WWE stock recently dropped to a 52-week low in addition to several other disappointments for WWE last quarter. Live event revenue and merchandise also decreased last quarter year with sales on WWEShop.com decreasing 16 percent from Q3 2018.
Ryback says that the way WWE has structured their business model plays into that as he discussed with Wrestling Inc's Raj Giri on his Conversations with the Big Guy Ryback podcast.
"It is a dangerous game and this is what I have talked about what they have done with watering down the talent and not making iconic megastars," said Ryback. "You can only do this for so long and you focus on only the brand and talking about how we are all about the brand and making as much money for the brand and you are not using the talent to build up the brand and using the talent as a whole for the brand but don't want to make talents too strong.
"What happens is that the whole booking model of not booking guys strong when they should be booked strong. It is almost like printing money when they shouldn't be printing money and it's watered everything down. They have gotten away with it for a while and put bandages on the situation, it is eventually going to come where we start seeing all this negative stuff happening in multiple areas for them where it is eventually going to go the other way. Live attendance is low because people are not invested in individual characters. Not enough to want to go and pay to see them because that has not been the case like that. It's not the fault of the talent, it is the fault of the booking because they have stars down there across the board so that is not good."
He then made a comparison of the WWE to the New England Patriots and a scenario in which the team asked Tom Brady to take it easy this season because he's becoming "too good." They would ask him to not get to the Super Bowl so his name value would decrease in order to fit into their business model.
"That is what WWE does and this is why I was so frustrated being told the things that I was told. I'm not in it for that, no thank you. I will take my ball and f***ing go home," stated Ryback. "Unfortunately, other talents are not in that boat and they all play by the rules, which is what is going on in professional wrestling today and that is why they are in that position. They use the talent just to broadcast that WWE logo in everything. Their YouTube, which has 50 million subscribers, you know why they did? Because they use all of their talents. It's not Vince McMahon, granted he is in some of these videos. People are not tuning in YouTube to see that WWE logo, they are tuning into WWE to see their favorite WWE superstars, which I am a part of that to not being paid. Those are the people who made their YouTube such a massive success, the individual talents that they use in all of their videos."
Ryback is also looking at this from another point of view and that's under the belief that Vince McMahon is trying to make as much money as possible before selling WWE for even more money.
"But Vince McMahon is looking at this strictly as, and this is what I believe, he is looking at how he can make as much money as possible where they will eventually sell. I bet you with Fox and Disney and all of this, this was the beginning stages of eventually selling the company. They have also watered down the product where all you have to do is wrestling moves. You don't even have to know psychology or look the part, you just plug these guys in and say hey, we have a school they learn a bunch of moves and we can put them on TV and this is our business model where you can now take over. You don't even need us to run it," stated Ryback.
"Honestly, they look at this as such a business and the way they made their product that is what they are doing. All Vince McMahon cares about is money. I made it, we had our run, make as much money as humanly possible. In our final year, we will make $2 billion this year or $5 billion and that's it, and you guys can take over the wrestling. It wouldn't surprise me. It just doesn't make sense with so many things that he has proven to me where Vince has even told me that he is a businessman. The only thing he cares about is making as much money as possible by any means necessary."
You can listen to Ryback's comments in the video above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Conversations With The Big Guy with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.