to stay in the position that I’m being used in, I need to drop the lawsuit, which what’s the period that once it ends, JD?

JD: Statute of limitations.

RYBACK: Statute of limitations. Sorry. Thank you.

That was coming up very shortly, like within I think we were down to weeks.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: It was we had to move. And the attorneys were waiting for me to give them the green light and I called them and said, “We need to drop the lawsuit,” in which they pleaded with me to come in and speak with them, and which I did, on my day off, and they said you need to go through with this, this is not don’t trust them, blah, blah, blah.

I go, “No, everything will be good. I’ll be a team player. I’ll be a good soldier. This is what they want.” And I dropped the lawsuit. And once the statute of limitations ended, that’s when they started * at WWE.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: So just so people can understand how personal this is for me on why I’m very passionate about this, but where I’m coming from so that this never happens to any other wrestlers, and because a big point that they brought up was the health insurance and wrestlers are covered in the ring for injuries. This is a real thing.
Like, if you get hurt there or anything of that nature, they will cover you while you’re there, but once you’re gone, there is no health care.

JD: No.

RYBACK: There is no system, there is nothing in place, and this is what they were talking about on the John Oliver piece, and you’ve seen they’ve given examples of past wrestlers dying young.

Now, there is a fine line here. The wrestling industry and part of the problem is the schedule Vince put these guys on causes you to fight for your life. Most of the and I can it is the most * up existence of probably any. There is no offseason. There is no days off when you’re there, essentially. You’re going, going, going and you’re injured and you’re hurt.

So what do you think starts happening? You start creating bad habits.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: To cover up all this stuff because the human body is not meant to do this four or five nights a week, because he’s using human bodies to make his billions of dollars.

That’s what people are just trying to make aware that, okay, that is what the business is, take care of your assets of these people who are giving you their lives so that you can have all that. It would take a small percentage of what he has to put some plans in place where everything it would be it would make all the difference in the world.

But you see these guys that are dying young and then you see, well, they say they have drug addictions or this and that. Well, they came from somewhere.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And the responsibility falls on the talent, obviously. You can’t but there’s different things in place, and I can say this firsthand knowing because I talked to them and I talked to people there, who they tell me, “We get hit up all the time by past performers who their insurance won’t cover their injuries and they ask if we’ll cover them.” And they flat out told me, “I have to tell them no.”

And they felt horrible over that, the person that’s responsible for telling them no, but they’re not the one it’s not their company. They’re just doing what they’re told.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: So and now me knowing what I know with my back and my shoulder, not once have those mother*s all my injuries are from them. My shoulder is from their * doctor filling me with cortisone telling me I was going to be okay.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Ate away all my cartilage. And I like Dr. Amin. I like Dr. Amin a lot, but he straight up lies, and now I’m dealing with that. I’ve paid for all that. I’ve never asked them to pay for my back and shoulder and things.
But it’s and I’m motivated to take care of myself in other ways where I’m not financially I need them to take care of me, but there is a lot of guys there that don’t make the money.

ASIAN JOE: They don’t have the yeah.

RYBACK: And this is what we’re trying to raise awareness. People don’t understand $100,000 there, guys, take out money for taxes and traveling expenses and food and business clothes, because you need to have business clothes because they tell you how to dress all the time, and all these other things, and bills. You don’t it ends up where you’d be better off having a regular job.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: “Well, you’re so lucky, you’re a professional wrestler.” It’s the hardest life that exists on the planet. And it’s not your place to sit there and say, “Oh, you should be so lucky.”

You’re talking like a * when you do that. And it’s the most annoying thing. We’re trying to raise awareness for something for these guys that literally break their backs.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: For people’s entertainment and they’re doing what they’re told from the company.

ASIAN JOE: Exactly. Otherwise, you don’t have a job anymore and, you know, even John Oliver’s segment he showed Jake the Snake Roberts and a bunch of other wrestlers how to create a GoFundMe to pay for their medical bills.

RYBACK: Yeah. And that’s some guys are better with their money than others, but the point is a lot of the guys didn’t make that much money.

ASIAN JOE: No.

RYBACK: And back then

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, back then.

RYBACK: They were getting * over royally on many different levels.

ASIAN JOE: Yes.

JD: Well, it’s like I explained, some people also don’t understand, too, the way the insurance has been, especially in the United States.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Okay. Just being a wrestler is going to get you classified as having a preexisting condition.
ASIAN JOE: Yep.

RYBACK: Yeah. Oh, I can’t even it’s I don’t even like doing that now.

JD: Okay. So now, if you, you know, you hurt your shoulder while you’re wrestling for WWE, but your shoulder isn’t too bad, and then, say, you quit or you get released.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Well, in two or three years something happens, you’re going to take your shirt off, and you blow your shoulder out. And don’t say it can’t happen because Sami Zayn blew his shoulder out just raising his arms to the crowd.

RYBACK: Exactly.

JD: In his debut match on Raw, right?

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: That’s how his shoulder was so worn down, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back: He just raised his arms up.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Well, you go to, okay, you need surgery and your insurance company says, “Well, you’re a wrestler, you know, we believe you injured your shoulder in the ring, we’re not covering this.”

Or maybe you had a little scope or a little small something a couple years before and they covered it. This time around, you need a big surgery. “Sorry, we’re not covering it.”

You need a replacement, you need this, you need that. That’s 30, 40, 50, 100,000. How do you pay for that?
RYBACK: Exactly.

JD: Right? And so let’s just say a wrestler was smart with their money and he’s in his 50s and he needs a shoulder surgery or a wrist surgery or, you know, guys like you don’t even hear about it, but Bret’s talked about it where he’s had his hands and his wrists because, you know, you’re attacked on the mat.

