Roman Reigns was right to pull out of his WrestleMania 36 match with Goldberg, but shouldn't have been put in that position to begin with, according to Ryback.
Reigns was scheduled to face Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36 but pulled out of the event due to concerns with his safety during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reigns announced on the October 22, 2018 version of RAW his leukemia returned after 11 years after battling it a first time. Reigns returned on the February 25, 2019 version of RAW and announced he was in remission.
Reigns is at a higher risk of complications from the COVID-19 virus due to his leukemia diagnosis in the past. As such, he didn't feel comfortable wrestling due to being immunocompromised and pulled out of his scheduled match.
Ryback spoke with Wrestling Inc.'s Raj Giri on his Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report podcast, where he defended Reigns' decision to pull out of the event. Ryback said people criticizing Reigns were mostly coming from social media and he thinks that segment of the wrestling fan base would hate him no matter what.
"It's horrible and that's that wrestling fanbase, and it's more than wrestling, it's a human thing that's going on now and this is, again, social media," Ryback said. "There's nobody in person who is going to go up and criticize him, it doesn't exist. It's social media that he is getting it on, and when you're on it you have the full spectrum. You're essentially letting the lowest of low people that are just the least evolved, just horrible human beings. They have access to you, and no matter what you do, that's why I said just be yourself because you are going to get love and hate no matter what.
"I'm so happy he stepped up, and a guy in that position actually doing it, but he's in that position. Now if he didn't have that and did it, the criticism he would get a hell of a lot more, and internally in WWE it would be a different situation. He has that though, which is they cannot do anything with him, as far as depush him or anything of that nature. He has a little bit of built-in security with that.
"But that's wrestling fans for you, and I say fans and I'm talking about the negative ones. Those are also the same people that hate him ... that don't want him there. He does something, and he's not there now, and the name-calling is always a go to with that portion of the people. They name-call because that is the only thing they can go to."
Ryback also said WWE shouldn't have put Reigns, or the other talent on the roster, in the situation of competing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"And with WWE, I don't really know. I mean it was going to come out that he was pulling out," Ryback said. "I prefer (WWE) to tell the truth and that needs to be said, because it's a valid reason, but that should apply to all superstars, not even having that choice like I said. That's what I said, what you're talking about on that, he shouldn't even have to be put in that position to make the call, it should have been made for him, for everybody, by everybody going home like all the other sporting and entertainment organizations did.
"That's what I tell people, this is just exposing the wrestling industry and business why pro wrestling needs a union. There needs to be something in place to protect the talent from the pro wrestling business, because it is the s--ttiest business on the planet, and I love pro wrestling. I love, I f--king love pro wrestling, I hate the pro wrestling industry with a passion. It's so s--tty, and all you have to do is look at the history of it. It is worse than anything you will see out there."
You can see the clip of the Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report podcast above, or check out the whole episode here.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.