The beginning of the end, as far as the WWE was concerned, for Ryback came following back-to-back kickoff show matches with Kalisto at WrestleMania and then Payback. Clearly offended by his position on the card, Ryback sported a weightlifting belt that read “The Pre-Show Stopper,” a mockery of his position and nod to Shawn Michaels. The night after the Payback pay-per-view, Ryback was sent home amid a contract dispute which later revealed some unorthodox demands.
Ryback was dismissed on May 2, never to be seen again on WWE television as both sides eventually decided to simply wait out his contract. That contract expired on August 8 as the company officially parted ways with the former superstar and wished him all the best in his future endeavors. However, Ryback beat them to the punch, releasing an online video to wish the same for the WWE a few days prior.
During the three months that Ryback was off television, he was still under contract and obviously not allowed to compete for any other promotion. He’s now making up for lost time with an upcoming schedule that’s quite packed. He’s already been booked for WrestlePro events in New York in October and the WrestleCade event in Winston-Salem, NC in November. On Wednesday night, it was announced that Ryback would compete at a Northeast Wrestling event on August 25th in Pomona, NY as well.
According to Daily Wrestling News, Ryback will be wrestling under the name, The Big Guy, on the independent scene, with the Ryback name the official property of WWE. The Big Guy won’t come cheap on the indies either as he’ll be charging $4,500 per appearance in the United States, but $5,000 if they don’t have a solid reputation like some of the others for whom he’s already agreed to appear. However, he and his representatives will offer a discounted rate if Ryback is booked for multiple dates.
A month after Ryback couldn’t come to an agreement with Vince McMahon, arguing that all talents should be paid the same no matter their position on the card, he stole some headlines away from his now former employer. WWE was putting on their Extreme Rules pay-per-view just as Ryback was teasing the idea of signing with TNA.
Cody Rhodes was also trending that night as he also decided to part ways with the WWE, and now both find themselves in high demand on the independent circuit. But as it turns out, it appears Ryback won’t be signing with Dixie Carter like his former colleague, Damien Sandow. Rather, Ryback looks to be taking his talents to Japan as he and NJPW have a mutual interest in a deal. Both sides are now ironing out a price point and thenumber of dates he would work.
Ryback’s WWE departure came at an interesting time of transition for the WWE. Ten other WWE employees were let go in the same month Ryback and Rhodes left voluntarily, and Adam Rose soon joined them. Then, the complexion of the company changed with the announcement of the brand extension, causing the WWE to go searching for roster reinforcements to help solidify two separate shows.
Now, Ryback, Rhodes, and Rose were not significant players at the time, but the WWE’s search has led them to veteran wrestlers brought in to help get younger guys over. Perhaps The Big Guy and the others weren’t satisfied with that type of role, but they’d certainly fit the criteria based on the level of talent we’re seeing come in now.
Vince McMahon would have never acquiesced to the unusual contract demands Ryback was requesting, but he certainly could have used him better. It’s arguable how successful The Big Guy could have become, but he was certainly thrust into the main event long before he was ready. It remains to be seen whether his goal is to build himself back into a top star to the point the WWE has no choice but to pursue him again in the future.
[Image via WWE]