RYBACK: He’s had tons of problems.

JD: Tons of small surgeries. Elbows.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: He always wore elbow pads. Like these things come back later in life, and even if you’re smart with your money, how far does your money go? 50,000 for a surgery, 100,000 for a surgery.

RYBACK: I told you, my stem cells they tried to bill me 100 and something thousand dollars because insurance didn’t want to cover it.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: And I had to fight tooth and nail on that to get it cut. It was a that was a * on that one and that was that was just two of the 11 procedures, though. That adds up really quickly because there is nothing in place.

JD: Yeah. So people don’t have a concept of that. They don’t have a concept of the money in terms of.

RYBACK: No.

JD: Like 100,000 in WWE is not the same as a lawyer who makes 100,000.

RYBACK: Not at all.

JD: Not even close.

RYBACK: Nope.

JD: The lawyer makes the 100.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: The wrestler makes 100, but they have, you know, you have all those expenses. You can only deduct so much, you know, but people don’t realize eating in restaurants all the time, the work clothes.

RYBACK: Airport costs.

JD: Ring gear, tanning drop in tanning fees.

RYBACK: Or daily gym memberships.

ASIAN JOE: Uh huh.

JD: Some gyms will ding you 20 bucks for a drop in.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Right? You know.

RYBACK: More than that, even, some of them. It’s crazy.

JD: Sometimes they’ll let you in for free.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: But sometimes they don’t. Or rental car, gas. It costs more to drop the car.

RYBACK: You’ve got to pay for by the way, you’ve got to pay for all your rental cars and hotels just for everybody. That’s another way.

JD: That’s right.

RYBACK: And that was one of my things that I was like, I was done. I knew I was leaving that I had in my contract that changed. People don’t understand. You’re paying literally like wonder like, why do the wrestlers all travel together? It’s because they don’t make enough money, most of them.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: And they’ve got to literally share a car, three to four of them at a time.

ASIAN JOE: Uh huh.

RYBACK: Sharing hotel rooms, superstars, yet the owner is a multibillionaire.

ASIAN JOE: Yep.

RYBACK: And I’m telling you, it’s this is when I wrote the pay blog. It was just the entire structure is * and people need to understand. And you’ve got a small group of people that are doing well, that are making enough money where, you know what, that’s probably not an issue for them because they’re getting taken care of.
JD: But, yeah, here’s the one other thing people don’t understand. They’ll say, “Well, this guy’s making half a million, he can afford to take care of himself.” That’s not the point. The point is if they weren’t an independent contractor, they would be getting that 500,000 plus.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: So much more which would actually take care of their lives and their families so much better because, yes, they are making 500,000 this year, but again, 35, 40 percent to taxes, all the other expenses. Yes, they still come out ahead 100 or 200 grand maybe, but what happens if they get dropped on their head.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And it’s a minor neck injury now, they just get through with physio and rehab, but in five years.

RYBACK: Which you work because you don’t want to lose your spot, and you have to work hurt.

JD: But you don’t need surgery today.

RYBACK: Yeah, yeah.

JD: But in five years it comes back to bite you in the ass. You’re not working for the company anymore. How much is a standard neck procedure going to cost?

RYBACK: Oh, yeah.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

JD: 150,000? 200,000? Like that money doesn’t last, and then when you’re not working there you know, you build a life while you’re there. You have, you know, your family, your home, vehicles. You’re accustom to living.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Even if you’re living below your means.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: If you’re not there and that paycheck’s not coming, you can only survive for so long. And then if you do throw in any wildcard aspects of health issues or injuries that resurface.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Or whatever, like that money doesn’t last.

RYBACK: No. And it’s just there is no plan in place. There is nothing looking out for the wrestlers.

JD: No.

RYBACK: Which is the main point of all of this. And why that is, is so many people are afraid to have that discussion and they don’t.

ASIAN JOE: Why is that?

RYBACK: The people there can’t say anything.

ASIAN JOE: Why, like

RYBACK: Because people don’t care and it’s not people’s job to care about the they’re like, “Well, the wrestlers shouldn’t sign the contracts. The wrestlers should speak up.” The problem is, is they have created an environment of fear.

ASIAN JOE: Okay. That’s because of

RYBACK: Where if five people spoke up there, what do you think is going to happen to those five people?

ASIAN JOE: They’re going to get fired.

RYBACK: They’re going to get fired eventually and they’re going to get pulled off of TV or they’re going to get jobbed out really bad.

ASIAN JOE: They’ll get sued.

RYBACK: Then they’ll get fired two years later when they’re quote, unquote, worthless.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

JD: And the fans, they also don’t understand either because or I shouldn’t say they don’t understand. They also don’t care because I’ve seen so many times any time there’s the topic of care or money.

RYBACK: Some of them do, yeah.

JD: They’ll sit there and say, you know, I make $35,000 a year.

RYBACK: They’ll compare it to their lives.

JD: And I’m working 50 hours a week. I would do that job for 50,000 and I would never complain. And it’s like-

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: You guys don’t understand.

RYBACK: Yeah, they don’t understand.

JD: It’s not 50,000 in your pocket.

RYBACK: No.

ASIAN JOE: No.

JD: It’s not 50,000 and they pay for everything. Like, you don’t understand.

RYBACK: But people that’s looking at it from a very idiotic way.

JD: They’ll say, “Well, then why did the wrestlers still sign the deals?” Because.

RYBACK: That’s their dream and you don’t understand what it’s like until you’re there most of the time.

ASIAN JOE: When you’re first like, “Oh, my God, I’m on WWE.”

