Based on his physique and his initial push as part of The Nexus, Ryback seemed headed to superstardom in WWE before a series of high profile pay-per-view losses to CM Punk halted his ascension. Jim Ross recently put most of the blame on Ryback himself on his Grillin' JR podcast.
"Ryback is probably another guy that probably has not ever reached his full potential in wrestling. Could have been a lot better than he was perceived to be, just didn't work out," said Ross (h/t to 411 Mania for the transcription). "You know, sometimes attitude, right place right time, whatever. Just stars did not align. But if he had not had distractions, Ryan had a lot of ability, a lot of upside. And I think when we first saw him, we thought he, being somewhat of an Ultimate Warrior-type guy, heavily muscled, big thick guy. You ain't gotta be a Dory Jr. in catch as catch can wrestling. You can be a bruiser, and that's what he was. But along the way, he didn't do himself any favors, quite frankly."
Ryback caught wind of that quote and responded on his Conversations With The Big Guy podcast while speaking with Wrestling Inc's Raj Giri.
"I was disappointed, and I like Jim a lot. He's clarified himself on Twitter that he just wanted my best and to see me fulfill my potential and realize my dreams. I like Jim Ross and there's no beef but he just wasn't there for any of the runs, any of it," stated Ryback. "I spoke with Conrad Thompson earlier and I said that if you are going to say that somebody has a bad attitude – which he was very complimentary too and how WWE dropped the ball and wrong place at the wrong time – but that I wasn't doing myself any favors and how I had a bad attitude. But the past is the past and it's all done and over with. It has all worked out for my favor and benefit for the things that I was able to do, but the first thing was about the injuries. I don't think Jim knew when talking with Conrad is that I don't think Jim understood why I left in the first place outside of what he read about my back needing a five-disc fusion and shoulder replacement. But JR mentioned that I didn't have a lot of trust in people which for that he was correct on, but he also didn't understand why.
Ryback then brought up that he broke his ankle while with The Nexus, had a botched surgery and then filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the doctor that performed the operation. He says that WWE then threatened his job if he didn't drop the lawsuit which forced Ryback to drop it to stay employed.
"If that is what you guys want then I will work for my money and everything was so good right then," Ryback said of dropping the lawsuit. "I trusted them even after they had tried firing me after my ankle injury and having issues with Hunter, but I chose to trust them and believe that I could trust them. But once the statute of limitations went up that is when all of the games happened and I started losing seven-straight pay per views while I was in that top position.
"Jim talks about a bad attitude; I had people in talent telling me that I needed to fix this situation and that I was too positive. I would always say that I would be able to overcome this because I thought that ultimately it was going to pay off. I did nothing but put talent over at various points of my career when arguably you would say that it should have been for me according to a large part of that audience, but never once did I b---h. Never once did I try and go out and get the finish changed, and again a lot of this comes down to me trusting them and giving away that lawsuit money and then needing the money because I had no money."
Ryback then added that when The Nexus feuded with The Shield, he was triple powerbombed more than anyone because no one else wanted to take it. He said that other wrestlers would get mad at him for wanting to put them over, but Ryback was a company guy and knew that others were getting the push.
"It bothers me that [JR] went that route despite not being there for any of it and I know he talks to people in WWE. But he's smart enough to know that I left with everything. They have working relationships with The Sportster and Bleacher Report, and those are the companies that had put out all of those bad things about me when I had left that I had to have them takedown," revealed Ryback.
"Of course, they are going to say that I had a bad attitude. Let's look at the whole picture where I fell on my face against Mark Henry at WrestleMania. I went out and did my job and never complained. All the way to the point where I left - from the contract negotiations as well as everything changing with Kalisto. I argue with anybody to watch those matches and act like that is a guy who is not going to be coming back the next night. You would have never known. I went out there and did everything in my power to put Kalisto over. I never once fought in the back to try and get the finish changed. That is what you want me to do then that is what I will do. I hope this will get him over for afterward, but I would argue that I never had a bad attitude at any point while I was there. When I left, I told my truth about it so if that is what you want to say as far as my bad attitude so my fans can understand why I left to begin with then so be it."
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.