Former WWE superstar Ryback took to Twitter on Sunday to share a picture he took with Cody Rhodes, fueling speculation that “The Big Guy” could be on his way to All Elite Wrestling in the near future.
The accompanying caption teased that the former WWE superstar has big plans for 2020, which is when he plans on making his long-awaited return to in-ring action. Ryback has been mostly absent from wrestling since leaving WWE in 2016, as he’s been pursuing other business opportunities and recovering from health problems.
While the photo doesn’t confirm that Ryback is joining the upstart company — or suggest that Rhodes and co. are even interested in signing him — it marks the latest hint that he wants to join the promotion.
As quoted by 411Mania, Ryback was very complimentary toward AEW on the latest edition of his Conversations with the Big Guy podcast. According to the grappler, the new promotion has the ability to surprise fans, which is an element of wrestling he feels has been missing from WWE in recent years.
“AEW will be able to bring back the element of surprise that made wrestling cool again, that made WCW really cool. That forced WWE to start doing it and bringing [in surprises]. I think they’re gonna have that opportunity in the next year. This is a long-term stock that you are investing in, and we have to just be patient with it.”
Perhaps Ryback sees himself as one of those “surprises,” and when he’s ready to get back into the ring, the company might view him as an asset. Ryback was a big name when he was in WWE having won the Intercontinental Championship, and him joining AEW would certainly bring more eyes to the product.
However, Ryback also noted that it’s important for the company to establish its current roster before hiring more established names. For the most part, AEW has been focusing on elevating talent that’s fairly unknown to mainstream wrestling fans, though the company has shown a willingness to hire former WWE superstars, as evidenced by the acquisitions of Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, and Shawn Spears.
AEW also has a lack of monstrous performers on the roster, so Ryback could fill a niche in that regard. His experience will also be beneficial to some of the up and coming talent, as he is familiar with live television and pay-per-views having been part of the main event of several shows during his time in WWE.