RYBACK: The other problem is that they prey on the people’s, one, the love of the business, but also for people’s a lot of people have this strong desire to be famous.

ASIAN JOE: Yes.

JD: Yep.

RYBACK: Or to be recognized, so they prey on that. So anybody “Well, how dare they complain?” But I never once I don’t give a * about being famous. I don’t give a *. Some people don’t give a * about that, but I’m telling you that’s what the company preys on that and people’s love of the business so and, again, if five people were to so back to my thing on the pay blog. When I wrote that pay blog, I got a lot of texts from wrestlers saying thank you that day.

ASIAN JOE: Wait, when was that?

RYBACK: That was back when I left WWE, back almost a few years ago.

ASIAN JOE: Okay. And where is this blog?

RYBACK: It’s online. Just the Ryback pay blog, yeah.

ASIAN JOE: Okay. I’ll read that.

RYBACK: I should have had it edited before I put it out, but I had some drinks on the plane and hit “send.” I was pissed, too. I should have sent it to the eAngel app to edit, but it was good.

But one girl spoke up publicly, Ariane Andrew, Cameron from WWE, and she publicly put a Tweet out “amen” or agreeing it with it.

ASIAN JOE: Yes.

RYBACK: And I got a lot of texts that day from pro wrestlers, and I’ll never expose the people that text me on that.

ASIAN JOE: Of course.

RYBACK: What do you think happened to that girl?

ASIAN JOE: Gone.

RYBACK: She was fired within days.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Fired. And then they blamed it on something else.

ASIAN JOE: Of course.

RYBACK: So that, yeah. I’m it’s and then they sent me a bunch of legal * and this wasn’t but people will like look at this and say, “You’re being negative. You’re being bitter.” Blah, blah, blah.

No. I walked away. I’m trying I’m telling you point blank. I’ve told you my story, what they’ve done with me, and my intentions are I want wrestling to be better for the wrestlers of today. All the independent guys, this is because we want it to be better for you so you don’t have to deal with this * later on in life.

I know firsthand it’s the worst thing in the world to love a company and want to work for a company and to be exposed to a lot of the * that goes on. I talked to talents there. I know what’s going on. This isn’t me making stuff up as a fan sitting at home speculating. These are facts based off what I know from people I know there.

And you’ve got guys and then people, like, will look at the top people, and they’re making a bunch of money so this doesn’t apply to them because they’re making a bunch, but in years down the road, they may not have all that money and it will apply to them.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: But those people aren’t going to speak up. People like the John Cenas, the Stone Colds, and the Rocks, they’re for whatever reason, it’s this weird mentality where they have they’re loyal to Vince because Vince, in this fake world, made them money.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And so they’re loyal and they’re like, “Well, we don’t need to speak up about it. We’re okay.”

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And it’s annoying because I’m okay, but I’m not as okay as them.

ASIAN JOE: Do you think that they have maybe like a contract because the thing is, though, like people like wrestlers come and go.

RYBACK: Yeah, yeah.

ASIAN JOE: But do you think they have like, let’s say, if they start saying something let’s say the Rock or like WWE said like, look, if you say something about this, we can come after you.

RYBACK: Yeah, you never know.

ASIAN JOE: Do you think that could be?

JD: Well, Austin’s under contract.

RYBACK: Yeah, Austin’s under contract.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: But the thing is they don’t even have the discussion. They don’t have to come out and go with the aggressive style that maybe I am, because it’s very personal to me and I’m very upfront about that. These guys, though, if they would just simply share it or, you know what, “Great piece John Oliver.”

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Just something like that alone because it was a great piece and anyone that’s in wrestling knows it’s great.

ASIAN JOE: Yes, it was great. It was awesome.

RYBACK: And I can tell you for a fact every wrestler in WWE is probably praying that something does happen with this.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: But they can’t say anything.

ASIAN JOE: Why hasn’t this come out like earlier? Is it like-

RYBACK: This is what we don’t understand. Vince has connections and ties to something.

ASIAN JOE: They’re probably political, too.

RYBACK: Yeah. Oh, no doubt there’s politics involved in this. There is some way they’ve been able to get around this where nobody has questioned them on it, or if they are questioned, nobody’s actually gone through with anything.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: That’s why the John Oliver so this is what I need people to understand.

This piece is the best chance this has ever had for something to come about of this. All you have to do is share this video and comment on it and just keep it circulating because it will be seen by the right people eventually.

ASIAN JOE: Oh, yeah. I hope so.

RYBACK: But it’s they need the fans because when people come together, the noise gets louder. And so you need people to come together on this because the people that are there doing it can’t say anything. The independent wrestlers aren’t going to say anything because they want a job there.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: So and WWE knows this and they’ve just gotten away with it for so long that it’s nobody being bitter, it’s nobody being negative. It is solely trying to make wrestling better for the wrestlers so they’re taken care of. They’re not getting free handouts. The owner is a multibillionaire.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, it’s insane.

RYBACK: Who has made very few millionaires, remind you, made very few, but if you look at just so people know, too, just a another little random true fact: Those WWE access signings during Wrestlemania week where some wrestlers get eight, nine, ten signings, usually they like to use the fresh talent and make the older, more experienced talent don’t get as many of them; they still get three or four.

Those access signings that WWE charges for, guess how much the wrestlers get paid?

ASIAN JOE: Zero?

RYBACK: Zero.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Zero for those signings. And I used to question that * every time and they hate that. I used to do — for people that used to go to the live events, when I was working on top against John Cena or at that period, the 2012 and ’13 $20 photos of Ryback or John Cena cost WWE pennies to make. WWE would make $19 and something cents on each photo and we would get, I don’t know if it was like 30 cents or 40 cents or something ridiculous.

