Although it’s been known for several months now, WWE has officially announced the departure of former Intercontinental Champion Ryback.
Ryback’s issue with WWE began several months ago, when he was unhappy with his position in the company and his pay. “The Big Guy” made the argument that everybody on the roster should be making the same amount of money, and he was sent home shortly thereafter.
There were some who were thinking that WWE would give him a raise to come back and be part of the brand extension, but it appears that they never even contacted the ex-IC Champ for a comeback, and if they did, Ryback clearly wasn’t interested.
Ryback had been with WWE since 2005, but he never reached the level that may thought he should have. He portrayed several different characters during his tenure in WWE, with, of course, Ryback being the most successful one by far.
The high point of “The Big Guy’s” time in WWE came in the fall of 2012, when he challenged CM Punk for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, Ryback was undefeated, and he was being compared to former WCW and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg. His match with Punk at Hell in a Cell in October of 2012 did an incredible buy-rate on pay-per-view, but after “The Big Guy” lost, he was never quite as hot.
There were often rumors of a match between Ryback and the aforementioned Goldberg, but those rumors never came true. Now, with Goldberg being a part of the WWE 2K17 video game, it looks like he’s finally on good terms with WWE, and that he actually may have one more match. But, now that Ryback has officially left WWE, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the Ryback vs. Goldberg dream match any time soon.
It’s unclear what’s next for Ryback. Of course, he’ll probably end up wrestling on some independent shows in the near future. But will he go somewhere like TNA / Impact Wrestling? There’s a chance, but due to the fact that TNA is running out of money, on top of the fact that “The Big Guy” will probably want a big money deal, the chances of him joining WWE’s chief competitor are slim.
Prior to leaving WWE, Ryback made it a point to mock CM Punk in every single one of his matches. In fact, the last time WWE was in Chicago, which is Punk’s hometown, Ryback mocked Punk’s entire entrance, which made him the most hated man in WWE on that night.
Punk has said that he would consider returning to wrestling, but he wouldn’t return to WWE. So, could Punk and Ryback set up a grudge match on the independent scene? It’s possible, but not likely due to the fact that Punk considers Ryback to be one of the more dangerous guys in pro wrestling.
The Punk and Ryback issues stem from Punk blaming “The Big Guy” for some of his injuries during his time in WWE. Punk also called Ryback “steroid guy” during the famous Art of Wrestling podcast in November of 2014.
When Punk revealed that he needed back surgery several months ago, Ryback sarcastically took the blame for the injury, and apologized for “hurting” Punk on Twitter. Punk never responded to the remark.
Will Ryback ever return to WWE? History says he will, because no one really leaves WWE forever. It may take a lot to bring “The Big Guy” back into the company, and WWE may not be willing to make him an offer until a few years from now. So, while history says that Ryback will return to WWE, we’re probably a good couple of years away from seeing the former IC Champ back in a WWE ring.
[Image via WWE]