Ryback Comments on Contract Negotiations, Pay Inequality in WWE and More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2016

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 18:  Professional wrestler Ryback appears the World Wrestling Entertainment booth at Licensing Expo 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on June 18, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for The Licensing Expo)
David Becker/Getty Images

Ryback spoke out Tuesday after a report surfaced Monday that said WWE took him off the schedule for upcoming televised events.

According to PWInsider.com (via Wrestle Zone's Nick Paglino), WWE and Ryback are in discussions over a new contract. The report offered conflicting accounts regarding whether the Superstar asked for time off or if the company took the initiative to send him home.   

On his personal blog (warning: NSFW language), The Big Guy shed some more light on the situation:

Today I sit and fly home and for the first time in years feel absolutely free. I will start by saying I did request to be taken off of WWE television until myself and Vince could get a yes or no on a new deal. This has been going on since my IC Title run and had been nothing but a major strain on my life as all I ever wanted to do was work for WWE. I was told to head home until we agree or not agree to specific terms and contrary to reports it isn't over money or a bus that stuff was settled a while ago. It comes down to a major problem I have with not only WWE but wrestling in general.

Ryback then criticized the company for his pay structure, arguing WWE pays wrestlers who win more than those who are often on the losing end. In a competitive sport, this wouldn't be a problem, but the nature of professional wrestling makes it one since WWE decides the winners and losers:

Why not pay the talent equally? The winners have more MERCH as it is or are supposed to anyways so they get that extra perk, but why make the guy who is told to and agrees to lose earn less and sacrifice spots in big pay per view match ups etc. This is one of the major problems with wrestling and WWE today. Most guys take great satisfaction in helping making other talent, the bitching and the moaning we always hear about stems from the fact they know they are ultimately over time going to make less and live in fear of being released.

WWE fans have rarely gotten to see much of a personality from Ryback beyond his promo on the Dec. 30, 2014, edition of Raw:

If only for that fact, ProWrestlingSheet.com's Ryan Satin was surprised to hear the former Intercontinental champion argue his point:

One can certainly sympathize with Ryback and any midcard WWE Superstars who feel the same way. As much as the company elevates John Cena, Roman Reigns, Triple H, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, among other top stars, it can't function without a deep roster of talented wrestlers.

Without compelling, entertaining storylines outside of the main event, fans eventually start tuning out, and some might argue that's why Raw ratings continue to be so low.

It's doubtful Ryback's post will create any major change with regard to equal pay for WWE talent, but it could open up a discussion others were possibly too afraid to make for a variety of reasons.

Exposing the wrestling business like this, though, is unlikely to make WWE any more amenable to a new deal if Ryback is optimistic about staying with the company beyond the summer.

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