Like just so you could see the percentages, for a $30 shirt for WWE ordering mass amounts, it could be your idea, you were getting, I think it was, a dollar a shirt, something crazy, and they’re making the rest. It’s like the percentages are all off.

And that’s what people but you can’t if you question them, they haven’t done a thing. They have created this developmental system, this NXT is now pushing those guys. Because you know why? Because those guys don’t like to speak up. “Oh, I’m just so happy to be here. I’m a WWE superstar.”

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: There is that group of people, too, that’s going on. So they need outside people to make noise about this and just to look at the facts, see what this company’s getting away with, seeing that this doesn’t exist anywhere else, and then, okay, let’s do something about it, but-

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, it’s crazy how the WWE became such a huge monopoly.

RYBACK: Huge.

ASIAN JOE: They bought out a lot of you know, they bought WCW; they bought TNA.

RYBACK: They bought everything.

JD: They bought up everybody.

ASIAN JOE: They bought up everything, and yet the government or things hasn’t come up saying, “Hey, you have a monopoly, you should be broken up.”

RYBACK: And I’m not the thing is, this isn’t there is a lot of good that WWE does, but they are capable of so much more. And I don’t know if it’s going to take Vince dying and then Hunter eventually because for whatever reason.

ASIAN JOE: Do you think?

RYBACK: Vince has this carny thing about him that he learned from his dad of not letting the wrestlers know how valuable the wrestlers are, even though they know. Everybody knows the wrestlers are the most valuable thing for the company.

ASIAN JOE: I mean, they showed a video of Vince in an interview saying that.

RYBACK: Making a fool of himself.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, making a fool of himself, but then also saying in an interview spot about, I think, a reporter said that, “Hey, we noticed that a lot of the WWE wrestlers having been dying early. Is there any connection between the wrestlers?” And he just literally says, “I don’t know”.

RYBACK: “Why don’t you tell me?”

ASIAN JOE: Like, why don’t you ask the same question to yourself?”

RYBACK: Yeah.

ASIAN JOE: And the reporter is like, “I’m asking you.”

RYBACK: He’s asking an honest question.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, an honest question.

RYBACK: There could have been a very good discussion on it.

ASIAN JOE: And he just literally and, what, he smacked his piece of paper and just became so defensive, not even answering the question.

RYBACK: Yeah. It’s and I don’t know what needs to be done as far as but there is because they clearly have connections one way, shape, or form.

ASIAN JOE: Oh, yeah, sure.

RYBACK: And to be able to get away with it for this long. I just think people need to understand why the wrestlers don’t say anything that are there. And, again, too, the thing of, “Well, do you sign the contracts?” You’ve worked your whole life to do this. You don’t understand what it is necessarily.

I’ll tell you, too, they now do, where Mark Corrado was notarized where they get talent, JD because they tried to do it to me where they try to get you to sign the contract in the office without any legal representation. That is a-

JD: Well, that’s one other thing that I think fans don’t understand. Like they hear maybe big contract or bigger contracts and you hear about sports figures and everything.

RYBACK: You can’t compare it to other stuff. It’s not even close.

JD: They don’t understand that in pro sports everybody has an agent, everybody has a lawyer.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Sports are unionized, so don’t ever think that the player is actually in the room with the owner talking money or talking details. The lawyer or the talent talks to the agent, the agent talks with the lawyer, and then either the lawyer talks to the owner of the company or the agent does, but it’s the talent does not. The talent signs when it’s time, but all the negotiations, all the demands, all the things, and then, of course, everything that’s unionized, all that means is the bar, the standard is up to a certain level.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Because, like in wrestling, it’s like a zigzag, right? There is no standard. So it’s higher for some guys, it’s lower for more guys.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: It’s very inconsistent. But with the union it’s like-

RYBACK: But there’s no way to know, and that’s the other thing, we don’t know.

JD: There’s no way to know. That’s right, you don’t know.

RYBACK: Just so you don’t forget that, stay where you’re at. Not to cut you off, but just to give people another real life example: Did a UK tour when we did the two week tours for WWE. Your payouts, you can’t even I used to keep track of the gates and try to figure things out with the houses, because you used to be able to keep track of that stuff. They don’t like that because you can tell then when they * you over on pay.

Did a two week tour, and I believe I’ve talked about this, with Curtis Axel, RybAxel, where we were doing the opening match against the Shield for the John Cena refund match. Zero refunds, by the way, for that, that entire tour with John without John.

Randy Orton was working Roman Reigns in the main event. Randy got hurt, supposedly, the first week in so me and Axel had to then turn it into a six man tag and work the second half of the tour on the main events against the Shield in which Orton, who was hurt, couldn’t be in the match. He took a Superman punch on the very end of the match by Roman outside on the never had to get in the ring once.

I had the two torn groin muscles at this time, working hurt, taking double comebacks, a 25 , 30 minute match, me and Axel doing everything.

So you would think that we’re working in the main events on this tour, we’re doing the John Cena refund match, we’re coming out in the beginning of the show, we’re coming out at the end of the show, we’re all over on the shows, but because we’re being used kind of half on TV during my quote, unquote, punishment period I get we finally get the pay for that European tour. I made $13,000 for working whatever.

ASIAN JOE: How many matches?

RYBACK: We were on the road 20 something days.

ASIAN JOE: Oh, jeez.

RYBACK: Yeah. It was my worst payday on any of the European tours. I had made more at different points, but the houses were all great. We had some of our best houses on that. It was sold out night after night and I went in and this is when I came back after I got my groin repaired and that payout came, whatever it was, two months later, whatever the time period it was later, and I had asked questions like, I go, “I’m not happy about this. I want more. Like, that’s not that doesn’t cut it.”

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: I literally was working hurt in front of sold out crowds working the main event.

ASIAN JOE: Do you know what the other wrestlers got paid?

RYBACK: No, there’s no way. So my point is on all of this, there is no way to know, and if you question it, I was again threatened, “Well, you’re getting ready to come back. We’re going to turn you back as the old Ryback,
babyface again. You probably shouldn’t say anything.

So you’re looking that is a real life example of them they handcuff you because you’re there at the time.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Well, if I don’t say anything, maybe everything will work out, maybe I’ll start getting quote, unquote, pushed better, my paychecks might start improving, but there’s no way to know. They can literally rape you any time they want on pay and you can’t do anything about it.

So that’s a problem that should not exist at that level. People need to understand. It’s not okay, I’m very thankful I got to make $13,000, okay. I’m very thankful. Which it wasn’t 13,000 by the time you figure taxes and everything.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, of course.

RYBACK: And then pay taxes over there as well.

JD: And do the math on literally not just your time in the ring but how much time you weren’t at home.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Because every minute you’re not at home you’re on the clock.

RYBACK: Yeah, working.

JD: Yeah.

RYBACK: And that those tours you end up doing 17 or 18 matches in 22 or 23 days with TVs. It’s a ridiculous schedule.

The point being is just giving you a real life example for the people listening. But there is no way to actually know what you should make because they don’t provide that information to you and they don’t want to provide it to you; whereas, if there was a union or there was some sort of structure or plan in place, that information would have to be made known and then other wrestlers would know what other wrestlers are making.

That’s where it goes all back to where the whole pay structure is * and people don’t understand. There’s such a discrepancy between what a John Cena makes and what all these other guys are making, but they’re on the road and doing all the same stuff.

It’s not saying it’s not saying Heath Slater should make what John Cena’s making. I’m talking about the gap is too big is what it is and it doesn’t make sense for the work that is being done.

And it’s not being done for me, it is being and the pay thing was taken out of context by some dumb *, also. It wasn’t I raised a question that equal pay raising a question to have a discussion on the pay structure of the entire organization and how * it is, which all this kinds of exposes that on different levels, but it’s coming from a real standpoint of being there and knowing the talent there that can’t speak up.

I talked to some talent this past week, and I’m not going to say any names. Keep doing what you’re doing.
They are I know people that are working with numb arms and neck injuries that can’t say anything because they’re afraid to lose their spot. They can’t say anything, so it’s up that’s why John Oliver wants the fans he’s not trying to ruin your Wrestlemania.

ASIAN JOE: He’s-

RYBACK: Because these people are wrestling fans.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: They know how * it is. This is they’re trying to do this to make wrestling better for the wrestlers, and if you’re a wrestling fan, if you have guys telling people WWE’s done a great job also of confusing the fans.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

JD: Oh, yeah.

RYBACK: I love WWE.

JD: Anything that’s not “I love them” is attacking them.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Like they see the John Oliver piece as attacking.

RYBACK: Yeah. But WWE you love WWE? You love the wrestlers that make up WWE at that current time. You love the wrestlers, but they’ve tricked you into you love the WWE brand. No, you love the wrestlers.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: So this is a way to look out for the wrestlers. And John Oliver’s piece, it’s not attacking WWE. It is raising concerns on real life issues and nobody else is speaking up.

ASIAN JOE: They’re concerned about the wrestlers and not, you know, let me give you some product.

JD: Hey, it happened with the NFL.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

JD: Right?

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Between the concussion lawsuit and fans going, you know what, it’s not really cool that these guys are getting hit in the head and then ten years after their career’s over.

RYBACK: Yes.

JD: They’re having health issues and mental issues, but, you know, at least they had the union to protect them while they were there and all it does is just give you that.

RYBACK: And they make a hell of a lot more money, by the way, too, than wrestlers.

JD: Well, they do, and I mean.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And if people if you love wrestling and you love the wrestlers, you would want all this would do is make things better. Like, I don’t know all the numbers of all the sports.

RYBACK: It’s not negative.

JD: No. I don’t know all the numbers in all the other sports, but I looked it up for the sake of because we were talking about baseball last week.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: That guy who signed for 10 or 12 years for 430 million.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Or you think about how many players are in major league baseball. One guy is getting paid that much, right? But I looked it up for hockey because it’s a little more.

RYBACK: Balanced?

JD: Well, it’s hockey is the least paid pro sport of the three. So your entry level guy, it’s like, I think, minimum wage is like 580,000.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Now, he’s not going to play hardly at all in the season.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: He’s probably going to get sent down.

RYBACK: You’re talking about the lowest level players as far as the sport, yeah.

JD: That’s the absolute minimum he’s going to get paid. He’s probably going to spend some time in the minors. Should he get called up, or even in the minors, it doesn’t matter, you know, the transportation is covered.

RYBACK: Meals are covered, usually.

JD: You know, they travel on chartered buses, chartered planes, medical is state of the art, top of the line at all times. Should he become a full time player, you know, his contract will probably move up and be somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, at least a million per season.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Now, when you factor that into the, you know, the superstars of the league are making about 8,000,000.

RYBACK: Uh huh.

JD: Look at that gap, right?

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Joe Nobody is going to get 1,000,000 or 1.25, and a superstar is getting eight.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Now, you think in WWE your entry level road contract is $85,000.

RYBACK: Yeah, or somewhere in that vicinity.

JD: Somewhere in that vicinity.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: And then a John Cena makes 10,000,000.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Now, obviously John Cena does more.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Is more now, that’s fine, but the difference between the sport and wrestling is in the sport that million dollar entry level guy could become.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: The $8,000,000 superstar.

RYBACK: Through his free will and playing better in real life competition.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

JD: And in wrestling

RYBACK: You can’t.

JD: They pick.

RYBACK: Yeah, because they’ve taken that element out of it.

JD: Well, because they used to pick based of who was already.

RYBACK: Organically getting over.

JD: Getting over on their own.

RYBACK: Or getting heat, yeah.

JD: Wow, look, this guy can talk. We had no idea he could talk. Let’s run with it.

RYBACK: Yep, yep.

JD: Or, man, this guy’s a really good worker. Let’s run with him. Now it’s like we’re just picking whoever we want to pick.

RYBACK: Yeah. We’ve talked about that.

JD: And there’s been tons of inconsistencies with story lines and characters being dropped and, you know, you see Jim Ross talking about it a little more now that he’s not under contract.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Towards the end of his contract running out he was saying, “Listen, you can’t be flip flopping heels and faces.” You know, there was I think it was this year.

RYBACK: They do it, though, for the control. It controls everything.

JD: That’s what I mean. He was talking about 15 people in a month who switched over from face to heel or heel to face.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: In one month.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: So like, what is that? You’re not invested in that.

RYBACK: No.

JD: Your value’s not going up or down.

RYBACK: But everyone has to do what they’re told and everyone but they can that’s just what I was saying to people. Wrestling is so much different than these other things, too, because and this is another problem with what WWE does, and this is another fact, is they bring up these new guys and they pay them *.

JD: Yep.

RYBACK: I remember when I first was Ryback. I could barely pay my bills. They were keeping all my money and I wasn’t making any because they kept me in a hole until they signed me on a new contract.

They but these people, they keep them on such low amounts and where they literally are barely getting by, and they use them for a lot of the appearances and they get away with it for usually the first two or three years and then the talent starts kind of getting smartened up a little bit. And some of them and some of them don’t, and whatnot, but they just take advantage of this * time and time again.

But the discrepancy is so much that worked. That person that comes up could be the hardest working guy on the entire roster doing the most amount of time in the ring, could be doing as far as comparing that to a John Cena, the pay gap is way too big.

ASIAN JOE: Oh, sorry.

RYBACK: Where they’re not being and then the hotels and rental cars and all that deal, it’s there needs to be a plan in place.

And the whole point of this is to get people talking, to start having discussions on this, and to start having the right people having discussions on this because something will be done. They will be forced eventually to do something, but when nobody it really disheartens me, like when I said when the bigger names don’t it’s, to me, that’s really a cheap way of to me, you don’t have a pair of balls on you and you have no courage and you don’t love wrestling if that’s your take.

JD: Here’s an example for the fans, if they want to get a better understanding. I just said lowest paid guy in the NHL, full time player, probably about a million, a million and a quarter.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: He could become the superstar.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Let’s just say he improves his game substantially, he’s not superstar level. His initial contract is probably going to be two years, then they’re going to offer him a two or three year deal. He exceeded all expectations and they go, you know what, we’re going to sign you for, you know, 3,000,000, 4,000,000, 4.7, whatever.

Okay, take Rusev.

RYBACK: Yes.

JD: Rusev was not making superstar money; he was probably doing okay.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: He was not being booked properly. Got himself over through social media.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Started a grassroots movement. Do you think that when the arena was chanting “Rusev Day,” he went from making whatever he was making let’s say he’s making 250,000 do you think he went from making 250 to 750 or 1,000,000?

RYBACK: No.

JD: Or did he make the same contract and they maybe just added in more merch?

RYBACK: Yeah. Well, that was what.

JD: Right.

RYBACK: aAnd I believe he did sign a new contract in there and he did get-

JD: More money, but-

RYBACK: But it had nothing to do they did that and they gave him they actually gave him more money and then squashed him really badly since, because they’ve done it. And they’ve signed Del Rio to a bigger deal.
JD: But my point is-

RYBACK: They’ll throw money away just to bury a guy, too.

JD: Yeah, but even with the contract.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: It’s not like at the end of the deal they’re like, okay, you were making 250, now we’re going to do five, six, seven.

RYBACK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JD: Or six, seven, eight. It’s not a huge-

RYBACK: No.

JD: It’s not that massive jump like, well, this is what you deserve now because you’ve shown us.

RYBACK: Yeah. Well, that’s another problem. They pay guys based off of how they book them to win or lose.

JD: Yes.

RYBACK: That’s what I was saying. The whole problem is it’s completely ass backwards.

JD: Yes.

RYBACK: So and I always use Heath because he’s one of my favorite people and he’s probably like Heath is not a jobber, but Heath, the way they have booked him, or a Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, that if they were to go in there and ask for a pay raise or to say they would go, “Well, you guys, I mean, you guys lose all the time.” Like that is a real they treat you how in the role they are giving you and you’re doing your job.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: And it’s all the same because it’s fake.

JD: Well, people don’t even realize that back in the day heels were paid more money than faces.
RYBACK: They should because they’re not getting merchandise.

JD: They’re not getting merch and they’re being booked in a way where they can only make.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Their basic pay.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Because the babyfaces get booked to be over and they can sell tons of merch and make tons of money so the heels got paid more.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: Because that was all the money they were going to make.

RYBACK: Which is what I was saying in the pay blog. Most guys and this is another great point, JD.
The talent, because all the guys, we all know what * is. It’s the fans, some of them.

And when I say “the fans” I’m talking about and me and JD, we’ve got another term for the bad fans: Bullet heads. We’ve got to talk more about they’ve been shot in the head, but they somehow survived.

The no, if the pay structure was fixed and they didn’t they corrected it from what it currently is, talent would not have a problem putting other people over or doing anything of that nature because they know they’re financially being taken care of to go out there and do the same exact job whether they’re winning or losing.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: But the problem is, is guys where problems come is when they know they start getting used a certain way, their pay starts going down. It’s very real, which creates a lot of problems. But, like I’ve told you, I would if I didn’t see my pay fluctuating, I would never have a problem. It would suck. You want to always be you want to be a winner, I think.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: I think if you’re competitive, you want to win, but like talent wise and being there, you wouldn’t have a problem putting other people over if everything was just structured better.

ASIAN JOE: Yes.

RYBACK: Because there is a huge gap and people don’t understand that and then they go the bad thing is, these bullet heads, they’ll go, “Well, you shouldn’t make the same as John Cena.” Well, why is John Cena John Cena? I can tell you John Cena is John Cena because all these other guys have gone out there and agreed to let John Cena be John Cena.

ASIAN JOE: I mean, this is something that needs to be discussed over and over again.

RYBACK: Because all this is, is a discussion on it.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And it could be better, and I think they will ultimately do the right thing and make things better, and that’s all that I want.

ASIAN JOE: I think it just takes Vince to be.

RYBACK: It takes time, but it takes people, the fans.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: Discussing this and people sharing this and getting more people comfortable talking about it.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And I promise you something will be done.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: And it will be.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah. You know, like, JD, you brought up the hockey reference. When I lived in Chicago, we called the owner of the Blackhawks Dollar Bill Wirtz because he felt that why should I put televise hockey games when they can come to pay for tickets to go to my game. And then the fans literally said, “Well, screw you. We’re not coming to the games.

And so for literally right after like the ’92, ’93 when he started selling off Belfour, Roenick, all the good players, the Blackhawks sucked and no one came to the games. And then once the owner passed away, his son took over and changed all the you know, okay, we’re going to have televised games, we’re going to have grassroots, bring back the old players who made the Blackhawks great and, you know, the Blackhawks start winning again and everyone was happy about it.

So, you know, the fact that Vince is such an old school guy, you know, hopefully, you know-

RYBACK: I just want them to do the right thing.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, do the right thing.

RYBACK: But I’m angry and I want people to understand.

ASIAN JOE: But it might take someone to step down.

RYBACK: Because of my personal situation with them, people need to understand.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

RYBACK: If you understand that and you can put yourself in that situation, I think you’ll have a better understanding, and this isn’t again, I’m not getting anything out of this.

ASIAN JOE: No.

RYBACK: This is I’m trying to do this for the wrestlers because I know the situation. But I am motivated. You have to understand my motivation based off how I was treated and how my career ended up there, and I’m very frustrated over that and I’m not and I have I want to see wrestling be better so nobody ever has to go through what I had to go through, and that’s all.

That’s all that we want out of this that I want out of this. Just do the right thing. But with that
JD: I think it’s going to take more than the fans talking about it because I don’t see enough fans.

RYBACK: No, but, hopefully, I’m saying-

ASIAN JOE: I think lawmakers.

JD: Well, the only thing that I could see that could kick it off is, you know, AEW has been talking about giving guys.

RYBACK: If they started doing the right thing.

JD: Well, they have said they want to try to do proper health insurance, all that.

ASIAN JOE: Yes.

JD: If they actually-

RYBACK: Set the standard to a new high, guys will leave WWE to go there.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah, for sure.

JD: Or introduce something new.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: That people so they can actually see that it’s beneficial. Because it’s one thing to talk about it.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: Most people just can’t process it. But if they can actually see how it’s beneficial and then those guys are talking about it or those wrestlers are talking about it and they go, wait a minute, this stuff is not bad at all, guys.

RYBACK: No.

JD: Like this is, it just makes everything better.

RYBACK: That would be the best honestly, that would and I’m telling you, and for AEW, that would be a hell of a way to get talent to come over there, is by actually doing the right thing. Wrestlers in a heartbeat, I will tell you, in a heartbeat you’ll still have those, “Oh, I need to go work for WWE,” but a lot of guys will go, “You know what? This is way better.” This is I want this, this is-

ASIAN JOE: I mean, this whole I always worried about what if WWE decided to buy AEW, too.

RYBACK: Well, it hasn’t even started yet.

ASIAN JOE: I know it hasn’t even started, but like once-

RYBACK: That guy has more money than Vince.

ASIAN JOE: Okay.

RYBACK: Khan. Tony Kahn.

JD: Oh, yeah. The family’s got like $7,000,000,000.

RYBACK: So that’s what I’m saying.

ASIAN JOE: That’s cool.

RYBACK: There is an opportunity. It’s going to change eventually, mark my words. It’s just a matter of I’m surprised it’s taken this long.

ASIAN JOE: Yeah.

JD: Or something tragic will have to happen.

RYBACK: Yeah, yeah. But that’s the thing, too. When people die, a lot of the people will “Oh, well, they’re drug addicts.” They’re not looking at that addiction came from somewhere and it’s not I put it falls on both, but there is no plan in place, is the problem.

And then, again, “Well, we paid for rehab.” So, oh, they don’t pay for any of my back and shoulder problems that were caused from there, but if I went out and started popping a bunch of pain pills and drinking, oh, they’ll pay for that?

It’s not about they okay, you do the rehab thing for talent, great. You need to do something for the injuries as well. Because a lot of the drug addictions are coming from the injuries, coming from that lifestyle. You’ve got to break the problem down further and look at it and then it will become very obvious what is going on.

JD: Well, look, real quick, I don’t want to keep it going, but in one of those Vince interviews, I don’t think it was the one where he slapped the papers, they, you know, whatever year that was, ’01, ’02, ’03, he was asked about drug testing.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And they said do you have drug testing in place and he said no, and they said why and he said because it’s too expensive.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: What happened for them to implement drug testing?

RYBACK: The government was about to step in.

JD: Because of Chris Benoit.

RYBACK: Yeah, tragic incident.

JD: Yeah. The government was going to step in.

RYBACK: And Guerrero.

JD: And they were going to drug test the entire company and shut it down.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And then they gave them that window of time to find true independent drug testing.

RYBACK: Which, by the way, the drug testing thing, WWE has control over a lot of that still which people — with the AEGIS or whatever the thing is which, by the way, Dr. Black is a huge fan of the Big Guy Ryback. I took pictures with him and his kids, who is the head of the drug testing.

Though it’s not like USADA or anything.

JD: No.

RYBACK: They have because and I don’t even know everything about USADA with UFC and the different organizations they work with, but they and I’m sure there’s shady things going on in every element, but if somebody and I know this from being there people had come in and been hired, have tested dirty, and they just did away with it and signed them as an employee for a short term match.

Big star. Big star. And I’ll never say the name because it would just do nothing but bring me hate that he failed a drug test and they just ripped up the contract and signed him as an employee temporarily. And how true that is, that was the rumor that I had heard, and it was obvious that the guy was on the fucking juice for his comeback.

And it’s just — but, like, that goes on and they get around it and then there’s loopholes all in that thing.
And Anavar was never it infuriates me, guys getting away with taking Anavar and it’s not showing up on the drug testing. * that. That thing like, there is holes you just hear about. It’s not I don’t know. It’s not but they put a plan in place to protect them from the government, but, again, they didn’t go all the way.
It’s not for the wrestlers’ well being, it’s for their well being, and people need to understand that.

JD: But that was the last time a major change.

RYBACK: Yeah, happened.

JD: took place, yeah. And it was a result of a and, of course that was only was that even that was less than a year after Eddie died.

RYBACK: Yeah, it was really close together and-

JD: Yeah.

RYBACK: That was about to like, what the * is going on over there and then boom, oh, let’s we’ve got to wash our hands of this and we care about our wrestlers.

So it’s a screwed up situation and, again, you know, I was thankful that I got to live my dream of my goal and achieving it, but there’s a lot of things that need to be done to make that place better.

And it’s not asking for a handout for anybody. It’s just simply asking them to do the right thing and take care of the talent that have made them what they are, and I don’t think that’s asking for too much, personally.

So if I never make a dollar, if I never wrestle for WWE again, I don’t give a *. I would rather see this be done for the wrestlers. Anything I can achieve or dream, championships, I’m telling you, this is more important to me that this is done for the wrestlers for today and for the future, so the business evolves and is better, so nobody has to go through the stupid * that I went through that while I was there, and that’s it.

JD: But you also realize that if the business is not going to get any better, that you were already there.

RYBACK: Yeah, it’s not worth it anymore.

JD: You realize that if you’re not a part of it, you know you’re not missing out.

ASIAN JOE: Right.

RYBACK: No, I’m not. It’s not anymore I’m not missing out on anything. I’m living I’m very happy now. I’m healthy.

JD: It’s not even I mean, even the time that you were there, it still wasn’t what you wanted to truly be as a kid growing up.

RYBACK: No.

JD: It had already changed so much.

RYBACK: Yep.

JD: And now it’s kind of like an image.

RYBACK: I don’t know what it is right now, but it’s not-

JD: I don’t know what it is, either.

RYBACK: It’s not what I fell in love with as a kid or anything of that nature.

JD: No, no, no. And, I mean, look, I still think back to about two or three years ago, the first Saudi show.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And there was talk that they were going to bring HBK back for that one and he said no, and they said, “Well, don’t you miss this?” And he said, “Actually, I don’t, because what goes on today is not what I did.”

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: “What I used to do is completely different, so it makes it a lot easier to not miss it because what I used to do doesn’t exist anymore.”

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And, I mean, I’ve been saying for years, because there’s people that will say to me, “Well, aren’t you bitter that you didn’t make it? You were so close so many times. You were knocking on the door for years.” And I’m like-

RYBACK: Which would be okay to be angry if you did. That’s a normal reaction. Yeah.

JD: I was angry and frustrated, but bitter, no. I would be bitter if it was what I wanted it to be.

RYBACK: Yeah, yeah. You had no control over the situation.

JD: And it hadn’t changed, and if I because then I will feel like I was missing out, then I would be like, you know what, because I’m a very what drew me to wrestling was the creativity.

RYBACK: Yeah, with a lot of guys that’s it.

JD: And ad libbing and just being an entertainer of myself.

RYBACK: An actor.

JD: Well, I was involved in acting and the one thing I didn’t like about acting.

RYBACK: Memorizing the lines?

JD: Memorizing lines.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And, you know, I was like, God, I don’t really want to play that character or be that character. I want like, I think I’m a character.

RYBACK: You need a little bit of freedom.

JD: Yes.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: And so it just made it easy to not be bitter.

RYBACK: Yeah.

JD: There was frustration, of course, but so you know going forward.

RYBACK: I know what it is already and, yeah, I’m not that’s why I’m content.

JD: Yeah.

RYBACK: I would rather and life is about taking chances and having courage. That’s why, again, I say this: I challenge former wrestlers, big names, to step up and do the right thing. Share the video. Just say “thank you” because you know, you 100 percent know that it’s the right thing to do. And that’s it on that.

Credit: The Big Guy Podcast.

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